About Apostrophe

Narrative Designer living in Upstate New York. Game design history includes:

No Bones About It (1997); Deluxe (2002)
King of Rogues (1998)
Fatal Fantasy (1998)
Support Your Local Swordsman (2000)
Support Your Local Sidekick (2000)

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Ludum Dare 33

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Artifact of the Ancients

Posted by
Tuesday, August 30th, 2016 1:13 am

Greetings.

So I’ll admit it right now; I’m not much of a blogger. There’s just not enough time for all that I want to do. Blogging naturally falls by the wayside. What makes this time different is that I’ve just finished working on a game with Omiya Games called Artifact of the Ancients for Ludum Dare 36.

The night that the competition began, I joined my fellow developers at the Tech Valley Game Space as the theme was announced: Ancient Technology. It wasn’t a theme many of us were very thrilled about…okay, I can’t think of a single one of us who liked it very much, but that’s beside the point. As things often going during the first night of Ludum Dare at the TVGS, everyone who attended spent an hour writing out their ideas for games and then we each gave a description of our best one to the group.

I’m a narrative designer. If you’re unfamiliar with that term, it’s basically a video game storyteller. So my pitches tend to focus around the character(s), the world they exist in, what they do, why they’re doing it, what happens to them, any plot twists, how the game ends, etc. So for Ludum Dare 36, I came up with a pitch about an archaeologist in search of an ancient piece of technology. Without spoiling the game, let’s just say that, amongst other things, I’m a big fan of twist endings, irreverent humor, and pop-culture references (one or more of these may be present in Artifact of the Ancients…or maybe not. Guess you’ll have to play it to find out, eh?)

Taro Omiya, of Omiya Games, pitched his idea for a game, which was more focused on a new game mechanic he wanted to try, and we decided to join forces on this project which combined his game mechanics with my story elements. With neither of being that great of an artist (I was up through high school, but not so much anymore,) we enlisted the help of Jason Harlow of Rumblecade, a fellow Tech Valley Game Space Cadet, to do some of the artwork for us. He had a lot on his plate this weekend, however, and was really only able to help a bit during the first half of the final day.

Saturday and Sunday was mostly spent with Taro implementing the game elements while I added sprinkles of dialog and here and there for the first couple of stages while also coming up with ideas to help the story along and give the game a little more flavor. While I had a basic structure for the game during my pitch, and a general idea towards the ending, I honestly didn’t have the specifics of things until sometime earlier in the day while at my paying job. That’s when things just started falling into place and I came up with the direction I wanted to the story to take.

The problem? I wasn’t getting out of work until 5:00 and wouldn’t be at the Game Space until at least an hour later. With Taro still working on the code and Jason still working on the art, that left me with only a couple hours before the competition ended at 9:00. It was crunch time.

By close of the competition, I pretty much had a grand majority of the story implemented. There were a few portions that could have fleshed out the story a little more if I had more time to work on it, and some portions that had to be changed or removed because we didn’t have time to implement it, but I like to think that we did pretty well overall.  It was an interesting experience full of teamwork, experimentation, storytelling, and lots of junk food.  I hope you play it, enjoy it and have as much fun playing it as we did making it!

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