They say, “Never work with children or animals.” And that was indeed the phrase that instantly popped into mind when my wife responded to my question, “What do you think I should do for this year’s AdventureJam?” with, “Why not make a game about our cats?”
I couldn’t help myself, though. It was such a hilarious idea. Cats and the internet are always a winning combination; talking cats even moreso. And it fit right into the mindset I’d had since the first time I participated in AdventureJam, when it was called Point & Click Jam, that I wasn’t so much in this to win approval as I just wanted to do something batshit crazy and hopefully freak the judges out.
So, without really knowing how I was going to get my two cats to actually appear in the game, I set out to create Kitty Quest — a story more or less born out of a five-minute brainstorm with my wife about how our indoor rescue cat, Pemberton Flæsk Mis Mis Brunata Odenkirk (yes, that’s his name), wanted to escape the confines of our house on a warm summer day. His companion would be our other cat, Carlin Spinoza Bøffelsovs (also real name), who is an energetic but dopey Maine Coon cat.
It wasn’t a fully fleshed out story by any means. In fact, the escape part turned out to just be the first act of a (very small) two-act game. Escaping our house would then send them on a small adventure where they faced the horrors that lurk outdoors, eventually causing them to change their minds and head back home.
Today, we’re going to learn how to make FMV games — yes, Full Motion Video games. The kind that were really popular in the mid-90s and, some would say, reduced adventure games to interactive PowerPoint presentation with laughable acting.
Only few companies got FMV right (the best of which were the Tex Murphy games like Under A Killing Moon, The Pandora Directive, and Overseer), and most of them were just overblown and ridiculous (like Take 2’s Ripper).
Will you fare any better? Here’s hoping, because I’m about to teach you how.
AdventureJam 2017 is upon us next week! This means that adventure game developers from all around the world — the good, the bad, the smelly, and the first-time curious — will have two weeks to create an adventure game from scratch.
The beauty of the AdventureJam is that no one expects perfection. It’s just what you can knock out in two weeks. There is a ton of fun to be had with that kind of time constraint. It often forces you to go to silly places, to experiment, and to just do something for the hell of it.
I know a lot of people who say they want to make adventure games, but have no idea how. Back in August of last year, I made a series of tutorial videos that took you through the basics. They were a bit rambly and long-winded, though.
So, in anticipation of this year’s AdventureJam, I have made two new tutorial videos that are a lot more snappy — aimed at getting you started quickly.
The first one is about how to make a Sierra/LucasArts style adventure game with on-screen characters:
Last year, I had the good fortune of lending a small hand in the making of Late Last Nite for the AdventureJam 2015 game jam.
My contribution consisted of writing the dialogue for the snot-nosed Cedric parody, Chadwick, and that was pretty much it. The rest was all down to the fabulous talents of the No More For Today geniuses — Jess, PCJ, Resulka, Chris, Kevin, Gareth, and Fred.
Now, more than a year later, the “full talkie” version is finally released, featuring the voices of YouTube star Sarah “PushingUpRoses” Wilson as the narrator and professional lighter-inquiring-person Rebecca McCarthy as our plucky protagonist.
I voiced the obnoxious potato chip monster, Chippy. And of course Fred voiced Chadwick the Owl in a voice he swears is somewhat dissimilar to CyberCedric.