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As I mentioned yesterday, our lead animator has left the project. The fact that this keeps happening—that we get some great out-of-this-world talent, then poof! He or she moves on to bigger and better things without warning—has led me to re-evaluate what we’re doing here with this little project.

Honestly, I’m tired of having to put the game on hold every time we need to find a new professional-quality animator. So I’ve made a big decision.

We’re going old school.

King’s Quest I-style old school, to be exact: Goodbye millions of colors and 1024×768 screens. Make way for Rise of the Hidden Sun: Retro Edition in all of its 16-color, 320×200-pixel glory! I’ve already converted two screens to the “retro” format and plan to have the whole game reformatted by the end of the month.

Temple of the Golden Vulture

Entrance to the Haunted Mine

From there, it’ll be a piece of cake to animate the thing myself.

What do you think? Click here for an extended preview.

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?

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?

Let the Treasure Hunt Begin!

You can’t have a treasure hunt without a treasure map! But does ‘X’ really mark the spot, or is it just the beginning of ‘Rattlesnake’ Jake’s epic quest to discover the Lost City of Gold?

From Concept to Completion (Original Pencils by Hazel Mitchell)

So here we have the final pencil art for a new location we’ve just added to episode one. The top image is the original location sketch, which Hazel whipped up based on a description and some of my chicken scratches. (Discussed here earlier this month.)

Below that is the finished version, which reflects my suggestions for additional tweaks. The windmill and the vulture will be animated in the final in-game version of this screen.

There are four or five little “easter eggs” in here for adventure game aficionados, but I’m keeping the image size intentionally small right now so we don’t spoil the surprise. (Although the industrious among you can probably figure them out anyway…)

Three Jakes

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.

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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