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Wadjet Eye Old Skies - time travel adventure game from Wadjet Eye, now 2D again

Alpan

Arcane
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Grab the Codex by the pussy Pathfinder: Wrath
Gilbert is quite able to tell human stories as showcased in The Shivah; his problem is an over-reliance on fantasy elements that undermine the integrity of the stories being told. The Shivah is a good game and the Blackwell series started off just fine (my favourite is probably the second game) but was later sabotaged by this predilection.

To illustrate: Primordia featured robots and a post apocalyptic setting, but the story was not about robots or the setting. There was a time when the Blackwell series were not about the ghosts or bestowers, but about people moving on; from (IIRC) the third game onward, those elements dominated the games.

So it is with Unavowed, which has very little to do with anything relating to the human.
 

MRY

Wormwood Studios
Developer
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5,717
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California
That's interesting. Dave often speculated that the reason why the published titles outperformed the in-house titles was precisely because the published titles were more fantastical. But you're right; I certainly don't think that Primordia is ultimately about robots any more than Resonance is about physics.
 

Durq

Novice
Joined
Jul 20, 2019
Messages
35
I'm working on finishing Quest for Infamy:Roehm to Ruin, a prequel. It's a smaller game than QFI, but I think it's fun - it has eploration, multiple paths, optional quests in a game that's much smaller than QFI. Only problem finishing it right now is time and budget - I'm short on both. We need to record voice actors and then final bug test, but truth is right now I don't have the money to pay the voice actors. It's not going to be expensive when we do it, and I'm socking away a little bit every month, so I hope to record, finish, polish and release this fall-winter. We'll see.

I'm also trying to finish up Order of the Thorne: Fortress of Fire. The game continues where The King's Challenge leaves off and the game takes an interesting turn from there. I hope it works and people like it... cause I'm a LITTTLE bit inebriated from some of the meds I've taken this weekend, I'm going to say that I wish I could have just made Order of the Thorne as one whole game instead of two and I'm temped as fuck to release Fortress of Fire that way - playable as either one whole game or you start "in the middle" for people who already played "The King's Challenge". I dunno how I'd make that work. Oh well. Again, slow moving cause it's just fucking me now. I've got a bunch of graphical assets for it, I'll need more, but those will come. Hahah. Right now I need two things: a new fucking kidney and a windfall, cause I'm dumb enough to sink more money into a dying genre I love hahahah. I should go to bed.

I'll be looking forward to both games. Out of curiosity, how much will those voice actors cost? You talking like $100,000 or $1,000? I have no idea.
 

Alpan

Arcane
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Grab the Codex by the pussy Pathfinder: Wrath
That's interesting. Dave often speculated that the reason why the published titles outperformed the in-house titles was precisely because the published titles were more fantastical. But you're right; I certainly don't think that Primordia is ultimately about robots any more than Resonance is about physics.

He's probably correct in his assessment. Perhaps it is what motivated him to up the fantasy dose in his own games.
 
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Blackthorne

Infamous Quests
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Syracuse NY
Codex 2014 Divinity: Original Sin 2
I'm working on finishing Quest for Infamy:Roehm to Ruin, a prequel. It's a smaller game than QFI, but I think it's fun - it has eploration, multiple paths, optional quests in a game that's much smaller than QFI. Only problem finishing it right now is time and budget - I'm short on both. We need to record voice actors and then final bug test, but truth is right now I don't have the money to pay the voice actors. It's not going to be expensive when we do it, and I'm socking away a little bit every month, so I hope to record, finish, polish and release this fall-winter. We'll see.

I'm also trying to finish up Order of the Thorne: Fortress of Fire. The game continues where The King's Challenge leaves off and the game takes an interesting turn from there. I hope it works and people like it... cause I'm a LITTTLE bit inebriated from some of the meds I've taken this weekend, I'm going to say that I wish I could have just made Order of the Thorne as one whole game instead of two and I'm temped as fuck to release Fortress of Fire that way - playable as either one whole game or you start "in the middle" for people who already played "The King's Challenge". I dunno how I'd make that work. Oh well. Again, slow moving cause it's just fucking me now. I've got a bunch of graphical assets for it, I'll need more, but those will come. Hahah. Right now I need two things: a new fucking kidney and a windfall, cause I'm dumb enough to sink more money into a dying genre I love hahahah. I should go to bed.

I'll be looking forward to both games. Out of curiosity, how much will those voice actors cost? You talking like $100,000 or $1,000? I have no idea.

For us? $1,000 is more likely. $1,000 for their work, and I'll cut and edit it. The people will work pretty cheap but I don't want to not pay people something for their work.
 

Luckmann

Arcane
Zionist Agent
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Scandinavia
Even Caesar had someone whispering “memento mori” in his ear. And they were right! That’s why I find even the hard criticism here helpful. But riding through a whole parade where everyone is an auriga and they’re shouting “Remember you’re shit” is probably less appealing when you’re trying to work up the energy for your next campaign into Gaul.
Well if it's any consolation, you're not shit. Note that this will not stop me from calling you shit if you do something shitty, but you're not shit.

And as far as I'm concerned, the only thing making Dave shit is that he's too butthurt to be here. It's not that hard to just leave when it gets too much, but we're talking about someone using "toxic" unironically.
 

WallaceChambers

Learned
Joined
Jul 29, 2019
Messages
311
It's kinda weird how the OP frames Old Skies as the future of WEG, their blueprint moving forward. But when you read Dave's twitter thread the impression I get is that he made this to solidify his Unity skills. Put together a quick & dirty 3D proof of concept, so that he could actually know what he's doing as producer for Technobabylon: Birthright. Which we already know has inventory,puzzles,etc. Why exactly would anyone take a slapped together, 2 week dev time, adventure jam game as indicative of WEG's overall direction? Especially when Dave explicitly says himself that he made it to get a handle on Unity and work through writers block.
 

Infinitron

I post news
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Messages
97,726
Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
lol, isn't this the second time this has happened? IIRC Dave was experimenting with a different engine before Unavowed also.
 

MRY

Wormwood Studios
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Messages
5,717
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California
Yes, 3D, controller-based. I think James is working on non-console controls, too, but is having trouble getting gameplay to work with them last I checked.

Most of his tweets are political these days so it's hard for me to track progress. I think it's going well.
 

Pyke

The Brotherhood
Developer
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Nov 29, 2011
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1,198
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South Africa
Its so hard to switch up to a completely new way of doing things.
I sort of hoped that Dave would use Unity, but keep the 2D art style. I really think that he has the skills to create something close to The Last Night in terms of visual and artistic fidelity.

That said, I'm happy that he is sticking with 2D. It would be such a shame to switch that signature art style to something more... generic.
 

Atrachasis

Augur
Joined
Apr 11, 2007
Messages
203
Location
The Local Group
I think it makes sense from a time and cost perspective. The leap from pixel art to 3D is huge, and I'm not sure it makes sense if you're an indie (unless you're a wizard at it like the guy above me)
What's more, it is much harder these days to stand out making 3D narrative-driven games - whereas gorgeous 2D pixel adventure games are a niche that, these days, is, all but synonymous with Wadjet Eye to many (not to belittle all the other players in that field...).

The most successful mid-sized tech companies I've worked with over the years got successful by focusing on the niche that they excelled in, to the extent of making it their own, instead of trying to compete in a crowded field. In the end, ROI is more important than revenue. I'm not sure whether this move back to 2D will make me much more likely to buy his games in the future - I still like my adventure games to have plenty of puzzles -, but I'm pleased to see that Dave Gilbert has decided to play to his considerable strengths, and think his business will be better off in the end.

Hm, maybe Il'll go spend a few bucks on some older Wadjet Eye titles that I've been holding off on so far, just to provide some positive reinforcement...
 

Pyke

The Brotherhood
Developer
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Nov 29, 2011
Messages
1,198
Location
South Africa
What's more, it is much harder these days to stand out making 3D narrative-driven games - whereas gorgeous 2D pixel adventure games are a niche that, these days, is, all but synonymous with Wadjet Eye to many (not to belittle all the other players in that field...).

The most successful mid-sized tech companies I've worked with over the years got successful by focusing on the niche that they excelled in, to the extent of making it their own, instead of trying to compete in a crowded field. In the end, ROI is more important than revenue. I'm not sure whether this move back to 2D will make me much more likely to buy his games in the future - I still like my adventure games to have plenty of puzzles -, but I'm pleased to see that Dave Gilbert has decided to play to his considerable strengths, and think his business will be better off in the end.

I think that the biggest issue with 3D is that it dates SUPER fast, and no matter how much effort you put into it you are going to be compared to games with MUCH larger budgets.
People don't care that you only have 2 artists working on a game. They will want it to look like the latest Battlefield. Even if you stylize it, there are AAA games that have set a stylized artwork benchmark (Borderlands, even TellTale) that is almost impossible for indies to even get close to.
At one point Nic and I were discussing creating a 2D platform game like Abes Oddysee. Now, I think that we COULD recreate something similar to Abe with our current resources. The problem however is that because of my style of lighting and art visually we would be compared to Trine or Ori. Even if we simplified it and did something 'Limbo like', there is 'Inside' which has set a new benchmark in THAT art style. Now there is no way that we could reach that level of graphical fidelity unless we massively expanded our team to... well... more than the two of us!

Honestly I would rather have the best looking 2D game over a mediocre 3D one. Unless the third dimension is integral to what you're trying to do, it's generally a good idea to stick with an art style that you know you can produce within your budget. There is also something to be said about working within the limitations of an engine like AGS. I think that SpaceVenture shows the dangers of using Unity. Suddenly you can do ANYTHING... and that's not a good thing because the additional layers of complexity can easily spin out on control. We are lucky in that Nic and I have a super tight grip on production - but even we have been tempted into the 'wouldn't it be cool if...' way of thinking that can so easily bog production down!
 

IHaveHugeNick

Arcane
Joined
Apr 5, 2015
Messages
1,870,241
Why would they ever consider going 3d in a first place? I don't know much about game production, but it seems to me that to capture quality of art in Unavowed in 3D would easily quadruple the budget. Do they even have that kind of resources?
 

Pyke

The Brotherhood
Developer
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
1,198
Location
South Africa
Why would they ever consider going 3d in a first place? I don't know much about game production, but it seems to me that to capture quality of art in Unavowed in 3D would easily quadruple the budget. Do they even have that kind of resources?

It depends on how your pipeline is set up, but in some ways 3D can be cheaper than 2D especially if you're working within the 'known world'. Custom art is expensive, but general asset packs are extremely reasonable, and 3D assets can be reused at 0 cost.
I mean here is downtown New York for $80 ( https://www.unrealengine.com/marketplace/en-US/slug/downtown ), or a subway station for $17 ( https://www.unrealengine.com/marketplace/en-US/slug/subway-station ). Just those two packs alone could make enough varied environments at a fraction of the cost of a dedicated 2D artist. If you wanted a day night cycle, or weather changes, to do that in 3D, from an art perspective, is cheap. In custom 2D art... it's MUCH more expensive.

Character art can also be cheaper, because your character and your animation can be split up and swapped among the characters. Characters can also be designed as you go along, and changed without much issue. You are way less 'locked' into art with 3D.

The big cost isn't really in art, but in transitioning your tools and design into a 3D world. To get those above asset packs to WORK and be visually interesting, and be good enough to set a game in... to get your work to NOT just look like purchased assets, and to use them to create something new and interesting... that's where the skill and cost comes in.
 

MRY

Wormwood Studios
Developer
Joined
Aug 15, 2012
Messages
5,717
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California
what about technobabylon 2 ?
Yes, 3D, controller-based. I think James is working on non-console controls, too, but is having trouble getting gameplay to work with them last I checked.

Most of his tweets are political these days so it's hard for me to track progress. I think it's going well.

EDIT
I did a quick look, here's the most recent gameplay shot:
 

Galdred

Studio Draconis
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May 6, 2011
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Middle Empire
Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
Why would they ever consider going 3d in a first place? I don't know much about game production, but it seems to me that to capture quality of art in Unavowed in 3D would easily quadruple the budget. Do they even have that kind of resources?

It is much cheaper to have a few unique high quality assets in 2D than 3D, but variations are (relatively) trivial in 3D, while they make the cost explode in 2D:
In 2D, you need to redo sprites and animation almost from scratch (you can edit existing ones into new ones, but it is still a lot of work), while in 3D, you "only" need more textures to go with an existing animated skeleton.

So it all depends on the scale of the project, and the nature of things you want to represent (vehicles and robots don't suffer too much by going 3D, while good 3D characters can be super expensive).
For small scale projects, I think 2D is much better, but even then, it may constrain the design, or make some things needlessly complicated (like having an unlimied levels of elevation...).
If you plan to add tons of variations, 3D will scale better.

In Zodiac Legion for instance, if I wanted to add another animation (like shooting a crossbow, or stabbing), I would need to have it done for all existing sprites, which would be a ton of work, while in 3D, you would only have to redo the animations themselves.
 

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