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Old 05-09-2011, 01:36 AM   #21
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Pyke: Nope, no 3d. Just plain ol' 2d drawing I've posted an art process thingie on the dev-blog, if you're curious!

Sughly: Thanks, man! Yeah, Mathias, one of our two programmers is (between other projects) doing a good job raising hell with the AGS code. What he'll actually end up producing with it though, definitely depends on the amount of time he will have to spare, working on it. Unfortunately (for the AGS code) we've got lots and lots and lots of different things in our pipeline right now.

Thanks again for your kind comments
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:23 AM   #22
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Been doin' some more work on the backdrops to the intro!

Also there's a pseudo new post on the dev-blog about some of the new music, I recommend checking it out
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Old 05-28-2011, 07:49 AM   #23
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I finally got a chance to do a little update now in between changing diapers. Check out the new revamped interior of Kaonandodo's Gas 'n charter:



Click the picture to visit the dev blog and to see a larger version of the backdrop.

No "I actually liked the old version better" comments please I get a lot of them, being involved in so much iterative game development and all. They make my head spin. Hope you like it!
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:38 PM   #24
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The new interior seriously looks so damn good. I know you weren't too happy with the perspective of the original, so well done for achieving such an amazing revamp!
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:05 AM   #25
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Thanks Sughly! Yeah, the interior of the charter was one of the few rooms in the original prototype that I never really felt satisfied with. I always liked the layout of the actual room though. I'm glad the shift in perspective and slight movearound of furniture came off as pain free as it did. Thanks!

Also I just thought I should mention that we just posted a sample of what Kito, the mechanic sidekick sounds like , over on the dev-blog!

A couple days ago we also released a sneak peek of what Bwana, the main character sounds like as well. Please head on over to the dev-blog and check 'em both out!

Your comments are appreciated and asked for!
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Old 06-02-2011, 03:57 PM   #26
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Haha, yeah that sounds like them alright. Really can't wait for this one Theo! Also, after seeing that interior again and the detail involved... will be interesting to see how you pull of the fan animation (both idle and other )
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Old 06-16-2011, 03:20 AM   #27
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hehe thanks Sughly! yeah, that new propeller will surely be a challenge. (As will all 3d items melding with the 2d backdrops for that matter!)

We've just updated the blog today with a sneak peek of the voice of Lina. Check it out and tell us what you think!

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Old 06-18-2011, 10:16 PM   #28
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She really does seem to fit her perfectly! As always, a great update! With the music playing along in the background of the clip, I feel like I'm already halfway there.

Really, congrats on contributing to the adventure world in such a great way. And thanks for the message reply too! Appreciate it

EDIT: Also, sorry to keep spamming the thread with my replies, but it's ridiculous that noone else is!
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:02 AM   #29
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Thanks for your never waining support Sughly! I appreciate it a lot. Makes me feel a lot less spamm-y.

Here's a fresh look at what Kito, our chunky sidekick looks like in 3D!



Hope you like how he came out. I think he's quite faithful to the original 2D version of him. Also, check out the devblog to read up on some of the roots of the artwork in TJD! I'm hoping to make a little series of posts about the artistic origins, and the one I posted yesterday, is the first of what will hopefully be a collection of such posts.

Please, don't be shy with your feedback! It's much appreciated.
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:19 PM   #30
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Update time!

We're slavin' away at a crazy high tempo now, churning out Bwana and Kito animations at full speed, also we're hard at work finalizing and animating our backdrops. Click the one below to check out some behind the scenes stuff on our devblog!



As always, feedback is appreciated.
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Old 08-21-2011, 01:10 AM   #31
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Phwoar! Gorgeous! Loved all the behind the scenes on it too. So, so exciting. Nice to hear your dedication to the project too, very inspiring
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Old 10-03-2011, 05:28 AM   #32
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We finally got our new "The Journey Down" website up and running with a couple of brand new screenshots and other neat copy-paste-friendly junk on it! Here's a quick peek at a couple of the screenshots featured on the site:



As always comments are appreciated, we love to hear people's thoughts on the stuff we create! Either here or on the devblog over at www.skygoblin.com.

Don't forget to visit the website to see the rest of the screenies. Also, please give us some sweet internet-love by hitting the good ol' spammy like button. It makes a difference. Thanks
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Old 10-03-2011, 05:46 AM   #33
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i have to agree with the others....the art is beautiful.i really regret not having the ability to make graphics myself and especially not having anyone nearby that is able to.


also i saw your place in the inspirational ramblings video and damn this is a nice house.i really like wood in houses and shops and stuff so it's right up my alley as the english say.

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Old 11-25-2011, 08:09 AM   #34
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Jhetfield21: thanks, man! Yeah it's a great place. It belongs to my grandma. I spent a lot of time goofing around in that place in my childhood. Going there brings back a lot of fond memories.



Figured it was time for an update. We've been so busy churning out point-n-click sweetness, we forgot all about taking the time to get down and dirty with some good old spamming. We are slowly closing in on release after all, and with zero money for advertising, ranting on forums is just about our only option for being seen, pre release.

Progress is moving along beautifully. We recently changed game engine from AGS to our own home-grown Gobby engine, which at a start pretty much put production to a complete stand still, but now that we've settled into the new milleu, it really turned out to be a good idea. Not only does it allow for easier multi-platform porting, it also gives us artists a wider range of new neat tools to work with to make the environments blend together better, without bogging down the system.

Working with Adventure Game Studio has been great though and I'd still recommend it to anyone who wants to get into point-n-click game making. It's a brilliant tool with incredible possibilities and it's got a great game developing community attached to it to boot. Our main reason for changing was the single-platform issue. Our in-house programmers decided that understanding and reverse engineering the innards of AGS would be more work and less fun than simply building our own streamlined, TJD specific development environment, built from the start with the intention of porting the game to several different platforms.

We are currently aiming for a PC, Mac, Android and iOS release some time Q1 2012.

Work on in-game assets is slowly starting to get wrapped up. Most backdrops are ready and animated, almost all characters have been built and animated. Music and speech is all pretty much in place except for maybe a third of our main characters lines, (There are over 1300 of them, heh.) The only major parts missing are some scripting and working on the intro+outro cinematics. In short, we are slowly getting there!

Please drop by the dev-blog a little now and then to catch up on or progress.
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Old 12-10-2011, 01:41 PM   #35
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Hey, just thought I'd share a pic from our dev-blog. Sketches from The Journey Down. Thousands of sketches.

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Old 12-10-2011, 02:07 PM   #36
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The game is looking amazing, and I can't wait to play this again with higher resolution graphics. I think the original first chapter already ranks up there with those LucasArts classics.

But I'm wondering: was the original AGS release of Chapter 1 a single-handed (or at least mostly single-handed) effort? How much more people, and money, were needed to create this higher resolution version? Did Gobby cost a lost of money to engineer? How come you decided on a homegrown engine as opposed to something like Visionaire or Wintermute? Was the decision based mainly on its ability to be ported?

Of course, you don't need to be too specific about what the budget is. I'm just curious how an independent game of this quality is made.
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Old 12-11-2011, 12:09 PM   #37
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Thanks for asking. I love rambling on about our production.

The original game was indeed pretty much a one man effort, though the music wasn't done by me and I did get quite a lot of help in the beginning from my colleague Mathias in thinking out the basics of the plot as well as scripting up the core game play mechanics. Also, during the wrap-up I had tons of help from a bunch of testers who did a great job ensuring that the whole experience was solid. They should have some credit too.

Most of the time spent for me on the original of chapter one was sheer thinking. Thinking out the story, puzzles and how to put everything together in a nice flowing manner. Production wise I'd say animation by far was the heaviest load. Something that I'm now very happy to have dumped over on Henrik, my animator buddy. This gives me more time for writing and designing environments and characters - the stuff I'm actually pretty good at.

As for gobby, honestly, our main reason for building our own engine was the very simple fact that our two programmers at SkyGoblin (Markus and Mathias) simply thought it was more fun to build the machinery from scratch. Also, we have a lot of experience working with half-baked solutions and have realized that there's always something that we wind up not being able to do, because we are dependent on someone else's limitations. This is a very good reason to build your own tech. Especially in this case where we knew so clearly from the start what we were building. Besides, Markus and Mathias are wizards. They built Gobby (and it's sibling gob-ed) in practically no time and it's all working like a charm.

Can this be motivated financially though? I seriously doubt it, but I do think TJD has pretty good potential at working real nice on handheld devices, it's pretty much made for it. That doesn't mean I think our chances of making any decent money on handheld are very good though, being seen there seems virtually impossible, but who knows.

Any more questions, please ask. Again, I love talking about this stuff.
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Old 12-11-2011, 08:37 PM   #38
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About how long did production take on the original release of Chapter 1? I recall seeing coverage on various sites about it, and for some reason I assumed it took you about one year to make (excluding the brainstorming/idea phase). Is that about right? (Offhand, I also remember an assumed release date of Chapter 2 around late 2011. Not sure if I made that up or if I saw it somewhere.)

Random: The Journey Down has the feel of Grim Fandango more than any other adventure game I can think of. Is this deliberate?

Productions like this are inspiring. I'm relieved to find out that the original release was mainly a single-handed effort. Because it's reassuring to know that quality products can be made without resorting to huge expenses; or worse, relying on strangers you've recruited over the internet to share your vision and stick with it to the end. Yes, you have your own production house of skilled coders and animators...but you've confirmed that Chapter 1 was still created with minimal means, and remains largely an auteur vision.

I don't know if you've heard about it, but this guy is single-handedly making his own isometric adventure game, using Visionaire Studio. Along with The Journey Down, and even Gemini Rue, it's compelling me to make my own adventure game. Someday. Maybe.

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Old 12-13-2011, 12:54 AM   #39
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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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Old 12-13-2011, 05:07 PM   #40
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I think I see what you mean about raising the bar. The guy who's making Stasis is pretty insane doing all that himself while working a full time job, and yeah, I hope he pulls it off. That sort of adventure game is a rarity these days and I'd like to be able to play it. And...if I intend to make this adventure game of mine single-handed, I'll be sure to not have any kids yet . Looking it up, I see that it took Josh Nuernberger about three years to complete Gemini Rue.

(sigh) If I did make my own game, I guess it'd be wise to approach it as a "snack sized" version, just to see if I'm even capable of delivering good results. Like those short length games you see monthly on the AGS site. My main concern is graphics and animation. Anyway, till then, I can always dream...

Regarding TJD and GF, I also felt that the nature of the story was similar. Bureaucratic crime and corruption, a mysterious female, two main protagonists stuck in a dead end job, an epic journey beyond the safety of the city... To be clear, I'm certainly not accusing you of ripping anything off. Not at all. TJD feels like its own creation and the world and characters are unique. It just seemed relevant to ask if GF served as an inspiration. I'm not sure how to word myself to not make it sound like I'm accusing you of being too inspired by GF. The best way I can put it is that I think it's a compliment and a notable achievement to have tapped into what made GF so emotionally enduring (deliberate or not), while also being true to your own original vision.
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