Archive for the ‘Progress Update’ Category

Don’t mistake the relative silence here for a lack of behind-the-scenes work on Rise of the Hidden Sun. We’re still toiling away, albeit slowly, to bring the adventures of ‘Rattlesnake’ Jake Dawson onto your computer screen in all of his 1024×768-pixel glory.

Since it’s been awhile since my last update, I thought I’d share this little scene with you all. It’s a just-completed location from episode one. We call it “Off the Rails.” Below I’ve posted the original black-and-white line art, an example of the coloring process, and then final finished version. Hope you like it. More to come in the months ahead!

Layout by Josh Roberts, Line art by Hazel Mitchell and Damian Isherwood, colors by Jacek Grzeskowiak

Work-in-progress: Colors by Jacek Grzeskowiak

Finished: Layout by Josh Roberts, Line art by Hazel Mitchell and Damian Isherwood, colors by Jacek Grzeskowiak

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We’ve just put the finishing touches on another screen from episode one. This one shows a cave entrance leading down into a cliff. Where does it come out? You’ll have to wait and see—but is that a forest of petrified trees below? Hmmm.

Layout by Josh Roberts, Line art by Hazel Mitchell, colors by Jacek Grzeskowiak

Layout by Josh Roberts, Line art by Hazel Mitchell, colors by Jacek Grzeskowiak

Mooney Falls, Havasu Canyon, Arizona (Photo by Josh Roberts)

Mooney Falls, Havasu Canyon, Arizona (Photo by Josh Roberts)

Interesting (?) side note: This location was inspired by a trip I took to Havasu Falls in 2004. Take a look at the photo to the right: That’s a place called Mooney Falls, just past the more famous Havasu Falls. The rocks are so slick from the waterfall spray that everything is slippery. In the 1800s, a drunk cowboy named Mooney fell from the top and died—but at least he got a waterfall named after him. I loved the idea of a cave leading into the cliff, and when the time came to design this location I decided to steal from it for Rise of the Hidden Sun.

If you’re keeping track at home, we now have just three more screens to complete for episode one!

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I’ve been posting a lot of artwork from the first episode lately. That’s where the bulk of our attention is going these days as we finalize background screens, continue to ramp up work on the animation sequences, etc. But that’s not all we’re working on. Rise of the Hidden Sun is a four-episode epic adventure, and today I’d like to give you a sneak peak at some concept art from the game’s final episode in which (SPOILER!) ‘Rattlensake’ Jake actually makes to the lost underground city he and the Brotherhood of the Hidden Sun are pursuing.

DISCLAIMER: This is just concept art. It’s not final artwork; it’s not even what the final sequence may ultimately end up looking like. But it is a little taste of the flavor we’re going for. Let me know what you think!

Artwork Credit: Paul Schmalenberg.

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It’s been a while since our last update. Don’t take that silence to mean we’re not working hard, though. Silence is good. It means we’re too busy to post anything here.

What, you want evidence? Here’s our latest completed screen. See if you can spot all the differences from the final pencil-and-paper version I posted last year.

I’ve been meaning to share this one, too.

Happy New Year, everyone.

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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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I’ve gotten a few emails from people wondering what happened to Rise of the Hidden Sun and what I’ve been up to since I last posted on the Adventure Gamers and Adventure Game Studio message boards. 

Here’s the really short version:

My wife and I had another baby, our second. I wrote a 100,000-word first draft of a novel, called The Witches of Coven Hill. Then I got Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which is a repetitive strain disorder that causes pain in the hands and wrists, and everything came to a crashing halt.

But now I am well on my way to a full recovery, and ‘Rattlesnake’ Jake rides again!

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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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