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Old 08-18-2007, 03:16 AM   #1
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Default Consider this

A lot of us are unhappy with the current state of adventure gaming, many studios aren't delivering what a lot of us would like. But I feel that the tools needed to create the games we want are already available in the consumer domain.

For example, imagine a 3rd person adventure game with a mature, sci fi, dystopian plot, created out of the following elements.

Hand drawn 2D backgrounds (would be animated) with a gritty, stylistic design:



Similarly stylistic designs for animated characters - during conversations, large portraits of the characters overlap the screen to make conversations more interesting and to allow detailed facial expressions - like Hotel Dusk or Advanced Wars.



Rich sound effects:

http://downloads.flashkit.com/soundf...-8632_hifi.mp3

High quality electronic soundtracks:

http://downloads.flashkit.com/loops/...-7047_hifi.mp3 + http://downloads.flashkit.com/loops/...-6885_hifi.mp3

- combined with freely available classical music recordings:

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cuo/F2001-7.mp3


Amateur writers, and I'm sure there are plenty of us around here, could create the script and plot. Here's an example:

It's 2146, after a third world war a coalition of nations emerged victorious and declared they would unite to form a single world government. Dissolving all borders and creating one superstate, they established a totalitarian grip on the planet.

However, 50 years in to the reign of this union, their control is beginning to wain. Even the brutal Civil Defense Force and the shady undercover secret police (who utilise radical cosmetic surgery to infiltrate suspected traitor organisations) are unable to quell rising incidents of riots and sabotage.

The philosophical message of the story that would be revealed throughout the course of the game would be that the modern world uses conflict between nations to incite fear in order to keep its population under control. The essential premise would be that the world government realises this and plans to create a fictitious super-enemy in order to strike fear into the worlds population and would use it as a puppet to manipulate public opinion.

You play a detective in the Civil Defense Force who becomes wise to this conspiracy after finding certain clues at the scene of a murder, comited by the secret police and given blame to the fictious enemy group.

By following the clues you unravel a terrible plan to detonate a nuclear device in the heart of the capital, killing millions, that would shift allegiance back to the world government.

You then have to put a stop to it etc. etc.



This community could provide their voices for the voice acting. Programming would be the hardest, but 2D programming should be relatively more easy than 3D, and so I see no reason why such a project couldn't succeed.

All the sounds above are provided as free or shareware, the artists are just two examples, and all it would take would be to contact suitable people on deviantArt to find people willing to contribute. These are all created by amateurs.

If the studios don't have the guts to produce deep, cerebral adventures with challenging, provocative storylines, then maybe we should do it instead?

Combine all the above into one scene... you know that'd be awesome.

Last edited by Yixian; 08-18-2007 at 03:33 AM.
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Old 08-18-2007, 05:38 AM   #2
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I agree. But what exactly are you selling? Are you a programmer in search of a "team" of sorts?
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Old 08-18-2007, 05:59 AM   #3
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Nah not really, I just think it'd be a great thing. I don't have the organisational abilities to lead or create such a team, but I'd love to be a part of it from the writing side.

And I always like to reiterate that I think cyberpunk is a perfect genre for adventure games
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Old 08-18-2007, 06:18 AM   #4
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Nah not really, I just think it'd be a great thing. I don't have the organisational abilities to lead or create such a team, but I'd love to be a part of it from the writing side.
Me 2.

Another futuristic adventure? I could come up with something more original then that.
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Old 08-18-2007, 06:26 AM   #5
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Me 2.

Another futuristic adventure? I could come up with something more original then that.
Something political/philosophical though, more subtle than the typical sci fi adventures. Something more Gataca than Battlestar Galactaca.

In fact "subtlty" might be what I think adventure games lack most these days :S That and hand drawn backgrounds.

Here's a mock up btw:



Someone make this game
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Old 08-18-2007, 06:48 AM   #6
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Are we talking the typical down-with-the-government futuristic cyberpunk or something like Nomad Soul which btw I loved?
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Old 08-18-2007, 08:21 AM   #7
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Are we talking the typical down-with-the-government futuristic cyberpunk or something like Nomad Soul which btw I loved?
The overarching storyline could basically be - you begin a government agent, you discover the conspiracy, you follow it in secret until you discover the big nuclear attack plan, you attempt to stop it and either succeed or fail.

But the nitty gritty of each "chapter" in the story would be where your twists and turns and surprises come. Different factions would represent different philosophical ideologies/assumptions, and the writers would linearly reject some and maintain others to give their intended message across.

eg. one particular rebel group might actually support the nuclear attack because they hope it would trigger a war that they could perhaps win, but the writers could say "no, the initial loss of innocent life isn't worth such a risk - a revolution should be based on truth by example" etc. and so that rebel group would turn against you and so on.

The "day to day" gameplay would be more of a noir detective type affair I was thinking. Rather than finding items to solve puzzles you'd collect information and search scenes to reveal certain concepts that would then change the way you reacted to certain people and the places you could go.

So you'd have a question in mind: who killed this person? Who does this person work for? etc. and you'd navigate around, talking to different people until you could discover that, and that answer would prompt another question: who hired them to kill that person? and so on - until you are drawn deeper and deeper into the mystery.

Rather than the entire plot being evident from the start and you simply having to track the bad guys down.
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Old 08-18-2007, 08:51 AM   #8
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Sorry to burst your bubble but that's pretty cliché, the bad guy doesn't necessarily have to be someone from the government. What I liked about books like Neuromancer was that the bad guy wasn't the good ol' USA or whatever government dominated, but rather a large company. I like that, see, it actually conveys a good point and it hasn't been explored to death in games like WW2 has. Also, 3d might be a much better means to achieve an ambience. 2d just can't deal with the insane amount of lights and particles you'd really want for immersion in said ambience. Again, I point you to Nomad Soul. You will say that beneath a steel sky was 2d, I'll tell you it didn't really pull the player into a full blown "ok I'm in the year 2500" mood. This is just my 2 cents. You'll really be better off looking for a 3d app. And even a supernatural villain is better than just the government, it's just too obvious IMO.
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Last edited by Catbert; 08-18-2007 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 08-18-2007, 09:42 AM   #9
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Obvious or not, it's a theme that hasn't been particularly well done at all by the industry. Deus Ex is one of few high quality examples.

Supernaturality isn't something I'm particularly interested in, you can't draw real world parralels as easily, and it is easy to lose subtlty and get into the realm of OTT. Perhaps a single supernatural element, or preferably aliens, and no the big green type.

You could have a single corporation profiting so much through arms sale during the third world war that they rose to such dominance they could achieve a similar position, whatever you like. "Government" is simply a word used to describe an institution of social control, and the tension between that and the bulk of society, and the individual, is pretty mush... well... human history.

The story doesn't have to be particularly wacky, if you take a theme, build a subtle and believable world around it, then throw it into conflict with you at the centre picking your way through the details, you've got yourself a solid story.

I think the industry should concentrate on delivering something tight like that.


3D would be fine for char models I suppose, but backdrops = 2D all the way for me. Hand drawn illustrations are what bring them to life, give them character. The moment you start pre-rendering you start to lose that personal touch, and with it goes a lot of the atmosphere, and then when you step into full 3D, unless you can afford insane megapoly HDR type stuff like Uncharted or Bioshock, you're just hacking away at the detail you could be achieving with illustration.

I mean look at Ghost in the Shell - that game should have been a major influence on this genre.
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Old 08-18-2007, 12:08 PM   #10
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Id like it, with some modifications however. I like the premise. While I would tone down some of the cliche-ness of it. Many successfull great games have been built up around cliche's. The whole RPG market for example is mainly built up around cliche's.

However, this is a discussion about an Adventure Game, where stories are the driving force of the games. If it is going to be cliche, it needs to have other things pulling it.

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Old 08-18-2007, 12:33 PM   #11
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There overall story and premise don't do much for me, but I do like the basic visual aesthetic that you'd want. Really, I'm not a big fan of "save the world"-type plots. I prefer stories that are more "domestic,"I guess. If I were going to do a story about an evil, totalitarian government, it wouldn't be about trying to free the people from its control; but rather, it would center on an ordinary citizen who is just trying to get through each day and provide for his or her family--at the end of the game, the evil government would still be there; or, if the government does fall, it would be because of forces that the player has nothing to do with.

But still, I do appreciate the DIY attitude, and I'd still play the sort of game you're talking about even if it's not *exactly* my kind of thing.
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Old 08-18-2007, 02:00 PM   #12
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There overall story and premise don't do much for me, but I do like the basic visual aesthetic that you'd want. Really, I'm not a big fan of "save the world"-type plots. I prefer stories that are more "domestic,"I guess. If I were going to do a story about an evil, totalitarian government, it wouldn't be about trying to free the people from its control; but rather, it would center on an ordinary citizen who is just trying to get through each day and provide for his or her family--at the end of the game, the evil government would still be there; or, if the government does fall, it would be because of forces that the player has nothing to do with.

But still, I do appreciate the DIY attitude, and I'd still play the sort of game you're talking about even if it's not *exactly* my kind of thing.
Actually I generally prefer that sort of plot too, providing it has enough draw. I was just thinking of a placeholder plot really, I cooked it up on the fly just to give an example of the thematics - more gritty than most adventures seem to be these days, more philosophical, and cyberpunk.
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Old 08-18-2007, 05:20 PM   #13
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You don't really need to go play with the unreal 3 engine to get decent results. Even good ol' Source is a decent graphics engine and doesn't push that much for your machine. You really, really can't achieve all the splendor of cyberpunk on a 2d environment, trust me. Just cause it hasn't been done yet doesn't mean it can't be what it can be amirite?
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Old 08-18-2007, 05:56 PM   #14
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Default I agree

a lot of focus has been placed on the adventure thriller but not enough on the comedy adventure and sci-fi adventure. I don't actually have any idea how adventure games (or any games for that matter) get made, but I am writing a comedy adventure myself. I am currently writing the story and dialog in script form, i have a plot outline and it's nothing groundbreaking , but i will try to twist clichés up. I have written some pretty absurd stuff so hopefully it will all come together well. I'm thinking it will be a mix of original hand drawn graphics and rotoscoping for animation. This will be my first attempt at doing anything other than writing but hey all that matters is that i get my feet wet , who knows what i may end up with. I love the sci-fi genre but in my opinion it is just so much harder to come up with something that hasn't been done a million times already...Well actually i guess that applies to any genre. Does anyone have any suggestions for a good freeware (or cheap) engine that is intuitive enough for a beginner?
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Old 08-18-2007, 06:10 PM   #15
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blueskull, you'll want to peruse the Underground forum for your engine question. There are many free game engines (AGS, Sludge, LASSIE, Wintermute, etc.) that all offer different things. If you look through the threads there, you'll get an idea and the people who use them can answer your questions. Here are some threads I found to get you started:

#1
#2
#3
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Old 08-18-2007, 06:26 PM   #16
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Hey thanks Melanie i will take a look at those links and see which engine best suits my needs . Again , thank you.
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Old 08-18-2007, 06:36 PM   #17
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Of course, like I said, you could be original and code for Source since it's apparently mod-friendly.

I've always found it to be a shame that FPS engines weren't used by adventure games. Some like source are excellent opportunities if you take into account facial expressions and decent texture/polygon detail. Then again there must be a lot more work into it for just one person, of course.

Edit: no I don't work at Valve.
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Old 08-18-2007, 10:10 PM   #18
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I moved this to the Underground. Even though it's not a project that you're actively looking to make, the discussion still seems to fit better for this forum.
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Old 08-19-2007, 08:27 AM   #19
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Of course, like I said, you could be original and code for Source since it's apparently mod-friendly.

I've always found it to be a shame that FPS engines weren't used by adventure games. Some like source are excellent opportunities if you take into account facial expressions and decent texture/polygon detail. Then again there must be a lot more work into it for just one person, of course.

Edit: no I don't work at Valve.
I'd love a cyberpunk adventure built on Source. That's practically my ultimate dream game. But the resources, time and expertise that would need to go into such a game would dwarf that of a 2D adventure.

Still, here's hoping someone picks up the baton for a next-gen equivalent of Deus Ex.
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Old 08-19-2007, 12:11 PM   #20
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One can dream of having one made, can't he? I'd really like an adventure game with the same type of interface you had to interact with objects in the world as Deus Ex.
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