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AGS Games => Completed Game Announcements => Topic started by: shaun9991 on 10 Apr 2014, 17:03

Title: Mudlarks
Post by: shaun9991 on 10 Apr 2014, 17:03
After a year in development, the day has finally come, Mudlarks is finished and available for free download! It's been a hectic sprint to the finish line as we tried to iron out a few last minute bugs, and I think we have been successful in doing so. We would really appreciate feedback, good or bad, and if you find any bugs or spelling mistakes please let us know. Most of all, we've had an amazing time making the game and it has been a life ambition fulfilled! We really hope you enjoy the game :)

If anybody is reading this who has a games website or a Let's Play channel, please feature us if you can, any help getting our game out there is most welcome!

Thanks to everyone who has been involved in the project (including Blount from AGS forums for his play testing!) and thanks to all of you who've followed it's progress.

About Mudlarks

Your name is Winston. You are very much a regular, normal chap - living in London with your girlfriend and holding down a 9 to 5 office job. Among your various hobbies, you are a mudlarker. That is, the practice of combing the shore of the River Thames for historically interesting objects that may have gone underwater hundreds of years ago. One day, you and your co-mudlarker Vincent stumble upon what appears to be a valuable golden locket - and your destiny is changed forever. Two days after the find, Vincent disappears on the shore, leaving only the locket behind...

What follows is an atmospheric dialog and puzzle driven adventure game, bringing together elements of science fiction with a strong supernatural theme as you undertake your quest to find your friend and unravel many secrets along the way. Winston finds himself as an ordinary man in a very extraordinary situation...

DOWNLOAD HERE! (http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/site/games/game/1795/)

PLEASE SAVE OFTEN: just in case there any bugs, these should be rectified in the latest version (1.3)
I also recommend to play with headphones/sound turned up :)

Features

- Over 40 locations to explore
- A mysterious and complex plot set in modern day London
- A cast of over 40 intriguing characters
- A full length adventure game experience - hours of gameplay
- Thousands of lines of dialog
- Moments of spookiness
- Over 60 inventory items
- Virtual mudlarking - yes, that is a thing now!

(http://i.gjcdn.net/imgserver/screenshot-thumbnail/898x1000/46818.jpg)

(http://i.gjcdn.net/imgserver/screenshot-thumbnail/898x1000/46833.jpg)

(http://media.indiedb.com/cache/images/games/1/27/26774/thumb_620x2000/ss.JPG)
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: dbuske on 10 Apr 2014, 19:17
Downloading. Looks like my kind of game.  A love realistic characters and backgrounds
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: CaptainD on 10 Apr 2014, 20:19
Congrats on the release, very interesting looking game.
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: miguel on 10 Apr 2014, 23:56
Downloading, it does look and sound interesting.
Congrats on the release!
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: Sslaxx on 11 Apr 2014, 10:29
Let's see if this runs under Linux...
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: Blount on 11 Apr 2014, 14:09
I had the great pleasure of testing this EPIC adventure game, which I recommend!
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: shaun9991 on 13 Apr 2014, 12:57
Thanks very much guys! :) I hope you enjoy the game, please let me know how you get on, any feedback is hugely appreciated
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: Mandle on 13 Apr 2014, 13:53
This looks so very nice!

Gonna be checking this out ASAP!!!
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: Stupot on 13 Apr 2014, 14:20
Looks great. I'll download this tonight. Well done for finishing it :-)
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: kaput on 13 Apr 2014, 15:14
Kick ass atmosphere and a really fitting soundtrack. Been playing for an hour or so and really enjoying it so far. I did find a bug, though - when in the pub and after using the pinball machine, the main character's view gets stuck ie his back stays turned when walking around. I had to reload from my save point so if you guys get the time I'd sort that out asap. Apart from that, yeah I'm hooked :smiley:.
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: Problem on 13 Apr 2014, 15:18
Yeah, I also had this bug, but you don't really have to reload the game. As soon as you do something that changes the character's view again (such as picking up an item), everything is back to normal again.
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: kaput on 13 Apr 2014, 15:22
Yeah, I also had this bug, but you don't really have to reload the game. As soon as you do something that changes the character's view again (such as picking up an item), everything is back to normal again.

Ahh... I did try talking and it didn't change so I just figured I'd load up the last save. Save clever and save often I always say, hah.
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: AnasAbdin on 13 Apr 2014, 16:54
Congrats on the release buddy :-D I've been waiting for this since forever. The story of the game and the style are unique and captivating! I just started playing it and I know I'm going to enjoy it all!
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: shaun9991 on 14 Apr 2014, 20:26
Thanks you guys, I really appreciate the nice comments :)

And thanks hugely for finding that bug!! It's not something we picked up at all. Will be sure to fix it and upload a fixed version as soon as I can.

Hope you all are still enjoying the game!
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: Problem on 14 Apr 2014, 22:02
I've finished it, now it's feedback time!

This is a very nice game with an intriguing story and a unique atmosphere. The story really made the game for me and kept me playing, most of the dialogues are well-written, the characters are likeable and there's a lot of attention to detail. The puzzles were pretty straight-forward, most of the time finding the right items or hotspots was the main problem. The game gets more difficult towards the end though, with two refreshing puzzles that are considerably harder.

Things I didn't like...

* The animations. I know it's really difficult to animate photographs, but at least the key animations (such as the main character's walkcycle) shouldn't look as awkward as they do. On the other hand it was great that you created quite a few background animations, animals walking around etc.

* The vertical scanlines. They are an interesting style choice, but they clash with the characters that don't have scanlines - I assume that's because of scaling issues? However the characters don't blend very well with the backgrounds.

* Horizontal movement is way too slow. Vertical speed is okay though. You know that you can set different speed values for x and y in AGS?

* Some puzzles/obstacles seemed to be a little far-fetched, but that's a typical adventure game issue.

* And finally...
Spoiler: ShowHide
This weird meteors-from-space thing. I really hoped that this plot would somehow tie in with the ghost story, but it seems to be completely unrelated, which was a little disappointing. It's a nice idea on its own, but it's not developed enough and not integrated into the story, so it feels out of place.


But despite these shortcomings I had a lot of fun playing Mudlarks. Good job! Amazing job, if this is your first game. :)
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: Mandle on 16 Apr 2014, 06:16
Downloaded and playing little by little whenever I get the chance...

Loving the game so far! As I'm also working on a game using photos of real-world locations it's very interesting to see how you dealt with similar issues that I'm facing on my own project...

Here's a bug I found:

Spoiler: ShowHide
After you finish playing the pinball game in the pub's game room the main character stays locked in the back-to-player view and glides around in that view until the next cut-scene game-controlled character animation, which then fixes the problem. There is no such problem after playing the piano so I suspect that whatever code you used there will fix this issue.


Sorry if this has already been reported in the thread above...I was scared to read it for fear of unintentional spoilers...
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: shaun9991 on 16 Apr 2014, 09:52
Problem:

First of all, thanks so much for playing the game and I'm very happy you enjoyed it! :D Thank you so much for your feedback, this is invaluable in trying to improve it for future tweaking. I'm also glad you noticed that the puzzles are a bit harder at the end, this was our intention and hope (without them being toooo obscure)

Your 'not likes' are all perfectly valid. With the animations, we thought the clunkiness gave the game a bit of a different character, we didn't want everything to be completely fluid and photorealistic. But we will definitely spruce things up for future games.

The scanlines were added just to give it a different feel, they seems a bit love or hate at this stage :)

Thanks for pointing out the slow horizontal speed, that's very true. We uploaded the game to Desura last night and this issue has been fixed for this version, I will re-upload to Gamejolt as soon as I can.

Spoiler: ShowHide
 the meteor thing, it's there to send winston down a wrong path of investigation and add to the mystery and weirdness of the game, but you are right in that this could have been tied together a bit better. i like how it comes full circle out the end though when you find the actual meteorite on the beach, i would like to hope there is some ambiguity here that perhaps there was some sort of connection between these events, but its left up to the players imagination


THANKS PROBLEM!! :)

Mandle:

Thanks for playing and I'm glad your enjoying it :)

Thanks for pointing out the bug, that seems to be the big one that most people are encountering. I have fixed this for the Desura release and will upload to Gamejolt when I can :)
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: Cogliostro on 16 Apr 2014, 16:04
Just finished playing and I have to say, one hell of a game!  And it's your first game to boot!

Finding the right spot and angle to capture a picture to use in a game is a hassle and you pulled it off.

Others have already commented on Winston's animation and speed, and I agree with them.  On the other hand, the animations used in the seance were impressive, despite being jerky. 

I really liked Winston's conversion over the course of the game, in his attitude towards ghosts and his increasing disregard for the law.  Also, a lot of games fall into the trap of featuring only the minimum number of NPCs necessary to solve puzzles or advance the story.  You included the occasional nutter on the shore of the Thames and a valet at the Burgess, whose only purpose was to make snarky comments.  The tour guide was there to give information about the churches, but her personal agenda was a "close encounter" with Geoff.  You go to a paranormal society and encounter someone like Jenny Hung, a paranormal enthusiastic but still skeptical - in other words, something other than a 2D character.  Bonnie Heavengold has a public and private persona for real life reasons!  All of these helped make the game seem connected to the real world.  Brilliant!  Just brilliant!

Things to improve in the next game....  The meteor was an interesting distraction, and it didn't bother me, but you may want to have everything tie together in the future games.   And I can't think of anything else?!

I look forward to your next game.

 - Cogliostro
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: shaun9991 on 19 Apr 2014, 00:22
Cogliostro - thank you so much for your kind comments! This post made my week! :)

I'm so glad you noticed Winston's changes over the course of the game, this is something I was really trying to convey. And it's cool what you thought about the characters :) I hate it when everybodies there just to be part of a puzzle, there needs to be a few randoms and people going about their everyday business etc.

Completely understand about the meteor stuff! Our next game will definitely tie together a bit better.

We've fixed a few issues such as the walking speed and a few bugs in the latest release too.

Thanks so much for playing Mudlarks and we are very happy you enjoyed it. It was a real labour of love for such a long time, and seeing peoples positive feedback have really made all those 100s of hours worthwhile :)
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: shaun9991 on 20 Apr 2014, 20:31
Out of interest, those who have finished the game, how long did it take roughly?
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: Cogliostro on 21 Apr 2014, 01:08
I think it took me about six hours.

 - Cogliostro
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: Problem on 21 Apr 2014, 09:16
Roughly 5 or 6 hours.
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: sthomannch on 21 Apr 2014, 15:27
Great game! Thank you very much. Good story and puzzles. But
Spoiler: ShowHide

the relief in the church: The back ground music made it hard to hear the clicks when I pressed the correct locations.

And the intro shows "v1.0".


Took me a bit more than 6 hours in all.
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: shaun9991 on 23 Apr 2014, 22:41
Thanks for the feedback guys :)

Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: Castledoque on 24 Apr 2014, 20:32
Finished the game and here are my impressions:

(+)
*Interesting story. I must admit that I sort of guessed where it was going midway, after the second dream sequence, but I guess I have become extremely familiar with storytelling techniques, so it's difficult to get surprised.
*Creepy atmosphere
*Solid puzzles, I really enjoyed most of them and the step up in difficulty was nice too.
*Likeable protagonist
*I liked the backgrounds with the vertical lines

(-)
*I didn't care much for the walking animations
*Spelling errors in some of the dialogue
*A bit of pixel hunting unfortunately placed at the very beginning of the first day (for example, the search for the ingredients of the fake meteorite) gives the false impression that the game will be about pixel hunting, which is far from the case
*Storytelling had a few rough edges. Except for the main character, the rest of the cast was not very well characterized (except for that funny ineffectual policeman and some of the people at the seance). And where did the girlfriend disappear to in the last day of the game? Also the villain's character was not very well delineated. Was he in it for the money? Was he trying to protect his image? Whatever his motives, his characterization leaves much to be desired.
*The events regarding the meteorite and the quarantine in the first day felt a bit contrived and far-fetched and they didn't really add anything significant to the story.

Still all in all, I enjoyed the game. Puzzles were fun and the main story arc was suitably dark and interesting. Took me about 8-9 hours to finish the game.
Kudos to the creators
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: Andail on 25 Apr 2014, 09:30
Looking cool! Getting some PQ4 vibes :)
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: shaun9991 on 29 Apr 2014, 20:03
Thanks for the comments guys!

Castledoque: Was interesting reading your feedback. Mudlarks is being released on Desura in a couple of days and I've collated everyones feedback into that version and tweaked things here and there, so quite a few of your suggestions have been implemented. Glad you enjoyed the game!
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: AprilSkies on 18 May 2014, 10:40
Hi Shaun,
This game has been on my desktop for weeks (I knew it's long so I wanted to start playing only if I had time).
Finally playing. I think you did a great work.
The plot is really interesting. Very good puzzles. I also like a lot the way you used photos. It reminds me of some games from the 90's... I mean games that used the "motion capture" (you know, such as GK3). maybe it's due to the way you manipulated pictures (putting those lines). Well done.(nod)
Of course the animations are not so smooth and can be iproved, but that's a minor issue in my opinion. It's Always good to have something to work on... to improve your products. I hope that in your next games you'll improve that aspect.
Anyway, if this game were commercial, I would bought it! If you sold it for 5 bucks or more (for example), it still deserved to be downloaded (nod)
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: Mandle on 18 May 2014, 13:16
Anyway, if this game were commercial, I would bought it! If you sold it for 5 bucks or more (for example), it still deserved to be downloaded (nod)

And this is from the guy that made Donald Dowell get up out of his rocking chair for free!!!

Donald is still trying to find ways to sue AprilSkies for his percentage of the royalties. Each time he wins the case he gets his check for $0, and pays his legal team out of his own pocket, but always ends up forgetting a few days later and the whole thing starts all over again...
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: shaun9991 on 27 May 2014, 12:12
Aprilskies:

Thanks so much for your comments! I'm really happy you've played the game and enjoyed it. Your games are always an inspiration. Donald is a legend! Tales looks like it's going to be a very polished game, loved the demo.

We are now working on our next game, and you are so right - it's great to have the feedback from previous games to work on for our next game. We are definitely putting better animation at the forefront of our aims

Thanks again :)
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: Stupot on 29 May 2014, 02:02
Pretty good write up in AdventureGamers Following Freeware this month.

http://www.adventuregamers.com/articles/view/26487
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: CaptainD on 05 Jun 2014, 22:16
"easily one of the best freeware adventures released in recent memory" - quite an accolade!
Title: Re: Mudlarks
Post by: shaun9991 on 13 Jun 2014, 14:59
Super happy with the Adventure Gamers feature, had a massive surge in downloads afterwards. Was great to be featured on such an excellent site :)

For those interested, a new version of Mudlarks has been uploaded that fixes Winston's slow walk speed (I thought I'd fixed this earlier, but I missed a section late on Day 1 where I slowed him down again in the coding), and a few spelling mistakes. You can download it here (http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/site/games/game/1795/)

Thanks for your support everyone!