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-   -   The Journey Down (http://www.lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=207066)

skygoblin 04-07-2011 10:08 AM

The Journey Down - FINALLY RELEASED!
 
Hey y'all!

I figured it's time I introduce myself and my current project properly. I'm a Swedish game developer, running my own business together with three other guys, in the city of Gothenburg. Our main project right now is the point 'n click adventure game The Journey Down.

http://www.slxgames.com/wp-content/u...ntorytest2.jpg

http://www.slxgames.com/wp-content/u...nassmaller.jpg

The Journey Down is a classic point-and-click adventure game title for the PC, planned to be released in four separate parts. The first chapter "Over the Edge" follows our brave pilot hero Bwana and his sidekick Kito as they, while trying to make ends meet, end up getting thrown into a twisting plot of corruption and adventure. The first part is scheduled for a 2011 Q4 release and is developed and published by Skygoblin in conjunction with Sweden based social game developer SLX Games.

A shortened, low-res, no speech version of The Journey Down: Over the Edge was released in the summer of 2010 as a testing prototype for the coming high-res commercial version of the game. This prototype has among other things won a bunch of funky indie awards, one of them being the coveted “AGS Game of the year” Award.

The Journey Down is developed in Adventure Game Studio and features an all original Jazz/reggae soundtrack by jazzmaster Simon D’souza.

The team developing the game (primarily me) do our best at chronicling our journey on our dev-blog over at www.slxgames.com, please drop by and have a peek whenever you're bored. We love to hear your thoughts and comments, they are no doubts central to making the game as bombastic as possible. :)

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

http://www.skygoblin.com/forum/devblog.png

Gabez 04-07-2011 10:46 AM

Looks impressive. From those screenshots it seems like you have a strong Monkey Island 2 influence -- or is that just me? Definitely looks classic LucasArts anyway.

elTee 04-07-2011 10:48 AM

I really like those pictures, I think I would enjoy the atmosphere of this game :)

skygoblin 04-07-2011 10:58 AM

Gabez: Yep, MI2 has definitely influenced me a lot. I've also been very inspired by the cartoony style of Bill Tiller's COMI, as well as Peter Chan's Full Throttle and Grim Fandango. Lots and lots of LEC love in my veins. :)

elTee: Thank you! Yeah, it's all about atmosphere isn't it:) The art combined with the music sets a nice ambiance, I can promise you that! Keep your eyes peeled on the dev-blog for more info.

Snugglecakes 04-08-2011 03:38 AM

Now that looks gorgeous. Really.

Longcat 04-08-2011 06:13 PM

I played the AGS version of this and I would buy the HD version. Thank you for the oldskool experience.

elTee 04-08-2011 06:22 PM

Yeah, I did too. I think it shows better game design than The Whispered World, which was another recent commercially released old-school adventure game. I'm eager to see the HD version :)

Gabez 04-09-2011 06:12 AM

That's a good marketing technique... download a low-res version because it's a smaller download and provides an incentive for buying a high-res version. We're all used to paying more for better quality anyway, as in VHS -- DVDs -- Blu-ray.

Snugglecakes 04-09-2011 07:24 AM

I just had a quick look at the prototype. This is really good. As far as artwork goes it's perfect, I love this style.

elTee 04-09-2011 07:44 AM

The main thing I appreciated (aside from the much-loved art/atmosphere) was the set-up to the narrative. These guys need money, and the woman from the university has a job for them. It's clear and simple - like the start of Secret of Monkey Island. It really annoys me when adventure games have convoluted and contrived set-ups, where the character has no real reason to be doing what he's doing other than that it makes the game work, or creates puzzles. A puzzle where you have to fix the plane engine makes perfect sense because you need the plane in order to do the job, and thus get paid. That bodes well, in my opinion.

(Although, bread sticks/ladder might suggest some Discworld-esque puzzles to be found at some point in the game. That would frustrate the hell out of me! But I remain optimistic because, to be fair, as soon as I found the bread sticks I realised what the solution was.)

skygoblin 04-13-2011 06:16 AM

http://www.slxgames.com/wp-content/u...pitsmaller.jpg

Here's some new stuff from the devblog! If you've played the prototype, it's likely you'll recognize the location.

Snugglecakes: Thanks for the kind words! Means a lot. The style has been polished a long, long time, I'm glad you like it.

Longcat: Thank you, thank you, thank you! If you have any thoughts on things that you would like to see improved or remedied from the prototype, I'd love to hear it! Such comments are worth gold to me.

Gabez: I'm glad you appreciate the "business model", we've sort of made it up as we went along. Hopefully it works! So far it has proven to be a great way of probing the ins and outs of what people like to see in a game, let's hope it works all the way through:)

elTee: Thanks! A lot of hard work has gone into creating a nice flowing story that motivates the player to do the tasks at hand, I'm very glad to hear this is shining through and is appreciated by you as a player. To me there are few things as frustrating in a game as being thrown into a situation with a million possible interactions, and no clue whatsoever as to what you, as a player are trying to achieve. That to me, is truly poor game design.

Btw, I promise to keep the breadsticks/ladder solutions at an all low. I too prefer when solutions aren't too wacky, that one just sort of... happened.

Comments are greatly appreciated! We're doing everything we can to make this game as bombastic as possible, your voiced thoughts make a difference.

skygoblin 04-20-2011 05:06 AM

Here's a quick update from the development blog.

Henrik (the animator on JD) just updated the blog with a first pre-render of our new fancy 3d characters. Please note that this is NOT what the final scene will look like. Lighting, shading and other fancy shizzles still need to be put in place, also the backdrop is going to be animated and obviously there will be music and more sound effects. This is merely a sneek peak at a work in progress. If you're curious, check it out on the devblog through the link in this picture:

http://www.bubasub.com/playblast.jpg

Also, here's your chance to listen to the wonderful voice of Anthony Sardinha, who is also cast for the role of Bwana.

Comments, as always, are appreciated! Thanks.

Gabez 04-20-2011 05:12 AM

Nice work on the animation and voices there.

I've always wanted to do voice-work. Shame you actually need talent to do it though. :(

Alex IDV 04-20-2011 10:47 AM

Gotta say that I really like what I'm seeing. Keep up the good work!

StoneFrog 04-22-2011 08:42 PM

The artistic direction for this game is amazing! It has a very strong Monkey Island 2 vibe to me as well - the second screenshot in particular reminds me of one of Peter Chan's original marker backgrounds for the game.

I've heard of the prototype but have yet to play it. Perhaps I'll give it a try this weekend? It's really heartwarming to see independent adventure games with such professionalism being produced in this day and age. Keep it up.

SyntheticGerbil 04-25-2011 05:13 AM

I'm loving the look of this game. I'm really getting excited from all the the European throwbacks to classic adventures these days that are being crafted.

Skygoblin, I don't know the situation of your company or the production line, but I would love to help in some way with art or animation if possible remotely on any games. I don't know if my stuff is what you're looking for but my portfolio is at www.mrseanlane.com. Sorry about that shameless plug there, forumites.

skygoblin 04-25-2011 05:59 AM

Gabez: Thanks! hehe yeah, I'd love to do some recording myself but it always turns out crap. It's clear that it does indeed require some talent. Many things need to be right, not just the voice, but the actual acting and the clarity in voice are all crucial.

Alex IDV: Thank you:)

StoneFrog: Thanks for the incredibly inspiring comments! I'm glad some of my love for MI2 backdrops is shining through:) If you do try the prototype, be sure to send me your thoughts and comments! I hope you do.

SyntheticGerbil: Thanks for offering to help! Our current pipeline is all stuffed though, so no need for more people working on the project. I had a look at your portfolio, you've got a lot of cool stuff going! You should offer your services over at the AGS forums, I'm sure they'd love your assistance.

We've just updated the devblog with a new voice sample, this time of the Dockmaster (Voiced by Scott Stoked). Check it below:

http://www.slxgames.com/wp-content/u...er-140x140.jpg

If you've got any thoughts about the voice cast so far, I'd love to hear 'em! Voicing has been moving along nicely. Most of the smaller roles are in place already, and the bigger roles are well under way. Yay for progress!

Alex IDV 04-25-2011 09:48 AM

Feels very MI2-ish. Will most likely buy this on day 1 :)

skygoblin 05-05-2011 08:56 AM

Alex IDV: heh, thanks, man! That's the kind of comment I love to hear. More of those please. :thmbup1:

Here's another new screenie from the devblog. I'm happily painting away on the new room backdrops while Henrik keeps playing around with our rendering pipeline. Mathias has started scratching his head delving into the spaghetti code of the AGS engine, and Markus is, well, busy with other things. :cool:

http://www.slxgames.com/wp-content/u...om4_medium.jpg

Man I'd love to give Bwana -the main character- unique frames in here sort of squeezing his body together against the cold. What a truly bad idea. :rolleyes:

Keep the comments coming, please! :)

skygoblin 05-28-2011 12:25 PM

Check out the new revamped interior of Kaonandodo's Gas 'n charter:

http://www.skygoblin.com/bwanasinterior_small.jpg

Click the picture to visit the dev blog and to see a larger version of the backdrop.

I finally got the chance to add some nice African carvings to the backdrop, be sure to check out the high-res version to see 'em in their full glory!

elTee 05-29-2011 01:11 PM

Awesome :)

Longcat 05-29-2011 02:12 PM

This is so awesome! I'm really getting the feel of a crossover between comi, grim fandango and full throttle here. Let me know if you need a scandinavian playtester, I'm much nicer than most Norwegians, honest:p

Alex IDV 05-29-2011 03:41 PM

Oh, yes, if you are looking for playtesters from Scandinavia specifically (why the heck would you want that?), I wouldn't mind helping out. I'm pretty average in niceness (?) as far as Swedes go, I guess.

Longcat 05-30-2011 05:49 AM

Lol. Yeah, I admit that sounds a bit strange. Sorry, that's what you get when posting drunk. I guess I wrote that because I knew skygoblin was swedish Even though it doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

skygoblin 06-02-2011 01:12 PM

Thanks guys! I appreciate your wish to help out with testing. I might very well take you up on that, scandinavian or not:P We are however quite far from the testing stage I must admit. I promise to keep this thread updated regarding when our first test stage begins. If all goes according to plan, I expect that to happen around autumn some time, but who knows. I'll keep you posted!

By the way, we just released a preview of the voice of Kito, the mechanic sidekick, over on the dev-blog. Also, a couple days ago we released a sneak peek of what Bwana, the main character sounds like. Please head on over to the dev-blog and check 'em out! We'd love to hear your comments.

Keep your eyes peeled on the devblog for more updates about the cast and our progress in general.

skygoblin 06-07-2011 08:22 AM



I am proud and happy to announce that SLX Games (The Gothenburg, Sweden based company where I work for a living) has now merged with SkyGoblin (the pseudo-fake company I started for the Journey Down development group) and now form one single entity: SkyGoblin. "What does this change?" I hear you ask. Nothing, really. It just makes life for everyone involved in the development of "The Journey Down" a lot less confusing, since it's now developed under one flag, instead of two.

The core team behind the game is still exactly the same. Namely me, the two programmers Mathias and Markus, as well as our animator Henrik and our musician Simon. The only real difference is that SLX Games (now SkyGoblin) as a corporate entity makes a large official focus shift toward working on the commercial release of "The Journey Down", rather than spending all its time working on our other title, the social mmo "Nord".


http://www.skygoblin.com/forum/jdcharter.jpg
A look at the charter interior in the high-res commercial release of TJD.

So why am I posting this? Mostly because I wanted to share the good news of us now focusing a lot more on TJD development and because I wanted to share my relief of now having made my life a tiny bit less schizophrenic on the "where I work" front. Also, hopefully giving our development group one title instead of two will reduce the risk of confusion a bit.

Since the initial AGS engine source code release (and since we now finally finished our silly facebook-credits implementation into Nord) our two programmers have finally been able to start poking around in AGS to make it 720p friendly, which is the resolution we intend to release TJD in. I would like to take this chance to thank CJ for the bold move of releasing his precious source. A highly commendable and ballsy move to say the least. I am confident projects such as TJD and other similar commercial game efforts will benefit from it greatly.

Chapter one of the fully voiced, puzzle extended, high-res version of TJD is scheduled for a 2011 Q4 release and its development can be followed over at www.skygoblin.com

Longcat 06-07-2011 03:53 PM

Great move, TJD seems to have a lot more potential than Nord if you ask me. Even though I am an adventure game fanatic and therefore a bit biased:) Good luck, keep it up!

elTee 06-08-2011 07:23 AM

Congratulations :)

Edward van Helgen 06-08-2011 10:07 AM

That looks really amazing! I love the style of the art, really impressive!

sanguinehearts 06-12-2011 09:44 AM

This game looks beautiful, I really cant wait to play it!
I guess AGS means it is Windows only?

Ascovel 06-13-2011 09:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sanguinehearts (Post 2781340)
I guess AGS means it is Windows only?

Windows and PSP only so far.

Alex IDV 06-13-2011 02:07 PM

Controlling the cursor with a D-pad sounds obnoxious

skygoblin 06-16-2011 07:46 AM

Longcat: heh, well, Nord has been, and still is generating enough revenue to keep it running, but sharding out and running more projects in parallel is to put it simply: more fun. :)

elTee: Thanks, man!

Edward van Helgen: Glad you appreciate the style. I've put MANY hours into these backdrops, heh.

sanguinehearts and Ascovel: The first release is either way definitely going to be PC, and nothing else. We certainly hope to branch off onto other platforms as well, depending on how much time we have to spare and what the market looks like at that time. As for PSP support in AGS, I'd say it's still rather theoretical and could work with a lot of hard rewriting and rebuilding of assets - is it worth it though? The psp market is an odd one. There are other handheld devices that definitely seem more tempting to work with, such as android and iOS devices.

Alex IDV: Agreed! I get nasty memories of playing Maniac Mansion and Shadowgate on NES. Which, granted, was a lot of fun, but input wise it was truly a nightmare.

I'm also posting to say that we've just updated the blog today with a sneak peek of the voice of Lina. Thus finishing our lead cast preview on the dev-blog. Check her voice out and tell us what you think!

http://www.skygoblin.com/wp-content/...s/linabook.png

Keep your eyes peeled on Skygoblin.com for more updates regarding The Journey Down!

plamdi.com 06-16-2011 09:17 AM

Sky this is great news indeed. I'd love to get a copy to review on scummgames.net - I have barely done any work on the website in the last two years, but that's about to change I promise, I have a real passion for the adventure game community and I'll be putting reviews up of Telltales other games (when I get the chance to play through them, etc) as well as adding classic ones soon, I think starting next month I'll aim to do at least one game per month :) Can you shoot me an email daniel at scummgames dot net when you're closer to release?

I will certainly promote the game for you at scummgames.net in the future (as long as it's good, and I trust that it will be)!!!

In the meantime I really wish you very good luck with this project and in the future!

skygoblin 07-16-2011 03:05 PM

Hey plamdi.com, thanks for showing interest! I'll be sure to send you an email once we start closing in. Release will likely not be until some time December though, so there's still some time to go!

Here's a fresh look at what Kito, our chunky sidekick looks like in 3D!

http://www.skygoblin.com/wp-content/.../3dkitobig.png

Hope you like how he came out. I think he's quite faithful to the original 2D version of him. Also, check out the devblog to read up on some of the roots of the artwork in TJD! I'm hoping to make a little series of posts about the artistic origins, and the one I posted yesterday, is the first of what will hopefully be a collection of such posts.

Please, don't be feedback shy! We want to hear what you guys think.

Thanks.

skygoblin 08-21-2011 05:45 AM

Bumpin' with a little progress update :)

We're slavin' away at a crazy high tempo now, churning out Bwana and Kito animations at the speed of light, also we're hard at work finalizing and animating our backdrops. Here's a sneak peek below straight from our dev-blog:

View page
YouTube Video

Visit the dev-blog for some behind-the-scenes stuffies if you're curious :)

Comments are as always appreciated!

Sven_Q45 08-21-2011 05:52 AM

Wow, looks good. And I love 2 D Adventures much.

I can hear Jazz music. :thmbup1:

Alex IDV 08-21-2011 11:13 AM

You guys sure know how to make some beautiful backgrounds!

Longcat 08-21-2011 01:30 PM

Awesome! keep it up:)

MusiclyInspired 08-21-2011 01:35 PM

Wow. For a second I thought that was some really nice concept background art. But then it moved! Very nice!


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