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Greg Rice

Project Update 2: 4/19/13

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Hey friends, lots of good progress this week! Check it:

ANIMATION

-Animated many cutscene layouts for the boy's first act

ART

-Took a handful of scenes to the layouts stage

-Finished rough painting of a new characters

-Finished alpha painting of one scene and two inventory items

-Added many new environment FX to the spaceship

-Whiteboxed a handful of new space scenes

-Incorporated new reflection and reflection masking techniques into two alpha space scenes

new layout for navigation room

AUDIO

-Recorded hundreds of new scratch lines

-Detailed the music story arc

-Implemented many new sound effects for the space ship

DESIGN/WRITING

-Finshed writing all cutscenes and dialog trees for the boy's first act

-Began working on the casting package

PROGRAMMING

-Entered the new dialog into the database and began implementation

-Continued implementation of spaceship puzzles and new art assets

-Improved real-time reflection tech

-Fixed memory leaks

-Fixed various issues with the VFX system

-Improved stability of the data builds

PRODUCTION

-Wrote user stories and entered tasks for the upcoming sprint

-Had casting kickoff and worked on logistics

-Created music delivery milestones

-Sent out backer update

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Thanks for the update! Are these going to become a weekly thing?

Casting sounds exciting. Can't wait to hear more about that too :)

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Thanks for the update, Greg! Invaluable for learning about the production process.

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Thanks again, Greg. Casting kick off has especially piqued my interest!

Wondering what you mean by "detailing the music story arc"? Does that have something to do with providing narrative snapshots to the composer so he can try to match the music mood/beats to the mapped out narrative mood/beats? Or something along those lines?

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Thanks for these updates Greg!

I'm not sure if this is a big or a small task for you to post these every week but thanks for doing it the past 2! It's really appreciated here!

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Hey friends, lots of good progress this week! Check it:

-Sent out backer update

Does this mean, that we will have a update within the following days?

I think that Chris has mentioned, also, on Tuesday something about having it within this week. Well today is the last day of the week! Isn't it?

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Wow, regular updates! This is nice indeed! :-)

One thought though: I'm guessing that stuff like "Finished alpha painting of X scenes" and "Finished rough painting of Y inventory items" is going to be appearing a lot (assuming you can keep up the pace :) ). In order to get a real feel for the progress here though, it would be nice to know the current total number of scenes and items, and the states they are in. My hunch is that you actually have this information digitally, since you were able to show us a detailed snapshot of the progress on characters earlier. So would it be possible to get summaries like "Scene art: 30% unstarted, 10% layouted, 20% rough painted, 20% alpha painted, 20% complete" (or whatever categories you have in your system) automatically generated for these updates? It would add a lot, and once the initial effort is done, that part of the update would literaly be writing itself. I'm sure Brandon could script this in 5 minutes. :-)

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Hey friends, lots of good progress this week! Check it:

-Sent out backer update

Does this mean, that we will have a update within the following days?

I think that Chris has mentioned, also, on Tuesday something about having it within this week. Well today is the last day of the week! Isn't it?

Sorry, should have said "a week" rather than "the week." Just a few days left!

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nice! i just hope we are going to hear some of the broken age staff in the final cast. i keep returning to the the previs video with chris and greg. "No, we're done here." :P

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(...)

AUDIO

(...)

-Implemented many new sound effects for the space ship

I have this mental image in my head of Tim making "woosh", "woopwoop", "beepboop" and such noises... :D

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(...)

AUDIO

(...)

-Implemented many new sound effects for the space ship

I have this mental image in my head of Tim making "woosh", "woopwoop", "beepboop" and such noises... :D

do you know whats the irony? this is how placehorlder sound assets are usually recorded if you dont have a badass sound guy and you plan to hire him later :).

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Loving the newfangled regularity of these :)

So regarding the number of acts - we keep hearing about the first act, but any word (even a ballpark word!) on how many acts there might be in the whole game? And approximately how large is an act, anyway?

thanks!

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Loving the newfangled regularity of these :)

So regarding the number of acts - we keep hearing about the first act, but any word (even a ballpark word!) on how many acts there might be in the whole game? And approximately how large is an act, anyway?

thanks!

Let's deduce. The boy's first act means there's a second, it also means there's a girl act which is different than the boy's. It's likely there's a girl second act but you don't know if it's the same act as the boy or not so it's at least 3 acts in total.

If we do take the likely assumption that they'll have more than 1 separate act it's at least 4 and and if we assume it's 3 acts each because 3 acts is very common in stories it's likely this is either 5 or 6 depending on whether or not the last act is shared. My bet is on 5.

Best case scenario they'll tell you the number of acts for the boy and for the girl but not the overall total because it may suggest a shared act and can count as a spoiler (do they ever meet?). However, I have no idea why this piece of information would be of any value.

As for length, they'll probably not tell that too but this time it's because it's quite difficult to know in mid-development.

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When using acts to structure a story, the default number is three acts: beginning, middle, and end. An act can be any length. The boy and girl in Broken Age might share one or more acts. Not all writers or mediums stick to three act formats. For example, Shakespeare’s plays consist of five acts. You can use as may acts as you want, each one being a different chunk of the story.

I would guess that Broken Age tells each story (boy’s and girl’s - do they have names yet?) in three acts. The acts probably intersect at some point in act 2 or act 3, because otherwise we would have two completely separate stories and Broken Age could have been two separate games.

For an example of what an act is, act 1 for the boy is probably from the start of the game to when the status quo first changes - some danger is introduced or he gains significant new powers by uncovering the secrets of the spaceship. During act 2 the tension continues to increase and odds are stacking against the boy. Act 3 begins when the boy is finally capable of solving whatever the major problem is, and continues to the end of the game.

My example assumes an event-based story. The boy’s story might be more character-focused, as I think was hinted so far by the documentary. We’ve heard that the boy will uncover the secrets of the spaceship, possibly going on to help others - more of a personal quest - while the girl is reacting to her circumstances and the monster. Probably the boy has some external motivator, though, or the player would have no goals.

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When using acts to structure a story, the default number is three acts: beginning, middle, and end. An act can be any length. The boy and girl in Broken Age might share one or more acts. Not all writers or mediums stick to three act formats. For example, Shakespeare’s plays consist of five acts. You can use as may acts as you want, each one being a different chunk of the story.

I would guess that Broken Age tells each story (boy’s and girl’s - do they have names yet?) in three acts. The acts probably intersect at some point in act 2 or act 3, because otherwise we would have two completely separate stories and Broken Age could have been two separate games.

For an example of what an act is, act 1 for the boy is probably from the start of the game to when the status quo first changes - some danger is introduced or he gains significant new powers by uncovering the secrets of the spaceship. During act 2 the tension continues to increase and odds are stacking against the boy. Act 3 begins when the boy is finally capable of solving whatever the major problem is, and continues to the end of the game.

My example assumes an event-based story. The boy’s story might be more character-focused, as I think was hinted so far by the documentary. We’ve heard that the boy will uncover the secrets of the spaceship, possibly going on to help others - more of a personal quest - while the girl is reacting to her circumstances and the monster. Probably the boy has some external motivator, though, or the player would have no goals.

Note, that the 2 biggest hits in Adventure games history, which for me are MI2 and Grim Fandango, has 4 acts (or parts or years whatever they were called). Incidentally they were both signed by the legendary Tim Schaffer!

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Good point, Greco! I don't know my adventure game history. That leaves me guessing how many acts there will be in Broken Age. Act length might be comparable to MI2 and Grim Fandango... do we know how many puzzles Broken Age has? I think I remember Tim saying Grim should have about 40 puzzles, so that's about 10 puzzles per act? Do we know how many puzzles Broken Age has? That would be a more reliable estimate of length than acts anyways.

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Good point, Greco! I don't know my adventure game history. That leaves me guessing how many acts there will be in Broken Age. Act length might be comparable to MI2 and Grim Fandango... do we know how many puzzles Broken Age has? I think I remember Tim saying Grim should have about 40 puzzles, so that's about 10 puzzles per act? Do we know how many puzzles Broken Age has? That would be a more reliable estimate of length than acts anyways.

Originally Broken Age was also going to have 40, judging by the production board at the end of one of the episodes. But since then there's been a little scope reduction, so it seems likely there'll be around 30, maybe a few more, maybe a few less. (Full Throttle cut about 1/3 of its planned content and ended up with 20 puzzles, but that was a pretty severe scope reduction, so 1/4 seems like a more conservative estimate for how much they took out)

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Cheers for the update. Sorry for my ignorance (and silly question probably) but will all dialogue be voiced by some awesome people?

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I don't want to know the number of puzzles, i want to avoid a "x-1 puzzles are left"-feeling after you solved one.

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Originally Broken Age was also going to have 40, judging by the production board at the end of one of the episodes. But since then there's been a little scope reduction, so it seems likely there'll be around 30, maybe a few more, maybe a few less. (Full Throttle cut about 1/3 of its planned content and ended up with 20 puzzles, but that was a pretty severe scope reduction, so 1/4 seems like a more conservative estimate for how much they took out)

But... does it matter? Full Throttle still ended up being totally awesome!

I, personally, don't care how many acts there are, as long as the story is properly structured and awesome. :)

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Originally Broken Age was also going to have 40, judging by the production board at the end of one of the episodes. But since then there's been a little scope reduction, so it seems likely there'll be around 30, maybe a few more, maybe a few less. (Full Throttle cut about 1/3 of its planned content and ended up with 20 puzzles, but that was a pretty severe scope reduction, so 1/4 seems like a more conservative estimate for how much they took out)

But... does it matter? Full Throttle still ended up being totally awesome!

I, personally, don't care how many acts there are, as long as the story is properly structured and awesome. :)

I don't think it matters that much. I just find it fun to make educated guesses from the information we've seen :)

But it's true, it doesn't really matter. At the time Full Throttle was criticised for being too short, and it was short, but in hindsight it doesn't feel too short - it feels really tightly paced for the most part.

Anyway, I'm sure whatever length Broken Age ends up it'll feel like the right length. I think some people are just curious because we haven't heard much about scope. Base on what we do know, I think 'longer than Full Throttle but shorter than Grim Fandango' is a fair estimate. Perhaps something of a DOTTish, Sam and Maxish length would be a reasonable estimate.

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I don't want to know the number of puzzles, i want to avoid a "x-1 puzzles are left"-feeling after you solved one.

I don't think you'd get that, even if you did know. Adventure game puzzles are rarely isolated, and discrete, they're more like a sort of tangly puzzle web. You can sort of split up things you have to do into individual puzzles, but it's rarely that simple because one action might do something that's useful for two different puzzles, or one item might be used in several, and there's a puzzle to get that item. Or you might need to solve the first part of puzzle A in order to solve the second part of puzzle B, which in turn gives you the thing to solve the second part of puzzle A, so by the time you take all this into account they barely seem like individual puzzles at all, but rather they have the feel of one big puzzle.

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@SurplusGamer

It's certainly true that in a real adventure it's not this easy to identify/count each puzzle. Nonetheless knowing a specific number still would make you thinking of it at least in subliminal way and the closer you get to the end, the more this could step into the foreground. It's an information i'm interested in afterwards but not before i play the game.

There is a certain kind of magic about games you aren't developing on your own and although i'm curious about news and insights, i also want to preserve myself a certain degree of nescience and magic about the game. The best games always were those where you were thrown right into the cold water and had to find out what the game was about on your own, because you got the game as a pirated copy without any further information like it was common in the beginning or by ignoring the manual in the box or skipping the in-game tutorial. Even for RPGs it's more fun reading things up afterwards.

There exist only a hand full of exceptions to this "rule" like the fantastic newspaper you got with Zak McKracken.

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@SurplusGamer

It's certainly true that in a real adventure it's not this easy to identify/count each puzzle. Nonetheless knowing a specific number still would make you thinking of it at least in subliminal way and the closer you get to the end the more this could step into the foreground. It's an information i'm interested in afterwards but not before i played the game.

There is a certain kind of magic about games you aren't developing on your own and although i'm curious about news and insights, i also want to preserve myself a certain degree of magic about the game. The best games always where those were you where thrown right into the cold water and had to find out what the games was about on your own, because you got the game as a pirated copy without any further information like in the beginning or by ignoring the manual in the box or skipping the in-game tutorials. Even for RPGs it's more fun reading things up afterwards.

There are only a hand full of exceptions to this "rule" like the fantastic newspaper you got with Zak McKracken.

Fair enough. But I suppose this speaks more to differences in the way people process information like this. Me, I find that often the more I know, the more impressed I am, so I don't find it a problem to know a lot of behind the scenes stuff in advance. But I can see the value in going in blind and then learning that stuff later, sure.

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What's furthermore interesting about playing a game without any information upfront is that in enables you to play the game at least twice and seeing it from two different angles. Although it can be hard to ignore all the fuss the press and publishers throw at you in dozens of pre- and reviews before you actually have a chance to play a game on your own. That's an aspect i agree with Ron Gilbert and others, you shouldn't hand out copies for the press or at least disallow reviews before a game isn't available for everyone.

There is a certain kind of purity about this which i enjoy a lot. The gamer is the target audience a game is made for, he's supposed to pay the bills but at the same time, compared to the press, he's often treated like a second class customer only. Imagine that a game is released without any reviews being available as a safety net and no formed opinions exist. It's up to you if you buy, like or dislike a game.

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Hey friends

Friends?!! We've only gone out three times, and you're already telling me you just want to be friends?!

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