Blog

Games for Myst fans.

 

Sorry for the long hiatus,

I've been unable to post due to series of unfortunate coincidences and accidents that simply left me too drained to do much of anything.

Now, however, I want to talk about something I wanted to talk about for a while: good adventure games.

You see, the whole Ilathid idea is to homage Cyan Worlds' Myst series, by providing a good adventure game with good graphics, good music, exotic places, but, most importantly, a good storyline and good world design, where all the pieces fit in as a whole. The adventure genre these days has mostly degenerated to "escape" games which sort of demean the purpose...

But there still some bastions of good adventure left.

First, let's talk about The Infinite Ocean, a game by Jonas Kyratzes. If follows all the precepts of Myst: you don't know why you're in the place you're in, or even what exactly it is. As you follow the puzzles (very simple ones, mostly, so as not to get in the way), you begin to piece it together - and it is, frankly, quite amazing. I believe it might have been simply one of the top three best game I've played.

Check it out here, and tell us what you think:

http://www.kongregate.com/games/JonasKyratzes/the-infinite-ocean

 

-Paulo

Administrative Interlude

 

Hello,

Before you ask, yes I know I promised to post more about the game's creation. No, I won't do that for now. Why? Because I've been buried in administrative work, that's why. :) So, to recap:

1- The old boards are closed. We may partially reopen them, if enough people want that. But it's not my intent to reopen it - it was getting too stale with old posts and due to its format we couldn't post much more without getting real cheesy, and any posts got lost in the swath of forums.

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2- So, now, the blog is the way to communicate with you - feel free to post unrelated things on the comments. We'll read it, and even, perhaps, make a full blog post for discussion. :) Also send us an e-mail whenever you like. :) We only dislike spam, so I'm not going to put the e-mail here again.

3- Since there is only one Username To Rule Them All, we're putting our posts into categories for each person who posts. Like, for example, you can spot the category of this here post is Paulo. That's because it's me posting. :) All posts have been fixed to account for this. :)

4- We now have Facebook and Youtube pages! Search for llathid in both services and you'll find us. Both pages are under construction, I'll let you know when they're done. No Twitter planned. I know you guys like Twitter, but I can't seem to post anything below its character limit. However, as usual, I'll try if you want me to.

5- For specialized communication, like during the testing process, we're devising new semi-automatic ways of keeping all the needed information in tidy databases so we don't lose it. You'll soon see what I mean. Hope you like it.

6-New File Management interface is now being implemented after a succesful testing round. We're now in the process of gathering files from other places and centralizing them there. :) Of course, the system files will remain in the same place as ever. It's VERY easy to use. Much easier and more intuitive than anything we used before.

7- As you may have noticed or not, the Newsletter has changed quite a bit with the new Mailchimp system. If you didn't see it yet, Subscribe here: http://eepurl.com/cS2u6 to get the next one. :) We'll post some relevant articles of the latest newsletter here as well.

Thanks for reading,

-Paulo

Knowledge Base, part one : 3D softwares

Hi,
astonished World !

Due to the old boards closing, Paulo asked me to copy here the knowledge base we gathered there. So, and you'll be really amazed, here is a totally non exhaustive and completely not-up-to-date list of software one could use to create a gorgeous game :

complete studios

3D-Coat comm. win mac
Art of Illusion free win mac linux
the autodesk 3D family comm.
Blender free win mac linux
Carrara comm. win mac
Cinema 4D comm. win mac
Hexagon comm. win mac
Maya comm. win mac
Modo comm. win mac
Silo comm. win mac
Wings 3D free win mac
ZBrush comm. win mac

Lanscape generators

ArtMatic Voyager comm. mac
Bryce comm. win mac (you can find old free versions in CG Magazines)
MojoWorld comm. win
Terragen comm. win mac (V 0.9 is still free)
TerraRay comm. mac
Vue comm. win mac
World Machine comm. win

Character studios

Daz Studiofree win mac
MakeHuman free win mac
Poser comm. win mac
Quidam comm. win mac

exotic modelers

GroBoto comm. win mac

render engines

yafray free win mac linux

ufo-3D

Barrel of Monkeys, Barrel of Fun

 

Ok,

I've managed to sumo wrestle those monkeys from Mailchimp into submission. All subscribers are imported there. Jennifer is working on a basic newsletter to start up the system. Eric has now changed the link for Newsletter Subscription to an internal Mailchimp link, that will automatically register your email on the list there.

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Gosh, it has been far too long since we ran anything remotely like a serious ad campaign. There have been several reasons for that. But I know I missed it. Reasons follow:

1-Coherence - several parts of the walkthrough were still disconnected from each other. Now we managed to fix the basic points and slim down the game a lot.

2-Pipeline - Now that it is no longer 2003, there are several easy-to-use free adventure engines. Simple ones, I grant you. Which is, for our purposes, their strength - the modellers and animators themselves can use them, as can all other members of the team, thus allowing everyone to participate in assembling "mock-ups" of the Ages and sub-areas. Only when all is clear of errors and well-assembled do we pass it on to our actual engin, which has more Cool Stuff, thus allowing our coders to actually develop the engine instead of busting their guts doing repeated versions of mock-ups. Also, even if our engine development founders due to some unforeseen condition (like all our coders having to leave the project at once for personal reasons), we still have good fallback options.

3- Workplace - Those of you who ever saw our old forum (developer view, not guest view) know it was rapidly growing into a mess. It was never intended to handle something this big - things and tasks got lost. Now we have a new, better, workplace that allows for all sorts of managerial functions. Also we made a new file naming system to ensure noone forgets what things are for. Plus we're bringing in a new easy-to-use and secure file system - I just found out the perfect solution yesterday. Hope everyone approves.

With these changes, we expect to be able to pull this off. Why so much work in an ad campaign? Because they are our lifeblood - since we work with volunteers, we never know when someone might have to leave, so we always have to attract more staff. :)

Since I tend to post big bricks of text, I'll stop here. Next, I'll tell you how Ilathid came about.

See you!

Pushing to get part of an Age into alpha testing

 

It's truly amazing to see what people can do when they come together. We've been scorching along on a 30 day blitz to get part of an Age into alpha testing.  Here's what we laid out for the first week of work:

Week 1 (March 24 - March 31)
More...Jennifer

- Finish rough mockups of all models to be used
* conveyance device  DONE
* creature  DONE
* creature  DONE
* creature  DONE
* creature  DONE
* Puzzle device  DONE

James

- Make list of sounds needed  DONE
- Finalize details to terrain  DONE
- Put in Jennifer's mockups for stand-ins  DONE
- Begin planning out screenshot layout  DONE

Fanni

- Read and research puzzle, Age, character 1  DONE
- Make 1 journal entry for character 2  DONE

Paulo

- Get all newsletter subscribers into Mailchimp  DONE
- Write a nondisclosure agreement for the alpha testers to give their assent to  DONE

Not that we finished it all on schedule (let's just throw back our heads and laugh at that silly idea) but it did get done, and surprisingly fast too.  :)  The Age is looking the best it has yet, and I'm really looking forward to sharing it with alpha testers in the next month--if all goes well.  

Besides the tasks listed above, I (Jennifer) made a voice recording for character 2 and Dan cleaned out the background static and deepened my voice.   Wish more could be done with the recording as my voice is not really right for the character, but without good,free, voice changing software, that's simply not possible.  Richard has been giving me free vocal coaching, so hopefully I'll at least be able to produce a realistic, natural sound. The scripts I'm reading, fyi, are written by Fanni, who not only designs characters and does occasional concept art, but also translates texts into Hungarian for that version of the game.  (She's already translated the website, but thanks to some trouble with a special character we haven't been able to get it up yet.)

James (with the help of the local bookstore cat) has been designing the sound scheme for the Age, which means that he creates every button push, every ambient noise, and every animal sound. Right now James has the biggest job of us all; besides putting together the Age terrain in Bryce, he's also importing all my Blender models & Joël's Maya models, creating/rendering the slides and navigation layout, and eventually working out the puzzle logic and adding sounds. All this will be put into the Pipmak game engine, since James is comfortable with that engine, and then eventually into our own Ilathid engine for final distribution.  Eric, who programs the engine and maintains everything from the website to the blog to the old forum, will be doing that based on James' mockup. The Age's music was composed by Leeran Z. Raphaely, an excellent musician who was on the team about a year ago.   

In other news, Richard finished the building code as far as he can. We won't get to see his contribution to the alpha test in this particular go around, since he has been involved primarily in designing a part of the Age that the testers won't yet have access to, but I will reveal that it involves some spatial critique on the interior layout of a very unique building. 

Other stuff done by the team:

  • Composed rough draft of newsletter, designed template, preparing to distribute.
  • Printed out Ilathid flyers to post around campus, hoping to find a few new hands
  • Created words for the cardinal directions in a fictional game language
  • Created rough dates for journal entries based on fictional dating system
  • Spruced up the blog with a new look based on the template designed by Minz Meyer. 

Hi there!

 

Hi there, it's Paulo in here! No, I've not died! ;)

I've just graduated from med school, so I'll have a bit more time to work on Ilathid. Anyway, here's some progress:

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-Fixed the timeline. (I think. I'm not too confident about TimeGlider yet). See, the problem with it was that it had large safety margins (date-wise) - it was concievied back in 2003, back when we were waiting for Cyan to go on with the URU storyline and give us more detail about the D'ni. Now with UrU:CC, MOUL and Myst V out, I think we can finally shave the safety margins off. This make the story much more plausible and coherent - events are flowing more smoothly into each other.

-I am activating a Mailchimp service for us - a much better and easier way of sending newsletters (that's why you subscribers got so few). When it's done, we'll try to roll our first newsletter using the new service ASAP.

-Board changes. We're going to have to ditch the old board. It's too static. :( While we'll keep it for archival purposes, it'll no longer be accessible to you - we'll use the blog instead. For recruitment purposes, use ilathid-n-o-s-p-a-mATgmail.com (remove the obvious nospam protector and the AT) :)

Game Teaser

 

After seeing this, we had to stop Ilathid development and change its direction - for nothing is as great as this. Nothing will EVER be as great as this game. All Hail the Cube! I even came BACK IN TIME to post this to you!Don't know what I'm talking about? How dare you? Click here to find out:

http://www.youtube.com/v/4aGDCE6Nrz0

All Hail the Cube!

New Models, Timeline

 

  • Finally got the timeline into Timeglider.  I can't sing enough praises for this program; I appreciate it more each time I use it.  
    More...Looking at our storyline/backstory from a visual perspective has made me aware of a few temporal problems, namely the surprising antiquity of certain events and the too-spread-out-ness of others.  Fortunately we haven't added any real dates to the journals yet.  
  • James gave the Age terrain he's in charge of modeling a complete overhaul: Sky, textures, object placement.  He also added a very nice walkway.  Smile  It's really looking good!
  • I did an hour of work on a musical instrument, the _________-zela.  [Spoilers redacted]  Just the basic geometry for now, I haven't even added the keys yet.  It'll be part of a really fun puzzle when it's finished.  And no, it won't be as bad as the organ puzzle from Myst.  It'll be so much worse!!!  ...Just kidding. Wink  
  • I also did a bit of work on the terrain I've been mentioning in the last few entries.  Added a beach (a twenty-polygon beach--the terrain is just a mockup) and roughed in a power-producing device.  

Progress Rolls On...

Lots of news this month:
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  • Game timeline improved by adding Earth dates to go with existing dates.  (Previously we only had dates in the format of Before Fall and After Fall.)  Check out this fun little D'ni time conversion program, the Cavernian Calendar Converter: http://home.earthlink.net/~seizuretown/myst/ccconverter.htm  Eventually the plan is to commit the timeline to an online program called Timeglider that is specifically meant for storing dates in timelines. 
  • Building code in progress - a new addition to our game specs is being put together by Richard.  This will help keep architectural styles consists throughout each particular Age, preventing a mishmash of unmatching buildings.  
  • A previously mentioned arthropod model has been improved by the addition of better texturing, more accurately jointed legs, and leg hairs.
  • A previously mentioned terrain model has been changed to prevent Relto waterfall impossibilities.  :P
  • A texture for a decorative carpet was finished after sitting for like 2 years without any progress!
  • Base for a building was designed by Richard.
  • Endgame document was improved, script still needs to be written.
  • New decal created by Daniel, a companion to the one mentioned earlier.
  • Tray model created and partially textured.
  • Two new plugins installed by Dan.  One plugin whines if a task isn't updated in 30 days and the other one allows you to arrange tasks to create roadmaps.  The latter has some kind of issue that is preventing me from getting results with it, so I'll need to consult help before it'll be useful.  
  • Paulo gets done with med school in three weeks!  It will be very nice to have him back again.  :)

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