What has been going on …

So I haven’t been heard of for a while and thought I would share what has been going on behind the scenes the last weeks. Not much to be glad about I’m afraid, but there is some at least.

So my new game design document is coming along slowly. Did I say that that’s not really my forte? I’m not enjoying it either to be honest. But we are getting there. I have a lovely new UI for the event that highlites the new game structure and that I would have loved to show you – except that it is empty as of yet, because I have not finished my game design homework, lazy and somewhat unmotivated that I am. But I’ll post it soon, I guess.

The bad news is that I have been working on my boyfriends project the last month. Because guess what: he got people to pay him money for it! This is it btw if you are interested: http://www.starshipcorporation.com/. As you can see we got it crowd funded to level two and it’s not even over yet! That got me thinking again about doing the same thing for Party. It would have to be kickstarter though, because let’s face it: not that many people who want to have this game, so we cannot have it run on a crowdfunding platform that nobody has heard of. (Sorry indiegogo, I’m sure your time will come …)

The problem with kickstarter up to now was that you had to have a US bank account. Which we did not have because we are German! Yeah. But apparently kickstarter is going Europe. First UK, then hopefully the rest of us. Which means not very long now before we’ll be able to start our own campaign!

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New Game Design Concept

It was inevitable that when I would get my new computer on friday I would not get around to actually using it for the purpose of advancing Party until now. But playing Heroes 6 all weekend was of course for research purposes only and had to be done really. I had no choice and in fact was sacrificing myself, if you look at it the right way..

So I promised a great game design idea and I actually did not lie with that announcement for a change. I know I always think that I am going to keep my promises so it’s not really lying per se, but still. I know it is disappointing nonetheless. But this time I surpassed myself. Game design is not my forte but for once I had the wits to steal someone else’s idea. That’s why I had to play Heroes 6 all weekend. No, but seriously I’m going to tell you the idea eventually. When I stop feeling the urge to be clever. Which is soon I hope. No, here it is, really.

Most of you will not know the Heroes of Might and Magic series, I guess. So I’m going to explain that first and maybe that will wet your appetite to try that game out as well. The battle part of the game is turn based strategy with stacks of creatures that have different characteristic and specialties. There is also a hero that has either lots of different magic spells or might features. The nice thing about the sixth installment is that there is a ton of new specialties. Almost every creature has at least one weird attack or healing capacity or even something else entirely. Some have as much as three. There are race traits and lots of new enticing spells for the heroes. The idea behind this is that the more complex the creatures and heroes are the more you can get out of every battle with the right strategy, with some races virtually losing not a single unit even in severe battles. (Yay for Necromancers and Sanctuary and yay for magic heroes with lots of healing spells!)

So I’m not going for the turn based part but I do like that every creature is so unique and purposeful. This is what I am going to copy for Party. Back when I thought I was doing only basic needs like eating and talking I was scared that it would feel boring to play. I wanted for the characters to have personality and went for a ridiculously complex system that not even I could see through after a while. But enter character traits: Every guest will have one flaw and one gift at first. I’m going to explain what they are with the Embarassment flaw. It has lots of different effects: when embarrassed the character cannot talk anymore. If he is in a group then that also impacts the talking quality of the other participants. The character is more vulnerable to disdain, which hurts him, which in turn reduces the relationship to the disdaining partner and reduces the mood quite drastically for the hurt character. The character also radiates embarrassment and awkwardness which might trigger flaws in other guests. So all in all a pretty bad flaw that could seriously effect the outcome of the party. It’s key to not let that flaw trigger. The same goes for gifts only that they are positive and could quieten activated flaws.

But I don’t stop here. Because that is a nice idea but would still make a very static game. So not only will there be these very unique traits for every single guest but they will also be up-gradable.  Or down-gradable really for flaws. I am not sure how exactly I am going to implement that so what I say now might change. But the idea is that you get gift points for when you use gifts on other guests and after the party when you are preparing for a new one, you get to use these points to make a gift more awesome or a flaw less scary. That means that the next time you invite these guests they will be easier to play. Which sounds like the game will get less challenging. But really what you do is develop the easier guests at the beginning to be able to handle more difficult guests later on. You, as the hostess or host character, will of course also be able to level gifts.

Now if that does not sound cool then I don’t know what will. I am really awed by the idea that I stole. The only thing left is to implement it. Which will not be easy. That’s the downside of the new concept. It will take longer and I don’t even want to make a guess as to how long. Still, I hope you like the idea. I would really like to get your feedback on the new course I am taking. That would make my day even more awesome than the new computer!

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No, not yet …

So I’m really not going to make the schedule I so stupidly imposed on myself. I feel a little bad because some people might actually look forward to me completing the game. And did you notice the singular in the last sentence? Yes, at the moment I’m pretty much by myself, because David unfortunately has other stuff to do. Which is one of the reasons I’m not going to be in time. But I’m not going to blame it all on him, just a little. ;) No, the truth is, I have had some big struggles with the game design the last month. I figured that if I made a game that I did not wish to play myself, than there was something not good about that. Don’t get me wrong, I have made games before that I did not care to play myself. But this time, it’s different, because: 1. There is just me. I cannot offload the stuff I hate to other people. 2. I have to make my own game design. Try that when you do not care for the game design you are producing. 3. I do not get paid. 4. I have only me to motivate myself. 5. I have an old and shitty computer that does not do the new hardware acceleration that I need for this game. I like the irony of this though: Me developing a game that my own computer cannot render.

So I had a huge drop of motivation last month, when I noticed I didn’t care for my own game. Don’t worry, I’m on the upward trend at the moment. I got a lot of inspiration from watching Let’s Play’s on Youtube, specifically Might and Magic Heroes VI. Yes, these bastards had to turn the title for the sixth installment around. As if nobody would notice. Oh and by the way, I’m actually old enough to have played the original Might and Magic series, so yes, that feels like a really stupid move to me.

I’m getting side tracked here. What has Heroes got to do with Jane Austen’s Party? Not much, one would assume at first glance. But no, they gave me a brilliant idea for character development and character actions – that I’m going to carry out as soon as I can render a scene with more than one character in it. This computer that I have is really starting to annoy me on that scale. It actually helped me keep performance down the first couple of month, because it had to render everything with the CPU, thus forcing me to keep everything very low-poly. Which even impressed other developers. Not the low-poly, but the amount of characters and animations I got to render at the same time. But now I’ve somehow crossed this thin line of being able to render with more that 5 FPS. Don’t know why exactly, but anyway I decided that it was time to buy a knew computer. The lovely people of Dell didn’t think so though, and I have been waiting 3 weeks for the thing to arrive now. Hopefully it will come at the end of this week. I’m doing UI stuff and windows for now, that’s all my dying computer can take at the moment. Did you see the last three screenshots? I did that. Yeah! I’m pretty proud of myself, because, as mentioned before, I’m not a graphics artist. And even David doesn’t feel a strong urge to go over my designs for the final version.

So I know, that’s somehow bad news. But the upside is: it’s going to be a much cooler game, when I’m finished. At least I think so. OK, maybe some people might find it to be a bit too complex. I’m really planning on getting a good arc into the game, but one never knows. I would understand if people didn’t want to play that. I really want fluffy games sometimes, especially for the in-between times, when I want to relax, not think harder. So that might be a problem. But since I’m not really convinced anymore that I’m ever going to make any money with this, I might as well please myself. That’s the beauty of only being accountable to myself – I have absolute power over where I want this game to go. Not a good note to end? Don’t worry. It’s really going to be a cool game. Just throw your preconceptions over board and be ready to be challenged more than expected and everything will be fine.

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New Design

This is the new GUI that I have been working on for the character interaction.

(The left side is completely my design, a fact that I’m pretty proud of – since I’m not a graphics artist!)

Today then I tried to position the 3d part of the menu so that it looks nice. This is how it went for most of the day:

Tweaking some rotation or position value by 2 pixels

Waiting 1 min for the menu to compile

Waiting 1 min for the copying of the menu to the right folder + starting the game

Waiting 3 mins till the loading has finished

Hovering above the Start Event Button until the framerate is back to normal

Waiting 30 sec until the characters have been loaded and moved to their spot

selecting one character, trying to select the other character

have the 3d menu pop open and deciding that maybe 2 pixel was too much

Going back to the 3d menu to tweak the rotation and position just 1 pixel

Waiting 1 min for the menu to compile



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Regency Dress Up Bugs

  1. So in the past days we have had several pictures of ladies with a black screen in front of them. This 3D stuff in the flash player is fairly new and so is the engine we are developing with (still in beta). We are figuring that some older computers might not take it so well (older than 2006) or that flash might not respond well to some graphic boards! (We know that the Geforce 9300 GE produces hands with black palms.) If you experience any kind of strange bug that other users seem not to have (as evidenced in the screenshots), please let us know your OS, browser and graphic boards id in the comments! We cannot file these bugs to Adobe without that.
  2. Then we seem to have dress up room screenshots that are too big for their frame. (Any clue as to how that happens would be welcome, I have not been able to reproduce it.)
  3. Hair is seen through both hats. (I’m on it.)
  4. Both hats can be put on at the same time.
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Codex (The Guild) Meets Mr Darcy

A little homage to the maker of The Guild – Felicia Day – and her character Codex. We heard that in the event of a zombie apocalypse Mr Darcy would be on her team of five!

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Alpha Version of Regency Dress Up Released!

Regency Dress Up

Regency Dress Up

Here it is, the first taste of Jane Austen’s Party: a regency dress up with a small amount of garments, colors and patterns to generate different dresses with. You can even make screen shots of your designs and share them with friends! (Check our gallery!)

If you enjoy this, please let us know and we might add more stuff to choose from in the near future. We are also thinking about releasing this as a mobile game (first on android, than maybe iOS) – if there is enough interest.

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Jane Austen’s Party and Matchmaker Road-map

Making a game like Matchmaker is a huge piece of work. As you might have noticed there have been few updates in the past month (also due to the fact that I and David have been working full-time on other projects) and we are far away from completing this task in any playable form. So in December 2011 we made the decision to split the game into smaller components that could be standalone games and that we could release ahead of Matchmaker.

Party is to be the first of these games. It will concentrate on the party hosting aspect of Matchmaker. There will be adjustments to the game so that it actually can be a standalone game and does not need the Matchmaker wrapper. This might mean that it will end up in a slightly different form in Matchmaker itself.

We plan to have a first demo release in July 2012. After that we will try to raise money to fully flesh out the game with different kind of locations, items, guests and missions. If you want to help actualize this project please spread the word and share the content that we provide.

If you have any wishes or suggestions for the game or for its promotion please feel free to drop us a line either below in the comments or via this contact form.

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Jane Austen’s Party Game Preview

I will post an updated road map for this game in a couple of days. This should then also help clarify why we decided to switch from developing Matchmaker to Party.

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New Graphics Input

Footman Preview

Footman Preview

Most of the time I work alone at The Project, as David has other stuff that he needs to work on fulltime. So new graphic input is always an event that gets my motivation right up again. (David has not authorized me to share, but I’ll do it anyway.)

Oh, and since we last bested the hats we will now also be able to put wigs on these guys! I can’t wait to lay my hands on them … I have been working so hard on getting these footmen to actually do the tasks that I assign them, lazy bast—. No, it’s my fault of course, for not being a better housekeeper, I guess. But it’s coming along slowly and I am proud to announce that serving at a buffet table is not a total embarressment anymore! – I think I deserve this treat!

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