The Light at the End of the Eldritch Tunnel
Salutations, our amazing backers!
We’re back with another winter update. Darn it, is it really still winter out there? Yep, but hey, there’s always an upside to everything: more staying in, more game being developed!
In this update, we’ll talk about being days away from content complete, moving office, adding more members to our ragtag crew of pointers and clickers, and more. Here we go!
Where We're at
Last update we let you know about all the extra content we’ve been making for the game. Well, hard to believe as it may be, we are almost content complete!
What does this mean? Basically, with the exception of voices - which are being recorded as I type, across two continents - we have everything that needs to go into the game (animations, backgrounds, dialogues, music, all the in-game text) and it’s a matter of days before they’re all neatly tucked inside the engine, ready to go to the game logic phase.
In case that whole paragraph was confusing (it was for me too, a little), what it means is that we’re putting everything we have into the game and building all the scenes, and once we’re done (next week!) all we have to do is come back to it and, location by location, define the rules that govern the world, put in the conditions (e.g. you need to pick this up in order for that to happen), and we have ourselves a game. And that just goes for 60% of the game, since the first 40%’s game logic is in place already. Yes, we’ve been working HARD :)
- Character dialogues and animation - complete, 99% in the game already
- Background art and descriptions - complete, 100% inside the game
We’re super thrilled to say that, now that all text is locked down, we’ve started doing voice recording, and oh boy does it make the game come alive! A bit more on that below.
Also in the going the extra mile department - you guys already know that 2d animation is this project’s lifeblood, and how much we love bringing all of Gibbous’ crazy characters to life, frame by frame.
Even though we haven’t reached the animated cutscenes stretch goal, it wouldn’t feel right having smooth animations throughout the game and none in the cutscenes, so we’re making them nonetheless.
We really want this to be as close to a cinematic / cartoon experience as possible, so hey, what’s a few extra thousands of hand drawn frames? Pshhh, no biggie.
We just want to make it clear that all in-game animation is done, and we’re on to the extra goodies now. Everything that is essential to the game is being prioritized, though, so myself and Cami have added cutscenes to the work we do at night and during weekends.
Voice Acting ...
Adding audible human emotion to the game’s dialogue is something we’re stoked to be able to do, and it really makes a difference. That’s not to say it’s without challenges - since we’re located in Romania, the majority of voice recording is being done thousands of miles away. Thankfully, we have a couple of remote voice directors who also help us out with casting, not to mention acting themselves - Joe and Don - whom I 100% trust with delivering great stuff from the actors, and everything so far is sounding ace.
On our side, we’re excited to be able to work with talented local actors for the part that takes place here, in Transylvania, and directing them has been a blast.
Granted, the process hasn’t always been a cakewalk, but the results? Super, super good. What am I referring to ? Just check out the video below. It documents our experience of working with a great voice actor that knows zero English. The result? Amazing stuff, even if it took us four hours to get through two pages of lines. A learning process for everyone involved, to be sure!
...And here's a selection of some of those lines with a bit of game music behind them:
...An Insane Amount of Voice Acting
Guys, we really went crazy in the “custom responses department”. If voice recording does take a while, here’s a visual representation of why exactly that is:
…Yep, that’s 252 lines of dialogue just for hotspot descriptions and possible interactions for one screen, no actual dialogue included. There will be an insane amount of voice acting in the game, and it’s all done to insure you don’t get hit with the same annoying “can’t do that” line, not to mention the multiple detailed descriptions of everything around you. Yay exploration!
New Team Members, and Stuck in Regular Office Space!
There have been a couple of exciting developments in our crew lately - we’ve grown! As is customary for every greedy, power-hungry corporation, we’ve gotten ourselves a couple of innocent college kids that we inhumanly exploit. That’s how you gamedev, right?
Okay, Okay, we don’t really exploit them, but they are computer science students, they’re huge video game nerds just like we are, and adding them to the gang to help out now that we’re getting closer to finishing the game has really sped up production a lot. Both Orsi and Roxi are good programmers with a love for Unity and a lot of patience for all my constant tweaking and insisting on having every moment in the game feel and play right. Nicu has nothing but praise for them, not to mention that we can all geek out about games over coffee. Welcome, girls, it’s great to have you aboard!
Orsi has been on board for a few months now, and, aside from being a great programmer, she’s incredibly patient with every nitpick and crazy last minute idea I tend to spring on her.
Roxi is the latest addition to the Stuck In Attic gang, and while she’s only here part time, she makes up for it with a heck of a lot of dedication and a keen eye for detail.
3.0 included, there are now four girls in our crew!
Expanding our team also meant that we sadly had to leave the attic behind, at least temporarily. The only other solution would have been to duct tape some of us to the ceiling, but since it’s slanted that presented a slew of other problems so eeeeh, we just moved. We super advantageously traded places with another studio and got a slightly bigger space, a lemon tree, and a COUCH! We now have an actual couch!
Obviously, the couch is now 3.0’s new lounging quarters.
Weekly Live Hour-Long Updates on Twitch and Youtube
Speaking of the couch, it has made our Twitching Hour streams SO much more comfortable. On the subject of streaming - we sadly can’t do our daily dev and art streams anymore, since we’re working on end-game stuff and everything is a spoiler.
To compensate for that, we are now doing Twitching Hours (team streams) every Tuesday, at 4 PM CET ( 7 AM PST), where we catch you up with what we’ve been working on, talk about games in general, and answer your questions.
We’re going to try and start posting video updates on our YouTube channel as often as possible, so feel free to subscribe and keep an eye on it if you enjoy watching very tired people talk game development.
And we’re still in Adventuregamers’ hype-o-meter!
So When Is the Game Coming?
It’s always super hard to estimate when all this will be done, especially with an important part of production that we’re not directly doing ourselves (voice acting), and we wouldn’t want to nail down a time frame and not be able to commit to it, but we’re doing our utmost best to have the game done this spring.
All the team has been putting in tens of extra hours weekly, and while crunch is said to be this horrible, soul-crushing time, for us it’s as exciting as it is tiring. Inching closer and closer to having the game done is a thrill. To put it in fewer words, this game is our life, period. Excessive caffeine consumption, zero social life and bags under our eyes aside, we're having an amazing, exhausting, excellent time.
That’s it for this update, brothers and sisters! It’s back in the trenches for us, doing our best to make sure this game is an experience to remember.
We really hope you will enjoy the crazy world we’re building for you, and rest assured that we’re doing our very best to put it in your pointing and clicking hands as soon as possible.
Liviu, Cami, Orsi, Roxi, Nicu and 3.0
PS: Shout out time!
First and foremost, a shout-out to Adventuregamers.com!
They are one of our favorite adventure game-related websites, and a great voice that’s been speaking up for the genre for years and years. They’re a gang of adventure enthusiasts just like the people making and playing the games, and now they need help and are turning to the community in the form of a patreon. In their own words: “We've been around for almost 20 years and want to be around for much longer, but if we’re to evolve, innovate, and continue to thrive in these challenging times for online magazines, we’re going to need your help.”
We love the website, the forums, and everyone involved, and in case you can afford it we encourage you to support them in their effort to keep us up to date with everything adventure game related, just like they have for the past two decades. Click on the image below to visit their Patreon page:
Speaking of Adventuregamers, we’d like to congratulate our friends Skygoblin (The Journey Down) for winning 2017’s Aggie for best graphic design, and our friends at Spooky Doorway (The Darkside Detective) for 2017’s Aggie for best comedic writing. Congrats, guys! Both excellent games, great to see them rewarded!
Also, congrats to Thimbleweed Park, who deservedly took home Adventuregamers’ biggest accolades. 2017 has been a great year for adventure games!
And while we’re on the subject of amazing indie teams, Isak and Natalia of Killmonday Games (Fran Bow) are among our favorite creators out there, and we’re super excited - and curious! - about their upcoming SECRET GAME! We always have our eye on their youtube channel for videos that are equal parts weird, funny, and heartwarming, and we recommend you check them out, too. These guys are a major inspiration, and the heartfelt and open way they approach story-driven games has been a constant motivating factor for us. Click the pic below to visit their website.
And, last but not least, Asylum is coming, and it’s as creepy as we expected it to be. No, creepier. Look at this thing. Click the pic below if you want to wishlist it.
Looking forward to a lovecraftian kick from Senscape!
That’s it from us, see you next update!