Thursday, May 19, 2016

License To Drive B:\

If you were a kid in the early '90s, chances are you'd come home from school and watch Disney Afternoon, a block of cartoons which included such classics as Ducktales, TaleSpin, Darkwing Duck, and of course, Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers.  The show took the classic Disney characters Chip and Dale, and reimagined them as crime solving heroes along with their tech-savvy assistant mouse Gadget, cheese-loving Aussie mouse Monterrey Jack, and faithful companion fly Zipper.  Usually, they would have to foil the evil plans of the klutzy Professor Nimnull or the slick Fat Cat (an actual fat cat in a suit) and save the day.  Naturally, their adventures made for a perfect transition to video games.

In fact, in 1990 and 1994, Capcom released two Chip 'N Dale games, both highly acclaimed, and the second one regarded as one of the best licensed NES titles ever made.  However, we're not going to cover those.  Instead, we are going to look at the DOS game known as "Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers: The Adventures in Nimnul's Castle."  

Released in 1990 by Hi-Tech Expressions, this game was developed by Riedel Software Productions.  As the title would imply, the Rescue Rangers must venture into Professor Nimnul's castle.  What little story there is is shown in the opening cutscene, where we see that Monterrey Jack has gotten his tail caught in a mousetrap after going on one of his trademark cheese binges.  Although it is never explicitly stated, Monty is apparently caught in Nimnul's castle.  He urges Zipper to go get Chip 'N Dale, and so begins the game.

This is all the story we get. Also, shouldn't his tail be severed?
Despite having two main characters, this is a single player game, unlike the NES versions.  While in those games, you could choose either chipmunk in single player or co-op with 2 players, in this one you more or less control both or just Chip, depending on the level.  Speaking of, there are only 9 levels in this game.  They are divided into 3 stages, each consisting of 3 levels.  
The only difference between levels is that the camera zooms in on the background.
In the first level, Chip and Dale must go from the left side of the screen to the right, passing through holes, and avoiding falling drops of acid and robot dogs who will swallow them whole.  After completing this task 3 times, we move on to the second stage, where Chip must run from side to side avoiding dripping wax, all the while picking up screws and tossing them down to Dale, who is running around below trying to avoid more of those robot dogs.  Apparently, Gadget needs these screws to fix their flying machine for some reason.  In any case, once this set of 3 levels is completed, we move on to the final bit, wherein Chip has to shimmy along a bar on the ceiling collecting screws to throw down to Dale while avoiding being grabbed by a machine's hands.

If you run out of lives, you are treated to a screen where Chip, Dale, and Gadget look very sad.  If you win, you get a screen where Monty is saved.  That's about it for the variety in this game.  There is no music at all, and the only sound is emitted through the PC speaker.  It mostly consists of silly chirpy sound effects which are forgettable.

I can't tell if they're sad about failing, or the fact that there's a pencil coming out of Gadget's giant ass.
So, should you play this game?  If you find a copy, go for it.  It can easily be beaten in 10 minutes if you don't make any mistakes, and is clearly meant for very young children or people who have never played a video game in their life.  It's really a tragedy to see how terrible this game turned out compared to its NES cousins.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Release Date!

I'm happy to announce that A Golden Wake will be released on October 9th for PC, Mac, and Linux.

Currently the game is available for pre-order, which includes a free copy of the game's soundtrack.

Monday, August 25, 2014

That's a Wrap

A Golden Wake is finished.

I've been waiting a long time to be able to write that, and now I finally can. The game is in code freeze and has been passed over to Wadjet Eye for safekeeping until release. I've had a great time making the game and am extremely proud of it. Hopefully everyone who plays it will enjoy it too.

We'll be releasing in October, though I can't say the exact date just yet. It will be announced, along with pre-order information and a new trailer in the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I've been keeping busy with two projects: one is the collaboration with Ben Chandler, who has finished his duties on Technobabylon and is now committed to the project fully.  The other is one which is still very much in its infancy, but will be my next full time project after finishing the collaboration.

As for this blog, I'm not sure what will happen with it. Ben has suggested doing a dev blog for our project, but that would be a separate link.  Maybe this blog will get a revamp, or maybe I'll just leave it as an archive of A Golden Wake's production.  We'll see.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Preview Roundup

A couple of weeks ago, we sent out some preview copies of A Golden Wake, and so far there have been some rather nice things said about the game.

As for progress on the game itself, I've coded in achievements and am currently scouring the web for some good sound effects.

Almost there!

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Home Stretch

This is it, the home stretch.  The final 5%.  The part of game development notorious for being the most difficult, only because it's so easy to get complacent with yourself about being done.

As of right now, I just need to add some polish to the game, finishing up little extra animations, putting in sound effects, recording commentary, etc.  Release is in September, which currently feels like ages away, but the truth is it will be here before I know it.  On the bright side, I am feeling an ever-growing sense of accomplishment knowing that this project is finally going to be crossing the finish line.

The music (by the wonderful Peter Gresser) and VO have been completed, and I am very happy with both.  I feel like the game I've been testing repeatedly for the past few months now has new life with the amazing audio quality.  But you can be the judge of that yourself with these three previews.

A Golden Wake Music Preview 1
A Golden Wake Music Preview 2
A Golden Wake Music Preview 3

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Busy busy

The past month and a half has been incredibly busy.

I was able to finish all the animations in the game, which meant I was able to add an extra sequence, one which I feel improves the pacing of the second half of the game significantly.  Of course, this means a few new animations, character portraits, and sprites, but it's all worth it.

The game has been cast, and we're about halfway through the recording process.  I'm extremely happy with the performances everyone has given, and I feel the game will get a lot of recognition for the quality of the VO.  Also, music is slowly coming in, and I'm really excited about it as well.

The best part is, we finally have a release window: Fall 2014.  The game will most likely be out at the end of September, or early October at the latest.  I'm extremely excited to have it out and seeing what people think of it.

Right, back to work!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Coming Together...Slowly

The past few weeks I've been working exclusively on animations for the game, this coming after playing it and writing down a list of all the necessary (and not so necessary) animations.  In the past when I was working on freeware games like the Ben Jordan series, animation was always something that tended to take something of a back seat.  Since they were freeware, it was a lot easier to sacrifice the more complex and time-consuming animations I may have wanted to include with the excuse that since nobody would be paying for the game, they wouldn't mind so much if they weren't included.

Now that I'm working on something commercial, animations are much more important.  This isn't to say that I'm loading up the game with animation just for the sake of it only because the game is commercial, but it does mean that I need to do a bit more showing rather than telling.  Luckily, having made the Ben Jordan games over the past 10 years has given me quite a bit of practice, so animating isn't as daunting a task as it used to seem.

In other news, I am starting the process of casting voices for the game, which is great, because it means the light at the end of the tunnel is getting slightly bigger.  This will be my first time working with a casting director, as well as with exclusively live actors (as opposed to having some or most of the roles done remotely) so it's pretty exciting.