ANN: Forgotten Riddles - The Mayan Princess

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by SteveZ, Sep 14, 2007.

  1. SteveZ

    Indie Author

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    Dear current and soon-to-be Indie Authors:

    Blue Tea Games is proud to announce the release of Forgotten Riddles, a Big Fish Games exclusive.

    You can download the game here

    Screenshots: 1 2 3 4

    Story: Based on published Mayan history, the royal family's unfortunate death occurred in 1536. However, recent excavations reveal that journal entries left by the last princess were dated around 1556, 20 years after their supposed demise. As chief archaeologist, you are sent on a mission to uncover the real history behind this tragic event.

    This is by far the biggest project I have ever undertaken, my team and I have worked countless nights and hours past dawn to make this game a reality. Enjoy!

    -Steve Z.
     
  2. DayDream

    Indie Author

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    It looks beautiful... Great job...
     
  3. JGOware

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    Seriously....where DO you get graphics like that? Could you please fill us in on who did the graphics and how? Amazing looking.
     
  4. chanon

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    Looks like a definite best seller .. congratulations!

    And yeah maybe I should outsource my graphics to whoever did those backgrounds for you ... amazing!
     
  5. SteveZ

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    I'll fill you on how this is done.

    The project took around 7 to 8 months from start to finish and (15%) first month was spent searching and prepping the artists. Due diligence pays off, so no skipping out on that. I have looked at over 100 art portfolios, narrowed down to 20, asked ~10 to work on a test scene, and choose the best (top 2).

    Places I searched: indiegamer, deviantart, cgsociety, and browsing through various blogs. I also have both artists from my previous game in this project as well. Artists who haven't done games before will require more training - that's what the first month is for.

    More info on the test scene:
    I envision what I want in the game, then draft a document for all artists to follow, which includes: graphic style, what games they should see/play first, time limit, and mockup description.

    I asked for a realistic ruined temple and they should see MCF and go from there (always shoot for the best :)). Here are a few samples 1 2 3 4

    -Steve Z.
     
  6. chanon

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    That sounds like a very good way to find good artists.

    Thanks for sharing that!
     
  7. Genimo

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    Excelent work, Steve! Best of luck...
     
  8. Batley

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    Game looks great.

    How much did you spend on artwork altogether then if you don't mind answering?
     
  9. SteveZ

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    All I can say is art budget is fairly big. An average developer probably won't be able to afford it / want to risk paying that much. It is not because I have very high paid artists, but rather this game demands alot of content.

    IMO, finding that special artist isn't the holy grail of building a beautiful game. What makes the artists stand out is that they understand their roles and their skills are utilized effectively. In fact two of my artists have no/very little experience in designing game graphics. There is a period where they just experimented around and I was able to pinpoint what is best for each artist. We spent alot of time working on the first scene, undergoing intensive revisions until I feel the game production is good enough. From there that first scene becomes our benchmark and the rest pretty much rolled out smoothly.

    -Steve Z.
     
  10. Sirrus

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    By far your best game Steve - exponential move.

    Good work!
     
  11. stanchat

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    This is some of the most useful and valuable info I have heard in a while. You seemed to have put some game building processes in place either directly or indirectly that you can re-use down the road.

    The game is actually really fun. I must admit, I havent played a lot of the MCF stuff but I thought the whole riddle thing was pretty cool.

    Good Luck and hope it does great!!
     
  12. Qitsune

    Qitsune New Member

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    I have to say that this game has to be in the top tier of the hidden object games I've seen, graphic-wise. I have only looked at the screenshots but the scenes are very well done and don't look like stock pictures slapped together like other games I've seen.

    If it may interest some, I've done a quote for a fairly elaborate hidden object game in the past (I don't want to post the exact specs I was given but it had many levels and a LOT of objects in each level) and I quoted a rate over 10k. Never heard back from the guy. I don't think he had planned that much.
     
  13. stanchat

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    I was playing level 2 and something kind of odd occurred. i had completed all but Runes 4 & 5 & 7. I then clicked on the "MAP MENU" button which displayed the map screen. I then clicked the map I was currently playing and when it returned me to the game, instead of showing my Runes solved screen like

    X X X 4 5 X 7

    it instead showed as

    1 2 3 X X X X
    It did a requery on my un-solved riddles and put them to the front of the queue. This might be by design but thought I would bring it up anyway so you are aware.
     
  14. Adrian Cummings

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    Not played it (I just don't have time to be honest to play/view everything here) but checked out the screenies and have to say... very nice graphics indeed!

    Good stuff.
     
  15. mooktown

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    looks nice steve, I like the use of cryptic riddles instead of a shopping list, although why a koala bear is in a mayan jungle has me more puzzled ;)
     
  16. SteveZ

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    This was one of the bigger design process I dealt with early in the production. I ask myself what is the significance of having the rune number link to a particular riddle? - which wasn't much, at all, since no one except savants would remember it anyway. The advantage however of refreshing the numbers is it gives the player instant knowledge of how many runes are left in that scene.

    This is one question many testers often ask me - and there are a few good reasons why those objects are chosen. The goal is to grasp if their question is expressed with curiosity or with complaint. Since it is the former, what can I say :)

    -Steve Z.
     
  17. Game Producer

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    Great looking game and congratulations on the launch! Wish you success with sales
     
  18. SteveZ

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    After rereading the thread, I figured people would be curious to know more about the graphics in more detail. So why not. Using the Observatory scene:

    Step 1. I envision the scenery and write a 1 page description

    Step 2. My draft artist takes that description and creates a clean pencil image: http://www.blueteagames.com/FR_S1.jpg
    * He's the oldest and most experienced artist. The reason he's best for the job is because he nails down perspective not only very well but can translate my document with no trouble at all.

    Step 3. I hand the document and pencil image to my painting artist, who colors it: http://www.blueteagames.com/FR_S2.jpg
    * She paints extremely well. Her strength is commitment and attention to details - these traits are crucial since this is the most time consuming step.

    Step4. I hand the painted picture to my game artist, whom populates and shades the objects: http://www.blueteagames.com/FR_S3.jpg
    * He knows how to implement graphics in the game effectively, thus making him the strongest candidate for choosing and placing objects. Not only that, he also writes the riddle objects, thus streamlining the process.

    Step5. In some scenes, I have the draft artist re-shade them: http://www.blueteagames.com/FR_S4.jpg
    * Only about a third of the scenes undergo this process - the main reason is to enhance the scene's mood.

    Now that graphics are out of the way, feel free to talk about the riddles and gameplay design :)

    -Steve Z.
     
  19. stanchat

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    Did you consider maybe displaying a Remaining Puzzles icon and keeping the original Rune state intact? It just kinda threw me aback as both a designer and gameplayer. While I was playing I think I may have subconsiously assigned difficulty value based on the Rune number. Like 2 is harder then 1 and 6 is harder then 5 etc..

    As a gameplayer I guess I like my game state to remain as pristine as possible.
     
  20. defanual

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    thanks for the insight...

    Yeah, this looks great:eek:. Thanks for the insight into picking a artist(s) too, very useful information!:)
     

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