17 May 2006

There's a normalisation in excitement-levels again, as E3 has passed. What has struck me is how fun it is to follow it from afar, using many sources of information that report from the expo itself, and how you can find different bits of information on different sites. I think everyone has a couple of forums you frequent and usually you can notice some sites zooming in on this bit of information and others raving about that specific presentation.

That makes it fun and entertaining to have a network of friends and forums that constantly give you news you didn't know yet or lead you to movies previously unseen. That's cool. I think that from the friendly confines of your home you can have a clearer view on what's happening on E3 than if you were to be on the show floor itself.

PHEW! Back to adventure. Literally, because I'm still programming and animating and basically creating in its entirety the demo of my adventure game Ebony Marshall, of which I have previously spoken shamefully little. I will continue to drip-feed you almost no information at all, for the very simple reason that I do not want to get anyone's hopes up to actually see the game one day. You know as well as I do how incredibly fickle and unpredictable the industry is and in these early scripting and demo-ing phases of the design you're basically dealing with an unborn that will need to overcome tremendous odds to ever see the light of day and maybe catch a whiff of fresh air. That's why my policy is still to keep it under wraps and not announce anything officially. We'll do that when the element of certainty rears up its elusive head some more.

So to quote The Chronicles of Riddick: ,,when I choose to speak of it, you should choose to listen. In the past two months I've been working on a small demo of the game, partly to appease my school (I have been doing this in college time after all) and partly to get a taste of what it'll be like. Joining me in the creation of the demo are a great illustrator who is also a classmate of mine, Leo de Wijs, and an audio-crew of two: one sound designer and one composer (who have graciously offered their services out of enthusiasm for the project alone). The demo will be quite small, only two screens large, but it will be representative and there'll be quite some puzzles. I am a follower of Steve Ince's interaction density school of design, which simply states that lots of interactivity is the key to creating an interesting, rewarding and rich gameworld.

Of course, it's up the designers to make all that abundant interactivity meaningful as well. Naturally, the demo will be only a tiny part of the full game, so you won't get a clear impression of its diversity and grandeur, but at least you'll get a sense of what it's all about. The undertaking is about halfway finished. There's still a certain amount of work to be done in every direction, but it's slowly taking shape. You know, as I've been knee-deep in writing for the better part of the year, it's quite refreshing and inspiring to actually see something playable for a change, instead of just abstract descriptions and images in your head. I think it'll give me an improved view on things when I get back to writing. And in all accounts it's just a riot to make the demo. A lot of work, but also a riot.