HAWKING (From the Design Document): Marachecks ship, The Hawking, is a small craft, with most of that being engine compartments, fuel, oxygen gardens, and storage space. The living compartment is the size of a caravan, with a small cockpit control deck. The cargo bay ,the largest area, has a basket ball hoop, and a miniature golf course drawn on the ground in paint-now faded from quite a few years of dragging cargo over it, or just playing. Through the cargo hold is a decon chamber, which leads to the airlock. BUILDING IT. From that short description of The Hawking, I knew EXACTLY what it would look like. Images of The Millennium Falcon, Icarus II, and Serenity swan through my mind. The thing that those 3 ships had in common was a believability. Everything was connected in a logical way

I've always been interested in game development-but unfortunately was not gifted with a programmers brain! When it came down to the technical know-how, to turn something in my mind into something interactive, I just drew a blank. Luckily for me, my brother has a programmers mind, making us the perfect development team and exposing me to the 'behind the scenes' aspect of game development for quite a few years. But thanksfully, over the years there have been quite a few companies who have seen this gap in the market, and have made either their tools available for developing game content, or actually created software for making any sort of game with pretty simple scripting languages. Now Im not going to go into the game engines, and editing software out there-but I do wanna point out some of the engines available out there for creating an Adventure Game. These are the 3 engines I seriously considered when first designing STASIS. ______________________ ADVENTURE GAME STUDIO: http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/ Adventure Game Studio allows you to create your own point-and-click adventure games, similar to the early 90's Sierra and Lucasarts adventures. It consists of an easy-to-use editor to create your games, and a run-time engine to play them. The game interface is

Now that I have a decent base to work off of, I can start animating it. If we go back to the description we know that this scene is going to have at least 3 separate lighting passes. One different set of lighting for each time he moves forward in the level. Because this is a 2D game, each of those different lighting passes has to be rendered completely separately. Now, to make things even more difficult, I want to have those signage boards flickering as tho there are slight power surges, and the globes are kinda entering the last days of their lives! So each lighting setup needs to have a separate pass for the signs flickering, aswell as a pass for the signs in a 'normal' state. Memory wise, that is going to be to big to practically get into the scene, so we are going to be doing a bit of cutting up. Also, by cutting out each sign separately, we can make sure that each sign gets it own random flicker. Adding that kind of randomness will really help sell the scene. Lets start by rendering the 3 first light passes. We are going to call them: GL_InnerAirlock_LightPass_1.png GL_InnerAirlock_LightPass_2.png GL_InnerAirlock_LightPass_3.png Then we set the inside of the posters to be slightly lighter. Not to much tho, but enough to cast some interesting light on the injects infront of them.

GL_InnerAirlock_Flicker_1.png GL_InnerAirlock_Flicker_2.png GL_InnerAirlock_Flicker_3.png. Once we have those files, we open up Paintshop Pro, and create a quick script to crop those down to JUST the areas we need, like this: Once the graphics are done, putting them into the engine, and making them work only takes a few seconds. Visionaire has this really cool 'random' option, which will randomly pick from a set number of frames. So if we place in the 'non flicker' and the 'flicker' frames, it will get a semi strobing effect-exactly what we are looking for. And because its 'mathematically random', no two flickers will be alike. Setting up the code to get the 3 sets of lights working, with the 3 filckering lights is a little more involved. I wont go through step by step, but Ill explain the concept behind it. The level is divided into three zones, with each of those zones needing display its own background. I drew 3 ACTION AREAS, and set a command that would execute every time the character entered that specific zone. So, when he entered ZONE 1, GL_InnerAirlock_LightPass_1.png becomes the background, while GL_InnerAirlock_LightPass_2.png and GL_InnerAirlock_LightPass_3.png are hidden. The same set of commands is given when ZONE 2 is entered, except Lightpass 1, and 3 are hidden, and 2 becomes visible. Now the flickering is linked to a value, that is activated when the different zones are activated. So when ZONE 1 is the active zone, the FLICKER 1 animation is made visible. When ZONE 2 is active, FLICKER 1 and 3 become invisible, with FLICKER 2 becoming visible. There are some sounds linked in there aswell, to really sell the 'clunk' of large lights turning on and off, which really adds to the visual aspects. The airlock opening is done in the same way. A zone is created, and when the character enters the zone, the specific animation is played. Once its all put together, the level can be played instantly. Heres a short video I did of the level being played. The character looks a little 'glidey' and some changes are a bit sluggish, but thats from the recording program running in the background. Before you take a look at the completed level, lets go back to the original description: --------------------------------------------

The airlock clicks open with a hiss. A silhouetted figure walks into a dark room. The massive rotating door behind him rolls back into place, and seals shut.The airlock clicks open with a hiss. A silhouetted figure walks into a dark room. The massive rotating door behind him rolls back into place, and seals shut.Darkness. Nothing. Maracheck walks forwards. As he does so, a light directly above him turns on. Motion controlled. A computer voice sounds out “Welcome to The Groomlake Research Facility. We know you will enjoy your stay.” Computer screens flicker on showing various PR photos of families on board, scientists working happily, children playing.As Maracheck moves forward the lights continue to turn on infront of him. More computer voices:“Please be aware that we are operating on emergency power.”He continues down the corridor. Comfortable seating on either side of him suggests an airport lobby of some kind. This must be where the important people came in…a company would waste money like this on an entrance for grunts.As he advances, more lights turn on, highlighting security turrets. Shut down. The security systems must not be operating. Good thing too…those turrets would have shredded him. As if reading his mind, the computer voice sounds out an eerie warning.“To ensure that your stay with us is a pleasant one, please remember to follow all protocol. Your safety is our priority.”The lights go off for a second…the sound of an electric generator spinning up again.“Please make your way to decontamination.”“Thank you for your cooperation.”

_________________________ With a few changes, I think that the level plays out pretty faithfully to that original idea. What do you think?
http://vimeo.com/18178146
_________________________
Chris

In part 1 I went through the planning stages for a scene. Its important to note that this scene contains no inventory interaction. It is purely a 'fluff' scene, to set up the next few rooms. The planing gets more involved when puzzles are present. I will go through how I plan out puzzles in a later blog post. A NOTE ON BLOCKS. I dont want to waste the players time with him thinking he has to return to the room, so I am going to place in a block once he leaves. It could be anything, from a malfunctioning door, to something falling and blocking the entrance. I like to think of Adventure games as novels, or films, where you are a participant, but not the driving force in the story. The characters are. The environment is. The story is. Its not quite as passive as I'm making it out to be, but I would rather have the player feel the need to move forward IN THE STORY than constantly have to trek backwards. In a film, you very rarely visit the same set piece more than once-and if you do there is always a very specific reason for it, or the set piece has changed.For example, visiting a

In this series of blog posts, I am going to go through how I construct a scene, from its initial paper inception, to a final scene to be used in the game. Before any drawing is done, each scene is placed in a flow chart. This chart essentially shows the physical location of the scene, in relation to the other scenes. It shows whats behind it, in front of it, and to the sides. Having an actual physical map like this makes the planning of the game MUCH easier, and also shows off opportunities that just wouldn't come along if the scenes were described in a linear fashion. You can see how interesting links can be made as the rooms become more varied and complex. Planning like this lets you see the relationships between rooms very well. Once I know where the scene is going to fit into the game, I write a description of the scene. So each one of those blocks in the flow chart gets this same treatment. What I am going to be looking at in detail is the INNER AIRLOCK sequence. Essentially, this is your first introduction to The Groomlake. Writing out scene descriptions may sound like a waste of

Ive been thinking of putting up a developers blog for a while-but honestly the game is still in its infancy so I though it was a little premature. But after the amount of amazing feedback I've been getting from people about what has been done so far-I thought a nice central database for all my ramblings about the game was a good idea! Ive got quite a few posts planned and lined up, going through everything from the story aspects of STASIS, to how the levels area created and rendered, as well as some in sight into how the game has been planned. If you have any specific questions you want answered, or just wanna say hi, leave a comment. ;) Till then, enjoy whats up already, and make sure to check back often! -Chris