Contributors Wanted—Dead or Alive!
If you've read my previous columns—and judging from the e-mails I've been getting since last time, at least some of you think I should be writing these little missives a bit faster than I have been—you're probably aware that I'm trying to make my first foray into adventure game design a memorable one.
It's a game that's being created under the banner of my very own not-for-profit creative outlet, Chapter 11 Studios. And, as of this column, I'm happy to announce that it also finally, officially, has a working title! Rise of the Hidden Sun: A "Rattlesnake" Jake Dawson Adventure is set to be the first game released by Chapter 11, though certainly not the last. In fact, I'm a little hesitant to even mention it, but currently Rise of the Hidden Sun is slated to be just the first in a series of Jake Dawson adventures, the second of which will be the equally over-the-top Curse of the Hidden Sun. How's that for getting in way over my head—err, I mean—for thinking ahead?
I'm now several months into the production of the first Jake Dawson adventure, and as I mentioned last time, I've quietly begun to recruit some truly talented amateur artists to join efforts with me on the project. And now that I've completed the game's critical early design phases, and work on the game itself has begun, I'm ready to assemble the rest of the team.
On a general adventure game design note, I think describing open positions will be helpful in demonstrating my particular approach to dividing the labor among team members. It's also a shameless way for me to get the word out there as well. Note that each position will work with the lead designer—me—whose responsibility will be to keep everything running on schedule, and to ensure that there's internal consistency and quality within each area. I'm currently looking to fill the following positions.
Similar to pencil work on a comic book or graphic novel, the background pencils in Rise of the Hidden Sun are the visual backbone of the entire game. The pencil artist will work in conjunction with Chapter 11's other pencilist, Frankie Washington, and myself as the lead designer, in determining each screen's look and feel. He or she will be responsible for creating clean background artwork based on existing concept sketches and design notes, and must be able to emulate the project's previously established artistic style. Access to a scanner, familiarity with PhotoShop or a similar program, and a minimum commitment of two to four background screens per month are required.
If the pencilist provides the game's skeleton, the colorist gives it flesh and blood. This position is responsible for digitally coloring the finished pencils, and will work in conjunction with Chapter 11's other colorist, Dan Lee, in determining each screen's final colored appearance. Proficiency with PhotoShop or a similar program is a must, as is the ability to emulate the project's previously established artistic style. A commitment of two to four background screens per month is required. Finished game screens will be 640x480 resolution at 256 colors.
The animator will create character animations to match previously created character sketches, and will be required to emulate the project's established artistic style for all animations. There will also be the opportunity to design entirely new characters. This position requires previous experience working with Adventure Game Studio or another game design program. (Either that or you've got to be a very quick learner.)
This position is responsible for composing the game's main musical theme, as well as sound effects to accompany actions throughout the game. As this game is a comedy-adventure Western, familiarity with similar music themes is a must. This position requires previous experience working with Adventure Game Studio or another game design program.
What's a game studio without a flashy website? The Web designer will work with me to redesign the Chapter 11 Studios website, as well as to create new Web graphics and code the site in HTML. This position is not responsible for writing any copy, however. (That'll still be my job.)
There's one thing I ask of everyone who joins the team, which is that each person treats it as a serious commitment. This is the single biggest problem that I've noticed in other amateur game design projects—people start with a great deal of excitement, then lose enthusiasm and slowly fade away.
I'm taking a different approach. Just do a little work from week to week, and slowly but surely, the project will come along. Clearly real life can interfere now and then, but as long as I can count on good communication and a good-faith effort, there will never be a problem. One other requirement—a legal technicality—is that all team members must be at least 18 years old. Sorry, kids.
If you'd like to apply for a position, send me an e-mail. Describe your qualifications, including any previous adventure game work, and include your date of birth. Please don't send any attachments in your first e-mail, as these will be deleted immediately. Pictures of yourself also aren't necessary, unless you're a twentysomething female and really, really pretty. Just kidding.
That's all for this time. Thanks for reading.
Next: Finding the balance—life, work, entertainment, and game design