How to quickly make a Sierra/LucasArts-style game in Adventure Game Studio

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:

In this video, you’ll see me working on some scripting and stuff. If you want to take a look at the inner workings of the game yourself, click here to download the source code.

Continue reading “How to quickly make a Sierra/LucasArts-style game in Adventure Game Studio”

“The nostalgia is starting to pixelate.” – Review of Thimbleweed Park

Well, of course I played Thimbleweed Park. It’s probably the most anticipated adventure game to come out since Double Fine’s Broken Age. It made a lot of promises, none of which seemed unreasonable, while managing to keep the actual story and mystery a secret right up until its launch.

With a name like Ron Gilbert at the helm — even most gamers who don’t give a shit about adventure games know what Monkey Island is — expectations were, unsurprisingly, high. Here are my thoughts on whether these expectations were warranted, and if the game lives up to them.

Whether or not I liked the game, though, is only a small part of this review. There is a deeper discussion about the game’s design (particularly the multi-protagonist design) and the story itself that I think warrants some exploration.

Therefore, a stern warning: The following review contains spoilers. It is a review written for people who have already played the game. If you have not played Thimbleweed Park and just want to know whether you should or should not, then my answer is: Yes. If you like classic adventure games, and I do mean classic, then absolutely. Go play it.

Continue reading ““The nostalgia is starting to pixelate.” – Review of Thimbleweed Park”

Another fan tribute bites the dust

I shouldn’t be surprised, but it still comes as a depressing blow: Went2Play’s high-quality remake of Fate of Atlantis has been told to pack it in because “guuhhh license uggghh copyright blaaah.”

"Doctor Ubermann! Not-so-fantastic news."
“Doctor Ubermann! Not-so-fantastic news.”

It’s hardly surprising, given that the game was not just a remake of an existing game by a well-known developer (LucasArts) that Went2Play didn’t have the rights to, but that said game was also an Indiana Jones game, another license that Went2Play didn’t have the rights to. Looking back on it, I suppose a venture of this nature was doomed to fail.

It’s also incredibly disheartening, because this is another case of seeing dedicated, creative souls wanting to pay tribute to a favorite game of theirs, only to get shut down by the powers that be because it might “hurt sales” or somehow sully the brand.

Are they within their right to shut it down? Of course. No one is debating that.

Is it, as my mate Gareth says, morally right? No. Not if you ask me. These people were not out to spite the original, or claim it as their own.

The bigger question is: Would a fan tribute to a game of this kind really hurt sales of the original?

I don’t have the answer to that. My gut reaction says no. People would look at this and think, “Wow, that looks cool. I should try the original.” Shawn (of Infamous Quests), however, says people would be too cheap to spring for the original because a) the new one would be shinier, and shiny is all a modern audience cares about, and b) the original costs money, and modern audiences don’t like to spend money.

If it was an old game that had been out of circulation for a long time, perhaps even on the brink of obscurity, I would definitely disagree.

But this one is a tricky one because you’re not just dealing with an old game. You’re dealing with an old game that’s still being sold and has the goddamn Indiana Jones name on it.

And maybe Shawn is right that, should someone who’s unfamiliar with the original stumble upon this, they would have no interest in subsequently going out and paying for the original.

The counter-argument to that is, well, Fate of Atlantis sells for peanuts on GOG and Steam; it’s hardly like this is make-or-break territory. But, through the eyes of corporate thinking, lost revenue is lost revenue, even if it’s just peanuts.

As much as it pains me to see it go, maybe it was foolish to think Fate of Atlantis: Special Edition would ever actually be completed. It hurts to see an effort with this much love, affection and talent behind it get squashed — yet again — but this is the world we live in, it seems.

A Star Wars adventure game? Yes, please!

So, there’s a new Star Wars movie coming out. Maybe you haven’t heard; they’ve been really quiet about it. </sarcasm>

I never understood why LucasArts didn’t do a Star Wars adventure game. If you can do an action hero like Indiana Jones in an adventure game setting, you can sure as fuck do Star Wars.

But they didn’t. Instead we got Tie Fighter (a flight sim), Dark Forces (a 3D shooter), and Rebel Assault (god knows what the fuck that’s supposed to be). And I kind of checked out after that initial barrage, but I hear there’s a new Star Wars game out that everyone loves, and it’s a multiplayer shooter again. Yeah, you have fun with that.

Thankfully, someone’s actually doing something about that. His name’s Stacey Davidson, and he’s making an adventure game in the old-school Fate of Atlantis style, but with Star Wars. It’s called Han Solo Adventures.

Han Solo Adventures
He even looks like the Indiana Jones sprite, which is cool, ‘cos – you know, Harrison Ford. Yeah.

And it looks great. I hope it does great, too. It’s been in development for a while, but from what I can tell it’s still going strong, and I’m really looking forward to playing it. Keep up with Stacey on his Twitter profile.