Earlier this year, Spanish IF author and aficionado Urbatain asked to do an interview with me on Vespers. Over about three months, we exchanged a number of e-mails and covered a variety of topics, mostly on different aspects of the 3D adaptation of interactive fiction. It turned out to be a really long interview in the end, but it probably could have gone on much longer. He asked a lot of challenging questions, and I think his enthusiasm for the project really shows, which made for an enjoyable interaction.
Urbatain’s intention was to publish the interview in the Spanish-language web-zine SPAC (Sociedad para la Promoción de Aventuras Conversacionales), and also to share it with Jimmy Maher and SPAC’s English inspiration, SPAG (Society for the [More...] Read the rest
The whole idea behind this Vespers project thingy is to take a rich textual world created in interactive fiction and extrude it, so to speak, into three visual dimensions. As I’ve discovered, a whole mess of issues arise when moving from the predominantly discrete world of IF to the largely continuous world of 3D. That applies, of course, to space: in IF, space is divided into discrete locations, with little to no functional representation of spacial relationships within those locations, while in 3D, space is represented on a more familiar continuous scale. Likewise, it applies to time: rare exceptions aside, IF is turn-based with discrete time steps, while first-person 3D games are real-time and continuous.
The question is, can a game really be [More...] Read the rest
One of the things that has always been nagging at me since starting development on Vespers is game performance. We haven’t really been developing with frame rate in mind, our thought being that we would leave optimization until we had most of the content plugged in. Most of that optimization would come from the graphics end — LOD, portals and zones, textures, things like that — but that’s a lot of work for the artist to do, and it’s not terribly exciting work at that.
Still, after trying out the game on a number of different systems, I was not very happy with performance even at this unoptimized stage. Frame rates on the better systems would rarely get to 30fps, even at lower screen resolutions. [More...] Read the rest
This is the fourth installment of my blog series introducing the six NPCs in Vespers, detailing the development process from text to functioning 3D characters. The three previous installments can be found at Part I, Part II, and Part III.
Once again it’s time to resume my efforts to bring our NPCs to life, beginning with bits and pieces of text from the IF version of Vespers and ending with a modeled, animated, and voice-acted 3D character. It’s been a while since my last entry, which described Lucca, the youngest monk at St. Cuthbert’s. This time I discuss the development of Ignatius, perhaps the most mysterious of the brothers at the monastery, and the one most distrusting of the Abbot at the [More...] Read the rest
Time for another update, the first since starting this blog. There has been some progress in a few areas, although perhaps not enough to warrant one of my more extensive blogs like on GarageGames.
Characters and Animation
Happily, we’ve finally replaced our previous animator, who left us for more prosperous opportunities. In his place we now have two individuals helping with the character animations, James and Matt, which I hardly have to say is a real gift. Progress on the new characters has been slow so far as we get those two up to speed and comfortable with the art flow. We’ve also made a few adjustments to what we were doing previously; in addition to entirely new character rigs, we’ve also been experimenting with [More...] Read the rest