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Johnathon

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

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I have nothing valuable to add other than to say that I find this discussion of color palettes surprisingly fascinating. Thanks, Johnathon!

 

Jess

 

Lol, Jess. Are you serious? I only have to ask because I realize I defended my stance pretty thoroughly. Is this your way of telling me that I'm taking the argument way too seriously, or being a bit too obsessive? I honestly can't tell if you're shooting for sarcasm or otherwise; though I wouldn't blame you either way. I just want to know. :D

 

Johnathon, your attention to detail (as well as your verbosity about it) is jaw-dropping. I'm so looking forward to playing this thing. It sounds incredible.

 

Thank you, sir! :) I suppose after going through 4 courses in art and 9 courses in design, I can't help but think and function this way when approaching an artistic project. It's a shame I'm not as well rounded in the art of Music. I've been wanting someone to do the music for this adventure for quite a long time now. I have absolutely no professional knowledge nor personal experience with composing decent music.

 

Say... who was that one fine fellow who did the scores for AGDI's projects, and SQ2VGA...?

 

...Brandon? :D

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I only did one of the AGDI projects. ;)

 

Great stuff, Johnathan. I didn't realize you were dithering every colour. You certainly know your stuff, though. I had thought it was only 64 colours, though. I only did because of the 64-colour palette that SCI Companion gives you with possible dithered colour combinations. The extra four certainly give more possibilities, though. I say go for it.

 

EGA is awesome. After having been wowed by VGA at an early age, I'm coming to appreciate the simplicity in these older years.

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Lol, Jess. Are you serious? I only have to ask because I realize I defended my stance pretty thoroughly. Is this your way of telling me that I'm taking the argument way too seriously, or being a bit too obsessive? I honestly can't tell if you're shooting for sarcasm or otherwise; though I wouldn't blame you either way. I just want to know. :D

I was being completely serious -- no sarcasm or irony intended. I found your discussion of the extended EGA palette to be quite fascinating. I'm one of the least artistically inclined people on the planet, and it's always interesting to get a peek inside that kind of creative process.

 

Carry on. :)

 

Jess

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It's a shame I'm not as well rounded in the art of Music. I've been wanting someone to do the music for this adventure for quite a long time now. I have absolutely no professional knowledge nor personal experience with composing decent music.

 

Say... who was that one fine fellow who did the scores for AGDI's projects, and SQ2VGA...?

 

...Brandon? :D

 

If it's music you're looking for, you could put in a request with Brandon, Frede or myself. Spikey knows his stuff, too, but he's buried up to his neck in remastering the old SQ soundtracks.

 

Should the soundtrack be digital, or are you going for the complete old-school package of having a General MIDI soundtrack?

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A request with Brandon: I think I just DID. :D

 

I'd be glad to have help from any of you guys.

 

EDIT: Oh, lol, I can see I somehow forgot to answer your question. I think I was going to go for purely digital; unless you know of any advantages to having MIDI in this day and age. I'm honestly (as I sort of hinted at above), not very educated on the matter. After all, Spikey's soundtracks play just fine on my pc without a sound module nor MIDI card; because he converted them in some manner, right?

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I just made a very brief update note on the website to hold us over for the next 3 months. I've been slaving away behind the scenes and have made great progress. As far as the update, however, there's just a posting of a somewhat familiar screen, although with a demonstration of further animation sprite progress included in it, and a notice to look out for the upcoming demo.

 

Just wanted to let you know.

 

Sincerely,

 

Johnathon

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A new update posted on the site:

 

 

January 23th, 2013

 

Greetings Earthlings, Xenonians, and all remaining lifeforms not mentioned of janitorial intelligence or higher. :D

 

Speaking of which, your trusted webmaster and fan-game designer - shortly following the previous update - made the irreversible decision to allow this website's domain to expire without renewal, closed down his previous ISP account, and lost access to transferring the domain to his new ISP.

 

Did I explain that comprehensively enough? It doesn't make sense, does it? Truth is, I don't remember all the details 'cause it was a good 3 months ago now. To make a long story short, in my inexperience with transferring domains, I'd thought I could allow "theouteredge.org" to expire and instantly ressurect it at a new ISP; but that's not the way it works, and I know that now.

 

You see, I had become quite frustrated with my (previous) crummy web host for quite awhile. I won't even go into that, save to say that their services and professionalism were some of the worst one can find out there. I had about 3 issues with them before I lost the domain, and that itself became issue #4. I attempted to call them up and reinstate the old account as a domain-hosting account so I could renew "theouteredge.org," but the idiots had lost my password security question answer (which I'd had for years and knew by heart), and therefore refused to allow me access to the original information. For that much, the loss of the original domain was their fault.

 

Anyhow, realizing this isn't exactly good update material, I just want to apologize to you fans for any inconvencience this has caused. The problem was of such a nature that I was not able to even set up a redirect for users trying to access the site via the now expired domain. Very regrettable. Please fill anyone in if you come across someone wondering what the hell happened to the location of this place - now "theouteredge.net"

 

The Demo:

 

So, regarding the demo I said I've been working on, it is now much closer to completion: estimated 67% complete. Why 67%? Because I choose 67% to sound most "hip" of an arbitrary guess at how much of it is complete in respect to the whole.

 

Other Progress:

 

I've also cheated a bit by leaving work on the demo and continuing work on some of the game's screenshot development and GUI interface improvement. Realizing this detracts from my ability to complete the demo on time, as I truly hope to do, when I feel motivated and enthused more strongly about any other aspect of the project, I feel compelled to follow that instinct rather than supress it because it generally means greater and more quality progress. One of those developer's secrets, I suppose.

 

In Other News:

 

I am working twice as much this semester (meaning as an employee, outside of classes) as I had previous terms because I am getting married this May, and must be able to afford all the costs that come with such an event, including a bigger apartment. Needless to say, this also implies much extra time in personal preparation and planning. Therefore, I must admit things may get delayed even further, but hopefully not too much. I'll be working on this thing, you can bet on that, and I know you're just going to love what I've produced!

 

See you on the chronostream, Space Questers!

 

Johnathon

 

 

And, for those still confused at the technical issues with lack of sufficient explanation, here is a copy of an email I just replied to a fan:

 

 

 

Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2012 01:15:03 -0500 [12/19/2012 01:15:03 AM EST] From: ANONYMOUS FAN To: johnathon@theouteredge.net Subject: Game???

 

You making this game or not??? Whats the deal? Also your e-mail was labeled

wrong. you have it as .org

 

 

 

ANONYMOUS FAN,

 

Thank you for taking the time to email me regarding this; as I interpret it demonstrates your interest in the project. Firstly, let me apologize that it has taken me longer than a month to respond to you. The following is a brief explanation for why:

 

This last semester, I became very ill with an unusual severe respiratory condition which set me back over a thousand dollars and distracted me a great deal form many priorities, including the fan game (for 4 solid months). I also had an issue with transferring the original domain "theouteredge.org" to my newer web host (partially due to my inexperience; but it was ultimately non-transferable due to the fault of my previous ISP provider - who lost track of my password security question answer and refused myself entry to access the old domain). This is why the website now has the new domain of "theouteredge.net." Quite regrettably, due to the nature of this issue, I was also unable to put in any redirects for users trying to access the website via the old domain. It frustrated me a great deal, and I hope not too many people have been unable to find and follow the project because of it. Please do me a favor and inform anyone you come across who is still wondering what's going on. I greatly appreciate it.

 

As for my slowness in responding to you, I'd become so depressed due to my medical condition and loss of money (I'm also planning for and funding my wedding for this upcoming May), I'd quit my job because I figured the best thing for me was some time off to relax and hopefully recuperate. Beginning December 14th (the last day of finals last semester, and two days before you emailed me), I drove out of town and spent 3 weeks straight over the holidays trying to escape everything (though I continued working on the demo of the game and enjoyed it for quite a many hours). I also did not have the funds to renew my internet service at home and so did not view the internet very much over this past month.

 

As of today, I have reacquired my job and will be renewing internet at my home again shortly (I'm typing this from the university campus at the moment). I also have literally just posted an update on the website. Please, go check it out!

 

I assure you, I am very passionate about completing this project, and am definitely still working on the game; and despite my setbacks I actually covered much ground on the game and demo even as I was sick at home for those 3 - 4 months.

 

Thank you for pointing out the outdated email image. I had forgotten to fix that, and will be doing so shortly.

 

Sincerely,

 

Johnathon

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Okay. Couple of points. theouteredge.org is available to pickup and register at another domain registrar. So you can pick it up again.

 

Also, I had to edit your post because it exposed your fan's e-mail address.

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Thanks for the edit. I forgot to edit out the email address.

 

As for the domain name, I figured it may be out of "limbo" by now, but do you suppose it's still worth trying to pick up? Has most of the damage already been done?

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Thank you sir.

 

Here is another update:

 

 

February 22nd, 2013

 

Space-faring comrades!

This is a surprise update: I just feel in the mood to release some stuff, so I'm just gonna throw a few, small things at ya to hold ya over until further progress this summer!

 

 

First:

 

A couple images of the improved GUI. Notice that the inventory window that had been in the bottom-right corner has been replaced by a new feature. This feature will control one of the most integral revolutionary adventure gameplay/style improvements that the Outer Edge of Earnon will sport. You'll be able to take it for a test drive once the playable portion of the demo is released!

 

ACTIVE GUI:

Posted Image

 

 

INACTIVE GUI:

Posted Image

 

 

 

Second:

 

Here's a little snapshot of an area of the 3D set of Monolith Burger I've been tying up. Recall, this adventure will remain faithful to classic 2D-style adventure gaming; though, 3D design will aid as reference for creation of more impressive and... "informed" backgrounds.

 

Posted Image

 

 

 

Third (and last, for now):

 

I am releasing the first 2.5 minutes of the unfinished introduction portion of the demo. I will continue chugging away at this (and the game as a whole, of course), but I hope this will tickle your funny SQ spot. See the demo page.

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September 14th, 2013

 

Space Questers,

 

I am aware that I am 8 days late for the update to my previous update, (which was also late, and frankly, quite lame). Forgive the lapse, and no, this project has not disappeared. Things are just a little tight.

 

Let's go over some new stuff and information I want to share with you first:

 

 

How do you make a 2D-style adventure game seem more diverse, and spatially more enthralling, without making it 3D...?

 

The question may seem similar to what Nintendo asked themselves before innovating from the style of the NES to the SNES. For example, they added layers for the characters to run behind - but this has no application to adventure games, where that has always been a feature.

Some adventure games, such as "Last Half of Darkness," attempted to make the environment of the adventure seem more encaptivating by basing direction on a North/South East/West walking scheme, where the point-of-view between different rooms would change according to where the player desired to walk (this was of course from a first-person perspective, unlike the Sierra adventures (or at least most of them), and I want to emphasize that even this was in respect to differing rooms (and you'll understand soon why I make this distinction).

 

Well, this innovation of mine is significantly different, and - if I may have your permission to get all giddied-up and excited just thinking about it as I explain it to you - also much more exciting. To my knowledge, it has never been developed to this extreme in an adventure game before, and as innovating as I'm telling you it is, it does not compromise the integrity of the richness and pureness of what it means to be a 2D-styled adventure game. All it does is take what we know of that and bring out the best of it.

 

A couple of updates ago, I showed you an updated image of the GUI for "Roger Wilco and the Outer Edge of Earnon," hinting to you some significance of the add camera buttons (which replaced what had been a shortcut to the inventory window. Even longer ago, I mentioned to our Space Quest Historian, Troels Pleimert, of some very exciting new ideas I had up my sleeve, particularly one that had been inspired to me by playing "Gold Rush." I had also promised that you would be able to test drive this innovative adventuring experience in the demo I've been developing.

 

I did not finish the demo this summer - being a newly-wed husband took away from that, and I have not had time to finish it this semester, as I'm working my way through a rigorous computer science program - but I can promise you that I have made great progress nonetheless, and that the project is still very important to me. I just don't want to show something as big as a complete demo to you if I know it's not ready, because I want that first impression to be a whopper! I can, however, go over some of the details, and show you some images to demonstrate. So here goes...

 

 

Multiple camera angles for each screen means MAXIMUM exploration, and GREATER immersement into the 2D world!!!

 

As a starting point to illustrate, I can tell you that the current design of this adventure involves between 119 to 134 rooms. I could also tell you that when many authors advertise how many rooms an adventure has, it has been clearly implied that the author is also talking about screenshots (except for cut sequences), and that "rooms" has been long considered very closely synonymous with "screenshots," but for the Outer Edge of Earnon, I must tell you this is not nearly the case. This game will have up to FOUR screenshots for every single room! YES, FOUR! Some rooms may have slightly less while others may even have one more than four, depending on the context of the room (it will be dictated by what's most appropriate to fall in line with the room and the plotline). But what do I mean by this, and why...? Well, let's first take a look at how this will... look... and I can elaborate from there.

 

I wish to warn you beforehand, however, the screenshots I'm using in this example are far from complete, and the sprites I'm using for Roger are just stand-ins for illustration purposes.

 

So, let's say that I'm currently in the room below, and Roger is facing towards me (towards the screen), let's say I wanted to choose to look onward in the direction that he is looking, without changing rooms. I would click the lower camera button, as shown in the screenshot...

 

Posted Image

 

 

 

and this would result in the perspective changing to the screenshot below.

 

Posted Image

 

 

 

Now, let's say that from my updated perspective, I want to see what is in the direction to the right of Roger, again without changing rooms. I would simply click the camera button to the right, as shown in the screenshot above (our last updated perspective), and the perspective would now change to the following screenshot.

 

Posted Image

 

 

 

Finally, if from our current updated perspective, I wanted to see what was in the direction to the left of Roger (now our updated southward (or, more accurately, screen/monitor-ward), I would simply click the lower camera button yet again, which would result in the perspective changing to what is depicted in the screen below.

 

Posted Image

 

 

The camera buttons will be smart objects which function in respect to which direction the perspective is currently facing, and clicking upward anytime (because the screen will always be facing "upward," if you know what I mean) will result in the perspective instantly changing to the direction that Roger, as a sprite, is facing. Thus, if I were to click the upmost camera button from the screen just above (our last updated position), we would end up where we began at the beginning of this demonstration.

 

 

The benefits of this innovation...?

 

One thing that had always bothered me when I was younger, while playing adventure games, was how some areas would seem to be blocked off, or how some screens seemed really repetitive. This new feature allows greater exploration, and will help even further to keep yours truly, as an artist, more honest with producing quality and unique screenshots, as having to consider them from a 3d perspective, while still keeping them at the same 2d adventure-style quality, will demand greater use of the imagination. You can also, no doubt, anticipate how much more immense and complex the gameplay experience in itself will be made simply due to the addition of this feature. For example, when the camera view changes, the positioning and orientation of Roger (as well as any other characters and objects in the screen) will need to be updated accordingly. In addition, when it comes to puzzle solving, there may be instances where the player will only advance by taking advantage of the full richness of exploration of every room, as, for example, the collectible Two Guys bucakazoid in the room above is only visible/attainable, from the perspective in the third of the screenshots (the second-to-last one just shown above).

 

Well, my fellow fans, I hope this helps to hold you over as I continue to push forward. I wish I could give more details and goodies, but the time is not right. I'll show you a couple more screens I was more recently updating before I go yet again; but do keep in mind these are also not yet complete.

 

 

Posted Image

 

 

 

Posted Image

 

 

 

Sincerely, Your Humble and Slow but Serious Fan Game Designer,

 

Johnathon

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:o

 

Is this still being done in AGS? I'm just trying to fathom the sheer amounts of work that would require. With ~125 rooms that's somewhere on the order of 500 (likely slightly less due to cutscenes) sets of backgrounds, walk-behinds, regions and scaling, object placement and definition as well as all the other room management script (for inventory use, etc). I presume you're either compiling a custom version of AGS without the 299 "room" limit or doing something fancy with background frames.

 

I think Chris nailed it - mind blown.

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A very legitimate concern you have, pcj, as I myself have been aware I will need to find a way around these limitations. I have spent a little time already researching the posts of others at the AGS boards who wish to customize AGS (or find a loophole around it's limits in some regard), and I realize it's nothing to be taken lightly.

 

However, I don't limit my ideas based upon current hardware or engine restrictions, and I will find a way to make this idea come to fruition. Of course, because it would be foolish to start implementing the entire game up until the max-limit of rooms and only then look to cross that bridge, I've been focusing mainly on perfecting implementation of the interface, production of the screenshots, and polishing of all elements of the adventure that don't include mass implementation. The major implementation I've had on my mind has been to complete the demo.

 

I will either be learning how to customize AGS for my needs, or I will need to change to a different engine (though I'm hoping I can rectify the situation without needing to do so.) I'm still a bit of a beginner when it comes to coding. I just started a major in CompSCI only last Fall. Have C mastered pretty well, have been becoming more comfortable with C++. Haven't done very much big scale projects, or IDE development, cross-platform compiling, or other languages yet.

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Heya Guys,

 

Just stopping in to let you know I'm still alive and the adventure is still being developed. I got a little caught up in the holiday break and missed my December 14th update. Things have been a bit crazy and busy (as the story so often goes.) Just nailed my first internship as a mobile app developer, so that'll serve to make things, additionally, busy; but hopefully it will also help to better hone my coding skills.

 

That being said, I'm going to be taking 2d digital animation as one of my electives this coming term. You can guess what I intend to use that instruction for.

 

Look forward to next update, in March.

 

Johnathon

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