Page 2 of 3

Re: We're making a video game - Esperia

Posted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 4:22 pm
by warrenEBB
Hi paul,
I'm a friend of Garrett's from a ways back (cooooorect me if i'm wrong Garrett).
We were just talking about this game project, because I make things in Unity3D and was hoping to collaborate with Garrett again on something.

I'm kind of a shitty programmer, but have a CS degree and small amount of experience with Unity3D projects.
My day job is making custom multimedia solutions for the various online courses offered here at Oregon State University. (mostly animations and flash exercises).

anywho. I sent you a facebook friend request (is that the best way to talk?).
Curious if/how I can help out with this project.

p.s. some Unity poop i've made at work:
- 2 minigames a tour, to show our biology department what I could do: ... layer.html
(gave up on simulating some of the harder physics of light, and wasted a lot of time trying to pretend that the blurriness has anything to do with the various lenses)
- a board game for a "difference power and discrimination" course, which was cancelled. artwork is borked. gameplay isn't finished. but. clearly some time was wasted on it: ... ddies.html
(still hoping to go back and polish the art/ models here a bit. but. lots of other work has jumped in to take it's place).

uh, and there is other stuff. but. just wanted to throw down some sort of "i have xp in unity" example.

anywho. look forward to chatting in some form.

Re: We're making a video game - Esperia

Posted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:06 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist
It's wonderful to have you back here, Warren. It's been awhile! Of course you were a major contributor to the old forums, and to Fastforward in general -- back when this site was still called Fastforward -- back in 2001-2005 and so on. 2008 even.

The last time we really worked together would have been on the ship and robot for The Chosen Ones back in 2011.

I hope all is well with you and that you'll keep me in the loop as to whatever you're doing. Let me know more about the Wizard's Den game project, and hopefully between you and Paul and I we can get some strong game mechanics going for Esperia.

Re: We're making a video game - Esperia

Posted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:29 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist
The game is story-heavy and I'd like to keep the player thinking during the dungeon-crawling sequences as well, involving almost as much puzzle-solving as combat.

Rather than being on the offensive -- shooting projectiles, punching and kicking -- I like the idea of being frequently on the defensive - using a baseball, hockey or golf swing to knock the enemy projectiles back at them, or in another direction to solve a puzzle.

I actually like the mechanics of Capcom's Goof Troop on SNES. There are often concrete blocks on the floor that you have to kick in a specific order to pass through the room you're in. You have to kick them into the right marked spot, or get them out of the way. There is also barrel-throwing, and the use of planks and a grappling hook to step over gaps.

You mentioned Bastion as an example of a game that builds itself as you travel, and that mechanic could work for our dreamworld.

I was also thinking of glowing blocks -- ... niture.jpg

Re: We're making a video game - Esperia

Posted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 10:45 pm
by warrenEBB
cool man,
Again, I plan to be cranking on The Wizard's Den through March.
In the interim, I'm mostly hoping to figure out how to best work with you and Paul. And maybe experiment with some procedural level design, just to figure out how hard it is (it's a rabbit hole i've stayed away from in the past. but could probably serve your project - as well as some of my work projects).
I went to a cool talk on how it usually works at PAXdev back in august (kind of covered common pitfalls, and a vague summary of the backbone of it): ... -mythology
also, enjoyed a talk about creating art for a procedurally generated project: ... t-of-below
just mentioning these because I have notes from them, which i'll hope to share if we go down this road. and to mention how little i really know about that world. so far.

- I've only played the demo for Bastion, and was kind of underwhelmed (unfairly). But I was in it for the narration feature. which was promised to spew story about whatever you did. I was hoping this would mean rambling for hours about the last goomba you killed, if you didn't move to a new area. but. sadly that's not the route they took. no idea how that could actually work. but. (it'd be fucking awesome).

my first thought for your game is : maybe we could bring the level chunks in with some other visual. like fading them in, or scaling them up from nothing. So, really just a minor animation quibble. eh. so i dunno. heh. eh.

- do you guys have some sort of design doc? (and should we just babble openly/endlessly about it here in forum? i don't mind, just checking).

- i think it'd be good to pick one core mechanic for her attacks, and emphasize it. like, does she carry a hockey stick around to deflect things? or a baseball bat? i'm guessing no. So what would she use in lieu of those? If you want to focus on deflecting things as the core mechanic, then i think you need to pick an iconic item that she used to do it. maybe something you'd find in the environment of the first level?

I dig the idea that she doesn't really have an attack, so much as this deflection defense. but it might be frustrating for players to be "passive" in this way. (we're all kind of trained to expect a power fantasy from video games).
maybe she could have a "snarky insult" attack that never really hurts anything. Might be kind of funny to have this deep combo system, but instead of moves, it's all about chaining words for powerful insults. and maybe eventually you'd find enemies that specific chains totally demolish.
... but i guess that kind of funny route isn't the right approach for a cool Dreamland Adventure.

I think the fireball could work if yall want it. ... maybe it could be some kind of insane asylum jacket? like she flips her arms around herself to conjure a straightjacket, then flings arms forward to throw it, burning, forward?

- one other random thought: i'm buying this goddamned Samsung Gear VR mount. because I'm lightly obsessed with the VR fad that may or may not be starting. So i may be annoying about pushing for some sort of VR support shit. and this leads me to a random game mechanic idea (that only really makes sense in VR?).
eh, so Oculus showed this suprising use of their VR goggles in the game "Lucky's Adventure":
you are dragged along slowly in this 3rd person platformer.
so i'm daydreaming that if we made something like Bastion, where the stage only appears as your character approaches it, we could put a twist on it: where turning your VR-Goggled-head to look around in the environment would reveal blocks. so you could potentially look ahead of your character, revealing dangers ahead. maybe it's hard to deal with certain enemies because as soon as they appear they attack, and you have little time to react, but if you look ahead and reveal them earlier, you'll be better prepared to deal with them.
or maybe you reach points where you want to use your deflect trick to flip some switch, but there's no one around to lob things at you : so you look around to reveal some island that has a thrower on it. then he throws at you, and you can use it.

anywho. lot of typing. wee. more later.

Re: We're making a video game - Esperia

Posted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 10:50 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist
The game won't have VR support; it doesn't work with the basically 2D nature of things.

As Adelaide levels up she'll develop more powers and control over her environment - indistinguishable from magic. I'd like her to start on the defensive, though. I see her having a long stick for attacks -- probably made of glowing blue energy, and only being generated when she needs to use it.

We do have some older design documents, and the script for the first conversations between Adelaide and Gideon, but I'd share those via email.


A lot of the work has just been discussing things with Paul, so we can do that via email.

Re: We're making a video game - Esperia

Posted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 11:01 pm
by warrenEBB
cool man.
- occurs to me i misread your note that she starts in a "hospital of the mind" as more of "she starts in an insane asylum". which i like because it's all goth and dark. but. i see you describe it as bright and light. i probably missed the point there. sorry.
(just mentioning in case you read my last comment and thought "straight jacket? wtf?")

- any ref for the glowing blue stick? (art?). i'm kinda picturing tron. but I also imagine the aesthetic of the overall game as more of a fantasy thing, with magic. so. just looking for an image to ref.

- hey, another random reference: did you ever play Epic Mickey? it was about turning a world of fear into ... something else.
the "piss on everything" mechanic was kind of weak. but. thought you might dig the way you can clean up this broken world. springs to mind when you mention turning fear into hope.
maybe the twist for your game could be that the world exists fully, as a fear themed thing. but you reveal the real world just by walking through it. so you kind of reveal the "real" level on top of what you see. could be a cool twist on the aesthetic of Bastion. and could lend itself to puzzles where you want to leave parts of the fear world visible so an enemy is throwing shit at you in the hope world. if that makes sense. random thought that might benefit from some sketches.

Re: We're making a video game - Esperia

Posted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 11:07 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist
It's definitely not an insane asylum, but it is a realm of the mind where anything can happen -- that is being formed and built as she explores it. I see it as being very dark and scary at times. There are humanoid shadow creatures, who might just rush her in a mob at times. I see her cleaning and brightening things up with her presence as she goes. That it starts out as white and formless and hazy and blurry, but solidifies into something - which then gets darker and creepier - and then less so as she succeeds and cleans things up.

Stick would be a pretty generic long pole which is theoretically made of steel, and which has little cutouts on it which glow blue -- and the thing generally glows blue as she uses it. A bit Tron, sure.

Re: We're making a video game - Esperia

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 4:33 am
by pauljthacker
Hi Warren. It's cool seeing you here. I recognize you from a couple of Garrett's old films. I didn't realize you were a CS guy. I'm sure you could find some ways to contribute. Neither Garrett nor myself have done much in the way of 3D modelling, and he mentioned you'd done that before. The characters are 2D sprites, but Garrett thought he'd want 3D models to help with drawing some of them. Plus, despite the isometric perspective, the Unity environments are fundamentally 3D, so it's possible we'll want to model some of that depending on the desired complexity and such. At the same time, no one's really done much puzzle and level design (though I've certainly played enough), so I'm sure we could use someone else thinking about that. I've done a lot of programming over the past several years, but really just started using Unity in earnest a few months ago. And in general it's good to have at least a couple of people working on the code for a big project. I gave you access to our repository. Are you able to compile the current test level? One of these days, I'll talk Garrett into trying to download and compile code. :tack:

Like Garrett said, he's got a lot of story material worth reading over, and for actual gameplay we've more just batted about various ideas (including batting about projectiles). I've implemented a character that faces and walks in 8 directions and can throw fireballs, and an enemy that goes straight toward the player and does damage upon contact. I've got a willpower meter that's drained by doing attacks and refills automatically--kind of like a stamina meter in games like Dark Souls. I have some good ideas about deflecting enemy attacks, but don't have that checked in yet. I'm not sure how much control the player will need over the direction the returned projectile is heading. She might also have dodge moves like sidestepping and/or briefly fading away, but I haven't worked on those at all.

I haven't really thought much at all about visual effects for building the levels, but it does make sense to have them created as you go given the dream environment. VR's cool, and I think it can at least potentially be used for 3rd person games, but I don't see it as too feasible financially. Neither I nor Garrett own any VR equipment, and for the immediate future, the same will be true of the vast majority of our potential audience. Though I suppose if you wanted to add a VR bonus feature just for fun, maybe that would work.

No, I haven't tried Epic Mickey myself.

Your desire for constant narration reminds me of The Stanley Parable. Obviously the narrator doesn't have infinite dialogue, but he will go on for quite a while in spots. And mock the player for staying for said dialogue. Definitely a fourth-wall breaking sort of game.

Have you released any details, media, etc. about the Wizard's Den game?

If you want to talk in more detail than we can on here, Facebook or e-mail both work fine.

Re: We're making a video game - Esperia

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 11:12 am
by Garrett Gilchrist
I could certainly use a 3D model of Basil the Cat, especially if he could be made to walk. Since he's a robot I've been concerned about making sure my artwork of him is proportionally correct -- also why it was a big help when Warren modelled Lionel for The Chosen Ones.

But main concern would be game mechanics -- getting it so that the Adelaide character can do various things. ;)

Re: We're making a video game - Esperia

Posted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 5:19 am
by Garrett Gilchrist
Contracts signed today. We're doing this, man. We're making this happen.