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Eye For Games is about game design and development • •

EFG magazine 2013.1

cover design

Rodrigo Gonçalves 3D modeler | São Paulo, Brazil

3-A-DAY There’s something much better than previews and reviews - the 3-a-day opportunity at Eye For Games! The 3-a-day opportunity is a free opportunity available exclusively to game developers. Every feature is about a unique process and aspect of a game. This gives our readers the possibility to read about the design and development behind an individual game.

Release date All three articles will be published on the game’s release date. As a result it is important that we receive all material on time. However, you can let us know about the release date up to seven days in advance.

The features: • Process interview: this standard feature is asking the development team how the overall process of making the game went. • Second feature: the second feature is about the company itself. However if the developer already has a company profile this feature will focus on a different aspect of the game. • Third feature: this feature focuses on a specific aspect of the game such as art, 3D animation, audio, level design, etc.

The published articles will be featured on the front page of the website. A newsletter will also be emailed to all of our members and contacts. Free promotion? Absolutely! EFG replaces the traditional previews and reviews features with our own game design and development articles at no charge to the developer. Your 3-a-day has also a chance to get showcased by EFG at an event or conference through an EFG booth or publication.

Interested in promoting your game in this unique and exclusive way?

Hairy Tales - Arges Systems

Cargo Commander - Serious Brew



Become an EFG member and discover the upcoming member project! Get showcased on different events and publications.



Give your upcoming game release more than just previews and reviews. EFG replaced them with process articles, showing the game design & development behind the game.



Your professional blog can become a frontpage article! Let us know about your blog and we’ll keep an eye on it.

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Rai Sewgobind

Rodrigo Gonçalves

Lorne Balfe

Chris Apple


Eye For Games is about game design & development. For more information you can mail us to:

Serious Brew

Steven van Buuren

Jerry Kline WRITERS

Rémy van den Wijngaart

This edition is a print edition, but can also be found online on the website.

Bob Edwards

Eye For Games - April 2013 © All rights reserved

Dave Perotti

Jessica Hébert

The Behemoth Andy Gavin

Tornado Twins AdaptivElite

Paladin Studios Arges Systems

Yingpei Games

Rodrigo Gonçalves


concept art


creature design






PRO JANITOR POLICE design: characters and creatures

MERCENARY OPS compact process



MAKING CRASH BANDICOOT dev’s journey: Andy Gavin


CARGO COMMANDER design: artwork & level design


9 13 20 34



NARRATIVE AND GAMES The Writers Challenge

then & now

WHO IS DANTE? who is?

DISHONERED concept story


game design | story








3d modeler 3d modeler





Perhaps the dream of many composers, who are interested in the game industry: to compose the soundtrack for a game. Let alone, the soundtrack for a well-known triple-A game. Lorne Balfe, a Scottish composer, started his journey in the game industry with Battlefield 2. He eventually got the fully responsibility to compose the soundtrack for Ubisoft's game; Assassin's Creed III.




Hi Lorne! How are you doing today?

Thankfully having a busy day! But, a good day.

My earliest memories were thumping a piano.

Can you describe who Lorne Balfe exactly is?

I am Scottish and a composer. Also male, is that enough information because I could talk for hours. How can a day like Thursday be like?

Every Thursday is different, as is everyday. At the moment I am working on projects that are based in Canada, LA, London and Glasgow, so I have a lot of travel time, as well as air miles.

You've passion for composing, which is wonderful that it

brought you where you're today. But how did this passion for composing started and evolved?

My father was a songwriter, and had a residential recording

studio. I was surrounded by music from the day I was born. My earliest memories were thumping a piano.

When you heard that the game you'd compose for was

At some point you joined the game industry. How did this

I was over the moon. Being able to part of the franchise was also

opportunity take place?

Battlefield 2 was the first game I worked on. I had been working

for the film composer Rupert Gregson-Williams at the time, and was able to do some additional music on the game. Call of Duty:

Assassins Creed III, what was your first reaction?

intimidating. I had big musical shoes to step into. It was great being to have started off working on Revelations though before hand.

Modern Warfare was my first game as a credited composer. I

How did you started with the whole process? Did it took a

opportunity to co-compose on the project.

Due to the geographical and period of history, I knew I wanted

had worked with Hans Zimmer for a while and he gave me the

You've built experience for different industries, commercial/

radio and the game industry, but do you experience any differences?

There is no difference I feel. The job of the composer is to help

tell a story. I approach a game the same as games. With a game though I will tend to write a lot of music. In some of the games,

I can end up writing 8 hours of music. The music has to help the player delve into the world of the game and musically the

while or did you had to go and do research?

to try and use their musical influences. Being able to use Native

American chants and Celtic musical modes was amazing fun. Traveling to the Ubisoft headquarters helped me come up with ideas, due to meeting the designers of the game. Being Scottish,

I had great fun working with the band Blazin' Fiddles and being about to write pieces of music that were influenced by all of the people that would have arrived to America.

I have a question from one of our members, Andrew Corbitt:

composer has to help sonically create this.

"Lorne, how do you decide upon the instrumentation and

Going from your first video game we jump to one of your

orchestrate a game like this set in the late 1700's in Colonial

latest scores for Assassins Creed III. How did you came in contact with Ubisoft? and how did it went from here on?

I had been asked to work on a trailer for them. It really was luck that I ended up working with Ubisoft.

phrasing, and what do you reference for inspiration to best America?"

If I was to approach a score purely based on what they would have

heard in that period of time, I didn't feel that the player would be able to relate to it. I wanted to make a western modern score




but using traditional instruments. Music from that time was not we would necessarily be able to relate to. I didn't want to have a

lot electronic textures in the period based sections, but using the

manipulating the chanting as percussion and Irish whistles etc. created a modern musical world for the player.

What are the main instruments used for the ACIII soundtrack? I think I lost count how many instruments performed on the score. We recorded a full orchestra as well as Native American flutes and drums, vocal chanting, Irish Whistle, uilleann pipes, fiddles, accordions to name from a few!

To what personal rule did you stick when creating the theme song for ACIII, since this would be one of the most important

Each piece of music has to have the ability to give the player the right emotions

composition a player would hear?

How long have you been working, from scratch to final, on

on the main theme for months. I wanted to write something that

The whole process was probably around 10 months.

The only rule I have is to try and make it memorable. I worked people could remember, and hopefully whistle it! I would constantly

work on the theme with the team at Ubisoft. We would constantly make modifications to the theme, up to the last minutes.

Throughout the whole process, what has been the most challenging part?

All of it is challenging. There isn't anything simple with writing music for games.

Each piece of music has to have the ability

to give the player the right emotions i.e. if the player is in a navigation, combat or stealth mode.

Did you had moments when things didn't worked out or did

this soundtrack?

How did the experience went for you to work with Ubisoft and their latest title ACIII?

I had great support from Ubisoft. Working with Jerome Angelot and Benedicte Ouiment made the process fantastic. They were

able to try the music out in actual game play, whislt the game was still being developed.

How satisfied are you with the score?

I have been playing the game recently, and I am very proud of how it turned out.

you had no problems at all?

I know this question can be tricky, but if you had to choose

musically faced difficulties. This was a new installment to the

be? Movie or Games? and why?

Thankfully there were no major problems. The whole project

franchise and was like nothing Ubisoft had created before. Getting the right tone for the game had to be just right.



for one industry to compose music for, which one would it I would have to flip a coin to answer that! I enjoy both mediums as much as each other.

process | then and now




Castle Crashers continued to be updated on the 360

The latest update the game had was the Castle

A PS3 version was released in 2010 to make the game

September 26, 2012. The Behemoth is continuing to

as ports to other systems were also being developed. available to fans who only owned a PS3 at home.

"Similarly, we brought the game to Steam because

there were a lot of people who only had the chance to

play the game at trade shows or on a friendʼs console,

so it just seemed like a right thing to do bringing it to

the computer world. It just takes us a bit more time to

get on to multiple platforms because weʼre a smaller

company with limited resources and time." - The Behemoth

One of the updates brought a new addition to the PS3, which was a mini-game called the volleyball mode.

The Steam edition stayed close to the original XBLA

version, but it was changed to make the majority of the DLC as unlockables instead of purchases.

Crashers Steam Edition, which was released on work on updates for this new Steam Edition. This was

their first PC/MAC release and it brought a few issues that they couldn't foresee.

"Weʼre working on improving this version of the game

and optimizing all the features for Steam users." - The Behemoth

Today, Castle Crashers has been downloaded over 3 million times across multiple platforms.

"Weʼre truly lucky that Castle Crashers still has a

large fan following and there are still people who are

discovering the game even after four years. Thanks to

all the fans for their support!" - The Behemoth





Release: November 1st, 2012 Developer: Serious Brew Game: Cargo Commander 10



LEVEL DESIGN Probably one encounter in platforming in more complex

of the most creative things you will Cargo Commander is the dynamic several level designs. Some will appear and dynamic than others.

It is one thing to come up with this idea and an other to actually make it work. We've asked Serious Brewʼs coder/designer, Maarten Brouwer, a bit more about the level designs from Cargo Commander.

THE FIRST IDEAS The core idea of the game is about small pieces of level that temporarily get

smashed together into a jumbled whole. After a few weeks of prototyping, the basic level elements emerged: vertical and

like a safe home, contrasting with the cold

Thereʼs also a Journey Mode that has an

levels are temporary, thereʼs no problem

which was the original idea of how the

dangerous outer levels. Also, because the in giving the player the power to destroy them completely!

horizontal platforms in a grid that can be

The random level generation was chosen

other useful or dangerous objects. Based

resources; creating a level design tool and

drilled away, enemies, goodies and various on this, we thought of fitting themes, that also click with the main theme of loneliness and danger. Our first ideas were a bit more

survival horror like, with flashlights and fog of war. Soon we noticed though that the constantly added and removed parts

of level combined with the different gravity directions quickly made it hard for the player to orientate, so adding too much

darkness and scary surprises would make the game practically unplayable. DYNAMIC LEVEL DESIGNS

for various reasons, including our limited making/testing/tweaking



generation are to make the levels as

different as possible, and giving them a

generated levels are really new terrain to

explore, which fits with the theme. I like

games with generated levels as I know Iʼm

not following a route that some designer has thought out for me, and if I overcome a hard challenge, itʼs not because the creator has made it winnable.

come to the player, and leave again after

can choose any sector to play in, which

theme of the game, so the home container is decorated with various little details like

posters and laundry, to make it really feel

Developer: Serious Brew

the main game mode.

still give it quite some play time. Also,

made tutorial and first sector, the player

safe arrival. Coming home is an important

highscores and the waves, which became

The main challenges of procedural level

of the player going to the levels, the levels

exploration, survival, frantic return and

created the ʻarcadeʼ version with online

which you donʼt stay in levels long) but

Well, an infinite amount! After a hand-

creating a nice dynamic tension loop of

to keep that interesting long enough, we


far as we know), so we had to try it! Instead

little expeditions into the string of levels,

doubted we could create enough content

wanted to have a rather fast game (in


is your little home, from which you do

game was going to be, but because we

take a lot of time, especially because we

It hadnʼt been done before in this way (as

a few minutes. The only constant given

eternal string of containers (until you die),

can also be a new one by entering a sector

name that doesnʼt exist yet. Each sector has 12 waves of 5 containers, that are

randomly generated, but will be the same if the sector is replayed. Each sector also

has one special container that includes a

Sector Pass with which a new sector can

be unlocked; some of these are manually designed instead of generated.

Game: Cargo Commander

lifelike feel. Just randomly sticking floors and walls to each other quickly feel lifeless

and makes them very boring. So Iʼve added things like symmetry and patterns, and

little pieces of handmade level, and Daniël tried to give the objects and background

as much life as possible without making it seem as if you revisit the same level over and over.

I think we partly succeeded in this. Of course there are enough levels that are

ugly or boring, and after enough play time most levels start to look like each other, but I still get surprised by very cool levels

that the game can come up with. Manually designed levels can look more beautiful or offer slicker gameplay, but generated levels

may have some weirdness or charm that

you wouldnʼt have thought of yourself. If we had more time weʼd liked to add more

various content though. Perhaps in a DLC!





ARTWORK Answered by: Maarten Brouwer and Daniël Ernst

MAIN CHARACTER D: There are some practical considerations made. The colors

of the cargo commander had to be an orange/yellow to make the character pop from the background. And he should have a

worker feel. His fistcannon should feel like a tool and change

into other guns to make it feel like a swiss knife kind of thing. He should also feel a bit saggy and worn. And fragile though not weak.The design of the Cargo Commander was also heavily influenced by the movie Outland, check it out if you haven' t!

WEAPONS M: For the first prototypes we had standard weapons (pistol,

revolver, shotgun) that in the end havenʼt changed too much (the mine launcher was added later, and the fistcannon was made to transform according to the selected weapon). The weapons are

not the most important part of the game, so mostly we decided

to spend our time elsewhere. And the advantage of the ʻboringʼ weapon types is their direct recognizability.

ENEMIES D: The enemies were first based around the notion of the

monkeys that scientists sent into space in the beginning days of the space program. The monkeys would have evolved into

hideous mutated monkeys. But they had too much character. The player had to feel isolated. So I decided to go for soulless

creatures that would resemble cargo commanders. And instead

of being born they were grown. Design wise the enemies have sharp features and the other stuff is square.



who is?

who is?


"A fight every now and then does make life a little more interesting, don't ya think?"

Sparda, also known as the Legendary Dark Knight, was

drink; he was once so inebriated that he asked a mop to marry

and in defiance of his demon brethren, he stood for

his skills with the sword or gun, and Dante often hides his

unlike any demon that ever existed. Despite his origin honour and justice. The brave warrior took on the mantle

of mankindʼs protector and battled against the demonic forces that would see the world plunged into chaos.

Eventually Sparda used his powers to sever the connection between the human and demon worlds, forever locking

him. The Devil Hunterʼs social skills arenʼt as finely honed as emotions behind a wall of sarcasm. His relationship with his much more levelheaded brother, Vergil is an uneasy one. The two men are rivals and are always locked in an intense, yet somehow playful, struggle for supremacy.

himself and his sword in the demon realm. From his

Arrogance and flamboyant behaviour aside, Dante is actually

born: Dante and Vergil. Of the two boys, Dante grew up

and justice, as his father did. If you are in a bind and need

relationship with a human female two twin boys were to become a skilled Devil Hunter.

The white-haired Dante is very much a show-off. He enjoys flaunting his skill for all to see, and is known

to exhibit enormously flashy moves during even the toughest battles. He takes a great deal of joy from battling

demons and will even hold back his full potential to both

a kind-hearted person who cares a great deal about honour

help with a problem of paranormal origin, Dante is your man.

That is if you can stomach the sarcastic comments that he just canʼt seem to stop making

A new and improved Devil Hunter

Ninja Theoryʼs DmC features a new Dante that differs slightly from the Dante seen in the older Devil May Cry games.

lengthen the fight and lull the opponent into a false sense

Appearance-wise, the new Dante lacks the characteristic white

does have the prowess to justify his arrogance. His sword

also slightly altered the characterʼs back-story: Dante is now

of supremacy. Despite his mocking behaviour, Dante serves as a perfect extension of his body, and he wields it with the poetic finesse of a truly gifted Devil Hunter.

The one thing that could come close to Danteʼs lust for battle is his passion for pizza. Dante is also a fan of the

hair and looks to be significantly younger. Ninja Theory has

a demon-angel hybrid (Nephilim), though he is still the son of Sparda. Heʼs a young and angry punk, a tad anti-social,

but still has the classic Dante attitude – the confidence and witty remarks are very much present. He might look and feel different, but he is still every demonʼs worst nightmare.

Article by Rémy van den Wijngaart EFG


dev’s journey


By: Andy Gavin



A Blog by Andy Gavin All ideas are brilliant in their own way. They can be molded in any shape, have a lot of different directions and can challenge you to realize them.

In the summer of 1994 Naughty Dog, Inc. was

Sensing opportunity, we turned to our own favorite genre, the character platform

partner Jason Rubin. Over the preceding eight

systems were dominated by CAGs and their cousins (like “walk to the right and

still a two-man company, myself and my longtime years, we had published six games as a lean and mean duo, but the time had come to expand.

action game (CAG for short). In the 80s and early 90s the best sellers on home punch” or “walk to the right and shoot”). Top examples were Mario, Sonic, and our personal recent favorite, Donkey Kong Country.

In 1993 and 1994 we invested our own money

So on the second day of the drive, passing Chicago and traveling through

Warrior. In the summer of 1994 we finished it and

Labrador/Ridgeback mix (also fed on McDonalds), the idea came to us.

to develop the 3D0fighting game, Way of the sold the rights to Universal Studios. At the same

Americaʼs long flat heartland, fed on McDonalds, and accompanied by a gassy

time we agreed to a “housekeeping” deal with

We called it the “Sonicʼs Ass” game. And it was born from the question: what

bailing out on my M.I.T. PhD halfway. It certainly

at “Sonicʼs Ass.” Aside from the difficulties of identifying with a character only

Universal, which meant moving to LA, and for me didnʼt turn out to be a bad decision.

Jason and I had been debating our next game for

months, but the three-day drive from Boston to

would a 3D CAG be like? Well, we thought, youʼd spend a lot of time looking

viewed in posterior, it seemed cool. But we worried about the camera, dizziness, and the playerʼs ability to judge depth – more on that later.

LA provided ample opportunity. Having studied

Before leaving Boston weʼd hired our first employee (who didnʼt start full time

still relevant) we couldnʼt help but notice that 2 or

Dave Baggett. We were also excited to work closely with Universal VP Mark

arcade games intensely (yeah, in 1994 they were

3 of the leading genres had really begun making the transition into full 3D rendering.

Racing had, with Ridge Racer and Virtua Racing.

until January 1995), a brilliant programmer and M.I.T. buddy of mine named

Cerny, who had made the original Marble Madness and Sonic 2. In California, in 1994, this foursome of me, Jason, Dave, and Mark were the main creative contributors to the game that would become Crash Bandicoot.

Fighting, with Virtua Fighter. And gun games, with

We all agreed that the “Sonicʼs Ass,” game was an awesome idea. As far as

3D, and while Virtua Fighter wasnʼt as playable

notoriously-difficult CAG to 3D. Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Mario, was

Virtua Cop. Racing was clearly 100% the better in as Street Fighter, the writing was on the wall.

we knew, no one had even begun work on bringing the best-selling-butsaid to be working on

Check out the full blog on Andy Gavinʼs website: 14






The “Tornado Twins,” a pair of twin game developers have decided to use their passion for games to educate developers. They actively teach and support others in creating games. Originally they launched their Youtube channel (http://www. to educate others about game development. Later they launched, a website for Unity developers to buy and sell original assets. Recently they announced, a website devoted solely to their new Unity plugin FPSControl. FPSControl is designed to give developers a headstart on designing an original first person shooter.

Interview by Jerry Kline EFG



So for those unfamiliar, who are you guys? How did

Are there any particular assets that are especially in demand that users

We are identical twins known as “TornadoTwins”.

Every category has its winners. Weʼd recommend creators to do what theyʼre

you get into video games?

We started to publically teach talented folks how to

develop videogames. Little did we know that weʼd

attract not only teenagers, but professionals from

should consider creating?

best at. If they create something that everybody needs, thereʼs always an eager market.

all over the globe. Many reported they landed jobs

When it comes to selling assets, are there any restrictions for the creators?

We felt that gamedevs needed more, so we launched

market time to learn the benefits. But this hardly happens. Furthermore, on

because of our training. But we wanted to help more.

another string of services, such as and recently, What is is the second in a string of solutions we initiated for game developers. FPSControl–the tool we just launched–is the third, and there will be

more. Gameprefabs is a specialty-store that provides prefabs that developers use to quickly develop games.

Well there is such a thing as publishing too much too fast, without giving the there are no limits on products or payment.

Are the price points for assets on the site set in stone? Who decides how much to charge?

Sellers set the price. If we think it will sell better at a different price, we will

advise. Some ask too much. But there are many who think too little of their work. We help them make it worthwhile. If they price it too low, people think itʼs junk.

Each prefab saves considerable time. There are 15

What has the reaction been to Gameprefabs so far?

sounds, music and much more.

The community definitely gives back to whatʼs valuable to them. The gamedev

categories, such as art,, A.I., Facebook integration,

When was Gameprefabs founded? What inspired

Itʼs been incredible. If there had not been a need, we wouldnʼt have started it. community is a smart, educated and lightning fast group of people.

you guys to create it?

How are developers finding success with Gameprefabs?

place for the community to share what they made,

is that with the right knowledge, every long tail product can be built into a

When we started there was no real and none for them to get paid for those prefabs that cost considerable investment. We used our reputation

in the community and took a big risk to get it off the

Every store has long tail and peaking products. But what most donʼt know peaking product. The question is if youʼre willing to listen to the market. It takes humility.

ground. The result was incredible.

One of the big selling points of Gameprefabs is that creators can sell their assets through the site.

Can you talk about how that process works? What has the feedback been like so far?

We hardly have to approach professionals, because they come to us. Anyone can submit art and code and we approve it or tell the makers what needs changing.

We walk with them. For those approved we advise on price and possible future products.



If there had not been a need, we wouldn’t have started it.


Whatʼs FPS Control and how does it work?

What kinds of documentation and help are available for FPS Control?

fledged unity plugin allowing developers to rapidly

from AI to art creation to map development. The first documentation will be

Itʼs our third and largest solution to date. Itʼs a fullstomp an FPS out of the ground. And with rapidly we mean weeks instead of months. This BETA is

There will be weekly tutorials coming out covering absolutely everything released soon.

completely free and already has an incredible A.I.

What plugins or tools would you recommend to developers who want to

even has editors that write code for you. And we

We are talking with multiple talented companies who wish to have their

library, editable player control, music zones and it havenʼt even started yet!

What versions of Unity is FPS Control compatible with?

Unity 4. We donʼt support legacy versions. The latest version allows us the most freedom to create.

Would FPS Control be useful for genres outside of the first person shooter? If so how?

We heard from many creative folks who will use the FPS

enhance their use of FPS Control?

incredible tools become part of FPS Control. Beyond that we encourage

experienced programmers to contact us with what they have. Collaboration is one of our core values.

FPS Control comes with RAIN{one}, Rival{Theory}ʼs A.I. Can you explain a

little more about how RAIN{one} works and how itʼs being implemented into FPS Control?

Let us first say that the team at Rival{Theory} is comprised of 100% geniuses. We always joke that they will invent Skynet… but we think they already have.

Control camera movement, but wonʼt create a shooter.

Theyʼve been working side-by-side with us since FPS Control was just a

However, any experienced coder can easily turn their

makes enemies so smart, itʼs almost scary. We are going to provide in-depth

At this moment no other formats are supported yet.

project into another game type, such as a game with a top-down camera- or a third-person-camera.

FPS Control has three different licensing options:

guest user, pro user, and source license. If Iʼm a

game developer, how do I know which license is right for me?

If you have no budget, use the free guest user account.

vision. Without high quality A.I. an FPS is worthless. Rain{one} is that A.I. It tutorials for those not accustomed to controlling professional A.I. How will FPS Control change in the future?

You donʼt even want to know how hard it is to keep this secret! We have incredible updates planned all throughout 2013 and beyond. Some of those

features are displayed on the site. Once FPS Control is out of beta it will do everything a pro FPS does and more.

Pro is for indies and studios and the source license is for programmers who wish to alter the tool.

Why should a developer choose FPS Control over something else?

If you want to compete with quality shooters, why start from scratch? Itʼs a no-brainer.

For more information please check out their website:



process interview


CHARACTERS AND CREATURES Persons answering: Richard Cook and Daniel Worley AdaptivElite announced their second title, “Pro

Who created the designs?

Janitor Police,” which will be released on May

RC: Myself and our Lead Artist Daniel

18th, 2013 for PCs. Android and iOS releases will follow later. EFG asked AdaptivElite about their new

Worley. He created the bulk of the

character art, while I focused on the art for the levels and UI in the game.

game’s character and the creatures that they

What source(s) inspired you?

designed and eventually used in the game.

RC: For me it was games like Metal

Slug, Castle Crashers, Megaman, and

Developer: AdaptivElite Game: Pro Janitor Police



I like about the protagonist in this game is that he has an ordinary and unglamorous day job, something a lot of people can relate to, but he takes

it upon himself to save the entire city

because he knows heʼs the only one that can.

Contra. From old school to new, it

was definitely something I wanted to

Who created the designs of the game’s characters?

adapt the style of the game too, both

in terms of visual flare and design. The

RC: I originally created the 3 characters

fast motions and quirky art style give it

and maybe 2 of the enemies for the

concept, and then Daniel took them

a lot of appeal, and make it seem like

Release: Q3 2013

DW: Iʼd just like to say one thing that

one of those games you would find in the dark corner of an arcade in 1995 or

something, and you play it on a whim

to find out itʼs an awesome game even though no one else has played it.






He also created a good bulk of the enemies





elaborating on almost all of the art to give it a fresh look.

process interview

What inspired the aesthetics of the characters?

created the other levels with it while he

havoc, and they wonʼt let his victory come

RC: I think I originally wanted an illustrated

my original designs were single colors and

bacteria flying at you to mutated lions

look to them, with oblong shapes and quirky

acting enemies. Daniel really emphasized

on that and managed to create it in his own vision, which I liked a lot.

DW: Some inspiration came from old

school SNES games like Mega Man X, Street Fighter, and Super Metroid. Castle Crashers was also an important influence.

Who is the main character or protagonist of the game? RC: Mitchell Harris a.k.a Mitch Hammer

is the protagonist. Mitchʼs story is one of the unlikely but brave hero. Just a regular janitor at the Metro Middle School, he is

suddenly put to the test when a mysterious outbreak occurs in the chemistry lab of the

school. He dons his alter ego, calls upon his team and gets to work. There are

certainly twists and turns in the story, but that is the gist of it.

continued to work on characters. Many of

very rounded shapes. He added a lot with

shading and more interesting forms to the characters. Luckily the designs held true

in their essence, and so a lot of it ended

up looking very similar, with just a more “polished” look to it.

What are the main character’s powers and abilities? RC: Mitch is the MacGuyver of janitors. He can turn any cleaning material, chemical, or tool into a lethal weapon for the viruses

and bacteria running amok. Heʼs agile and can slice through the air with his mop, and he can also upgrade his abilities with

new special moves and powers that can be

found throughout the game by accessing secret areas and completing levels. His

team also has their own unique abilities and can swoop in to help him at any time,

or help him access areas he canʼt normally access himself.

How many designs did you go through until the team decided on the final version?

What kind of creatures (antagonists) are there opposing our hero?

RC: We actually only ended up doing one

RC: The exposed and running rampant

Daniel took what I had and recreated it.

another name throughout the game. There

major revision for the bulk of the art when He added more shapes and colors, more

visual appeal to both the characters and

the levels. I worked off his style and

Developer: AdaptivElite

collective of viruses become known by

easy. Youʼll see everything from the tiniest and monstrous blobs aiming to crush you. Itʼs intense. The onslaught doesnʼt let up very much.

What challenges did you face in bringing these creatures to life? RC: Every game faces its own challenges of

course, but for me it was one of a transfer

to the 2D medium. As I mentioned, I am a 3D artist primarily, and so needing to learn how to adapt better to 2D as

uncharted territory was difficult. I couldnʼt

take this thing I created and just examine it at every angle like I could a 3D model.

I had to do all of this in my head before

putting the cursor to the canvas. It was a challenge. I do feel like I stepped and

created something as close to my vision

as possible though. And Iʼm proud of that. DW: The walk and run cycle were the biggest





smooth run animation for Mitch took a lot of work. I had to import the frames

into an animation program several times before I was able to achieve good, fluid, bounding motion.

is a lot of backstory being implemented,

but for now, all you have to know is that there are some real nasties out to wreak

Game: Pro Janitor Police




concept story

Article by Rémy van den Wijngaart

Dunwall is the capital of Gristol, the Isle on

plague starts taking the lives of not just


as well. Empress Kaldwin tasks Burrows

which Empress Jessanine Kaldwin resides. being






government, poverty plagues Dunwall, a city powered by whale oil. In a misguided attempt

to free Dunwall of this burden, Spy Master

Hiram Burrows arranges to transport diseaseridden






continent to Dunwall, the idea being that the plague would swiftly take care of the underprivileged poverty. It works at first, but the outbreak quickly proves impossible to

control. Soon the rats begin breeding, and the


the poor, but the rich and everyone else

to investigate the possibility of someone

importing the rats from elsewhere. Afraid that the Empress will discover his plot,

Burrows plans to assassinate her. He hires Daud, a professional assassin, to

do the deed. Meanwhile, he convinces the Empress to send her Lord Protector to the

other Isles to seek aid in combatting the rat plague. With him out of the picture, the plan should go smoothly.

eturning from a trip around the continent, the Lord Protector, Corvo Attano, arrives

in Dunwall two days earlier than planned. He carries bad news for the Empress: the

other continents cannot help Dunwall with the rat plague. Before seeing Jessanine,

Corvo meets Emily, the Empressʼ daughter, with whom he has a close bond. They play a

game of hide-and-seek before Corvo must turn his attention to other matters. After briefly conversing with Hiram Burrows, Corvo finally approaches the Empress and delivers the news. While Kaldwin is happy to see Corvo, she laments the failure of his mission.

Emily is the first one to spot the danger: there are men moving on the rooftops. Before Corvo can wrap his head around what is happening, the men teleport closer and attack the Empress. Corvo tries to defend her, but while one of the attackers holds him aloft with magic,

a man in red runs his sword through Jessanine. As quickly as he arrived the man disappears

again, taking the young Emily with him. In her dying moments Jessanine asks Corvo to find and protect her daughter. Just as she draws her final breath, Spymaster Burrows and High Overseer Campbell arrive. They accuse Corvo of treason, and drag him off to Coldridge Prison.

In the next few months, Hiram Burrows takes

Meanwhile, a group of Loyalists under the

Regent. With Empress Kaldwin out of the way,

of Corvoʼs fate. They oppose the false

control of the Empire, declaring himself Lord he can finally crack down on the diseaseridden poor. The government quarantines entire districts of Dunwall. The city guards quietly terminate the sick people, but order

is not restored and the plague continues to run rampant.



command of Admiral Farley Havelock learn

Lord Regent. They see in Corvo a way to

rid Dunwall of his malevolent presence, and they set a plan in motion to facilitate Corvoʼs escape.

or Lord Protect o gets Corvo Attan the blamed for press death of Em dwin al Jessanine K

concept story

Six months after the assassination of Empress Kaldwin, Corvo remains locked up in Coldridge Prison.

Though his captors torture him repeatedly, he refuses to admit to the crime. Hiram Burrows, now Lord Regent, sentences Corvo to death; he is to be executed publicly for “his” crime.

When the guards return Corvo to his cell, he finds a message from someone claiming to be a friend. This friend has provided Corvo with the means to escape Coldridge Prison. Once outside, Corvo makes

Corvo escapes from prison with help from the Loyalists

his way through the sewers to meet up with his contact, a boatsman called Samuel.

Samuel takes Corvo to the Hound Pits Pub to see the Loyalists. Admiral Havelock and Lord Treavor

Pendleton introduce themselves as leaders of the conspiracy, and reveal themselves to be the “friend” that helped Corvo escape from prison. They enlist Corvo in their mission, which is to destroy Hiram

Burrows and place Lady Emily, the true heir to the throne, at the head of the Empire. Corvo accepts their

offer, as this aligns with his own goals. Piero Joplin, a skilled inventor under the employ of the Loyalists,

outfits Corvo with some useful tools and equipment, including a mask to hide his identity and terrify

his enemies. Itʼs up to Corvo to eliminate key members of the corrupt government of Hiram Burrows, starting with the High Overseer Thaddeus Campbell. That night, when Corvo goes to sleep, his dreams are visited by an entity called The Outsider, who gives him magical powers to aid in his efforts.

Lord Regent Burrows, afraid that someone

figures, such as the High Overseer and

to the Golden Cat. This luxurious pleasure

Pendletonʼs two older brothers, better

might attempt to rescue Emily, has sent her establishment





himself and other important government

Custis and Morgan Pendleton; Treavor

known as the Pendleton Twins. There, under heavy guard, she will be safe.

During his mission to eliminate to High Overseer Campbell, Corvo finds and frees Overseer Martin, an ally of the Loyalists. When Corvo removes Campbell, he retrieves the

manʼs journal, which contains the location of Emily Kaldwin. On his return to the Hound Pits Pub, Corvo delivers the journal to Admiral Havelock and retires for the night while the others work on cracking the encryption.

While the former Lord Protector sleeps,

The Loyalists also manage to decode

current state of affairs. Pendletonʼs older

Emilyʼs location. She is being held at the






twin brothers hold important seats in parliament; their support to the Lord

Regent makes them a target that the

Loyalists must eliminate. Better yet, with

part of Campbellʼs journal, and discover

Golden Cat. Coincidentally, the Pendleton Twins also reside there. Itʼs the perfect opportunity.

the Pendleton Twins out of the way, Treavor Pendleton would be able to take over in their stead.

After he investigates a minor disturbance in the sewers, Havelock and Pendleton send

Corvo to the Golden Cat. Killing two birds with one stone, Corvo manages to find and

take care of the Pendleton Twins there, as well as rescue the young Emily. When he returns with her to the Hound Pits Pub, Callista, one of the Loyalists, takes Emily up to

her new room in the tower while Admiral Havelock and Lord Pendleton converse with

Corvo. They have deciphered more of the High Overseerʼs journal. It seems that Hiram Burrows has a mistress, and that Anton Sokolov, the Royal Physician, once painted a

portrait of her. Corvoʼs next mission is to find and abduct Sokolov, so the Loyalists can

pressure him into revealing the identity of the Lord Regentʼs mistress, one of his most powerful noble supporters.

Corvo rescues Emily and starts to undermine the Lord Regent’s plans



concept story

While Corvo proceeds to Kaldwinʼs Bridge

down the usurper once and for all. Havelock

control of his brothersʼ parliamentary votes. By

Loyalists will soon be able to put the rightful

to obtain Sokolov, Treavor Pendleton takes

eliminating this pillar of support for the Lord

Regent, they are one step closer to bringing

grows more certain with every victory: the heir on the throne and save Dunwall from the corrupt Burrows.

Corvo manages to sneak past the protection around Kaldwinʼs Bridge, and abducts Sokolov under

the nose of the guards. Once he returns the Royal Physician to the Hound Pits, the Loyalists proceed to question him. After a little persuasion, Sokolov reveals what he knows about the Lord

Regentʼs mysterious ally: he only painted her from the back, and has never seen her face. He does know her name: Lady Boyle. Unfortunately, this does not narrow it down sufficiently; the three Boyle sisters — Waverly, Esma and Lydia — all carry the title “Lady Boyle.” As luck would have it, though, they are hosting a party at the Boyle Mansion. Corvo sets out to sneak into the party to find which Lady Boyle is the Lord Regentʼs ally and dispose of her.

Using their newly gained influence, Havelock

goal, Havelock starts to consider the possible

office of High Overseer. Now they have the

Dunwall of Hiram Burrows? Is putting Emily on

and Pendleton place Teague Martin in the support of the Overseers, the parliamentary votes needed to make their actions legal and

Hiram Burrowsʼ mysterious ally is out of the way, all that stands in their way is the Lord

Regent himself. Coming ever closer to his

outcomes. What happens when Corvo rids the throne enough to win over the people in the streets? Being this close to power, should

he stop there or push on? Maybe itʼs time to think about getting rid of Corvo.

The Lord Regent has exposed himself, and it is time to strike. Samuel the Boatsman drops Corvo off at Dunwall Tower. Hiram Burrows is somewhere inside — ready to flee to a secured location at a momentʼs

notice. Corvo does what he does best, and infiltrates the heavily guarded structure. Even the traitorous Hiram

Burrows is no match for his talents, and before long the Lord Regent is out of the picture. Just like that, itʼs all over. Pushed in the right direction by the Loyalists, the people of Dunwall quickly change their allegiance. All that remains now is to put Emily on the throne.

Spirits are high when Corvo returns to the Hound Pits. Havelock, Pendleton and Martin all congratulate the hero on his successful mission, and share a celebratory glass of liquor. The drink packs quite a punch,

and Corvo quickly heads upstairs to rest. He doesnʼt make it to his bed before passing out. He has been betrayed once again...

When Corvo awakes, still drugged and on the verge of passing out, Havelock, Pendleton and Martin are standing over him. They talk about how the people will welcome them as heroes: the ones to not only eliminate the false Lord Regent, but also capture his assassin. Before they leave to tend to other matters, they task Samuel with keeping an eye on Corvo.

The situation is desperate, but it seems Corvo hasnʼt run completely out of friends: Samuel admits to having slipped him only half the amount of poison, effectively saving Corvoʼs life. He sets Corvo adrift in the Flooded District, a ruined part of town, and then makes himself scarce. It isnʼt long before some familiar folks find

Corvo drifting on the water: Daud and his assassins; the ones responsible for the death of Empress Kaldwin. They imprison Corvo, but it takes more than that to stop The Masked Felon.

Corvo is b etrayed



once again ...

concept story

Meanwhile, Admiral Havelock promotes

little coup dʼétat any legitimacy is Emily.

in Emilyʼs stead until she comes of age.

throne, Havelockʼs revolution could be

himself to Lord Regent, intending to rule

Of course, this is merely a ruse for the simple folk — Havelock does not plan to

give up his new power, especially after all

that he has done to get it. With himself as Lord Regent, Pendleton in parliament

and Martin as High Overseer, they finally have the opportunity to change the fate of Dunwall for the better.

Still, Havelock is not convinced that he

is safe. The only thing he has to give his

If he didnʼt control the true heir to the viewed as just another power grab. Corvo may be dead, but what is to stop someone

else from trying to take her? He also

canʼt run the risk of having her disobey him. Havelock decides to take Emily and

hide in the monumental lighthouse on Kingsparrow





project of the late Lord Regent. At least there he will be safe...

After taking care of Daud and escaping through the sewers of Dunwall, Corvo sneaks back into the Hound Pits. He finds that Havelock, Pendleton and Martin have murdered almost everyone there — apparently only the three of them played a part in the betrayal.

Piero Joplin and Anton Sokolov are still alive, and with their help, Corvo manages to

incapacitate all the guards around the Hound Pits. Using a signal in the tower he calls

Samuel back to shore, who then informs him of Emilyʼs location. Itʼs time to set things right once and for all.

Kingsparrow Island is the most secured location Corvo has ever seen. Itʼs positively teeming with guards. Somewhere on the island, hiding like the cowards they are, are the traitors Havelock, Pendleton and Martin. Are they truly evil or were they seduced by

power? Will Corvo take his revenge and slay them all? Or will he show them the mercy

that they never showed him? His actions will have consequences for not just himself, but also for Dunwall and indeed the entire Empire. Emily will look to Corvo for guidance as a child would look to a father, and will surely learn from the example he sets. Will she grow up to be a kind-hearted Empress like her mother, or will she be ruthless and efficient? The future of Dunwall rests in Corvoʼs hands.

rs the traito ut to find o ll or s a re w n tu u n e save D Corvo ve h l il W . y e Emil ss? and rescu to darkne further in plunge it







MOMONGA NGA ARTWORK Persons answering: Jimmy de Meza and Derk de Geus


D: In the very beginning we started with a super low poly art style. We took





possible to invite people that appeal to the visuals for nostalgic memories as a child.

papercrafting. Jimmyʼs bright colors and


match for these origins.

fresh and bright/pastel colors and simple

Asian influences turned out to be a great

J: The first time I set eyes upon Momonga, I knew it had great potential. The first

initial style that had been set with lowpoly shapes, inspired me to take it a

level higher. To make low-poly graphics more attractive, I chose to make more

J: I always had an attraction for cute, cool,

shapes. Every artist expresses something that is part of who they are or who they

want to become. The imagination is a

eyes more rest when it reads an image. Children are a great example of how they

enjoy the experience of simple geometry and bright tasty colors. Thatʼs why I believe

that there is a difference in simple and simplistic. The art style may look simple,

but it is not. It is simplistic. Example: To make a simplistic abstraction of a plant,

I stretch the imagination to make it less

And those games that were the most visual impression of awe in my mind. And by that I do not mean fancy realistic graphics, but artists who chose to try to

create something new and unique. Shapes, colors and textures are so important for the game experience next to gameplay,

Zelda” – it was a natural consequence of

the design decisions and our personal influences.

J: Yeah, it is interesting that this is noted.

him or herself without technical limits. So why limit yourself again in production art? I think that we could have stretch

it even further to make the whole game look like all the concept art. But there

was also a beauty in letting complete 3D

environments with lighting and shading do their work to finish the chosen art style.

level design, music etc. I have to say

D: I think Jimmy did an amazing job

research very well to make their products

The visuals are almost vector-like, which

that Japanese anime and games did their so attractive worldwide. Thatʼs where most of my inspiration came from.

realistic, by removing unnecessary details,

D: There are many Western and Eastern

the recognition of the object. This way it is

sources to draw inspiration from. I agree

but keep the relevant shapes that define

it. But we never set out to “make it like

Since in concept art, an artist can express

attractive to me, were those that left a

positive reactions and moods. It gives the

game has a decidedly Nintendo-ish feel to

the best of beauty.

and textures. I have a favor for bright, fresh

the eye of the beholder and it brings up

lot of places. Personally, I think that the


steered in the right direction to express

Besides that. Iʼve played a lot of games.

and tasty colors, because it is appealing to

fresh colors and shapes can be found in a

wonderful thing that should be tamed and

interesting shapes than the common basic geometry combined with appealing colors

with Jimmy that the timeless principles of

elements mixed, and we had numerous

translating the concept art to 3D models.

is a result of the decision to use vertex

colors instead of textures for the 3D models. The game uses gradients, sharp

lines, and bright colours. This is in many ways similar to the concept art style.




PROCESS Person answering: Derk de Geus BRAINSTORM

What were your first few thoughts about this game, the characters, environment, and the theme?

D: Well, the initial idea was to do an “infinite pinball” game in

which you would need to get as far as possible. Like Doodle Jump meets pinball mechanics. We figured that the characters would be

“fluffy with cute eyes” – so we invented these generic fluffballs

which you could bounce around the screen. The environment would be a fantasy world with several areas, like ice, forests, volcanos – the works. :)

How did you guys come up with Momonga?

D: In 2010 we had a lot of prototypes lying around, and none

of them were really getting anywhere. So we figured we would formalize our selection process a bit. We started with a couple of brainstorms, and the result was 100 game ideas. We then voted for each concept, and the top 10 would go to the next phase. We

did market research on the designs, and the top 3 of games would then go to the prototype phase. With the 3 prototypes, we invited

people to our office to play and rank the games. The winner was Pinball Forever, which would later become Momonga. DESIGN

What was the most important thing when it came to the interface?

D: We needed to communicate a lot of things. In the first designs, we crammed everything into one window. That was technically possible, but not the best way to communicate the progress to the

player. We later changed that to different windows, where you get everything spelled out for you: Your score buildup, any challenges you may have completed, and whatʼs next for you to do.

Was there something particular you tried to gain with the cutscenes?

way too much time to design and finetune them. We also looked

the cutscenes are a proven method to progress stories. There is

free and provide in-app purchases to users to monetize the game.

D: There is a storyline that glues the whole game together, and quite a bit of dialogue at times, even though we tried to keep it

to a minimum. I wanted the player to understand the characters and which factors drive them into this adventure.

at the freemium business model, where you offer the game for However with the storyline game design, we felt that a freemium model would break the game and alienate the user experience too much.



D: In terms of the story, your tribe has been taken by a bunch of

D: The characters are animated in 3D Studio Max and the interface

In a few lines, what is the goal of the game?

owl bandits, and you are the only one who can save them. In terms

of gameplay, you simply have to get to the end of the level, using flippers. You will meet enemies and various obstacles in the levels, and you will need to open doors by flipping switches. Where lies the challenge in this game?

D: The challenge is hitting the right target at the right time, while keeping your ball in the game.

In which software is Momonga animated? and cameras are animated in Unity.

What was the hardest thing to animate?

D: There are a couple of bird characters, and their wings were

very tricky. Bird wings are made up of different layers of individual feathers, and all these feathers move individually. We came up

with a solution that allows us to fold and unfold the wings, while

still keeping to a minimum of bones and polygons to do the trick.

Were there any gameplay functionalities you wanted in the


D: Yeah, we wanted to make it an MMO, but ran out of time… Just

outsourced it or made it yourself?

game but just didnʼt fit?

kidding ;) But seriously, we wanted to have more levels, but it took



Who made the music, sound and did the voices? Did you D: I made the music myself, and Guido Bergman did the sound


Release: Januar y 17th, 2013 Developer: Paladin Studios Game: Momonga

What programming language does Momonga use?

D: We use Unity as a game engine, and C# as the programming language. QA

When did you decide that it was time to test the game?

D: From the very first start we invited testers to give feedback and provide us with ideas. Itʼs an important part of development,

and we had testing sessions throughout the development process. PROCESS

Looking back at the process, did the team learn any new things?

D: We learned so much, I donʼt know where to begin… First of all,

the lesson I have learned is that it is really important to design

your game with the business model in mind. We are focusing on multiplatform deployment, and that seems to be a pretty good

strategy. However, if we would have been able to do a freemium model, not in a nasty way but in a good way, that would have

helped us with breaking even. The game design kind of blocks

that, because there are no weapons or items we could sell. Then again, the story and characters are powerful, and we have been getting great feedback on that, so that is a potential source of

income for the future. Another thing that we have learned is that it takes waaaay more time than you would think to build a good game, especially when itʼs a “side project” like Momonga. There

have been months when we didnʼt even work on the game, and most of the time we had one or two people working on it. When

a paid project is demanding attention (deadlines!) then we need

to refocus the team on those projects. It slows you down – not necessarily the best situation in a fast-moving games industry. effects for the game. We got help from Tom Pearce of Practical

Were there any big issues during the entire process that took

for the sound effects. The voices were done by my girlfriend

D: The main issue was level design. We had little experience with

Music, who mastered the soundtracks and did the sound direction Marlies (Momo), myself (the raven and owl guard), my uncle Kees

Visser (Panda, Guaka and Kuton) and our marketing intern Peter van der Spijk (Fry). It sure was a lot of fun to do all those voices :) PROGRAMMING

With what kind of bugs did you had to deal with?

D: All kinds, really! One of the main issues was physics. Pinball is a fast-paced game, and the physics need to predict the trajectory

of the ball and account for the flipper movement. Another bug we had to deal with was with Facebook leaderboards. We had that all

set up a year ago, but one week before we submitted to the App

a little while to properly deal with?

pinball level design, and we had to learn which things worked

and which things didnʼt work. The process for level design got

refined over the course of the project, so in the end we could do pretty complex levels in a short amount of time. Still, it can

take several weeks (if not months) to design a level like Guaka or Kuton in Momonga.

We also switched our management tool from stickies on a

whiteboard to an online tool called Trello. This was a big

improvement, because it allowed us to track more items and customize our workflow. I highly recommend it!

Store, Facebook killed the API we were using so the leaderboards

How long did the team eventually worked on Momonga?

and right now we are working on getting them back in. Another

the prototype as well. In total we spent about 6000 hours on the

showed only errors. We had to remove the Facebook leaderboards,

issue was with crashes – the game uses quite a bit of memory, and on older devices that caused a lot of crashes. We mentioned

D: In the end we worked on Momonga for two years, if you count game, so those two years were not anywhere near full-time.

it in the description but we should have restricted the hardware a

Now that the game has been released, how do you feel?

end we managed to fix the crash issues and it now works pretty

out there, we did it! Now itʼs time to look forward and consider

bit more firmly because players donʼt read descriptions ;) In the well on older devices like the iPhone 3GS and iPad 1.

Developer: Paladin Studios

Game: Momonga

D: Exhausted with a sense of accomplishment and freedom. Itʼs our next steps :)




member’s eye

CHRIS APPLE Composer | Rockville, Maryland

I AM... Iʼm a composer, sound designer, singer and guitarist who grew up in the suburbs outside Washington D.C. Iʼve been interested in music since as long as I can remember. I was hooked ever since I heard Harold Faltermeyerʼs theme to “Top Gun” as a kid.

Since then, Iʼve loved to play, remix, and compose in a variety of

genres, both old and modern. I also love hanging out with friends,

barbequing, sci-fi, heckling bad movies, and of course, playing video games.

Iʼm a very tenacious person. I like to try many different things but

when thereʼs something I know that I want, I pursue it relentlessly. This can be a personal life goal, a piece of gear I want, but usually

this is a type of sound Iʼm chasing. I get very specific about the type of treatment I want my music to have, because people react strongly to the type of production they hear, even if they donʼt realize it. So everything has to be exactly right!

MY PASSION Thereʼs a quote from the Speed Racer movie that I think defines

also has to sound “confident.” I remember some of the earliest

of a T-180 [a race car] to be a driver. You do it because youʼre

and upbeat, and the melodies are catchy. Itʼs also very convicted.

my obsession with composing. “You donʼt climb into the cockpit driven.” Music, specifically game music, just calls to me. I would

write and remix music no matter what I did in life, because Iʼm constantly listening to and playing with music in my own mind.

Sometimes Iʼll write or remix a song just because I am convinced that it needs to exist.

Game composing is very personal to me. When I sit down to

write a song, I have many goals that I feel are necessary to hit.

The reason I think game music sticks so powerfully to people is because itʼs working on a lot of levels, and each one of those levels becomes a goal for me. It must elicit a desired emotion, of

course. Most game and film producers credit music heavily for

communicating the emotional content of their work. The music



game music I listened to was the classic Mega Man series. Itʼs fun Even though chiptunes was a brand new sound, and it couldnʼt hope to match the production standards of professional music, it was absolutely convicted in itself. Itʼs melodies werenʼt hesitant or searching for their voices, they knew exactly what they wanted to

be and they poured forth with confidence. I think all good music needs to do that. People react to the confidence they hear, and

they are inclined to like music that is confident in itself. We use a lot of the same brain hardware for speech and music. So writing a confident song is a lot like speaking confidently – bold, simple,

a clear rhythm. They know where theyʼre going with what theyʼre saying. It doesnʼt search around for a voice or come on softly,

waiting for the listeners to reach out to it. It tries to initiate that connection.

Additionally, game music takes up the task of painting the game world – the whole world, far beyond the edges of the screen. I

have always felt there was a subtle despair in most Mega Man music, a despair that commented on the world beyond the scope of the story: yes, Mega Man is going to save the world, but what

kind of world is he saving? Life must be very, very cheap in a world where robots can do any job imaginable. In a way, the player gets

to experience a kind of naivety that Mega Man holds on to - that

once good vanquishes evil, things will be happy again. I think the

music belies that notion, and suggests that the world has become

such a grim place, that maybe saving it isnʼt the kindest fate for it. A lot of people donʼt realize that game music is working on this level, at least, not consciously, but I make it my business to be acutely aware of it.

I COMPOSE I like to compose in many genres, from Orchestral to Hair Metal to Harmonic Chant. But one genre I really like to work with is

Orchestral Power Metal. Itʼs an exciting blend of traditional

orchestra music and modern metal. The Finnish band Nightwish is a good example of this genre, and Iʼve included a song of my own, as well. Game music in the late 90s was actually full of Orchestral

Power Metal (Final Fantasy VII, for example), although lower

last year I composed an entire album of folk music for an indy

capability of putting fully-produced audio into games, this genre

songs for the indy physics game Crashtastic, as well as produced

quality, 16-bit versions of it. Itʼs ironic, now that we have the has completely vanished from them. I would love to see this genre

in games because itʼs fantastically exciting. It has the full range of

emotions that orchestra music has, plus it can get you absolutely

RPG called Alcarys Complex. Iʼve also written three Hair Metal

sound effects for the iOS games Disney Princess Royal Ball, PUMA Stylecaddie, and Kung Fu Killforce.

pumped up for boss battles and other action-packed events. It

Alcarys Complexʼs creator, Jonathan Dixon, wanted to use folk

really imprint a scene on the player for a lifetime. Itʼs absolutely

creating an album of 26 original songs using folk traditions from

has such a huge, jaw-dropping sound, the kind of sound that can epic, and would be amazing in lots of different kinds of games. I would love to write whole albums of this for games!

THE GAME INDUSTRY AND I I love to work with complex arrangements of orchestra and other

instruments, which can be essential to modern games for several reasons. Firstly, the orchestral sound is still massively popular and I have lots of experience working with complex, nuanced arrangements for both synth and live orchestras. Secondly, complex, layered songs are required to give interactive music

variety and personality, and Iʼve worked a lot with interactive layers and transitions between different versions of a song (like a “calm” version, a “tension” version, and a “battle” version.) Finally,

these complex arrangements allow me to mix together genres, like Orchestral Power Metal and others, which could really help

games break ground into new sounds and make them stand out from the pack.

Iʼd love to work with any game company that would be willing

to let me push the limits in any of these three areas. Advancing interactive music to make it much more complex has long been

a goal of mine. Or if there were a game that needed a powerfully

intense, epic score and was willing to let me compose an album of Symphonic Metal. Iʼm just looking for a large canvas to work with!

music because it is rarely featured in games. So, I set about

all over the world – American, Celtic, Middle Eastern, Asian. Iʼve included its title theme for you! For me it was a very personal

mission. The game has beautiful nature scenery and is a kind of spiritual successor to Secret of Mana. I love both nature and Secret of Mana, and so I wanted to write music that captured the joyous experiences Iʼve had with both. I also wanted to capture the

complexity of the people in Alcarys Complex. Every last NPC in the

game is a well-rounded, three-dimensional character. As such, I wanted the music to tell of a bustling, many-faceted society full of different personalities and beliefs. For the songs in each capital city, I tried to capture the nationality of its people. There was

also a constant struggle among the three nations for supremacy,

and the gameʼs characters frequently get caught in the middle. So I wanted the music to deal with some sadder, adult themes as well – good people being used by politicians, or corrupt officials

using feigned patriotism to rally a nation for war. My favorite song pits a political fanatic against a tired, heartsick soldier. The

song begins with the two combatants slowly circling each other, expressed by just two violins and some very sparse drums. I was trying to capture the raw, exhausted voices of these two people.

They both have nothing left to lose, and so theyʼre willing to fight to the death, and I wanted to capture that exhausted, yet steeled

determination. Then the song erupts into a dance as the bullets start flying and combat proper begins.



member’s eye

RODRIGO GONÇALVES 3D modeler | São Paulo, Brazil

I AM... Hi! My name is Rodrigo Gonçalves, I was born in 1985 in São Paulo city Brazil where I live and work. Since 2007, I work most as digital

artist focusing in Montion Graphics for interactive web projects using Flash and ActionScript. In my free time I like to play soccer,

play video games, traveling and hanging out with my family and friends. Also, I enjoy studying about digital media and arts, most

recently, Iʼm learning about 3D modeling and arts for games.

MY PASSION 3D modeling is still a very new world to me. I started learning about

3D between 2010 to 2011 when I applied for a game development course in Brazil, where I began to learn basic concepts about

I love cartoon style. I always get inspired by them most of the

time when I try creating something. I love the simplicity and the

fun that cartoons have, and at the same time the challenge that it brings. Sometimes I like to observe drawings and sketches from

my friends and imagine how those drawings could be in 3D form. Recently, Iʼm enjoying create 3D character design and props for small 3D games that could one day become a real project.

Also, sometimes I like to mix and experiment with different

disciplines in digital media & arts to achieve new ideas and learn new techniques, such as motion graphics for interactive projects using Flash and ActionScript.

creating arts for games for Unity3D. In the course I had to learn


learn how to programming something for games. It was a great

and art skills that I really enjoy. Iʼm trying a new career in game

from 3D modeling, texturing, animation and even we had to

I think the game industry is a perfect mix between technical

experience and opportunity to me get a better understanding

industry, I feel that I can use my experience that I have acquired

about arts for games and the game production process. In mid-2012, I have started my studies focusing in 3D modeling for games, starting with ZBrush and after bring

over a few years with graphic design and motion graphics for interactive projects and applying this knowledge in game assets in

somehow, learn new skills and help the team creating new ideas.

those high-poly models into a low-poly version. Iʼm loving

Also, arts for games is something that I really enjoy creating.

new portfolio and try a new career opportunity in the game

with it. I know that I still have a long road to run and so much

learn the whole process that Iʼm really motivated to rebuild a industry one day. Or at least, create in my free time some 3D

art for games just for fun with friends that share same passion. Currently, Iʼm not working. For a few months Iʼm focusing

It is hard work, of course, but I feel that I never get bored

to learn, but I canʼt see myself doing anything better in near

future. Even if I donʼt actually get a job in the game industry one day, I will keep practicing just for fun in my free time.

my studies full-time in 3D for games and looking for new

I would like to see my creations in platform games and open world,

up my portfolio and learn new skills in my spare time. This

specific limit to try creating for different genres and experiments

career opportunity in the game industry. I will keep building

process will help me become a better professional and artist.



which are my favorite ones. Also, I like to think that there is no with new things.

I modeled, painted and rendered the high-poly version inside Zbrush. After I did the postproduction in Photoshop to get the final render.

After I had the high-poly model done, I did the re-topology inside the TopoGun to create a low-poly version and tweak the mesh inside 3DS Max. Also, I did the UV layout inside the 3DS Max for creating textures later on. At this stage, the model has about 13.736 triangles.

I created the textures by doing the "Baking textures" process, which helped me bring out some details on the model. Basically I just used three textures maps: Normal map, Diffuse map and Specular map. Also, I used the Marmoset to create materials and make my first tests with textures in the model and I applied dynamic lights in the scene. Here are the texture breakdown. I did the pose for this low-poly model in Zbrush by using ZSphere Rigging. Also, I was looking for a strong silhouette that would be clearly identifiable at first glance. After, I rendered the final image inside the Marmoset using dynamic lights on the scene. Finally, just to give him a place to stand and bring a better mood to the scene, I created the floor and background in Photoshop. The final model has about 14.200 triangles.



member’s eye

Steven van Buuren 3D modeler | Amsterdam, the Netherlands

SKILLS Hard-surface/automotive





Organic/character modelling texturing Lighting. Lighting and rendering with HDRIʼs.

Creating different render passes (16bit EXR for diffuse and reflections, 8bitTIFF for RGB masks. Creating cameras and lighting

inside Maya. Post inside a multi-layer photoshop structure. For organic modelling and characters I use maya and Zbrush. I can

make high resolution geometry for vfx and also game geometry with the additional baked light mapst.

Storm: Basemesh made in Maya and then imported in Zbrush and divided a couple of times and adjust the basic shape to about 1000 polys. Exported again as obj. To Headus UV layout and proper UVs inside 0-1 space. Exported it back in Zbrush; Sculpting final mesh; Creating displacements and normal maps. Imported to Maya where I then made a mental ray skin shader to plugin the maps; End further setup of skinshader. In Zbrush I painted backscatter; subdermal epidermal skin textures these plugged into the skin shader in Maya. Rendered in mental ray with a linear workflow.

The gun was a final project during an Alex Alvarez class at the Gnomon school of visual FX. All modeled in Maya; texturing Photoshop; Rendered in mental ray.

The character (WIP) This character is a work in progress. All is made in Zbrush so far. 32



compact process interview

HAIRY TALES Persons answering: Ricardo J. Méndez How many different creatures does the game have? What kind of creatures are they?

Right now it has Hairys, Kikimoras, the evil Oaks, Chur, Kladovik, Toad and Vodnik. Of these, only the Hairys

are unequivocally good, while the Oaks, Chur and Kladovik have been corrupted and can be cleansed, but are dangerous in their corrupted state.

WARNING: The details below could be considered spoilers.

Chur is a sort of an animated log and the boss of the forest world who mocks you and the Hairy while you

try to solve the level. Kladovik is a huge rock monster

(youʼve probably seen him on the trailer). He is not

only very difficult to defeat and can easily punch the Hairy into dust, but he can also stomp the ground to rotate the tiles around him.

Kikimoras, Toad and Vodnik (the Swamp world boss) are just plain evil.

Kikimoras are straightforward-theyʼll slap the Hairy

What inspired you to create these creatures?

Man...Slavic folklore is such a rich vein that the hardest part was actually how to narrow them down to a set of

characters that we could easily implement and playtest in the time that we had.

I guess the question could be why slavic folklore? As I mentioned before, it actually started as more of an adventure game, and I think that there is such very rich imagery in Slavic folklore that for whatever reason has yet to reach people. This gave us an opportunity

to do something that, for better or worse, was new for players.

How we ended up narrowing them down was mostly an issue of theme. I wanted to have very distinct worlds,

and with them very different bosses. Chur, Kladovik and Vodnik present different challenges and we ended up

imbuing them with very different personalities as well, which helped in making it feel like all the player had

learned during the world had lead up to that encounter.

senseless unless he uses some other method to defeat

Did you had any ideas that you had to scrap?

close, or try to jump on him. Vodnik, the Swamp level

a final boss who inspired the whole effort in the first

them. Toad will either poison the Hairy if he gets too

boss, will vomit poison on tiles near him, and also head-butts Hairys that get close.

Developer: Arges Systems

Game: Hairy Tales

Lots. We had about seven different characters including place, but Iʼd rather not go into them to avoid spoiling future updates.




eye for...


BOSS BATTLES The vast majority of video games out there include a boss of

A boss personifies the obstacle to overcome, the agenda of

they ramp up the stakes, tempo, and difficulty and bring

on a dragon lizardʼs head three times scored with staccato up-

some kind. Boss battles are the holy grail of gaming gratification;

excitement through quick successions of split second decisions.

Over the years, many different games in all genres and platforms have included boss battles; they are the single recurring element

throughout all facets of gaming. Boss battles are the final challenge, the piece de résistance. Games tend not to end with a whimper, but with a bang.

the antagonist, and the necessary yang. Where once jumping tempo blips would suffice as a thrilling boss fight and healthy conflict resolution, today we see an increasing complexity in

both the approach and execution of boss fights. Obviously, due

to massive leaps in the flexibility of game engines as well as sophisticated artificial intelligence, boss battles have evolved alongside their medium.

Article by Dave Perotti

The Tiers of a Boss A good boss battle manages to exceed the threat of all that came

the guard of its respective location. In most cases, in order to

where most, if not all, of the skills the player has acquired over

this gatekeeper.

before it. It expands the scope and scale of gameplay to a point

the course of the game are needed. A final exam, if you will. There

are (sometimes) three tiers of boss fights: the mid-boss, the level or area boss and the final boss.

The mid-boss is typically a slightly bigger version of regular

enemies. Perhaps he is a squad commander, a gang leader or

just a guy with colourful pants and a bigger health bar. He is simply there to diversify the cannon fodder. The level or area boss is usually placed at the end of a level or area and is considered

proceed to the next level you have no choice but to vanquish

The final boss is an altogether different beast. In terms of scale, drama, gameplay and story, the final boss marks the very climax

of the game, the apex of character growth and the culmination

of various gameplay elements, instruments and skills acquired throughout the game. Barring an epilogue or denouement,

defeating the final boss usually marks the end of the heroʼs journey and concludes the story.

Cinematic or skill-based? Naturally there are games that buck the trend, or games that

simply combine core gameplay elements with the boss fight itself.

For instance, in Shadow of the Colossus any given boss is equal parts level design, core gameplay, and narrative, as well as a

thrilling clash of sword and stone. Shadow of the Colossus was

a near-perfect game in terms of design. Not a single element is

unnecessary and everything in the game is purposefully designed to aid in the climactic battles. Everything from the sword to the

horse, the bow and arrow, the character itself and every structure in the game, including the sun, absolutely needs to be there to

set the stage for the massive battles. Not only is Shadow of the



eye for...

Colossus an ode to boss fights in terms of

fly in the face of whatever you expect will

as emotionally engaging as other styles of

impact and the gravity of a playerʼs choice.

as a device to pull out the carpet from

fights tend to be the most personally

gameplay, it also showcases the emotional

In regards of the skill-based-to-cinematic

spectrum, Shadow of the Colossusʼ boss fights lean towards the cinematic side.

Other times, bosses simply serve to shock or otherwise emotionally engage the player.

This is a role usually reserved for level or

happen. Hideo Kojima uses boss battles

underneath the playerʼs feet. These boss battles often result in completely breaking

the fourth wall in utterly confounding ways. This cinematic, drama-heavy style is considered by many to be the signature style of the Metal Gear games.

area bosses. Metal Gear Solid spends a

Other developers, such as Ninja Theory

Who could forget having to unplug the

unforgiving and skill focused tests of

fair amount of time on its boss concepts. controller and insert it into the second port to bypass Psycho Mantisʼ telepathic abilities, or taking down Metal Gear Ray

while piloting Metal Gear Rex? Rather than utilizing the tools or skills youʼve gained

during the game, Metal Gear Solidʼs boss

fights generally throw you a curve ball and

boss fights, these old-school style boss gratifying considering their difficulty. No overly dramatic soliloquy, no recaps of

inner turmoil and personal growth, simply

a giant obstacle and the satisfaction of having overcome it. These boss fights are purely skill-based endeavours.

or FromSoftware, make boss fights utterly endurance, accuracy and timing. Though

usually tackled in similar fashion (unlike

Kojimaʼs boss fights), these fights force the player to carefully observe and time

their attacks. This is more akin to the boss

fights of old NES and SNES days. Discern the pattern, strike, evade, repeat. While not

What makes a Killer Boss? So what makes a good boss fight a great

boss of said dungeon. This combines the

skills the player can use effectively, as well

present throughout the game. Following

(character progression), with the perfect

able to evade the bossʼ attacks.

boss fight? A combination of several factors is a checklist of must-have features for a rewarding final battle:

Challenge. Fairly straightforward, a boss

battle has to require more precision,

technique and overall skill to defeat than any given enemy. A boss stands at the top

of the food chain. This should naturally be reflected in his proficiency to kick ample

amounts of player butt. Difficulty can be scaled by a number of factors such as:

• Adjusting the amount of damage the boss delivers per hit.

• Adjusting the amount of health or hit points the boss has.

satisfaction of gaining a skill or weapon, stage to utilize a new form of gameplay. Atmosphere.





for a climactic battle, the designer will

need to account for ominous or exciting background music and an appropriately

styled arena for the coming encounter. In terms of music, boss fights are typically accompanied




scores. These serve to unease the player

and give a sense of urgency and imminent danger, getting the player in a do-or-die

mindset which adds to the excitement of the battle.

• Switching or speeding up the attack

Arena. Level design is incredibly important

• Creating events where a boss can

restrict the player in terms of movement

pattern past a certain point

regain his/her health or power

• Placing restrictions on the player, (i.e.

locking use of a certain weapon or skill)

Skills. The inclusion of skills or new weapons or items acquired during the adventure. For example, in Zelda games every dungeon hides a new weapon or tool. This object is then required to defeat the

with boss battles, as it may either aid or and











experiences. Imagine at specific points

as confine the space in which the player is

Emotion. A great boss fight is a memorable one, and a good way to make something

memorable is to inject it with emotional

content. In skill based boss battles most of

the emotional impact comes from defeating a highly skilled or otherwise difficult

opponent, perhaps after having lost a few times. In cinematic boss battles drama

takes center stage, and in most cases

it is the story that incites an emotional response. These are contrasting concepts,

and any given designer will have to make

a choice fairly early on in the design stage

how he wishes to deliver the emotional impact. Atmosphere helps to build a

mindset in which emotional responses get triggered, but ultimately how memorable

a boss fights is depends on the degree of emotional impact delivered to the player.

some parts of the arena may become

Combining and tweaking all these concepts

arena. Depending on the how and when

goal of creating an emotionally compelling





of this mechanic, the player may find himself cornered or unable to attack. By

controlling the space, you control which

until they work in unison with the single sequence is the goal behind any boss

fight-besides giving the player something to beat obviously.



process interview

compact process interview

MERCENARY OPS Yingpei Games:

We had a PC version named Mercenary Ops as well,

which has been launched over years. Itʼs already

gained a solid user base, we thought it would be more

familiar if we call the iOS edition using the same name to those players.

We hope to bring the AAA quality games to iOS users, includes the entire storyline, interesting game experience, gorgeous graphics and even thrilling sound effects.

In addition, we hope to make the game as simple as possible, easy for fun to everyone.

We try to bring the ultimate graphic experience, each level has over 100,000 polygons, while over 5000 polygons to Characters.

We have lots of amazing ideas, but we donʼt have

enough time to put it into this game, although itʼs our first iOS game. For example, multiply players

cooperation is one of the ideas we want to make it in the future.

We have learned how to make the game AAA quality

on a small screen, and how to put so many buttons on to a single touch screen.



Developer: Yingpei Games

Game: Mercenary Ops


game design | story

NARRATIVE AND TheGAMES Writers Challenge Article by Bob Edwards

Sovereign: ʻReaper,ʼ a title given to us by the Protheans to give

this New Golden Age of Television is bleeding over into the game

We simply are.

construct and execute story in games, but the market remains

voice to their destruction. In the end, what you call us is irrelevant.

(Mass Effect, 2007)

industry. More studios are starting to use professional writers to obtuse and difficult to break into. Unlike the “Heroes Journey”, the

Itʼs no secret that there is a Renaissance currently happening on

television. High production values and heavily serialized shows are quickly replacing reality television (though Honey Boo-Boo and Gordon Ramsay seem to be stalwart reminders of the era) and

Golden Mein of scripted story, there isnʼt yet a firm consensus on what is the ideal way to present narrative to the gaming audience.

What works in some games, and some formats, fails utterly in others, and some games do perfectly well with little to no story at all. Where does a writer get started?

personality; not a quick, sudden change, but as he inches closer

CHARACTER Manny: As a rule, I never touch anything more sophisticated and delicate than myself. (Grim Fandango, 1998)

to his dreams his pessimism becomes optimism and his heroic

nature is revealed. In many ways, his journey is one of spiritual

rebirth, even if he is simply completing the journey of his death. Grim Fandango was a milestone in story as up to this point most

protagonists in games tended to have spontaneous changes in their personality when the game needed it, brought about by

external forces. It was very infrequently portrayed as a lengthy change taking case over several years of in game time.

What can be learned from looking at Grim Fandango, and Manny in

particular, is the need to have change in your primary characters. It could be a lesson learned, a change in attitude, a change in Grim Fandango was released in 1998 by Lucasarts and was

predominantly written by Tim Schafer, currently of Double Fine fame.

Labeled as a “dark comedy neo-noir” Grim Fandango

portrayed a version of the Aztec Underworld that was influenced by classic film noir movies, primarily Casablanca and The Maltese

station or even as simple as a slight nudge in a different direction: the hope for change. By having a non-static protagonist a player can be drawn more into the story, empathize with a character, and

something is created that bears more resemblance to an actual person than a cardboard cutout.

Falcon. What made Grim Fandango stand out (Predominantly to

Devising a world for a game can be a daunting task. For a game

a commercial failure) was the intricate characterization, witty

the world, and nothing portrayed that better than the older Final

critics, as the game, now considered a cult classic, was considered

dialogue and a fantastical and diverse setting. What was different about Manny was that as the player progressed through the game,

he changed. One of the biggest mistakes made by writers (Even in popular films and TV shows) is having a static protagonist.

Manny starts the game as being incredibly down on his luck in both (un)life and love. He is pessimistic, depressive and resigned to his fate. As the game progresses, we observe a change in his

to be truly memorable there must be a hook of some sort in Fantasy games. Compared to some of the detailed information available about the worlds of some modern games, Final Fantasy

6 is fairly scant. Significant portions of the story and character development are left open for the player to create for themselves,

and the resource information available does little more than give the most basic of overview of the mythology, religion and people

who live in this game. Yet, there is something alluring, a draw



game design | story

to the world that was presented only through sprites and text.

player a little bit closer to the happenings of the story, as you

something infrequently seen in games: tragedy.

first person shooters unfortunately usually amounts to “Go Here,

Part of that allure comes from an excellent story that drew on

do this, follow orders”. This passive form of having story told to the player is a holdout of film and television, and does not utilize


how a video game can tell narrative. A compelling story in games

Kefka: Life...Dreams...Hope...Where do they come from? And where do they go? None of that junk is enough to fulfill your hearts! Destruction...Destruction is what makes life worth living! Destroy! Destroy! Destroy! Let’s destroy everything!

does more than just tell a straightforward story about a hero

or heroine and the journey to success. Video games allow for a story that can break out of the traditional formats, to the point

of a minimalistic experience that would be difficult to present on

film. As an active participant in the world, and through ambient storytelling or participating in the world at large a person can

feel they are part of the story, instead of a passive observer of it. Still, there is something incredibly appealing to how story is

presented in the Uncharted games. Written by Amy Hennig, the

(Final Fantasy 6, 1994) Final Fantasy 6 is a dark game, full of complex themes of loss,

suffering and centers around the total destruction of civilization. Many games deal with death and destruction, but few delve into

the pathos seen within the tragedy of the characters of Final Fantasy 6.

are seeing through the eyes of the protagonist, but storytelling in

One loses his whole family, another, her place and

station in life, and yet another loses everything she ever knew or held dear. Final Fantasy 6 accomplished something amazing by mixing tragedy with joy, by fleshing out the characters and their hopes and dreams, and by letting the player explore and interact with a populace who change as the story progresses. The best

thing a player can experience is seeing that their actions have impact on the world at large, and the story and world they are

part of changes with their perception of it. Even a linear story

Uncharted games present a scope and scale of story that mix

high octane action with Legend of Zelda style puzzles (Just donʼt

call it platforming.) Where Uncharted really shines is the use of secondary characters as a foil, or reflection of Drakeʼs personality,

helping to hide the fact that Drake does not change, and he is

actually quite the tragic character. Uncharted presents an in your face scripted story, but that doesnʼt have to be the only way to do it. A game like Shadow of the Colossus by Team Ico simply

tasks you with a job, to kill the colossi, and the repercussions of

this choice are shown as the game progresses. It doesnʼt need

hundreds of lines of dialogue to tell the story, the movements of the characters, the world, and how they all change does that.

can create this, as the playerʼs actions as the primary characters


about the made up mythology, people, economics, nations and a

Ray McCoy: You wake up one day and find it’s all been a dream or you wake up and discover you’ve been asleep all the time and the nightmare is real. I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t know what I was. A cop dangling on the short end of a stick or a Replicant who’s memory banks had run out.

change the world. A created world can have legions of text hundred bits of information, but unless it changes with the player, they will not remember it.

NARRATIVE Nathan Drake: Y’know, people are always telling me how lucky I am. But the truth is, everything I touch turns to shit. (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, 2009)

(Blade Runner, 1997) Interactivity is the principal thing that creates the difference

between film and games. As a passive observer of a show or movie, the watcher cannot impact the story, world or characters;

all they can do is wait for it to be unfolded to them… for better

or for worse. While many games follow this format of telling a linear story to the player, controlling the principal characters it

gives the player an interactive element. One of the finest examples of a living and breathing world with intense levels of interactivity Story in games can be a difficult beast to tame. The modern way of telling story has been coming closer to having the player

part of an interactive movie, a linear series of places and events where while the player controls the protagonist, they sit as an

observer for the most part. Third Person shooters, of the Gears of War, Uncharted and other varieties place you almost as the God

Over the Shoulder, pulling puppet strings on your character, but

still remaining relatively passive. First person shooters put the



was Blade Runner, by Westwood Studios, set in the same world as the film, but telling a separate story. Blade Runner is a point and click puzzle game for the most part, with the player taking the role of Ray McCoy, a rookie cop investigating the murder of the

owner of a pet store, and remaining species of actual animals. The

interactive elements of the game allow the player to customize the story in a multitude of ways: how to investigate, how to react to

and interrogate suspects, where to go to investigate (As the game happens in real time), and who you choose to “retire”. The result

game design | story

is a game that has thirteen different endings, some significantly different, determined by the choices the player made.

True interactivity in games is an area that has still not been fully explored. Blade Runner managed a very good approximation, but

due to poor sales of that title, there hasnʼt been much in the way of other games produced in real time with an investigative

element. Many games give the player a depth of choices to make which do impact the world: Mass Effect, The Witcher and L.A. Noire are all good examples, but allowing players to shape the

story as they play it is not something that has been seen in a widespread scale.

STORYTELLING Rucks: Proper stories supposed to start at the beginning. Ain’t so simple with this one. (Bastion, 2011)

One of the major advantages that a game has over traditional

a way many players do not consciously notice. The best form of

While many television shows utilize a narrator to allow the

that created a unified, memorable experience. Narrative style can

filmed media is the ability to change its narrative presentation.

audience to see inside the head of the characters, they cannot use it as a principal storytelling method, as was the case in Supergiantʼs Bastion. As a story being told from the end, with the

narrator commenting it allowed for a unique perspective on what could be considered an old form of storytelling. With over three

thousand lines of dialogue, the narrator could pinpoint specific

actions made by the player, giving them the feeling they were helping to craft the story.

Dear Esther is another game that utilizes a narrator, but one that is

reciting a story unconnected with the playerʼs actions. Developed

ambient storytelling has a distinct flavor, a meshing on all levels be radically diverse and effective in games, as long as players have the chance to explore and appreciate it.


The Nameless One: At what point does the I get separated from the we? At what point am I freed of the shackles of the actions of these other incarnations? At what point am I allowed to be me, without the weight of these past lives?

as a tech demo, Dear Esther is entirely exploration based with

(Planescape:Torment, 1999)

story is highlighted by the desolate landscape of the island the

What can a writer learn from looking at all the milestones of

explore, there is very little other gameplay. A passive experience,

interactive stores and diverse narrative structure… while they

little to no action besides the dialogue. The experience of the

player is marooned upon, but besides being able to walk and

it still does something unique to gaming, leading the player while feeding them the story.

Ambient storytelling is something both Bastion and Dear Esther use, improving the game experience through the atmosphere

of the world. One of the best uses of ambient storytelling is in Bioshock, the Ayn Rand inspired first person shooter. While Bioshock contains many traditional game storytelling methods, there is a wealth of world creation done on a passive, ambient

scale. The way characters speak; level design, music, atmosphere and set decoration all richly improve the experience in Rapture, in

narrative in gaming?

Dynamic worlds, evolving characters,

all sound like what be standard in every game, writers will give themselves an aneurysm if they try.

The strongest narratively

focused games pick one or two off the list and refine them to a level that they improve the quality of the others. Great characters

help a world, which helps story. Dynamic worlds helps interactivity. Interactivity helps story, which pulls a player into a game, and a

diverse and unique narrative structure helps everything. Where a writer gets started is to remember that they are working with an entirely different narrative form than scripted film and television. Characters and worlds can change more readily in games, and within that change lies a better story.






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Advertise to reach: Students, Companies, Developers, Publishers, Educative platforms, Professionals and more... related to the game industry. At events such as: GDC, gamescom, Festival of Games, Unite, Global Game Jam, PAX East, and a lore more...

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Profile for Eye For Games

Eye For Games 2013.1  

In this 2013.1 edition: - Interview with Lorne Balfe; - Concept art Momongo; - Castle Crashers Then & Now; - Level Design Cargo Commander; -...

Eye For Games 2013.1  

In this 2013.1 edition: - Interview with Lorne Balfe; - Concept art Momongo; - Castle Crashers Then & Now; - Level Design Cargo Commander; -...


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