It’s been a few weeks since the last update and I’m happy to report that decent progress has been made. Zak and I have continued working on Troubadour regularly in our free time. Zak’s been killing it on defining the art style and building assets, while I continue to build out the interactive elements and writing the short story. Our goal is to have a five minute playable demo ready for PAX Prime in August. Troubadour may be shown at a small station at a friend’s booth at PAX, but if that doesn’t work out then I’ll just walk around with my laptop to show anyone that is interested.
In the first two updates I stated that Troubadour will have music by both Wonder Russell and Trocadero. Today I’d like to announce that a personal friend of mind, Edg3 aka Everett Gresham, has agreed to help with some audio elements, including original music. I’m happy to have him on board to build out a very important portion of the game.
We’re still not quite ready to share the studio logo/website or game screenshots yet (so close!), but I did post a Vine video a couple days ago with a quick tease of some of the work-in-progress game art. Trust me, I don’t like making you read these updates on my ugly blog.
Thank you to those of you who have shown interest and support of this new personal project. We can’t wait to share more in the near future.
Eric “Zilla” Doty – @DMZilla
Even though I’m not at PAX East this year that doesn’t mean I can’t make an update regarding Troubadour. The interactive short story (aka game) has been progressing slowly, but it’s progressing nonetheless. Trying to find free time to work on it has been a pain. Luckily, the ideas are always flowing and I’m pretty happy with how things are coming along. Hell, I upgraded to the paid version of GameMaker which means I finally had more resource requirements than were allowed in the free version. While everyone is in Boston this weekend for PAX I’ll be home working on art assets and convincing myself that I don’t hate everything. The next update might actually have screenshots!
As stated in the first Troubadour post, I’m using music by Wonder Russell to help bring the world to life. Today I’d like to take the opportunity to announce that there will also be music from Trocadero in the game. You may have heard some of their previous work used in the popular web series Red vs. Blue. I’ve been a huge fan of Trocadero for years and am looking forward to working with them to inject their unique style into Troubadour.
For more updates on Troubadour please keep an eye on this blog or follow me on Twitter.
If you’ve been paying attention to past tweets, or my About.me page, you may have already figured out the name of my next project is Troubadour. This is the first major personal project since the 25 page pilot issue of Steamfunk that I published in collaboration with Luke McKay.
What is Troubadour
While I’ll be referring to Troubadour as a game, it’s more accurate to call it an interactive short story similar to Home or Kentucky Route Zero. The story follows a woman named Lu through a surreal lucid dream as she reflects on what she has done with her life. The mysterious Troubadour serves as Lu’s dream guide through her warped memories. Core influences on the game are the movies Sliding Doors and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and the work of comic writers Brian Wood and Jeff Lemire. Details about the gameplay will be revealed over the next few months, though I will be cautious to avoid releasing any spoilers.
Initial Art – Click to view at 1950 x 1080
Who is working on Troubadour
I am writing the story and building the interactive elements of the game using GameMaker. Zak Alexander, a local Seattle artist, is working with me to design the characters and worlds that you’ll come across, as well as defining the visual tone of the overall experience. We’re not at a point where we can talk about how audio ties into the gameplay yet, but the soundtrack will be made up of multiple styles from various artists, with at least one song from the talented Wonder Russell.
Why I’m talking about it now
A lot of independent game developers, in my opinion, tend to not talk about their games early enough (services like Kickstarter* and Greenlight are starting to change this). As a fan of Indie games, it’s interesting to follow their progress and see how the project evolves over time. This will be a learning experience for me and if it turns out well then hopefully others will enjoy it as much as I have.
Gameplay Concept Art
We’re building a website for Troubadour that will launch later this year under the name of the unannounced studio. With the current amount of work planned, the game is slated to release in 2014.
* There are no current plans to use Kickstarter or other crowdfunding sources to complete Troubadour
Eric “Zilla” Doty - @DMZilla
I’ve played a lot of games in my life. The first game I ever played was Peek-a-Boo. I would hide behind my hands, thinking that I was invisible to my relatives, and then surprise the hell out of everyone by throwing my hands aside to unveil myself. The rules and expectations were simple back then. I made the rules, or thought I did, and everyone played along. I had no concept of winning or losing. Everyone who played the game was a winner and the prizes were giggles and smiles.
The next game to enter my life was Hide and Seek. It’s similar to Peek-a-Boo except none of the players are under the delusion that they are invisible. You run to your chosen hiding spot and hope that you’re the last one to be caught. Sometimes, depending on the rules that everyone agreed to, you’d try to sneak back to the safe area. Simple rules, but they are necessary for the game to function. Living in rural Western New York, we had plenty of great hiding places — some even came with a complimentary patch of poison ivy.
One of my all-time favorite games was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This was not a licensed game, and there were no tokens or boards. It consisted of me, my grandmother’s front yard, nunchucks (an important role played by a stick), and sometimes a cousin that would play as one of the “lesser” turtles to my stellar Michelangelo(1). It was a great game where story ruled and everything could only be limited by your imagination. We’d often take down Krang while he was super-sized in his exo-suit. Neighbors driving by probably just saw two kids high-kicking the air. Their loss. Continue reading
This was too long to tweet, so here’s a quick ramble…
The following idea popped into my head after thinking about the Ludum Dare competition. If I had the funding I would love to set up a week long competition with an org (Full Sail or similar establishment) where teams compete by prototyping their video game idea. The catch is that we would require the teams to build their idea around a song from a list of licensed songs that have already been paid for. The question that the designers and devs would be answering is “How do you incorporate music directly into the gameplay of an FPS, side scroller, RTS, etc. without just being background noise?” Of course, music games like Rock Band, Lumines, and Rez already exist, but music seems to be underutilized in the gameplay of many other genres. It could be as simple as Mario getting more points if he jumps on Goombas in beat with the background music, but I expect that there are much larger ideas out there.
A week for something like this isn’t a long time, but it’s enough to prototype ideas. At the end of the week a set of judges would vote for the best idea. Winners would win funding to expand on their idea and hopefully make a polished experience. It would be really cool if the competition required each dev to fully document their progress to put in a mini documentary to show students their creative process. If planned well enough I could see some pretty big partners from both the music and game industry pitching in to help such as offering tech/tools to the teams.
I’ll admit that this sounds like a massive amount of work and a lot of technicalities would need to be ironed out, but frankly it never hurts to help drive creativity.
Just another idea to throw in the notebook.
This year I have joined the fray and committed myself to the Extra Life 24 hour gaming charity marathon. My goal is to raise $1500 and if I don’t meet it then a gang of penguins will club me with fish while I try to slumber each night for eternity.
Please donate HERE… but wait, there’s more!
To gain support and donations I have raised the bar by allowing anyone who donates $50 or more to pick a game that I will play for one hour during my 24 hour marathon. This is an opportunity to get me to play your game (ex. BigRook chose their Undead Empire) or torture me by making me play a game that I don’t want to play. The only catch is that they have to run on an Xbox 360 (US/NTSC), so retail, XBLA, XBLIG, and some originals are all fair game.
Here are games I currently have lined up for my marathon (in no particular order):
- Hanna Montana (btw @esko is a jerk)
- Portal 2
- Red Dead Redemption
- Totem Ball
- Kinectimals or Viva Pinata
- Gears of War 3
- Call of Duty: Black Ops
- Sneak King
- 50 Cent: Blood in the Sand
On top of all of this I will be live streaming my marathon over the Intertubes for you to watch my pain and, eventually, see me slip into madness. I plan on trying to get some visitors as well as give out some prizes to random stream viewers. I will post the schedule of what order the games will be played in before the event, so if it is Multiplayer you’ll know when you can jump in with me and keep me company.
More details will be posted here as we get closer to October 15th, but in the meantime if you have the means to do so please help make this as painful as possible.
Note: If you donate, please include a note with the game of choice and your Twitter name, if you have one.
Coming to PAX Prime in Seattle? AWESOME!
Some of you live in Seattle or have been to PAX Prime before, so this post may not have a lot of new info for you. This is more for those that are PAX/Seattle newbs. Either way I hope there’s at least one nugget of info that helps you out.
Seattle proper isn’t very big. If you have the legs for hills I suggest you look into walking to your destinations to see more of the city. Continue reading