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A sci-fi noir adventure game in which you investigate your own murder.
A sci-fi noir adventure game in which you investigate your own murder.
A sci-fi noir adventure game in which you investigate your own murder.
4,822 backers pledged $103,058 to help bring this project to life.

The Making Of...

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You, dear backer, are amazing.

Episode 1 is funded. We’ve been celebrating all week! And as we clink virtual glasses with our entire backer community, the Rocket Science Amusements team is looking forward: we’ve got 5 more days to reach our stretch goals and we currently have a little more than $12,000 to go to reach FULL VOICE OVER. As you can hear with Adam Howard’s amazing VO for Parker, voice acting for all the game’s many characters will provide a far richer game experience. We are very optimistic and hope you are too. 

And we are also looking back—a few months. Way back then, we were experimenting with low-poly art styles. We were testing lighting and colors. We were building our first prototype. And we were exploring the use of Voice Over to capture an authentic noir tone, experimenting with hard-boiled 1st person narration, and allowing Parker to narrate each point-and-click action in the scene. 

Directly below, you’ll find some of our early prototype art and can see for yourself how far this project has come in just 5 months. Also, people have wondered how we developed the noir tone to our script. Below these images, we’ve included an uncut, uncensored transcript from one of our early writing sessions on Skype.

SHOW AND TELL

The first prototype of LAST LIFE (Note the existentially angsty working title).
The first prototype of LAST LIFE (Note the existentially angsty working title).

 By the way, I'm @PixelArtist on Twitter, and I invite you all to follow me there.

Testing the dialogue systems with a scrapped scene and Mixamo’s placeholder art.
Testing the dialogue systems with a scrapped scene and Mixamo’s placeholder art.
An early concept sketch of MarsTopia.
An early concept sketch of MarsTopia.
At 5pm every Friday, our Glitch City members walk around our workspace and look at what everyone's been working on, and we take photos to document the steps in our progress.
At 5pm every Friday, our Glitch City members walk around our workspace and look at what everyone's been working on, and we take photos to document the steps in our progress.

Glitch City Projects from top left to bottom right:

Quadralateral Cowboy (Blendo Games), Vapor Lounge whitebox of LAST LIFE (Rocket Science Amusements), Ben Vance (Buffalo Vision), Asteroid Soccer (Cyborg Dino, @saygt)

I always start with boxes. And sometimes I finish with them, too.
I always start with boxes. And sometimes I finish with them, too.
Jack Parker, early prototype.
Jack Parker, early prototype.
Jack Parker, after noir wardrobe make-over courtesy of Nick Farmer, designer.
Jack Parker, after noir wardrobe make-over courtesy of Nick Farmer, designer.
The Vapor Lounge gets some color.
The Vapor Lounge gets some color.
MarsTopia comes to life.
MarsTopia comes to life.

SCRIPT

People wonder what it's like working with Jerrilyn Farmer, our great writer who is also family. She shares our same drive to make LAST LIFE as incredible as we can--so our focus is always on what more we can do to improve on what we've got. As for how we work, we use Skype chat a lot, with more complex discussions by phone and even over the occasional family dinner. Here’s a section of one of our Skype dialogues from an early period. It’s uncut, so you can get a sense of how much discussion takes place as we constantly rethink decisions:

[2/19/2014 3:12:08 PM] JF: I think [the new trailer] might be effective without too much VO since the trailer is very active/compelling and just watching and trying to follow the action is intense 

[2/19/2014 3:12:13 PM] JF: I also love the new music mix 

[2/19/2014 3:12:24 PM] sbf: yeah, me too. It totally makes it 

[2/19/2014 3:12:34 PM] JF: Did you re-show it to the glitch guys? 

[2/19/2014 3:12:36 PM] sbf: yep 

[2/19/2014 3:12:44 PM] JF: did you get any thumbs up? 

[2/19/2014 3:12:46 PM] sbf: they were psyched 

[2/19/2014 3:12:53 PM] sbf: they said they were sold. 

[2/19/2014 3:13:01 PM] JF: Awww~~~ 

 [2/19/2014 3:15:40 PM] sbf: I'm gonna start working on the bar scene that you so graciously started 

[2/19/2014 3:15:45 PM] JF: great 

[2/19/2014 3:16:10 PM] sbf: Yeah, I think I need to come up with a concrete list of triggers that we can build off of 

 [2/19/2014 3:31:19 PM] sbf: I got a question! 

[2/19/2014 3:39:13 PM] JF: ? 

[2/19/2014 3:39:29 PM] sbf: Oh, 

[2/19/2014 3:39:42 PM] sbf: well, remember how we wrote those descriptions for the characters in the bar scene 

[2/19/2014 3:39:49 PM] JF: yes 

[2/19/2014 3:40:12 PM] JF: They're in the big draft doc of the Kickstarter page 

[2/19/2014 3:40:14 PM] sbf: What if the player heard Parker say those things in the narration, instead of us reading them. 

 [2/19/2014 3:40:51 PM] sbf: I'm referring to the lines like: Built for a life behind the bar, this short squat robot called Hi.My.Name.Is.PAT/4 bears an uncanny resemblance to a soda fountain. 

[2/19/2014 3:41:10 PM] JF: Right, well I was thinking along those lines yesterday when I wrote in his narration for the items in inventory. They sound kinda funny - cool when he explains them... but not sure if it works 

[2/19/2014 3:41:29 PM] sbf: yeah, me neither 

[2/19/2014 3:41:44 PM] sbf: I guess I'll have to record some scratch VO to test it out 

[2/19/2014 3:41:52 PM] JF: In my doc from yesterday (script for gameplay) I rewrote those descriptions of characters too 

[2/19/2014 3:42:15 PM] JF: "I didn't like the glint in his optics array..." that stuff 

[2/19/2014 3:42:43 PM] sbf: i think you rewrote the inventory stuff 

[2/19/2014 3:42:54 PM] JF: I also rewrote the character descriptions 

[2/19/2014 3:43:16 PM] sbf: oh ok 

[2/19/2014 3:43:35 PM] JF:
Inspect Mr.Monty.Teasdale:
Gender: Male
Height: 6 feet 2
 Sector: Finance
Teasdale was that sour, red-faced man you often find riding a barstool. He was talking to himself and rocking in place: clearly intoxicated. Worse yet, it looked like he was packing heat. Occasionally, TEASDALE called out to Hi.My.Name.Is.PAT/4, but the bartender didn’t respond. Smart robot.

Inspect Call.Me.MR.BRUCE.Sir/7
Gender: Massively Male Inspired Robotics Unit
Height: 7 feet or taller
Sector: Security
Standing at the bottom of the grand spiral staircase, armed and at the ready, the hulking machine identified as Call.Me.MR.BRUCE.SIR/7 was scanning the Club for threats.

Inspect Hi.My.Name.Is.PAT/4
Gender: Mildly Male Inspired Robotics Unit
Height: 5 and a half feet
Sector: Hospitality
Built for a life behind the bar, this short squat robot called Hi.My.Name.Is.PAT/4 bore an uncanny resemblance to a soda fountain. 

[2/19/2014 3:43:37 PM] sbf: They may need to be simplified/shortened if Parker's going to read them aloud 

[2/19/2014 3:43:42 PM] sbf: right, that one's good 

[2/19/2014 3:43:45 PM] sbf: also, in the game 

[2/19/2014 3:43:51 PM] sbf: I took out the Gender, Height, Sector stuff 

[2/19/2014 3:43:59 PM] sbf: b/c that joke was only funny once 

[2/19/2014 3:44:12 PM] sbf: then it's cumbersome 

[2/19/2014 3:44:31 PM] sbf: just wanted to keep you posted! 

[2/19/2014 3:44:54 PM] JF: right. I was wondering about all that stuff yesterday. ;) But then I just went a head and wrote everything up 

[2/19/2014 3:45:29 PM] sbf: you did the right thing, thank you so much! 

[2/19/2014 3:45:29 PM] JF: My general answer---have Adam record as much as you can. You can use it or not, but going back to re-record is a pain 

[2/19/2014 3:45:55 PM] sbf: ok 

[2/19/2014 3:46:51 PM] JF: For instance, if you think you want shorter descriptions of characters, have him read it BOTH ways, short and long. Later, you can use what you want 

[2/19/2014 3:46:57 PM] sbf: right 

[2/19/2014 3:59:37 PM] sbf: I think it's too late for today 

[2/19/2014 3:59:51 PM] sbf: but maybe we can talk tomorrow about how/if we want to change up this bar scene. 

[2/19/2014 3:59:59 PM] JF: I'm still going strong 

[2/19/2014 4:00:13 PM] sbf: ok, let me get back to you after I do 15 pushups 

[2/19/2014 4:00:17 PM] JF: lol 

[2/19/2014 4:00:29 PM] sbf: excuse me, we're doing squats today 

[2/19/2014 4:00:43 PM] JF: I just had a little diet coke and chocolate--not health food, but it gave me a little more oomph 

[2/19/2014 4:04:01 PM] sbf: haha, ok 

[2/19/2014 4:04:07 PM] sbf: let me give ya a call

So that’s a short snippet. I usually have a very strong vision of what I’m going for and leave it to my mom’s expertise in the mystery genre and with showing character to refine and polish dialogue. It’s a good thing we share the same wry, dark, satiric view of the world. There are definitely times we disagree, but we’re always willing to come up with one more draft and consider new ways to solve each script / story problem that crops up.

OFF TO SF

And now, I’m going to SF for a few days to work with Double Fine. So you can expect in the next update we’ll share the craziness of this week's final push to fund our stretch goals. VO for all characters would just boost this game to a great level—so all help to get there is truly appreciated. You know--5 more days. Catch you all later.

Thanks for reading to the very end!
Sam

P.S. Look at these finds...

BREACH TD

Check out this beautiful looking genre mashup on KS right now:

PIXEL NOIR

We also want to thank Pixel Noir for their very kind shout out. As Brothers-in-Noir, we're happy to do the same. Check out their dark and gritty KS and let's help them get funded.

Benjamin David Lee, saodhar, and 16 more people like this update.

Comments

    1. Creator Kyle Norton on May 6, 2014

      Dang Android keyboard.... "so psyched to play this one when it comes out..."

    2. Creator Kyle Norton on May 6, 2014

      So psyched to play this one come out...

    3. Creator Asa on May 4, 2014

      I really enjoyed reading the discussion on the writing behind Last Life, and the detailed descriptions of some of the characters in the the bar. I think getting the style right is an important part of nailing the futuristic/noir feel of the setting.

    4. Creator Haitham Almayman on May 4, 2014

      Great update Sam, I really enjoyed looking at the early stuff.

    5. Creator Russell Deitch on May 4, 2014

      @Sam, do you have a due date for PayPal becoming available?