Planet Earth. Not a bad spot.
I can see my house from
YOUR LINK HERE!
EARTHBOUND: In the Year 199X +1...
(a fangame, title pending)
serve as a sort of informal developer's diary, so that anyone who
might acre out there can get an idea of what I've been up to and how
I'm coing along. How often I'll bother
updating, whether I've worked on
the gameor not, I'm not sure, bt I'll try to give people the heads
up wen I see fit.
NOTE: If this whole journal looks very
atypical of what you'd expect or it looks unprofessional, it's
because it's the first video game I've ever made, and I don't care
about how it looks. So there. =P
(tentative project title that WILL be changing,
JUNE 21, 2003
This is my first entry, though I started with pre-production/
planning months ago, and have been building things bit by bit as
I've had time and as thoughts have entered my head.
I think I'm
finally happy with how the preliminary art style is turning out.
I've drawn out Ness's room in the new house as well as the new
living room, and I'm happy with how I'm making them look
appropriately cartoony, while having them to mimic the original
EarthBound (Mother 2) version's of Ness's room and the living room.
I figure that outside the semi-nostalgic initial location (i.e.,
Ness's family's new house), that I'll be using locations that look
like they're directly pulled out of
EarthBound. I hope to maintain a cartoony style, though. While I was
at it, I also drew up the new house from the outside, from the
front. I think it looks pretty okay. Hopefully, the makeover I'll be
giving the game will be seen by players as an improvement.
Aside from art, I've been trying to flesh out the
story of the game. I have some idea of what direction I'd like to
take, but I'm not altogether sure how to tie togther the parts of
the game that I've envisioned so far. Nevertheless, things on the
story front are looking alright so far. I don't want to reveal TOO
much about the story, but hopefully you've been able to gather that
it will involve Ness and his family having moved into a new house.
That's all I want to let out of the bag for now. =)
What most of my work has entailed up to this point has been
simple brainstorming. I have pages and pages of ideas that have a
chance of making it into the game, from puzzle problems, puzzle
solutions, items to come across, friendly characters (or as the case
may be, some not-so-friendly ones), enemies, locations, "special
effects", etc. I'm hoping that what I'm coming up with will help the
game have a richness that is comparable to the original
A DIFFERENT ENGINE
Of course, this EarthBound game will
include some major differences to the one(s) that fans of the game
will be familiar with.
Hopefully I haven't scared you off yet, so I'll say this:
*THERE WILL STILL
BE COMBAT IN THE GAME!*
(more on that later)
I will be creating this game using the free
Adventure Game Studio (AGS) engine
that was designed by Chris Jones (in case you're wondering, I
picked it, among other reasons, because using it seemed to be
the easiest game creating tool I could find that would allow me to
achieve most of what I wanted to do). As such, this will look and play
a lot more like a traditional, third-person, "point-and-click" adventure game than a
Hopefully this won't turn away TOO many potential players.
While it *IS* possible, in theory, to get a game to look and play
something like a traditional RPG, to be honest, I'm not sure I want
to go down that road. I *WANT* to make an EarthBound game, but I
don't want to get bogged down in statistics and worry about
balancing and tweaking them to make the game more playable. With a
point-and-click kind of adventure, I get to focus on what makes a
game great more often than not (at least in my mind): good story,
good setting, good characters, good challenge and good gameplay. I
figure I'll have my hands full enough with those without having to
fiddle with a bunch of numbers. Maybe if I find a really easy-to-use
piece of code that I can throw into the game to at least give it
some very light stats to appease the hardcore roleplayers a little,
I will, but for the moment, it's doubtful.
For those of
you who are still reading, thanks. You might be wondering about combat. Since fighting
played such a large, and arguably important part in EarthBound, I
knew that it was something I had to keep in the
game... at least in some form. Now, I'm not going to try to pretend
that combat will be the same as what you'd become used to in EarthBound, because
it won't be. It MIGHT resemble it a bit, at least cosmetically,
but it will NOT be the same. The combat system in this game
will revolve largely around puzzle-based solutions. For those that played EarthBound,
think more along the lines of handing fly honey
over to Belch in order to take him out, as opposed to repeatedly bashing
a spiteful crow with a bat, and you might see where I'm
headed (that, of course is just an example).
A DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE
This will definitely yield a different gaming
experience than EarthBound did/ does. I'm hoping though, that I can
carry over enough of the atmosphere and charm of EarthBound to make
this a worthy fan-made game. The game will rely largely on numerous
puzzles, from inventory puzzles, to environment puzzles, to
character interation/ conversational puzzles to logic puzzles (any
of these, or any combination of these could come into play fro any
given battle). I'm NOT positive of how much I'll be implementing,
but provided that everything goes according to plan, at least
some puzzles WILL have multiple solutions, to make the game
ever so slightly
Even though I've done nothing in terms of music so far,
I thought I'd include a word or two on music. So far, I'm a bit torn
on the issue. I know the music that came with EarthBound was adored
and admired by many of its fans. However, I've not yet started on
anything musical in the game for two reasons. First off, I'm not
exactly what you'd call "musically inclined". As a matter o' fact,
whatever the opposite of that is, that's pretty much me. Second off,
I'm having sound issues with the computer I'm using when it runs
AGS, so even if I wanted to start implementing music already, I'd
not yet be able to test it. Hopefully I'll be able to resolve this
issue sooner than later.
I can't imagine putting the game out WITHOUT
music, though, so rest assured that one way or another, music will be included in the game. Whether
or not that music will be original is also still up in the
Since I've seen SO many amateur games get started and
never get anywhere NEAR completed, I figure that what I'll be doing
to try to keep things on track is release the game in a number of
"chapters". Now, these chapters, on their own, won't provide
anywhere NEAR the amount of play time that most commercial games
can. I do hope, though, that by breaking my workload down into
chunks, that I'll be able to get the game out in pieces that are
manageable enough to keep me working on them.
(If/ when the game's final chapter is released, I might pack them
all together into a single cohesive game, depending on how hard that
is to do. If it's too much, or it's just impossible, it won't
A GAME FOR EVERYONE
I've also been considering my audience.
Obviously, this project largely has the fans of EarthBound in mind.
I'm hoping though, that by providing some background information and
working in new locations and story elements, that this game will
really be for anyone, be they previous fans of the EarthBound games
I have no plans to release the source code for my
game anytime soon. If there seems to be demand for it, though, I
might do so once I've completed the game's final chapter (hopefully
by then I'll have ironed most of the bugs out, anyway). In the event
that I eventually retire the project, I'd also release the source
code then, so that someone could either pick up where I left off or
make something from else from what they're left with.
anyone wonders or cares, I live in the province of
New Brunswick in the Eastern part of Canada. The first computer I
ever got the chance to play with a bit was our old Commodore Vic
20, followed by the Commodore 64 (which I feel was probably THE
best machine, game wise, ever created). I played EarthBound on
the SNES when it came out, and loved it (and I played it
again a few summers back, which made me want to make an EarthBound
game of my own). I'm still of the opinion that it was one of the
best games ever released.
Can't think of much anything else to really
report at this stage of the game, save that coming updates will
likely cover less ground, so there should be less reading involved.
A lot of what was said here will likley be moved/ re-written into
some sort of FAQ section at some point in the future, I guess. Until
then, keep checking in every once in a while. Feel free to mail me
game suggestions, questions and whatever by clicking
JUNE 22nd, 2003
NOT MUCH TO REPORT
Last night (well, early this morning), I
finished up some letter art that will eventually be sent to Nintendo
as a part of the NP Seige III campaign. It's my first official fan
drawing, EarthBound or otherwise, and I feel it turned out pretty
alright. The drawing was largely based on the infamous clay figures
that Nintendo showed off in the Player's Guide that was originally
released with the SNES version of EarthBound in North America.
Anyway, I'm pretty proud of this little endevour for various
reasons, so don't be particularly surprized if the art from this
thing appears, in some form or another, in this game I'm making.
It's probably not a real great indication of the art quality that'll
appear in playable parts of the game, though, since I'm having
trouble making things look right at higher resolutions.
Graphic-wise, this game isn't going to be blowing your computer away
or anything, that's for sure. Emphasis will very much be on gameplay
July 1st, 2003 (Happy Canada Day!)
STORY: MAJOR PROGRESS
Not sure why, but something hit me
tonight in terms of a great plot to make this game very much worth
playing (yeah, yeah... I know that it's what I should have STARTED
with really, but more than anything, everything I've done up to this
point was leading up to knowing what the story ought to be about).
Though I've not read a LOT of fanfics, I hope that the general
idea(s) behind what I'll be trying to do where are pretty original.
I'm not exactly how sure this great idea came to me, but when you
get far enough into the game to start appreciating it, I really do
hope that you like what you see.
I don't want to tell you anything TOO much as to spoil things for
you, but I don't think it should ruin too much to at least say that
it will follow on the heals of EarthBound/ Mother 2, though some
time will have elapsed when you start this game (probably about a
year). Ness WILL be the main controllable character. I think it's
fair to say that a number of familiar characters (and enemies) will
also be making an appearance in the game.
July 4th, 2003 (Happy Independance Day, for
residents of the 'States)
Not that it was much in the way of progress, but I
figured out how to have one character in the game follow another
tonight, and I implemented it in a test run in the game. It worked
I'm not sure, but I may soon be deciding to
re-do (actually, more than likely, re-trace on paper) some of the
background art I'd been working on. Although the look is okay, I'm
finding that the thickness and roughness of the lines is just
leading to a darker feel than I would like. I picked up a new marker
tonight that should have a bit of a thinner tip, so hopefully
that'll do the trick to get the desired effect. Otherwise, I'll just
have to do a fair bit more digital editing or come up with another
July 12th, 2003
I've spent the last little bit tweaking some of the
background art, and I feel a lot better about how it's looking now
as opposed to how it used to. I think that it's looking a lot
cleaner and a lot less dark.
I put a lot of thought into it, and I decided that,
at least in the early stages of the game, that there won't be a lot
of travelling back to the locations that we've become familar with
in EarthBound. You'll return to SOME of them, maybe, but most
definitely not all. It's just that the more I think about it, the
less I see reason to have a lot of the old locations in this game --
for the mostpart, I just feel that the "stories" left in them are
too few to really re-invent them in this game, if y'know what I'm
A HINT ABOUT STORYLINE
Darn. I just
read one of the new comic series at Strarmen.net that's being put
together, and I wish I hadn't. Unfortunately, at least one piece of the
plotline is way too similar to what I'm doing with this. UGH! This is
why I never took a serious look at the fanfics (I don't want to be
accused of swiping other people's ideas, and as much as possible, I
don't want to be influenced by them)... Oh well -- I'm sure that
there'll be plenty of differences in that artist's vision of things
and mine, anyway, so things are still going to move ahead according
to plan. Still, I will be taking a peek back at that comic
on occasion to see what s/he's up to with it (to be sure that
there aren't TOO many coincidental parallels and all).
I've decided that as this project gets bigger and
its fanbase hopefully increases, that I'll be trying to poll you
people to figure out what YOU want to see in an EarthBound game.
Right now, I'm working in a sort of envelope of secrecy because I
don't want to leak too much of the game out to people who'll be
playing it down the road. I'm hoping that I can eventually get to a
point where I have a few faithful followers who respect what I'm
doing and whose opinions I respect, so I can bounce some ideas off
of them and we can do a little bit of brainstorming together on the
finer elements of the game. Of course, I doubt much of that'll
happen before the first chapter of the game is released.
Don't know why or how it happend or how to fix it,
but as I was walking Ness across his livingroom, he "teleported"
from one spot on the screen to another. Weird. Hopefully it never
happens again. =/
LIKE A ROLLING STONE
Things are going to be going on hold with this
project for a little while in the near future, because I'm taking
a road trip to Ottawa to visit my brother and sister-in-law, and
AFTER that, I'm headed to Toronto to see some friends and take in
the big "Rolling Stones and Friends", SARS concert. It seems like the
summer has been pointed in this general direction for me in a number
of ways, so it should be a great time. More than anything, it should
be very, very cool to finally see AC/DC in concert, but some of
the other names there, like Sam Roberts, the Flaming Lips and The
Guess Who should be great to see, too. At some point during the
trip, I'll also be headed to Niagra Falls, so that should be pretty
crazycool, too. I'll be leaving sometime around the 20th of July and
I'll be back sometime around the 1st of August, so if there's a big
gap in updating, you'll know why. If you never DO see another
update, then hopefully I wasn't killed in Toronto and/ or than I
didn't contract SARS.
July 19th, 2003
NOTHING TO REPORT
Nothing to report, really. I'll be leaving
on the 21st and back on the 1st. Should be fun.
August 8th, 2003
BACK IN BLACK
I'm back from the big SARS concert in Toronto
and I had a blast. It was great fun, and all went pretty well (a
little sunstroke never really hurt anyone, I say). Though all of the
bands, including the Stones put on a great show, AC/DC was
ESPECIALLY awesome. All is well on the SARS front, too. So far I
don't seem to be showing any symptoms of having contracted the
disease at all. As the T-Shirt I bought proclaims" "I came, I SARS,
I conquered". So there.
ESSAY: THE THESIS
Well, the essay I submitted for the
starmen.net contest didn't win me a Mother 1+2 cartridge, but I did
share an hounourable mention for "Essay Most Likely to be
Re-Submitted as a College Thesis" with Sephy, a fairly prominent and
respected member of the Starmen community, from what I can gather.
Yay! I am so smart. S-M-R-T.
Did a lot more drawing of locations, objects and
characters lately. Some alright stuff, even. Also got some new
markers that I feel are even closer to the width that I want in a
line. Hopefully I have all the drawing tools I'll need at this
ITEMS AND CHARACTERS
Though I won't get all of the work on
them done tonight (without all of the areas layed out yet and all),
I am going to be implementing a number of items and characters into
the game tonight, at least in their preliminary stages (characters
Aug. 18th, 2003
WEBSITE IS A GO
the website up and running (to some degree) today, so I hope to be
adding content to it gradually over the next while. I figure that
I'll have a maybe a screenshot and some of the original art up
sometime in the next couple of weeks, and at that point I'll submit
the site to starmen.net to be included in their links section or
MORE CHARACTER ART
I've been doing a LOT more drawing
recently. A lot of it is based on the EarthBound clay models (that
you may have seen in the official Player's Guide), some of it is
based on the sprites from the EarthBound game, and some is
altogether new. I'm not sure how much of this sketch art will
eventually be actually USED, but if nothing else, all this drawing
has, I feel, given me a better sense of the "style" that I'm
Aug. 20th, 2003
SAY FUZZY PICKLES!
Made a section tonight
that I've tentatively called "EarthBound Art of the Moment"! Right
now, the "Photo Guy" is in there, so check
him out! Feast your eyes, darn you! Feast!
The art that appaears in that section may be
used in the game, or it may not. Either way, there's a solid chance
that it won't look the same, at least not exactly.
For more information, click on the links on
the left side of the page.
Thanks for stopping by.
next time there'll be more to