Archive for the ‘Animation’ Category

Good news, bad news

Our lead animator just accepted a job with Electronic Arts. So that’s good news for him, but bad news for us… because now we need a new animator! Anyone know anyone?

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Nothing Escapes the Watchful Gaze of Hawkeye

The Old Prospector Picks His Nose When No One's Looking

If you hadn’t already guessed from the two images above, we’re making great progress on the animation front. These two characters are the work of Ron Jensen, our newest animator. Whattaya think?

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The middle one is just right...

The poll results are in, and the verdict is a tie! Half of you were on “Team Big Jake,” and the other half were on “Team Small Jake.” So the winner is… “Medium-sized Jake.”  I think it’s a good compromise between the two looks. Credit goes to my lovely wife for suggesting this rather obvious (to her, anyway) solution.

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Which size sprite do you like best?

The current Jake sprite (above left) is about 200 pixels tall. I’ve been thinking about increasing it to about 250 pixels (above right). I think it will make each scene feel more intimate, although it could also have the unwanted side effect of making the screen seem too claustrophobic.

All our animations are originally rendered in Flash, so resizing him at this point is still pretty easy. Which version do you prefer?

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Here’s a sneak peek at Rise of the Hidden Sun‘s very first in-game animation sequence: ‘Rattlesnake’ Jake arriving at the crossroads, wiping his brow, and checking the old treasure map to make sure he’s in the right place. For anyone curious about the technical aspects, we’re producing all of the animations at 16 frames per second. This particular arrival sequence is about 14 seconds long.

UPDATE: Watch the rough cut of this animation here.

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The man, the myth, the legend himself… ‘Rattlesnake’ Jake Dawson!

Character sprite by Wyatt Miles of Flash Potatoes, LLC, based on a concept by Josh Roberts and an initial sketch by David Perry.

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When last we spoke—waaaaay back in the coda to my Adventure Architect series—I wrote, “The next time you hear from me—maybe a month from now, maybe next year, maybe five years from now—it’ll be because the first act of the game is done and ready to download.”

Sorry, gang. I lied.

I know, I know. Annoying, right? Episode one still isn’t done, yet here I am again anyway. One thing I didn’t lie about, though, was the fact that I’d continue working on Rise of the Hidden Sun. Working quite diligently, actually. Which brings me to the reason why I’ve decided to claw my way back to the light of day: I wanted to reward those of you who’ve been following this crazy little project since day one with an exclusive new two-minute cinematic prologue.

Think of it as a trailer for what’s to come.

See, as I said way back in one of the earliest installments of Adventure Architect, I’ve always believed that adventure games have to start with the story and characters above all else. In the case of Rise of the Hidden Sun, that story begins with the game’s hero, ‘Rattlesnake’ Jake Dawson, coming into possession of a treasure map and running afoul of the mysterious Brotherhood of the Hidden Sun.

I’d always known that the game’s action would begin with Jake arriving at a crossroads, map in hand, to begin his search for the fabled Lost City of Cibola. But I also wanted to give the players some context as to how Jake got the map and what the larger story would be about. This prologue, which will play at the start of the game before handing control of Jake over to the player, tries to dole out that background information as deftly as possible while also being an entertaining little scene in and of itself.

The animation work was done by Wyatt Miles of Oregon-based Flash Potatoes, who’s also doing some character sprite work on the game as well. It’s based on a script I wrote way back in 2003.

So, without further ado, here it is: The official prologue to Rise of the Hidden Sun: A ‘Rattlesnake’ Jake Dawson Adventure!

It’s been great to have the opportunity to share this animated short as a sort of post-script to my Adventure Architect articles for AdventureGamers.com. Now that my column is really and truly over (for real this time!), anyone wanting to keep tabs on the game’s development can do so by bookmarking my Adventure Game Studio design thread and my Adventure Gamers design thread, both of which I update now and then with new artwork and progress reports.

This blog post originally appeared at Adventure Gamers.

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