Belief & Betrayal - Developer Diary (Summer ‘06)
In our first installment of the translated Belief & Betrayal developer diary, Artematica detailed the early months of production. Today's entry continues our retrospective as we work forward to the game's current status.
To help keep track of the many people responsible for making Belief & Betrayal a reality, the following is a handy list of the integral Artematica staff members working on the game.
Andrea Barbetti (Andrea B.) -- Lead coder
Andrea Vialardi (Andrea V.) -- Musician
Alessio Fallabrino (Ale) -- Lead animator
Andrea Cuneo (Cunix) -- 2D Artist
Francesco Fugazzi (Franz) -- Cross service & video assistant
Jonathan Gervasi -- Co-Designer
Massimiliano Calamai (Massy) -- Production Director
Paolo Infusini -- Location assembly
Riccardo Cangini (Ricky) -- Managing Director
Roberto Andreoli (Rob) -- 2D-3D Artist
Sergio Rocco -- Designer & Product Manager
Belief & Betrayal: Diary of Development
June 29, 2006
Here I am again to guide you through the heroic and titanic activities of our staff.
In the last few days, the temperature here has been rising incredibly and transforming this place into hell! While I'm writing, I'd really like to be inside a fridge. The one in our company would be great, and maybe I could find a little place between the Cokes and beers. The temperature has also been rising in parallel with the amount of work, and every time a deadline is getting near, this place turns into madness! I'm going crazy!
On the development front, we are finally assembling the game, while the sets, the zooms and the interface are nearly 99% complete. Summarizing, we can say that the only things missing are some puzzles, some dialogues and the post-production for the graphics and the final touch-up. The FMVs are being realized quickly and without problems, and will surely be finished for the end of July (our internal deadline). We will then only need to add sounds and run them through assembly and post-production.
Shortly we'll start to assemble the first real-time videos, hopefully without any problems.
We are particularly proud of the Saint Mark's set (Venice) where the water effects have been wonderfully realized with pixer shading and post-production of the backgrounds.
Alessio has resumed his work on the character animations, where we have had some technical problems caused by the rigging (the fusion of the body on the skeleton of the character), which must be redone for some of the characters. We'll have to fix some of the models (reduce the number of textures and join meshes) and do a bit of unavoidable extra work because of some technical limitations of Virtools.
Andrea has finally finished his work on the logics of all locations and has started the debugging. This was also slowed by the arrival of version 3.5 of Virtools, which has problems with the dynamic arrays... this annoying inconvenience wasn't present in the old version, and we were really surprised to find out that the new version was giving us more problems than the previous version.
Our great coder has also completed the puzzles of the first three chapters while our "historical" Artematica coder, Natale, has fixed all the real-time lip sync problems. When you have a problem, Nat has the answer!
There has been great progress on the musical front, too. For the main theme, we have used nothing less than the great Tommaso da Celano (1190–1260) and his Confutatis that was also used by Mozart.
flammis acribus addictis,
voca me cum benedictis.
Oro supplex et acclinis,
cor contritum quasi cinis,
gere curam mei finis.
Confused are the damned,
thrown in the burning flames,
call me between the blessed.
Begging I pray on my knees,
my heart penitent as ashes,
take care of my fate.
Artematica really liked the idea of Carlo Forester, president of Jinglebell (Artematica's memorable partner based in Milan), who proposed using the Confutatis because of the great similarities between the ancient text and the game. We believe that Tommaso da Celano must have imagined that 800 years later an Italian software house would use his musical text as a chorus for the main theme of a PC game. Otherwise we really couldn't explain the great similarities between the Latin text and our game!
Paolo has nothing to say... he's a silent man. He never asks questions and continues to work without stopping. His assembling of the locations is nearly finished. A couple of days ago I had to steal him to work on the Cyrillic fonts... he was REALLY happy to do that (I'm obviously joking, since it's a really tedious work to do).
Following the themes of the game, we now wish to create a special presentation that is done inside a de-consecrated church! Let's all pray... uhm... let's all hope that everything goes as it should, because that would be really great!
Above you can see the first prototype born from the twisted and brilliant mind of Daniele, Artematica's art director who is now busy with Diabolik, but couldn't resist working on the first graphical ideas for the game packaging.
And now for a strange and funny situation (at least in hindsight), as a couple of days ago Alessio nearly risked his life!
Artematica is situated in a nice building from around the year 1900 in the centre of Chiavari. It's a typical apartment of Genova, decorated with fresco paintings on the ceiling and mosaics on the floor (and typical cracks on the walls). Ale was on the little balcony looking towards the inner garden of the building. He was talking on the phone and leaning on the railing when the lower part of the floor started to wobble. I saw the scene so I tried to call out to him, but he was too concentrated on the phone call to hear me. When he finished, I told him to move, and firmly grabbing the railing I managed to help him come back in without problems.
Now the access to the balcony is obviously denied so we smokers (a race of mankind that is luckily going towards extinction) have lost our small "recreation area".
The mason has told us not to worry because the floor of the balcony shouldn't break, and it should all be safe while we are waiting him to repair it.
With that we've managed to reach the end of this latest part of our development diary. I wish you luck and love and hope to see you back next time for another new part of our ongoing diary…
The Belief & Betrayal developer diaries originally appeared in Italian on the Artematica website. The articles have been translated and reprinted here with permission. Stay tuned to Adventure Gamers for updated entries in the near future.