Before I start
A little bit of back-story for this one. Back before I could express myself through games and interpretive dance, I used to do webcomics. It was about myself and how I saw an imaginary penguin and blob… thing. We had adventures and I played with gamer tropes. It was “my thing” all through high-school. I was the guy that did that webcomic; Flip & Splog.
When I came to college, I didn’t really have any friends yet so I wanted to start my comic over. I didn’t have the time to draw it anymore so I turned it into a sort of “sprite comic.” It was called lilFAS, becase they were little (chibi) version of the characters in Flip & Splog. It enabled my cousin who was a character in the comic, to use my templates and make his own comics for the series as well.
We started in 2004 and I stopped about a year later. My cousin kept going because he had more time and more stories to tell. I got distracted by college and game projects. We made, I dunno, maybe 300+ comics. Back then there was a lot of rampant fanboy-ism and spelling errors. But the point is, I like to tell stories, even bad ones. I also enjoy enabling others to tell stories.
So I’ve always been a fan of point-and-click adventure games. After we started the Hats, I had recently played through Ben There, Dan That and Time Gentlemen, Please which filled the adventure game hole in my soul. This was also one of the entry points for me and great indie games. It made me want to make my own low-budget adventure game.
I’ve actually made a few attempts to turn the comics into an adventure game in the past. I flirted with Adventure Game Engine in High-School with little to no success. I got too consumed in asset creation and had no idea what scope was.
Anyway, to the Hat’s game idea!
What it was
Now that I had a better idea of scope and a crack team of programmers willing to throw themselves under the bus with me; I thought we might be able to make an adventure game.
I got all giddy and started brainstorming all sorts of cool ideas and storylines, just like the good old days. I quickly realized I was going out of scope again and tried to find some tricks to reign it in.
Of course! We could make a tool to template the characters and design, like my old comic. I started planning for some sort of episodic adventure game, inspired by the model Telltale uses for their adventure games. We could make tools to easily insert characters and environments in the style of lilFAS. And with these easy-to-use-magic-tools I could hand it off to my cousin again. It would be all bro-mantic like back in the day…
P.S. We both loved adventure games as kids. We would call each other up when we were little and play through games like The Dig, Monkey Island and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (He once called a help line for that game because we got stuck on it for like 3 years. It cost him 50 bucks and we still didn’t figure it out (God dammed surveying tool!))
Why it didn’t happen
Well I think Ben and Mike (I.E. the heavy lifters on any game at the time) got scared by the idea. And honestly, boiling the adventure game genre into something you can update on a weekly basis is a little unrealistic. Gee, actually, I still feel like we might be able to pull it off. Goes to show that I probably have no idea what it takes to make a great adventure game.
Huh, I would really like to make this still. Curse me!
I guess the asset creation is still a big beast, despite some time saving techniques like making marionette style animations with replaceable parts.
Maybe a good reason we shouldn’t do this is because it’s more of a self-serving game to me and my past. I don’t want to catch the other Hats in that ego-trip. I’d like anything we make to be unique to us as group.
Hopefully our next game will be able to capture some of what I wanted to do. Tell stories and enable others to tell stories. Keep an eye out for our next game!
Crap, that ended on an awkward note. Here, have some bonus images.