Odysseus Kosmos – Developer Diaries #6

cabin

Hey there, friends! Welcome back on board of “San Francisco”, a huge spacecraft travelling far, far way from planet Earth.
And now let’s return to our tale of the game’s development.
As we’ve mentioned before, adding new interactions is fairly simple. But these also require hand drawn art content. Our lead artist Roman (also the second person in our dynamic duo of a team 🙂 ) and the game art deserve a separate story, but for now let’s just say that graphics creation is far more complicated than game assembly.
Therefore each episode is first created using placeholder graphics (which sometimes looks quite funny). Later on we gradually replace placeholders with final content.

old_01

The entire process of an episode creation includes the following stages: first we think the current story part through once again. I’m writing down locations required for this chapter, mini games, items and animations that we have to prepare now and which of these should be created first. At that time Roman is already drawing the first location (this is a very time-consuming task that takes a few months to complete).
Next I’m thinking the episode puzzle scheme through. What will the episode flow look like? What puzzles will be solved, which items collected? The answers to these questions turn into a huge document with dozens of pages. We may call it the “technical scenario” of the episode.
Next I’m assembling the logical part of the game using placeholder graphics (which I’m drawing myself, as I wouldn’t want to distract Roman) and writing the interaction script based on the technical scenario.
In result I have the alpha version of the episode that can be played through to the end but without mini games, dialog texts or sound and with placeholder visuals. But at that point we can give the build to QA specialists to get an idea of how much time will the episode walkthrough take and check the global logics for errors. We can even rework some of the puzzles, get rid of the unwanted ones or come up with new ones (which I’m actively working on by the way).
Here is an example – a placeholder mini game that was taken from the game finale. The player goal was to look for repeatedly appearing asteroids.

asteroids

As final art is completed I’m adding it to the game, replacing the placeholders, writing dialogs and in-game texts at the same time and scripting mini games in between. We’re ordering sound effects and additional art from outsource sound engineer and artists. This is how gradually the alpha version turns into a nice looking finished episode that will shortly become available to our fans!

training_room

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