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Old 01-21-2010, 07:17 AM   #1
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Default Help Wanted making Old Testament adventure game

Hi there,

For about four years now I've been working on putting together an adventure game in the style of Monkey Island but based around one of the stories in the Old Testament.

I could really use some help making it from interested people: mostly I'm looking for concept artists, 3D modellers or just funny people who could help me improve the puzzles I've written and write some good dialogue.

I've put together a quick YouTube video explaining a bit:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGTSX5v6aKE

Or there are more details on my website:
http://www.geero.net/bible-games.html

I'm developing it using the Unity engine and think I'm going to focus on an iPhone version to start with.

Andy Geers
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:27 AM   #2
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It'll be interesting to see if you'll be able to pull it off and make it a good game. (From what I can tell by a quick look at your website, it seems you are approaching it the right way.) I've thought a bit about doing something like that in the past, but then put the thought away, as I can't figure out how to do it right. The world doesn't need more bad bible games.

How you find working with Unity? I've been thinking about taking a closer look at it, but I don't have the time for it at the moment (as I'm working on the SLUDGE engine).
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:50 AM   #3
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Unity has its pros and its cons. It's a big improvement over when I was trying to write my own engine :-)

There are obvious downsides to using a general purpose 3D engine, rather than something specifically designed for making Point and Click games, but I'm slowly building up a set of scripts/prefabs that do a lot of the grunt work. I'm still not entirely sure I'm going about it the right way - I'd give anything to get a peek at how the technology TellTale use works under the hood.
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Old 01-22-2010, 04:44 PM   #4
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Your quest sounds very interesting and I wish you the best of luck. However, isn't it sort of a buzz kill to actually put you in the place of the main character of the biblical story? If you follow the "script" of the bible intensely and stick solely to that, then doesn't that sort of ristrict you in some ways? For example, say this became somewhat popular, how would you manage to pull off a sequel? Or what about the people that know the story already (not saying that I do), wouldn't they be sort of "mehh" about it, as they know the ending from the get go? Also having it too biblical might put some people off from the get go.

Wouldn't it be a better idea to have it either with two protagonists, one the focus of the biblical story and the other some bystander who one way or another gets mixed up in all of this and ends up affecting it? Or just solely with a bistander who ends up in the midst of the telling that you are proposing.

Ways that this could be done could be in many fun ways, that really enhances your story, makes it your own and also adds a lot of comedy that doesn't feel forced (like it probably would feel, trying to make the main character from the biblical story).

Take a cue from Simon the Sorcerer, how he ends up getting transported back to ye ol' days, and put that idea into your story. What if the protagonist (the bistander) lives in our time and day, he knows the bible already somewhat, but like other teens he doesn't really care too much for it, but knows it somewhat. He then one way or the other ends up getting transported either back in time - or into the bible itself - and through various ways ends up getting mixed up into the unfolding story that you wish to tell. But his interaction keeps mixing everything up, so that the story doesn't progress the way it's supposed to and he now has to make everything right, steer the story in the direction it is supposed to in order for it to end in the proper way. This would teach people about the story in a way that doesn't feel too scripted and forced (by forced: feeling your choices doesn't matter as it's the bible, it'll happen anyway no matter what you do) - anything could happen, but you end up back on track one way or the other - and allows for great comedy. Say a pivotal character in the story is supposed to lead his people from A to B, but due to our clumsy protagonist saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, he realises that he always wanted to be a body oil salesman and now wants to go off and do that and to progress in the story - get it back on track - you need to get HIM back on track. This is just an example, but I think you catch my drift.
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Old 01-23-2010, 02:04 AM   #5
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I've had all the same thoughts myself - it's like you read my mind ;-)

A few quick comments:
1) One of the most common sources of misunderstanding when approaching the Old Testament is precisely the mistake of always reading ourselves into the role of the "hero" - so we read about David & Goliath, and assume that I'm exactly like David and that everything that God does for him God will do for me. And so from a theological standpoint, as well as a gameplay one, I've taken the approach of you playing the role of a bystander (well, not a *mere* bystander, you do affect the story considerably, but I mean someone who is not the hero in the Biblical account). You then have your own story arc that parallels the thrust of the passage.

2) Of all the great point and click adventure games, very few actually let you change the outcome of the story, and in my opinion they don't suffer a jot for that. So I'm not fussed about "choice" in that sense. I can point you in the direction of some great blog posts on the subject if you want to discuss.

3) The idea that you could "derail" the story by being clumsy completely goes against the grain of what I think the Old Testament is trying to show us, that despite completely inept people always doing the wrong thing, God is in control and brings about his purposes in the end. So you as the protagonist *will* make tonnes of stupid mistakes over the course of the game, and are thoroughly clumsy, but far from stopping the story going as intended, these are actually what make it pan out as described in the Old T.
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Old 01-23-2010, 04:50 PM   #6
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I think you misunderstood parts of my reply. I wasn't referring to you derailing the story as to it derailing the tale. I prefer it linear, but perhaps at various points instead of going from A to B, why not have it from A to B, but to get there you can take either route 1 or 2, yet the destination is the same and so is the outcome. That also gives greater re-playability I think.

So it seems we are on the same page mostly after all.

How far in development is the game and how ambitious are you about the whole thing? Do you plan to make money off of it, and if so, how much? Are you aiming for a successful indie or more for the "hardcore" crowd? All those business points interest me :-)
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Old 01-23-2010, 05:49 PM   #7
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Oh, it sounds like this is going in the right direction, nice!
I'm not sure if it's possible that a good religious game will ever get released, but why shouldn't it? This niche just seems eternally cursed, I guess.
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Old 01-24-2010, 01:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KFMN View Post
How far in development is the game and how ambitious are you about the whole thing? Do you plan to make money off of it, and if so, how much? Are you aiming for a successful indie or more for the "hardcore" crowd? All those business points interest me :-)
I've written the story and most of the puzzles, and am about three quarters of the way through mocking up a rough prototype version in the Unity engine (without any proper graphics/animations). I think that for now my goal is to aim for an iPhone version at first, meaning I could sell it through the App Store pretty cheaply, maybe offer the first act for free.

My dream for the long term would be to make enough money selling these things that I could then make them full time (there's obviously enough Old Testament material to make a whole series!) but generally it seems that most indie developers end up releasing one free/cheap game or two first so that people have heard of them and know they're not just bluffing. I'm definitely not at this point aiming for the AAA million-dollar budget project :-)
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Old 01-25-2010, 09:04 AM   #9
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Oh, also. What's the reason for you wanting to go 3D with it, instead of full-out 2D? Since you are wanting a "classic" monkey island'ish tale, one would think that 2D would be prefered, so is the 3D decision due to the targeted market, the engine, or what?
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Old 01-25-2010, 09:31 AM   #10
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It's a costing thing as much as anything - I can't afford, nor do I have the talent, to hand animate every single frame of every single character. Doing it 3D means you just need to model the characters once and the animation can be interpolated easily enough. If my skillset were different I might have chosen differently.
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Old 01-25-2010, 10:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andygeers View Post
1) One of the most common sources of misunderstanding when approaching the Old Testament is precisely the mistake of always reading ourselves into the role of the "hero" - so we read about David & Goliath, and assume that I'm exactly like David and that everything that God does for him God will do for me. And so from a theological standpoint, as well as a gameplay one, I've taken the approach of you playing the role of a bystander (well, not a *mere* bystander, you do affect the story considerably, but I mean someone who is not the hero in the Biblical account). You then have your own story arc that parallels the thrust of the passage.
If you're dead set on adapting biblical stories then that's fair enough, but have you considered making allegorical versions of biblical stories? In the same kind of way the C.S Lewis' Narnia series was? They needn't be fantasy but the use of magic in that particular series was only a way of having miraculous things happen that parallel biblical stories without making them blasphemous (or at least that's the way I've always looked at it, Lewis might have had other ideas).
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:35 PM   #12
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If you're dead set on adapting biblical stories then that's fair enough, but have you considered making allegorical versions of biblical stories?
I wouldn't necessarily be against the idea for a future project, but I'm well into this project based on an Old Testament setting already, so is a bit late to change now.
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Old 01-25-2010, 06:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andygeers View Post
I wouldn't necessarily be against the idea for a future project, but I'm well into this project based on an Old Testament setting already, so is a bit late to change now.
It quite an interesting project by intruducting players christanity.

All the best and God bless
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Old 01-26-2010, 02:39 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andygeers View Post
It's a costing thing as much as anything - I can't afford, nor do I have the talent, to hand animate every single frame of every single character. Doing it 3D means you just need to model the characters once and the animation can be interpolated easily enough. If my skillset were different I might have chosen differently.
You know, if you made 3D models and then rendered them and used the renderers in a 2D engine, you'd get the best of both worlds.

Making models and animation wouldn't take too long, you would spend less time programming, your engine would have fewer bugs (as it's much easier to write a 2D engine than a 3D one), and you would have no performance concerns (which you would have with any 3D game running on an iPhone), meaning that you may afford better graphics and effects.

Sure that would probably mean no facial animation and interesting camera movement, but unless you have a big team, those are really hard to do anyway.

Anyway, it's an interesting project. I'd love to play a game like that, if done properly Good luck.
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Old 02-22-2010, 01:04 PM   #15
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One alternative for creating a 3D point and click adventure game engine out of Unity, is to use already made 3D point and click adventure game engine.

You might want to check Dage

http://www.dageport.com/

Saves you a lot of trouble. (But doesn't provide you a iPhone support, however)
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Old 02-22-2010, 01:28 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Rahakasvi View Post
You might want to check Dage

http://www.dageport.com/
Wow, that's worth knowing about! I'll check it out!

It says it's free - do you know if it's also open source? Would love to check out how the code works, even if I don't end up using it.
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:27 AM   #17
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I'm quite sure it is closed source.
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Old 04-23-2010, 01:39 AM   #18
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Was looking for a way to edit the original post, but couldn't see one so I'll just post this here...

I've got some concept artwork through now, and thought I'd post a bit of it:







More details can be found on the blog here: http://www.geero.net/2010/04/ebenezer-concept-artwork.html
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Old 04-23-2010, 02:35 AM   #19
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Wow, that's actually pretty good. The bottom one looks a bit different in style though.

They remind me of something but I can't quite put my finger on it.

Now I'm curious for your character designs.
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Old 04-23-2010, 07:42 AM   #20
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I agree with Little Writer: They look good, except that the last one is a bit stale. You may want to try reducing the number of straight lines, or changing the angle.

Edit: Now I remembered that you're doing it in 3d, so that last comment may not apply.
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