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Johnathon

"Space Quest: Roger Wilco and the Outer Edge of Earnon"

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Oh wow, it's great to see that you're back. I remember following this on AGDI's forums, then you had to disappear. Really glad you're back though, and I look forward to seeing what you've done so far(if I recall, you did say you'd still be working on the game).

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Yes,

 

I will still be working on the game. I plan on having the soonest version of it (not complete with all the extras, but with the minimum animations, sound effects, and background music) released by January 2011. Later on, I will try to add full audio support.

 

College and other life business has drug away from it this past year, but I plan to make some good informative updates after school's out this coming May thru Aug. As of now, I've just had a slight opportunity to show my face again because of spring break.

 

Stay tuned for more information, and I am glad to see your interest.

 

Thank you,

 

Johnathon

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It's a long story, that I won't tell. But I could not afford to keep planetwilco up. Furthermore, I no longer see it as a priority (more on this later).

 

Over this summer, I will sketch approximately half (66) of the games screenshots. I have already been customizing the game's interface in AGS (which will be the engine used).

 

I will provide more information later. Today is my last day of spring break, and I have work in an hour.

 

I won't be present again here until this May. Stay tuned.

 

Johnathon

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*DOWNLOADABLE DEMO attached below...

 

Dear Fans,

 

It is with much regret that I have made this update so late.

 

First to let you know why I’ve been absent for so long, without going into it too deeply, I have been very busy with college and basic life. I have been pursuing my Fine Arts Degree in the Liberal Arts, and have learned much about what I have desired to master for so long. I have an innate talent and passion for the arts which I feel has helped/will continue to help the quality and result of the game in a very positive way. I have also, in the past year, produced a number of actual works (charcoal, pastel, and other mediums) which have significantly impressed arts professors and fellow students to the extent that they have personally driven/encouraged me that I will eventually be able to transfer to any 4-year arts institution I desire. We’ll see how that goes…

 

This good news, of course, comes accompanied with some bad. I have not been able to work on the Outer Edge at all since March of 2008, that is, until just this past month and a half.

 

My motivation has not subsided. I still greatly desire to finish the game. It’s like anything I start, that I dream or envision in it’s completed form, I can’t rest until it’s done, although I have been required to pull away for more important things.

 

I have made EXCELLENT progress within this past month and a half. Unfortunately, I have not completed as many screenshots as I have desired, because I decided I first wanted to get the game’s interface out of the way. I have, as of this evening (6/27/09) done just that. It’s been a bit of a challenge for such a programming amateur as myself, but very easily overcome thanks to the WYSIWYG nature of AGS and its documentation.

 

I am releasing a demo (EDIT: Demo removed due to lack of file-hosting. Below this paragraph is a screenshot) now to demonstrate the feel of the game. This demo is not very playable, but simply meant to show the interface’s abilities. The interface is from SQ6, with a couple of nice additions and minor improvements: like an Ear and Nose cursor mode to cover the five senses (the sixth one, as you well know, doesn’t exist in any space quest game, because it’s your own brain!) I feel this addition will make the gameplay /puzzles just a little more... interesting.

 

Posted Image

 

Also, the parser at the bottom of the screen, which has the ability to type immediately and directly with the keyboard right into it (it’s always active, unless there’s a cutscene or conversation going on, or if you’re looking in the inventory or control panel), and the shortcut keys of ESC, F3, and ENTER will either erase, retype, or process the player’s input command, respectively. Keep in mind, this demo is not a demonstration of the parser (which I have not bothered to work on much yet), but rather of the interface itself. Although, I recommend typing the strings: “Frans,” and “Look at Roger.” The parserbox can also be cleared, retyped, or processed with the mouse by clicking on any of those three buttons to the right of the parserbox.

 

As for the cursor modes, some display messages appear when talking to or touching Roger, which I haven’t bothered to remove yet. The game will not use these displays, but rather (like SQ6 did) the Label box. Try clicking the EYE or NOSE icon on Roger for a demonstration.

 

The label box itself has the ability to readback up to 25 strings of dialogue, after which it will cycle over again from it’s initial message (rather than stopping), which I may change later. It does not scroll one line at a time, but rather conveniently an entire string at once. After reviewing the dialogue, the player can clear the box if desired by pressing the in-between scroll button on the scroll box, which changes color when there is text present in the label box (or clear it by simply clicking the cursor somewhere in the game again, to initiate a new dialogue message, like in SQ6).

 

The mouse cursor has scroll button and right-click support, which will cycle through certain cursor modes (including active inventory), but not unless the mouse is over the playable screen area. Another addition to SQ6’s original interface is that when the mouse cursor is set to active inventory, the Pockets button is highlighted, respectively, just as the other buttons are for selected interaction modes.

 

The shortcut inventory window at the bottom right corner of the screen will have the ability to scroll/select inventory items without opening up the pockets windows (which can, as you know, be used for closer inspection and manipulation of inventory items). Although the buttons are in place, they are not yet functional as I will be programming this feature after I have a final list of the game’s inventory items.

 

The scoreboard is also completely functional (although it doesn’t animate a counting up of points, which I hope to figure out later, but rather displays immediately the new score.) To test it, you can enter the strings: “add five,” add sixteen,” or “add seven forty eight” to add score in these increments, respectively.

 

All this having been said, the Roger sprites, as you can see, are currently being worked on, and the interface is 99% completed and functional. I have gone through great care to ensure it not only looks, but moreso feels and behaves just like SQ6’s interface or better. And that includes having extracted the SQ6 font and manually generated a new TTF! Go ahead, play around with it and see how you like it.

 

It is here that I will halt programming and resume sketching the adventure’s screens. I will really enjoy this, and as I’ve said, I’ve become VERY good with art concepts, like linear perspective, knowledge of color compliments atmospheric perspective, divine ratio, some anatomy, and I an absolutely confident that progress will speed up greatly from this point, and that the finished result will be a truly inspired adventure. The script is great for what I think, and from what my team has told me, my instincts serve me well. I have the locations, most of the puzzles, and 75% of the script all worked out in my head, now it’s only a matter of time before Outer Edge is done and released, (though I can’t promise when that’ll be, but it’ll happen). You’re all in for a treat, so stay posted.

 

There is much I have to say specifically about the nature of the games visuals, graphics, style… but this has been a lengthy post, and I’d rather it stick. I’ll save what I have left to say until I have more visuals that I desire to show later. Hopefully I’ll be making another update before this Fall (September), if not, then perhaps this coming January.

 

PS. I do not have internet access at my home, and so I am currently working alone. However, I would like to thank my team for their support, and let them know that I look forward to working with them again in the near future. Madd_C33, Questcollector, Vroom, Austin_2359, Bobby, and Brandon, thank you guys for your support.

 

Sincerely,

 

Johnathon

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Looks very promising! The interface seems like it will work quite well. The only thing I noticed was that anything that appears in the dialogue window there at the bottom disappears after a line has been said. Are you not going to have it stay there like a log (like in SQ6)? Something like that probably requires extra programming and creative thinking and such, but I don't really see the reason to have that big empty window there without that function so I hope you do implement it sooner or later.

 

I'm glad you haven't given up on this yet. Been a long time since we've seen an SQ fangame. Looking forward to further progress!

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Correct me if I'm mistaken, but doesn't SQ6 erase the lines after they are spoken, allowing the player to log back through them using the scrollbuttons?

 

And, no... it would've been easier for me not to erase the lines, they would have stayed with less coding. But thank you both for your encouragement, and I assure you, Outer Edge will be coming to a computer screen near you.

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I had a lot of fun designing some of the inventory and interaction messages when I worked on this game during its first production phase. I'm hoping to take something from Freddy Pharkas, which allowed a hilarious number of messages as a result of combining two unique objects, and yes, I believe the "ears" icon is a wonderful addition. Adds an entirely new element to the game.

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Freddy Pharkas, there's (from what I've heard) a good one, which I've still never gotten around to trying.

 

There's also the nose icon, don't forget. Of course, it isn't the prettiest at the moment.

 

To answer your question, Brandon, yes, the label box memory runs back 25 messages, as mentioned in the update (though I'll admit, that update is very wordy.)

 

Just jumping in to say, I've been continuing to make great progress on the game's visuals. I've hit a nice running streak and have become much quicker at producing quality sci art. I can't wait to reveal more in my next update.

 

I will be taking 9 credits this fall (a little lesser of a load from what I have been the past year), Psychology, Public Speaking, and Precalculus. Hopefully I'll find time to produce the game in significant intervals between homework, and soon therafter, I'll be getting into the real fun stuff (Like Fundementals of Design I and II, Painting, Anatomy,). I've been mildly depressed lately realizing that Drawing I and II are behind me, and I can't wait to get back into the stuff I love doing. I already feel so well supplied with what I've learned and the talent I've developed lately that has helped me to bou ce back into completing the Outer Edge.

 

Expect another update no later than this Thanksgiving week.

 

It's good to be back occassionaly, best of fortune to all of you in everything you do, and as always, thank you for your interest in my story. It would not be worth making if no one else could eventually enjoy it.

 

Johnathon.

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I just had to make sure I would post a decent update before the summer is over, and so, for the past ten days (since July 11th), I’ve been working on this screen, literally from scratch. I have sketched others, and have also been making developments in the areas of plot and jokes, but I decided to go ahead and completely flesh out and fine tune this one (that is, Roger’s face, though I do have other minor background elements in this screen to add as well).

 

Posted Image

image copyright © Johnathon Gabriel Matthews

 

This should demonstrate my abilities, the potential pace of art development from now on, and how much I’ve learned this past year about form, anatomy, and other technicalities. The screen itself represents part of a cut sequence.

 

It is one of many screens yet needed completed, but I’ve made not only great progress in such a short time (considering I’ve worked 35 hours a week these past ten days mentioned), but more importantly, an even greater leap in artistic ability since I last touched the “Outer Edge” a year ago.

 

I hope it’s every bit as acceptable to the rest of you fans.

 

While I’m here, I’d like to mention a few of my ideas for the art quality of the game. As you well know, I’m making this adventure (as I’ve put it before) “in the style of SQ3 and the spirit of SQ5,” which is reflected by the strict use of the original 16 colors employed. However, during the game, lighting effects and changes in planetary atmosphere, etc, will be pulled off by the use of gamma changes to the original colors. Technically, the game could still be considered 16 colors (not that I’m set on insisting it be considered such, but just for the sake of argument), because the effect would be the same as Sierra’s old 256 color games, in which more than 256 colors where actually available, but only 256 were ever shown on the screen at any one given time. This concept, while remaining true in texture and style to the SQ3 effect, will also yield a more dynamic and interesting twist to the game’s visual appeal.

 

Coincidentally, also worth pointing out, I’d long ago been working on a ‘pure-color conversion set’ of the dithered colors, but later realized that taking away the actual dithering effected the texture in a negative way, leaving it more flat and less visually appealing (at least for lovers of that original SQ3 style). Fortunately, although the necessity of dithering does make development a little more tedious, there is a plus to it. On today’s modern monitor screens, many situations, as I foresee, will exist in which the game will need resized from its original resolution. Well, the good thing is, the more any of these visuals are resized, the richer and more unique the in-between “dithered” colors become, almost making for a sharper, more finely-shaded image, and the texturing effect still comes through! It’s like taking what would usually be considered a curse and turning it into quite the opposite.

 

The “Outer Edge of Earnon” was conceived as an idea December of 2003, and although the journey has not always been smooth, the plot has only become stronger. From the beginning, I knew this would be a real challenge, because I intend quite fiercely to make this the most epic game possible, and a treat that the fans haven’t had in over a decade. I don’t know exactly when it will be completed, but a pre-final version (without voice/audio) could be very likely ready in one year and a half from now.

 

Please stay tuned, The Outer Edge will be released... when it’s ready….

 

Sincerely,

 

Johnathon

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Sorry to anyone coming here and having expected a fresh new update. I'm just here to clarify a thing or two.

 

If you're wondering why my most recent screenshot (probably the most original and impressive one) was removed, I did so myself because I have recently found it important to keep my endeavors at a low profile.

 

I've been busy working through an admissions process with a prominent art school, juggling 9 credits at community college and 25 hours of work a week. Progress has been slown, but stay tuned. The Outer Edge will take flight again.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Johnathon

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The team is back in action...

Screenshot images previously expired have been re-posted throughout this topic

 

Here it is, almost 9 months exactly since my last post on this, and alot has happened since then.

 

It is very unfortunate that the project development has been so crippled all this time. I feel concern for fans who have been wishing to follow this project, and I regret how little has been mentioned to explain the cause of this slow-down and the lack of updates.

 

Anyone continuing to follow my postings after March of 2008 will know that the project has not been completely dropped. You will also recall that I made a little burst of significant progress over this last summer with programmin the game's gui and releasing the newest screen, just priorly posted in this topic.

 

But this burst was way too short lived, just as the last one (of Jan - March 2008 was). It's ironic how much potential the project has, how well my team and I are set on seeing it come to life, how much I've toned my artistic abilities to the sci medium, and yet how little progress has been made.

 

 

 

But with failure comes wisdom, and with time, comes experience. I truly believe that the longer we decide to hang on, despite all obstacles and setbacks, the more sure we can all be that this project will not be extinguished until it is complete. Furthermore, I have a few more points I'd like to bring to light, which should hopefully leave you with a positive impression for the production of this project from here on out:

 

 

 

When the Outer Edge was concieved, back in December of 2003, and while it was produced by me behind the scenes for the next four years (before I got a team together), it was a naive fans fantasy. Something very good, original, and desirable, yet not something likely to ever come aboutconsidering my status as no more than a desperate fan...

 

... Since March of 2008 (for the past two years) I have matured both as a writer as well as an artist. Where before I had been a highschool dropout, I am now a sophomore in college with an excellent record and reputation at the institutions where I have studied. I have learned how to make deadlines consistently and I have expanded into several mediums of art and created much literary fiction on the side (always admired and complimented by college professors).

 

 

I realize that this information may come as a bit random, and perhaps I've touched upon it a bit already in my less-so-recent postings, but I am simply typing this from my heart, to all those following the Outer Edge: I have full confidence in my abilities and in my decision to finish this project. You can expect to see some good updates soon after this post (I will do my best to update once every 3 - 6 months).

 

And you can expect production to speed up once again. I do believe that the last screen posted (Roger peering), only produced in 10 days time over the last weeks of my summer, demonstrates how the screenshots production has sped up.

 

 

It will be impossible for me to rectify with words in this single post what has transpired over these past two years, and so I do not wish to wear out my welcome and appear bland. I must make this a brief update, but let me give you a little more information:

 

 

The script is in the same good state as it was ever before, and it is a VERY rich script

 

We have all the screens we had before, except the Monolith Burger Interior screen which had been prior posted in this topic. Unprofessional and humiliating as this may seem, I have the humility to ask any fan with a copy of it to come forward and contact me. Why? Because I'm persistent, and I and my team mean business.

 

The new expected release date for the first version of this adventure, is December of 2014. That is truthfully a very reasonable and possible release date for such an elaborate, rich, and complete adventure game, going at the pace I am (if I ever get another artist to help me who's skills are up to par with mine, that time could potentially be cut in half.) I hope you are glad to hear this news. For, although it seems awhile off, as I've said, I have matured in experience with producing art and writing fiction, and making deadlines. A realistic release date prediction of Dec 2014 is much better than a naive prediction of 2012.

 

Please stay tuned, and thank you for your continued interest in the adventure.

 

Sincerely,

 

Johnathon

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I'm the glad to hear the project's still making some headway. Sometimes a period of crippled development can completely destroy a project, but if you can pick yourself back up, it does wonders for motivation. And I have to say, your SCI graphics (especially that head-shot of Roger) look fantastic.

 

Keep up the positive attitude you have going right now! I look forward to your future updates!

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I thank you both for your encouragement.

 

Here we are now, 2.5 weeks early for the update. How about that?

 

Posted Image

image copyright © Johnathon Gabriel Matthews

 

 

I began working on this sprite 3 months ago, but of course I hadn't spent as much time on it as I'd wanted. Progress with the script has been coming along great. Although communication and work with the team as a whole seems to be in a frozen state (we've all got lotsa life business to attend to), we've been keeping in touch, and are as enthusiastic as ever.

 

Tremendous improvements have been made for the ending game segments, introducing just the right pace of suspense, twists, conflict and climax. Characters have been fleshed out further, and much of the technical design and quality assurance "stuffs" has been contemplated and improved upon. (Yeah, I'm wording that kinda funny, but eh well).

 

In fact, I'd say plot and screenplay dev has progressed thrice quicker than the art dev. More ideas just keep pouring in, and it's overwhelming at times not being able to draw more quickly just to get the adventure into code and into action. Hurry up and wait, is what you could call how I've been feeling.

 

But I've also had plenty to tug me away and keep my attention split a little. Pushing myself to the fullest these past couple weeks, I've managed to bring my D minus average in physics up to a C. A bit of personal information, I know, but it has been intense juggling everything. I really wish I could do more and more.

 

But there's a good momentum going here, and sooner or later, we're going to strike oil. Please stay tuned. More updates in the next 3 months.

 

Sincerely,

 

Johnathon and the Outer Edge Dev Team

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Coincidentally, I intend to open an account this November. My team and I are currently using a private account that had been established as a general web account for myself. When it expires in the coming month +, I'll open up one with a more appropriate web address.

 

Of course, I haven't really been putting much emphasis on a fancy website and all that just yet. I figure since most SQ fans visit this place of all places, that updates posted here would suffice. I do foresee, in the near future, however, after having more screenshots and a playable demo for Day I of the script, possibly designing the website at that point in time. I mean, I don't want to just post all the screens for the beginning section of the game. I'll want to advertise a selection from throughout the adventure. As of late, I've been tunneling through with the actual game development.

 

So, when the site is up, you can expect it probably won't have much more information than I post here as I make progress (for the time being).

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