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Old 12-13-2011, 12:54 AM   #39
theo
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If I had had a complete list of the exact assets that needed to be produced, and a detailed plan of how to implement all puzzles and interactions, I could perhaps in extreeeeme theory have pulled off the entire production of chapter one in one single year, provided I did nothing else all day. Since the first release of chapter one was entirely produced on my free time however, it took A LOT longer. Also, the planning phase is always a living, changing one. I've made tons of assets that were never used in the finished game, for various reasons. The amount of time it takes to just try stuff out (sheer trial and error) is by far the biggest black hole when it comes to planning these things.

Immediately after chapter one's initial release I started working on chapter two. Had I pursued that path instead of started work with finding voice actors for chapter one, etc, the original plan of releasing part two (low-res, short and with no speech.) this winter hadn't been all too insane. Two major things happened that made me change course however. One of them was me becoming a father. As anyone who's become a father would likely agree on, my life pretty much turned upside-down. Another one was me somehow managing to convince the rest of the SkyGoblin team to take on the game as a commercial project. I had a feeling that now that I'm a father, my time off for working on TJD would be virtually zero (Turned out to be true). So the only way I could ensure to keep working on the project was to turn it into my day job. Which magically, somehow, I managed to do. I am incredibly thankful to my colleagues at SkyGoblin for giving me this kickass opportunity.

Yeah I've peeked at STASIS, it is a very impressive looking project. I hope he doesn't bite off more than he can chew. The production values are crazy high for a one man team. Problem with high-def stuff is that when you raise the bar in one place, you gotta raise it everywhere else. This takes time. But he seems to be churning out assets like a madman, who knows, maybe he'll somehow magically pull the whole thing off. I certainly hope so, it's got a lot of potential.

So, yes. Creating an entire living breathing universe that follows your vision is doable with a one man team if you use software like, say, AGS or visionaire. It does require an immense effort though, and I warn you to undertake anything too big. Always try to keep it small or you'll end up canceling, like 99.9% of most home-grown AG's. Raise the bar in one place and you're going to have to raise it all over the entire project. Be warned.

Regarding the feel of Grim Fandango, I can't say it's deliberate, but I can't deny that GF is one of my favorite adventure games of all time so there's bound to be a touch of GF no matter how I try to restrain myself from it. Besides, the whole "mask" thing we've got in TJD does vibe similarly to the calaveras of GF. Also, I love Peter Chan's work, maybe it shows.
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