Letter to P4TR1C14

Terracon Inc. State Printing center
At The Source, May the 15th 221st year a.F.
Content auditted and approved by civil servant: ID 616E 616C 2073 6578
Content author: EXT S4MU3L 4M1D4S

Hi P4TR1C14, I have finally arrived in The Source, and in one piece which is saying a lot.

The train is a wonderful machine, it is faster than what I have ever imagined. The trip was really comfortable until we stopped at The Nexus. There I left the train with the aim of taking another one, going through a customs house where they frisked all my body. I am not going to talk about the details but it was very unpleasant. They said scanners were not working while I was seeing how the rest of the people were passing through them with no issues. I had to give a lot of explanations about what was I going to do in The Source and what were my tools for. I made the most of staying there and changed my credits to emblems; the amount of money they gave me in return, putting the commission aside, did not match up with the value they wrote in the poster, I think they swindled me out. Once all that torment finished, I bought another ticket and waited at the platform outside. I did not dare to ask why there were corpses hung on the upper footbridge that goes across the tracks, tied by their wrists and without lower extremities. The price for printing a photo here is prohibitive, I will show it to you when I am back.

An unintelligible notice came from the speakers, supposedly to tell us about the arrival of the train which appeared one minute later with a strident squeal produced by the breaks, caressing the guts of the hanging cadavers. The people crowded together at the doors like if a fire surrounded us; I think it is unbelievable that nobody fell down to the rails. The journey from then on had nothing to do with the previous one. A lot of scum of all kind entered to my coach and they brought a nauseating smell with them, you cannot get an idea; it was not because of the lack of hygiene typical of these lands, I swear it smelled like if a traveler was being devoured by the gangrene. And not only that, the warm sunbeams that seep through the iron bars of the windows were eclipsed by dirty people with worn-out clothes, suddenly the coach turned dark. I would have loved to sleep during the journey but I did not trust those bandits; besides, the noise they made when talking was wrecking my nerves. They shouted stupidities about elections of their government, about which candidate was better than the other and who were they voting for. I am glad that their weapons were confiscated in the customs house (it seems they put them in a separate coach), I saw some of them moving the hand to their belt with the aim of gutting the person in the opposite “bloc”. Blessed be our President who frees us from these rivalries among people of the same country. I do not want to imagine what kind of decisions could this mob make through their vote.

To top it all, a problem arised in the middle of the route related to a wild tribe, I could barely deduce something from people’s comments. Right when I was interested in what they were saying they agreed to be quiet and talk whispering. The situation seemed serious, I heard several shots and hits on the roof of our coach. I was not able to see anything through the windows, full of curious heads. After some tense minutes, the train resumed the march and some hours later we arrived at the station of The Source, safe and sound. For a moment I thought God had deprived me to have the opportunity to honor him with my job. I will do my best not to disspoint any of you. Neither God, owner of our wisdom; nor the President, our guide to glory; nor you, the star that orients me even in the blackest nights.

See you soon.

End of the printing – Page 1/1

Taking off!

It’s been a while since the development of Blue Heaven was officially kicked off, concretely 1 month and 1 week. Although it seems to be a very short lapse of time, it feels like a year for us. We started having only a barely finished script, a description of the game universe and main characters, and a list with 300 ideas that potentially would be added to the game. Let’s make a brief recapitulation of what came next:

Sharing knowledge

Once the team was complete, the main goal was to homogenize our knowledge and our objectives. The entire team had to have the same understanding of the big picture. This included reading the script, the setting description, solving doubts and knowing the references (movies, music, videogames, drawings, etc.), which took some days. After this, we could talk the same language while working every day.

Marketing

It was clear for us that the first thing we had to build was our public image. Once you start developing the game itself, it’s very hard to reserve some time to do boring stuff like writing an accurate description of the game or choosing the colors of the logo. The first step was to create the official website, trying to make it distinguishable from the others, selecting the appropiate colors to transmit the right appereance regarding the adult and dark tone of the game, putting references to its story since the very beginning… We also wanted to produce some kind of impact on the visitor at the first time he entered the site so we worked on an colorful animated background that could also tell something related to the story.

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We spent 2 full working days to achieve the effect you see at the top of the website, we faced many problems related to lighting, reflections, ink density… until we come up with a good result. Maybe we’ll share with you all the tricks in the future, when we’ve time…

In the meantime, we were designing the game logo too and, after tens of attempts, we got one that we really liked. It was important that it was easy to recognize and easy to rescale. It was also our intention to include elements in it that told something related to the game, not only about the content in general but also about the universe itself.

Then we wrote the web contents, created the social network accounts and greet the world.

Adventure time!

One of the most exciting things of this project is exploring the unknown, doing something nobody did before and creating new paths. Making rotoscopied isometric animations? What were we smoking? We had absolutely no guideline nor guarantee of what we wanted to do was to work, just a handmade drawing and some basic trigonometric calculations that should emulate an impossible dimetric perspective camera. Besides, we wanted to get 8 points of view around characters. With some external collaboration, we built the eight 3 meters long iron supports, bought the eight cameras and searched for a place outdoors (due to the required angle of the camera, we were forced to occupy 10×10 meters) were we could film without drawing attention too much. We spent one morning on our first attempt and we learned a lot. Filming animations has a very high cost for us, 2 of us are not working on other things during the time we are there, and we return home quite tired for the rest of the day due to the effort required for acting and especially for moving all the stuff to the film set. Remember, we are only 3 people. But it’s ok! Doing this is cool!

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With some real footage in our hands, we made some pixelated rotoscopy attempts and we got something quite convincing, better than what we had imagined. Using the 8 points of view, we rotoscopied the walking movements of a woman (a model we hired) and put everything together in a test project with an isometric background. That was the trial by fire, everything depended on the final result, and it was a complete success.

Crystallization

Another innovation we wanted to achieve was to define a new pixel art sub-style. We want our game to be recognizable at a glance and that’s very difficult, we don’t know if it’s even possible but we’ll try hard. The soundtrack of the game should be also original; we’re going to take some risks breaking the players’ typical expectations. That’s what we’ve been working on the rest of the time, making many drafts (visuals and aurals), until we get what we think is the best way to bring the game universe to your senses. We’ve finished several songs, many visual concepts and pixel art test scenarios. We’ve already shared some of them with you and we’ll share more soon.

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We’ve also defined the combat system and the main mechanics. This will help to know the exact animations that we’ll need and to estimate how much work we’ve to face for the next 2 years. Currently we’re designing the inventory system, which probably is going to be very different from what we’ve seen until now in an action-RPG.

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Apart from the above, we’ve to consider the time it takes to define the working process and to transform ideas you’ve in a paper or in your mind into something tangible. Besides, even in a very small team, people need to adapt to each other: you don’t talk to a person you don’t know as fluent as to a friend. This first phase has served to achieve all of that, so we can now move faster. The team fits perfectly, all uncertainties have vanished and we’ve a very clear vision of the quality and the amount of content we can deliver. Of course your help is so important and we’re so grateful for spreading our news throughout social networks, keep it up and we promise we’ll create something that you have never experienced before!

In next posts, we’ll talk about the game universe so you can immerse your feet in the dark waters of Blue Heaven.

A VERY hard day

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There are days that you mark in the planning calendar as “a good day to die”. The amount of atrezzo objects and tools that we had to transport to the film set (a public park at the top of a small hill) was bigger than in all the previous recording sessions, specially due to the need of a running machine to record all the walking and running animations (so the actor doesn’t move from the center of the image).

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It was a hard-to-accomplish risky operation, we did know that, not only because of the effort required to bring the machine to the top but also because the success depended on many things that could go wrong. In order to let you understand what we mean by a risk, just think about the following facts:

Since we were outdoors, we had to think of a way to provide electricity to the running machine and therefore we got a gasoline engine powerful enough and bought some fuel; the engine wasn’t ours and it was old, so we didn’t know how it was going to perform. The eight cameras are always a risk, if just one of them fails (it oscillates too much because of the wind, the video gets corrupted, etc.) then everything is useless. Apart from that, it was the first day we hired a female model that we hadn’t met in person before. We didn’t know what to expect from her, we didn’t know even if she was either going to be punctual or backing out at the very last moment. On top of all of those things, it was a very windy day

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Fortunatelly, everything went smooth. Sofia arrived on time and we discovered a professional and easy-to-work-with person that adapted to every situation. The engine worked perfectly and all the cameras stayed on during the full session. We hadn’t enough time to film all the animations we wanted (we’re limited by the lifetime of the batteries of the cameras) but it’s ok, and we had counted on that so we plan a second session.

As an anecdote, we have to tell that not everything was that “””easy”””. Some minutes after we finished the session, a gust of wind made the airbed fly and hit one of the camera tripods… pushing it forward and making the camera crash into the ground. Our shouts were heard from the North Pole. We were tired but satisfied, the huge effort was worthy until that freaking moment. The fastener of the camera was broken although we fixed it so it can still do its task and the micro-SD card was out of the slot. No visible damages in the camera. Once at home, when copying the content of the memory cards one by one, we realized the horror: the video file was corrupted due to the hit. Curses everywhere, despondency… But there’s something we have always in mind when working on this project: never give up. It turns out these are wonderful times in which wonderful people make wonderful MP4 repairing tools. And voilà! After a long search and after testing many programs we got the file (and our smile) back. Everything wasn’t in vain.

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Sometimes we wonder if we are overcomplicating everything. Couldn’t we just do as all the other 2D game developers and draw the animations of just a few frames, based on either a 3D model or the artist’s imagination? No, we couldn’t, because then we would be doing just another 2D game, we wouldn’t be adding anything new, we would be repeating what others already did in the hope that we will magically be preferred by the people. And more important for us, it would be boring.

In next posts we’ll share some new concept art and will dig a bit into the world of Blue Heaven. Have a nice weekend!

Action!

grabacionblueheaven

More pictures of the recording sessions.

We’ve been filming this week although there’s still much to record. We’ve to move and set up everything every session due to filming outdoors, which is a big effort, but it’s worth. People look at us with expressions that are a mixture of curiosity and worry (what are those vandals doing there?) as they pass aside the court which is funny sometimes. Due to the dimensions of the film set we need, we’re forced to record outside. Fortunatelly we live in the Coast of the Sun (Costa del Sol) and rainy days aren’t so frequent.

 

Mystery solved!

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It’s NOT an outdoors pr0n movie, we swear!

We’re recording all the movements we’ll use in our game, there’re more than 300! An exhausting job for sure, but we’re having fun while doing something such innovative that gives so good results. We hope we can share some pixel art animations with all of you soon. Have a nice weekend!

Here comes a new challenger!

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Finally we can make it public, Blue Heaven is under development!

The idea began to germinate 1 year ago. The script was written in the following months as well as the design documentation, but until now we hadn’t completed the Brainworm Games team and got some funding to kick of the work. It’s time to push forward with all our strengths and show the world what we can do.

We’re very excited, full of moral, eager to create something new and overcome all the obstacles we find in the way. We’re consciuos that this is a very risky adventure, a high bet, but we’ve a very clear idea of what we want to achieve and we’re confident, with our feet on the ground, that WE CAN DO IT.

This is going to be our humble development log, subscribe to the RSS or follow us on Twitter to be informed of our news. We’ll try to keep it up to date, talking about what we’re doing or what issues we encounter, sharing drafts, sounds or videos, etc. Please, don’t hesitate to write comments or talk to us via Twitter, we’re pleased to answer your questions (to the extent possible) and know your opinions!

See you in next posts!