Jibble

Author Topic: Furnishing the rooms before the walls have been erected  (Read 478 times)

Hi folks,

Here's something that has always made me wonder:

Most of the adventures seem to be constructed based on beautiful screenshot drawings. For instance, I remember a “work in production” whose very first picture they did was a Western town in glorious 1080p. They even included an animation of some cowboy being knocked unconscious while standing in a specific porch.

It must take days and hours to produce this level of intricate detail. How can you get away with doing this sort of thing _first_?

For instance, that picture above was in accurate hand drawn 2D perspective. So whenever some technical need comes up to re-arrange the houses or to make space for a side alley, etc., then all its prettywork will have gone completely to waste: All the fundamental lines will then work out differently which means that all the intricacies will have to be re-drawn from scratch. What if it turns out that the cowboy needs to be punched out on a different porch - or inside a living room? What if that particular scene will need to be even cut out completely?

You wouldn't construct a house or a luxus liner this way, or as that goes, a coffee machine. There, most of the important work would go into fundamentals: architecture, statics, plumbing, fire protection facilities. The form would be dictated by the function, not the other way round.

When all your friends are invited to the roofing celebration, even the windows haven't been put in yet. It's all still ugly. The upholsterer and interior designer will only be retained at a much later stage, _after_ the architect and the carpenter have done their thing.

In a similar vein, you'd expect adventures to start out with lots of boxes or blue cups where finished artwork will be inserted later on. You'd expect the finished screenshots to come nearly _last_.

Yet it seems to be even firmly ingrained in out forum rules that they should come _first_ before the house has even been constructed yet:
Quote from: Darth-Mandarb
3) A minimum of two (in-game) screenshots must be available.
If you aren't far enough to be able to take different screenshots, don't post yet!

Well, at that stage the work is no longer “in production”, or it shouldn't. It's in the final stages of getting the finishing touch.

« Last Edit: 02 May 2021, 05:51 by fernewelten »

Re: Furnishing the rooms before the walls have been erected
« Reply #1 on: 02 May 2021, 10:43 »
Logically, you are right. It’s best to have all the puzzles and gameplay sorted out before you make the pretty backgrounds, because if you need to make changes to the game then those backgrounds risk becoming unusable and getting wasted. I’m sure that happens.

That said, I think that starting with some beautiful artwork early on actually helps devs to visualise their ideas and even inspires new ideas. Also, putting a few pretty backgrounds out for people to look at invites the encouragement of the community, much more than placeholder art. So I think there is a place for the gorgeous backgrounds early on in production.

Snarky

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Re: Furnishing the rooms before the walls have been erected
« Reply #2 on: 02 May 2021, 13:51 »
The example you gave sounds an awful lot like Rosewater:



And I would bet you that before Grundislav shared those first screens and that animation, he'd done a ton of work on the pre-production. Just because it's the first thing you got to see doesn't mean it's the first thing that was done.

Well, at that stage the work is no longer “in production”, or it shouldn't. It's in the final stages of getting the finishing touch.

My impression is that the work of actually producing all the assets (including writing dialog) is the bulk of the work of making an adventure game. Just having a finished design (story, puzzles, locations, characters, etc.) does not by any means mean that the game is in its final stages of production.

If I remember correctly, after first outlining the whole game (not sure how much of the puzzle design this includes), Francisco likes to work section by section, so that he gets to have some variety in the work throughout most of the process. It clearly works for him.
« Last Edit: 02 May 2021, 13:53 by Snarky »

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Re: Furnishing the rooms before the walls have been erected
« Reply #3 on: 06 May 2021, 20:37 »
Also, GiP threads aren't necessarily intended to document the entire production process. While some might appear as soon as a developer has finished their general project outline, others may only appear after a sizeable chunk of the project has been completed, or somewhere in between.

The GiP screenshot rules are meant (to me, anyway) as a kind of litmus test of sincerity on the part of the developer; we're serious about this project, and it's not just something that breezed through our brain. I'm not saying that having screenshots proves any of that, but it gives an rough idea (accurate or otherwise) of the potential for that project to be worth becoming invested in. Personally, I don't think GiP threads should be created before the developer has made progress beyond the design document stage.
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Re: Furnishing the rooms before the walls have been erected
« Reply #4 on: 07 May 2021, 00:37 »
It must take days and hours to produce this level of intricate detail. How can you get away with doing this sort of thing _first_?

The short answer is: you don't do it first!

And I would bet you that before Grundislav shared those first screens and that animation, he'd done a ton of work on the pre-production. Just because it's the first thing you got to see doesn't mean it's the first thing that was done.

That's exactly right. The very first screen I posted looked like this before I actually sat down and drew it:


At that point, I had already spent months on the design and puzzles, as well as actually building the game. Generally speaking, I avoid doing the final art until I know for certain that I'm not going to change or cut a section. Occasionally, it turns out that testers react badly to things and changes have to be made that do require assets to be cut, but thankfully it's rare. Similarly, I find that it's necessary to have the final background art in order to know exactly what items in the room will be hotspots and need descriptions written.  This all comes after the game can be fully played and has the bare minimum amount of interactions allowing you to get through it.

Anyway, that's just how I work. Your mileage may vary!