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Leisure Suit Larry using Kickstarter to hit on everybody at once Read more

Austin, TX Video Games
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Leisure Suit Larry using Kickstarter to hit on everybody at once

Austin, TX Video Games
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The Biweekly Kickstarter Update Created Woman: 1/7/2013

Happy New Year, Larryettes!

We are now officially in “crunch mode,” although, to be honest, everyone at N-Fusion and I have been in crunch mode all along. But now it’s official, which means a whole new shipment of caffeinated beverages, caffeinated candies, and caffeinated bacon.

Before I go off on minutiae about game text, I’m going to answer a few questions I’ve seen around Kickstarter and the Replay Games fora:

  • Yes, we’re still on track for a Q1 2013 release. 
  • Yes, we’re still planning on foreign language releases concurrent with the release of the English version: French, Italian, German, and Spanish (or “FIGS”). 
  • Yes, we’re still planning on PC, Mac, iOS, and Android versions. Linux is still a real possibility. Unity 4 makes porting it relatively easy. But it does involve whole additional testing cycles that aren’t in the budget (timewise or moneywise). 
  • The Kickstarter premiums will ship about the time the game ships. We may be able to push some of the digital items (like the HD wallpaper) out sooner, but our overriding goal is to meet our ship date, and it’s an all-out push with that singular goal in mind. For the physical goods, we don’t want to do more than one wave of shipments, because that will multiply our shipping costs dramatically. (In other words, we don’t want to, say, ship out the T-shirts separately from the Calendars, because that means hundreds of extra shipping containers and thousands of extra dollars in postage.) 
  • The front of the T-shirt hasn’t changed. The back of the T-shirt is now an N-Fusion-created Larry. 
  • Al and I would both have loved adding a parser, but that would’ve necessitated a monumental increase in both budget and development time. 
Okay, now here’s where I finally get to talk about the State of the Text.


There are currently six basic actions for interacting with everything in Larry’s world: Look, Talk, Use, Taste/Smell, Zipper, and a generic “Inventory Item On” function (along with specialized inventory object on messages when appropriate). As I mentioned during the Kickstarter, I hate generic messages, but I can’t completely get around using them.

Let me define a couple of terms. When I say “flag,” that’s a bit of programming that monitors the state of something in the game that we want to track. I’ll give you an example from the game. Under some conditions, the dog will come along and pee on Larry. After being peed on, I want the first person that Larry meets to comment on the unusual aroma. So there is a flag for Larry called “peedOn.” The vast majority of the time, this flag is off (peedOn==False). When the dog pees on him, the flag is changed (peedOn==True). Many of the characters have a line of dialogue to speak when they encounter Larry and peedOn==True. As soon as they deliver the line, the flag is changed again, back to False. And the cycle of life begins anew.

Flags change constantly throughout the game. Simply looking at a screen feature can change a flag; this is relevant when I want to have a series of messages for something, with that message changing each time you look at the item. First time you look at something, second time you look at something, and so on.


When I say “feature,” I mean a region of the screen that has its own identity and requires its own text text “handling.” For instance, look at the Come ‘n’ Go interior at :06 in the video we created for the Steam Greenlight effort. I identified 28 separate features (not counting Larry himself): the Hot Dog display, the floormat, the refrigerated case, the counter, the Clerk, and so on. The majority of rooms are not this busy, thankfully, or I’d be writing until 2013. Oh, wait, I am.

So I create messages for each of the six basic actions for each of those 28 features. Assuming only one message per feature (although many have two or more), that’s 168 messages right there, before I even start to be able to get into all the specifics that are necessary to cover different flag settings. The specific messages for those features requiring different flag settings can easily double the total number of messages used in a room.


That’s a vast amount of recording and editing, a vast amount of speech to put into a game (especially a mobile game!). And that’s before factoring in the inventory-object-on-inventory-object messages and dialogues between Larry and other characters.

(Side note: I actually started with an experiment: seeing if I could create a couple of rooms where clicking every single inventory object on every single feature would have its own message. It turned out to be immensely time-consuming since there were more than 40 potential inventory items – although, of course, some objects don’t apply to some locations -- and dozens of features in each room. I stopped when I got close to 800 messages for the room, and that wasn’t even one of the more crowded rooms.)

With these kinds of totals, I’ve pretty much ended up having to use some generics. For instance, if you try to talk to most inanimate objects, you’ll get a generic message (although it’s always at least unique to the room). And when you click an inventory item on a feature, you’ll get a generic message unless there’s a good reason – comedy and/or puzzle relevance – for a more specific one.

Despite this, I think we’ll still have one of the most robust Larrys ever written in terms of sheer quantity and quality of input responses.

And now, back to work I go. Lots to do. Not enough time in which to do it.

Fondly,
Josh

Comments

    1. Creator iPixel on January 16, 2013

      Hey Joshua, any info about an eventual FIGS voice-over localization?

    2. Creator Palindrome Bob-XSF-I'm in AGL589-BG5.22 on January 16, 2013

      Thanks for the announcement/clarification Kevin. Your links seem to have been messed up by the KS message system though but that's okay for me, I've already 'favoured' them and that's all I intend to do regardless.
      ### Member of the Pinkerton Road Cavalry ###

    3. Creator Josh Mandel on January 15, 2013

      I just heard it myself on FB, and I'm thrilled! Major thanks to everyone who helped get us there!

    4. Creator Michael Hoffmann on January 15, 2013

      Congratulations on getting greenlit on Steam! Great news! :-)

    5. Creator Riggo - Avatars of Underworld Ascendant on January 14, 2013

      Thanks for the most excellent update Josh!!!

    6. Creator Replay Games on January 14, 2013

      Hello Adventure Gamers,

      We want to make an announcement and clarification at the same time. We are happy to announce that Leisure Suit Larry will be available to LINUX USERS! I know we previously stated it would be a day 1 release on many Linux websites, but due to the sheer amount of languages and platforms we’re delivering the game on, it will not be a “Day 1 release”. It’ll be close, but just not on day 1. We sincerely apologize for the wrong information, we were so excited about having a Linux build, we forgot to check on the release date (DOH). We’re working our butts off to give you guys our games on every available platform and may possibly be able to announce another one soon as well.

      In other news, we also want to tell you that one of our original adventure games, Fester Mudd: Curse Of The Gold, will also be available on Linux. But again, this will not be a “Day 1 release” either. Still, having said that, we really are happy to report that we’ve found a way to deliver the Linux versions of these games to you guys and hope you’re as excited about them as we are.

      In case you’re not aware, here are both of the Steam pages for the two games. Anything you guys can do to help “up-vote”, comment on, and “favorite” them would be great.

      http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/f ... =111450196
      http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/f ... =108161841

      Thank you, everyone!

      Kevin Kettler
      Replay Games

    7. Creator Aleks Ozolins on January 11, 2013

      Just adding my vote for a Linux port. As mentioned below, I really like the idea of letting the Kickstarter backers help with the QA.

    8. Creator Michael Black on January 11, 2013

      @Sami all video game projects work like this. The designers and artists jerk off for eight months (hey working a Noon to 2pm day is HARD man), giving the coders about 4 days to finish everything. So it's indeed a giant crunch.

    9. Creator Sami Marsch on January 9, 2013

      You should get a new producer if you need to crunch to make your deadlines

    10. Creator Kiwiblazer on January 8, 2013

      Is there a chance of this game coming to the Wii U in the future?

    11. Creator Serena Nelson - Hero of the AGRM on January 8, 2013

      While my platform of choice is still PC, I've been a strong supporter of Linux ports for months. I'd love to see it happen, even if it's not in right at launch.

    12. Creator Paul Chaplin (@CottlestonPie) on January 8, 2013

      Really good to see things are going well on the whole, and thanks for the detailed info -- very interesting.

      Regarding Linux, I wholeheartedly concur with T.J. Brumfield's suggestion of crowd-sourcing the Linux QA, to whatever extent is possible. I really, really want to see this game on my primary platform, and with Valve now making significant inroads, and the indie scene going strong, it's becoming not so much just "more viable" but also "more interesting" to release games on Linux, and I hope that your use of Unity 4 will bring LSL:R to Penguin-land.

    13. Creator keeper_13 on January 8, 2013

      Make it clear. You make Mac (Unix) version, iOS (Unix) version, Android (Linux, Java) version. We have two Unix and one Linux versions, and you saying that Linux still "possibility"?

    14. Creator Jeroen Dekkers on January 7, 2013

      @Karsten: Everything Josh writes is seen/approved by Al. Al is heavily involved in the creation of this game.

    15. Creator Lee Chong Yew on January 7, 2013

      Here's an idea- once Larry is launched on Windows and Mac, why not have the Linux version become available on Steam as a beta, along with the Steam beta itself, assuming Steam for Linux is still in Beta when LSL is released?

    16. Creator Karsten Koller on January 7, 2013

      Thank you for the update sounds great.
      However, I would also like to know how much Al Lowe is currently involved in this project, especially in the text of the game, since it seems Josh is writting everything by himself.
      While I am also a fan of Josh, I am a little bit concerned that the game will miss a little bit of the kind of humor which made the larry games so enjoyable.

    17. Creator Bryan Hanks on January 7, 2013

      Excellent update! Thanks!

    18. Creator RFaronson on January 7, 2013

      Hi Josh,

      What I did to "message up" the endless forests in Quest For Glory 1 VGA and The Ruins of Cawdor was to have a rotating list of generic responses associated with each inventory item, and a few customized responses when I thought up a particularly good joke or as time permitted. That approach might reduce your workload and serve you well.

    19. Creator Mathieu Rousselet on January 7, 2013

      what an amazing work ! I'm so excited !

    20. Creator Serena Nelson - Hero of the AGRM on January 7, 2013

      Being a veteran adventure gamer since the '80s I knew that there was bound to be some generic messages. I'm glad to see that you're trying to make as many as unique as possible, though.

    21. Creator iPixel on January 7, 2013

      @barbarian_bros : Well, i totally agree with you about bad dubbing that can ruins a game. But if you played LSL7 in french (if not it's available as an abandonware, just jump on it!) you know how talented the voice-acting was. To have Larry and the deliciously funny narrator voices back in French would be just a thrill.

    22. Creator Niessen Frédéric on January 7, 2013

      Hi there,
      I am one backer of this project and a native french speaker. While I personally prefer to enjoy the original voice, you may contact me would you need some assistance for the translation.

      B.R.

    23. Creator barbarian_bros- Cayne Corp.Shareholder on January 7, 2013

      @ iPixel : I like Larry's voice. Dubbing is expensive ans often less good than the original acting. So i's prefer they keep money for development and let Larry speaking english with subtitles for other languages.
      I'm French but i don't want a bad french dubbing (can't play The beast within without laughing of its very ugly dubbing)

    24. Creator Luis Bermudez on January 7, 2013

      Woot! Woot! Excited for all of the dialogue!!

    25. Creator iPixel on January 7, 2013

      Hey Joshua! i jump on the FIGS localization that you talk about. you don't precise if it's gonna be text only, or both text/voice localization. I'm sure you read already in the forum how LSL7 was a huge success in term of voice acting in Europe, with great reviews, and is still a great voice-acting example for point-n-clic games. I know there's budget limitations, so i guess it's not a priority, but would be a very spicy surprise :)

    26. Creator Josh Mandel on January 7, 2013

      Alex, we were always planning to be on all four platforms right out of the gate. Look at the Kickstarter Main Page, search for "Platforms Supported On Day One."

    27. Creator Jeroen Dekkers on January 7, 2013

      @Alex - they are working on the Alpha/Beta right now according to the forum

    28. Creator Josh Mandel on January 7, 2013

      Yes, you are! We're close to Alpha.

    29. Creator Brians Magic Hammer on January 7, 2013

      Thought this was going to be a PC game first that would be ported to mobiles and other platforms later.

      Also are we pledgers not going to get the Alpha and Beta testing we were promised?

    30. Creator Jeroen Dekkers on January 7, 2013

      @Josh - no worries :) Happy to lend a hand

    31. Creator Josh Mandel on January 7, 2013

      Thank you, Jeroen! Darn it!!!!!!

    32. Creator Jeroen Dekkers on January 7, 2013

      Please note that the URL for the forum should be: http://forums.replaygamesinc.com/

    33. Creator T.J. Brumfield on January 7, 2013

      Crowd-source the Linux QA. Release a beta to KS backers and allow them to submit bug reports. You can even have a QA web page up for the beta-testers with a list of things you want tried in QA testing, and people can mark the items completed.

    34. Creator Zipthebunny on January 7, 2013

      yay, so excited!