Planet Earth. Not a bad spot.
I can see my house from
of the Moment
In the Year 199X +1...
fangame, title pending)
This page will
serve as a sort of informal developer's diary, so that anyone who
might care out there can get an idea of what I've been up to and how I'm
coming along. How often I'll bother updating and how much I'll have worked
on the game or not, I'm not sure, but I'll try to give people the heads
up when 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
OVERALL PROGRESS ESTIMATE
(Aug. 15th, 2004):
-Story/ Plot: 75%
(tentative project title
that WILL be changing, obviously)
Aug. 15th, 2004
Well, it's not been a
very busy summer for me otherwise, so I've spent a lot of time working
on the game when I get the chance. Not to say that I've got a whole lot
done (at least it doesn't feel that way), but I've been chipping away at
it nevertheless. Most of what's been accomplished has been in terms of
art and plot. Art wise, I think I've come up with a style that I'm pretty
happy with in terms of character sprites, so I'll likely be sticking with
that. In terms of plot, I think I've made some major strides, though I
still do need to put a lot of finishing touches on things to make the overall
product a lot more cohesive. I do pretty much have the first chapter down,
though, and I'm fairly happy with how it should flow overall, such that
I think old players and new alike will be able to hop right in and get
a feel for things. Hopefully people will be pleased with what they'll be
Some of the sprites I've
worked on in the last little while can be seen in the "Art
of the Moment" section. Enjoy!
Feb. 21st, 2004
Work has been very busy
in the past month, so I've not had a lot of time to work on the game as
a result. Since last update, I've mostly been working on making music,
as I found it to be one of the more relaxing aspects of making the game
so far. Expect to see some more music in the Downloads
section in the near future (though probably not any final cuts yet).
I also discovered that
the EarthBound ("Orange Kid") font that I have isn't EXACTLY perfect --
some of the letters simply aren't exact copies of the ones from EarthBound.
If anyone knows of a better EarthBound font, please let
me know. Otherwise, I'll just be editing them as best as I can in some
sort of font editing program.
Jan. 18th, 2004 (afternoon)
WORKING IN MY SLEEP...
While I was sleeping,
I figured out an easy way to get the graphical user interface (menus) to
work and look right within the contect of a point-and-click adventure (I'd
went to bed around 8 am, and it's now around 1 pm, in case you were wondering
about the double date stamp). THAT'S just how dedicated I am to you people:
I'm even at work when I'm sleeping. =)
Jan. 18th, 2004
BAD NEWS: DEMO DELAYS
Though it's coming along
a lot better than before, I've not yet finished a demo I'm happy with.
These things take time, I guess. It'll still mostly be consisting of the
first scene in Ness's family's new place, in case you hadn't been following
GOOD NEWS: INTERFACE,
MUSIC, ART, etc.
Though things have been
delayed, I can report that I've still made a lot of headway in a number
of areas. First of all, I've been looking more and more at the Adventure
Game Studio interface, and have been getting more and more familiar with
just what it can do.
As such, I've been doing
things like working out a graphical user interface (pop-up menus and such)
for the game that will look similar to the SNES's EarthBound. Something
I'm wondering how you feel about, however, is whether or not inventory
items should simply be presented verbally (as in the original Nintendo
games) or as actual graphical icons. Simple text would be a lot easier
and quicker to do, of course, and it might help preserve the nostalgic
look of the menus, too. Then again, you might prefer to see graphics. Please,
me know what you think.
I think I may also be
on the verge of figuring out how to allow the player to name some of the
main characters what they want. Furthermore, if I've figured that out,
it means that I can probably include a monetary system in the game, and
that I can probably also include HP and PP, for that matter, should I chose
to do so. I'm still not too sure about whether or not I'll be including
any of these elements in the game yet, but at least I'm feeling that I
should be ABLE to include them if I decide to. Of course, as always, your
feedback on all of this would be appreciated.
Besides working with the
game's engine, I've been busy with something that's pretty new to me: making
music. To be quite honest, the most experience I've had with putting music
together before I started working on it recently, was when I'd been mucking
around with Mario Paint for the SNES. I was, um, pointed toward this nifty
little music-making program a little while back, though, and have been
having a lot of fun with it on and off ever since. It's not EXACTLY what
I was hoping for in terms of music-making software, but it's pretty snazzy
for what it is nonetheless. What's important is that slowly but surely,
I've actually been managing to put together what I feel is some pretty
alright original music for the game. Some of the tracks I've been working
on feel more "EarthBoundy" than others, but I hope that you'll find them
alright DESPITE my sorry lack of musical ability. There aren't too many
tracks that I've fully completed yet, but I DO hope to get some samples
of what I've been working on up in the Downloads section in the near future,
so keep your eyes peeled for that.
As if all of that wasn't
enough, I've also made some good leaps ahead in the art department, having
drawn up a number of backgrounds from two different areas, and having made
some character drawings for some of the people and critters that'll be
populating those areas. And I've been pretty happy with how they've been
turning out, too.
HEY! WHAT ABOUT THE "etc."?!
You're right, 'cause
that's not all! Yes siree, I've also been putting a lot more thought into
some of the game's puzzles and just how they'll work out. As a matter o'
fact, if I told you just how many pages of writing I've done just since
the last update, you'd never believe me anyway. Seriously.
AND THAT'S NOT ALL!
In other news, I may
to revive my EB Halloween project. As a result of digging around in AGS
a bit, I've sort of figured out how to move the main charcater around with
the keypad, meaning that there would be less problems with super slowdown
for pathfinding. Though the game still wouldn't have a chance of running
all that well as I envision it, I think it could still someday see the
light of day. However, unless I ever manage to get a lot of work done on
it, this will be the last you hear of it for a good while to come. For
now, consider it very much on the backburner so that I can work on my main
And to cap this update
off, I'd like to say that I had a great holiday season, and hope you did
too. All the best to you in 2004... and wish me luck too (at least when
it come to this project, anyway).
Oct. 29th, 2003
DEMO INFO, REASONS FOR
It's not nearly done
yet, but I am hoping to have a demo out in late November or early December.
I'll not likely have it consisting of very much -- probably Ness's new
house, mostly. Hopefully it'll be enough to whet your apetite a little.
I'd hoped to have something like this done sooner, but I got sidetracked
with another EB game project which I was going to enter in the Starmen.net
Halloween Funfest... HOWEVER, it seems that AGS has trouble dealing with
maps that are very large, unless you employ some tricks that I was unwilling
to employ (it's an issue with the program calculating your path through
a complicated path, and it slows the game WAY down)...
Anyway, the point is that
there WILL NOT be an EB Halloween
game coming from me, unfortunately. Oh well. It was going to be a piece
of crap anyway. Still, it saddens me to have encountered this program limitation.
Sept. 1st, 2003
MORE CHARACTER ART -AND-
As I was struggling with
an element of AGS (as a result of having somehow skipped over a key piece
of information in the game manual), I'd been continuing drawing out various
characters and coloring them. Finally, though, I nailed down what I was
doing wrong, and I now feel much more confident about importing graphics
into the AGS editor. With this leap, I figure that I'll be able to have
a short demo of Ness's house up and running fairly soon, if I put a bit
of work into it.
At the same time, I soon
have to get my butt in gear when it comes to figuring out what I'll be
doing around this time NEXT year, and THAT means that I have to start looking
for a school to attend. And THAT means that I have to fill out applications,
get references and jump through a bunch of buraucratic hoops in order to
get things done.
So I don't know when I'll
have a demo out. I'm shooting for sometime in November, hopefully, and
very probably before the end of the year.
Once I have the demo
of Ness's place complete, I figure that I'll soldier ahead and make a skeleton
of the game, using mostly uncolored, non-animated sketches. At this point,
I'll be focusing more on things like getting rooms and puzzles to work
properly, as well as on writing out all the dialogue. Though it won't be
pretty to look at, I'm thinking that once I'm finished with a bare bones
version of the game, that I'll be looking around for people to test the
game out to see what they think, and to report problems to me. Hopefully
all that'll go as smoothly as I hope it should. I must say that for what
I feel I want to do so far (that is, keep everything as basic as possible),
that I don't see any real problems coming up yet. I think I have a good
handle on all of the functions that I'll be needing within AGS, at least
for the first chapter of the game. I figure that the first chapter will
very intentionally be the most basic, and that hopefully, I'll learn as
I go and work my way up from there, figuring out more complex scripting
stuff to incorporate into later chapters of the game.
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 in the final version of the
game... at least not exactly.
Aug. 18th, 2003
WEBSITE IS A GO
Got 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 something.
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 striving toward.
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
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.
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 sayin'.
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
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 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 swimmingly.
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 solution.
July 1st, 2003 (Happy
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.
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 and story.
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
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 much
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 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 EarthBound.
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:
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 traditional RPG.
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.
Still, I'd like to hear your
thoughts on this or anything else you read on these page.
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 more open-ended.
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
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 air.
MUSIC (UPDATE, Jan. 2004)
As of January 2004, I
have started writing some original music that I feel is appropriate for
the game. Chances are that I'll be including some of the old music in there,
too, mind you. Also note that I've worked out some of the sound issues
I was having.
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 happen.)
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 or not.
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 else from what they're left with.
In case 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.
I played the game again for the first time in years in the summer of 2001,
and fell in love with it all over again. Since no sequel had ever been
made for the game, I thought I'd take it upon myself to make an unofficial
one, provided I could figure out whether or not other people cared about
this game. After a short while, I found Starmen.net and a number of other
fansites for EarthBound, showing me that many people still had a special
place in their heart this old SNES game. Thus, I started planning.
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
here... or by going to the feedback
For more information,
click on the links on the left side of the page.
Thanks for stopping by.
(Maybe next time there'll
be more to see...)