Archive for August, 2011

Only as a last resort…

I’ve (after much deliberation) written a walkthrough for the game, but please don’t use it unless you’re about to rip your hair out. Half of the fun is all of the missed click responses in the game.

Anyway, just click on “Gaming” above for the walkthrough.

Thank you for playing!!!

And… Cut!

It’s a wrap! Arden’s Vale v1.0 was officially released last night at an hour that I’d prefer not to divulge. I hate to admit it, but Arden’s Vale was my first game.

Download awesome adventure here.

But why is that bad, you ask? Because it was much too ambitious a project. The original story calls for a game easily six times longer. A nice Sierra-size full quest. And me, being an idiot, decided to tackle it. I figured after about 3 months, I’d have the enchanter’s castle (which is the entire current game) done. And after three months of work, I had the following shameful game:

Download shameful early version of the game here.


The puzzles had all been mapped out (except the raven, which came later, as the original puzzle was rather stupid), but I’d hardly even made it into the castle, much less animated anything past the walkcycle or drawn a background worth looking at. The one redeeming graphic – the force field – was rendered straight from GIMP using my 0 artistic talent.

Long story short: to make this game I had to learn to script (from YouTube, using densming’s videos), draw (using YouTube again, as well as an awesome book by Ted Smuskiewicz, which is, I believe, his real name), and reseed all the hair I pulled out. I’ve got a very patient wife to thank, who let me work on it so hard for so long, when I probably should have been taking her to the movies.


The point? I’m glad it’s over. I’m glad it’s done. I’m glad it ended up being such decent quality, considering where I started out. Just don’t ever, ever, ever, ever let me do that again. Next game: Either one room, or with a whole lot of help.


There is, of course difference between perfection and perfectionism. Hopefully, we all seek perfection, but there comes a point where you have to step back and accept your own offering.

After reworking old backgrounds and poring over books on painting techniques as well as online tutorials… I’m still not thrilled with anything I’ve done art-wise. But the point has come where I need to just move forward and say, “If I’m ever fool enough to make another game, then my art will be better. I’ll start off where it took me all this time to arrive at.”

I’ve posted this on the ags forums, but thought I’d post the process of the first introductory shot. It was painful.

Here’s the first version. The house isn’t finished, but I don’t imagine that a house in the woods would be gray anyway. And the tree was the biggest disappointment. I wanted a good deal of action to happen in the foreground, and the tree was the big set-piece in the middle. And the more I worked on it, the worse and worse it looked.

Figured that I’d try again. I initially imagined a sort of Kung Fu Panda-esque (-esque only in the sense that the artistic style varies so greatly with the rest of the production) intro, with only slightly detailed sketches on a monochrome background. This one didn’t look too great, but the next scene, inside the house, was actually kind of moving.

I like the style and the angle and the emotion without seeing any faces. The other obvious perk to doing these sketchy backgrounds is that they don’t take forever to do! But deep down, I just wasn’t convinced. That, and the words over the picture looked terrible in the dialogs. So back off to the drawing board (ha, ha).

Long story short, this is what I came up with. The letterboxing is a pretty obvious rip off of the introduction to King’s Quest VI, but it’s effective, and the speaking looks great being UNDER the picture instead of marring it.

So the point is? I’ve decided to keep being a perfectionist about the intro. But the rest of the game is done. I’m not going back. I’m not going to repaint the rocks again. The hallway floor can’t handle texture. I don’t want to paint in torches even though there aren’t any visible light sources in most of the castle and it’s night. I don’t care that the backgrounds are inconsistent…

I’ll take what I’ve got, perfect or not.