As mentioned previously, this is part 4 and the last of the blogs with regards to the Cortex engine and Legend. So if you’re tired of hearing about Legend, good, because I’m at the end of that 🙂 So here it is.
This blog is about “Dave’s Diner” which is the prototype game I built for two important reasons. Reason 1, is to test all the mechanics of the Legend game plugin with Cortex to make sure it operates the way we need it to. Reason 2, to make fun of my friend Dave. So if you would like to download a copy of “Dave’s Diner” and give it a try, here is a link to it.
What to expect: First off, any names, references, or likeness of any persons living or dead with the exception of Dave are total coincidence. Secondly, the game was a prototype meant to test Legend and be stupid. It is NOT politically correct, uses foul language, inappropriate comments, innuendos, insensitive comments about Dave’s sister, and so on. If you feel your sensitivities might be irreparably damaged, you probably won’t like any of our games, so you’ll need to go back to your safe space and play Solitaire.
Controls: Space Bar – gives you full-screen / windowed toggle. Everything else is mouse driven.
Known issue: We haven’t seen this issue in a couple of years, but on very rare boxes that are connected to a domain, video plays “black”. There was a windows update that seemed to have fixed this. It was exceptionally rare. If you do happen to find issues of any type, please feel free to contact us.
Don’t want to download Dave’s Diner and experience the stupidity first hand? Fine, you can also watch this short YouTube video where I play through the game.
So let me point out some of the differences between the point and click adventures we are building compared to what you might be used to.
No Pixel Hunting : One thing I think everyone will probably agree upon is that is sucks when you are playing an adventure game, and you have an item, and you need to use it on something and every time that you try, it doesn’t work because of the 2×2 pixel zone they selected that you have to click on. Or having to do what I call “Mowing the lawn” where you move your cursor back and forth over the screen until a title pops up next to an item you inadvertently passed over. Well I say, “To hell with all that! I have ADD and don’t have the time to scrub the screen with the cursor looking for crap, or have to click a thousand times on something before I hit the magic pixel to get it to interact.”
So I decided to introduce a hint system, middle-mouse button, which highlights anything you can interact with in the current mode you are in. For Dave’s Diner I make a yellow gear, only to find out that everyone thinks it is a daisy, as shown above. So in the scene above, you are in “Smell” mode and can sniff both the fridge, or the dishes on the counter.
No Blathering Dialog Trees : Okay, so I image that this might tick off a few purists of the point-n-click adventure game genre, but this is my game, not theirs. One thing that bores the crap out of me in some adventure games is the ad nauseam dialog tree where you are “required” to click through every stupid option of what you want to say to finally get what you want. I feel like an inquisitor when I play those. To me they aren’t adventure games, they are interactive novels. I especially hate it when you sorta don’t know what to say, and have to find out by trial and error by coming back and starting the conversation over and over again until you get it right. If I want to do that, I can just go to a nursing home and talk to old people with dementia.
So I had a thought…what if…someone did dialog like the old Sierra games where you click to talk to someone. Your character says something, then their character replies, then your character says something else…and then their character replies. Genius! Also if you need to get something out of the conversation you didn’t get the first time, Gasp! You can click talk again and start the whole conversation over. BRILLIANT! So I decided to bring that concept into the modern era by just making the whole dialog a cut scene / movie. You can click to exit out, and talk to the character again if you need to. Lip synching and all.
In Dave’s Diner I didn’t have the characters facial rigged for talking, so I grabbed Pinocchio from an earlier 3D project and I colored one blue, and the other green and then lip synched them for the cut scene.
AI that isn’t stupid : Finally, the last thing I really wanted to change was the “Duh” factor of some point-n-click games. Have you ever got a key to a locked door, you select the key and click on a door on the other side of the room only to get a dialog that says, “You aren’t close enough to do that”. So you think, “Urgghhhghghggggh!, No duh, so walk your dumb ass over there, and use the freak’n key!” Well that is what Legend does. If there is something you can do to something, and you aren’t in the right position, the engine “infers” what your intention is and just completes the steps leading up to that. Now it might not be 100% fool proof on this first game, but it is a big step past some that I have seen.
Then the very last thing tested in Dave’s Diner was the interactive menu system. It looks like crap here, but it works and that is what I was checking for. So above is an image where I clicked to look at an item I have in my inventory more closely. Also the options for volume and music control were tested. Settings for the game’s volume settings get saved between sessions. Load and save of games also works great with thumbnail views of all the saved games. As well as interacting of objects, even in a cascade as deep as you want to go. So if you have a jet pack with a hole in the tank (item 1), a can of jet fuel (item 2), and a piece of gum (item 3)…you could use the chewing gum on yourself (chew it up), then use the chewed piece of gum on the jet pack to plug the hole, and finally fill the repaired jet pack with fuel making one item, a usable jet pack 😀 Awesome.
Well that pretty much concludes Legend, Dave’s Diner, and how Absolute Zero’s tool set works from a 10 mile high perspective. It gets much deeper, but I am writing a blog and making a game, not writing a book 😛 So I hope you enjoyed this.