Working on the engine at the moment. That and the VHS Look post-processing shaders have been keeping me busy lately. It’s hard to find a good compromise there: On the one hand I want the game to have the authentic look of an old VHS tape that’s been watched too many times. But then again I’ve put so much work into the background art and this gets all but ruined by the VHS artifacts.
Today though inspiration struck and so I revisited an older scene that’d been sitting idly on my hard drive for a while. No creepy theme park is complete without a Haunted Mansion, so here’s a first look at what to expect:
Here I’m trying to recreate that somewhat over the top spookiness of Disney’s Haunted Mansion. Of course our heroes will have ample opportunity to explore the mansion and mingle with its inhabitants – whether they want to or not…
First up: Gotta say, I’m terrible at this blogging thing. Really need to force myself to update on a more regular basis! Since my last post I’ve managed to find some time to create several new background scenes that I’d like to show here today.
The first one is an opening shot that shows the protagonist’s home somewhere in suburban America. I reckon I’ve captured that early 90s feel pretty well in this one:
The next image is my first look into the actual “Screampark”. Still some visible grain and noise from the rendering, guess I’ll have to redo that. It’s not too bad seeing as the render times are fairly reasonable due to the very low resolution of the images. The composition and scenery could probably use some more polish. But I’m mostly experimenting with the color grading here to really capture that cheesy horror movie feel:
This afternoon I was experimenting with the GUI for inventory a bit. Originally I’d planned to go with a Gameboy as the inventory screen, but unfortunately that didn’t work out too well due to its harsh constraints in color and resolution. The game itself is at such a low resolution that it clashed quite badly with the Gameboy’s even lower resolution. So instead I’ve opted for a custom hodgepodge of 90s computer interfaces: A bit of Windows 95 with a heavy dose of NeXTSTEP in there as well:
As for the engine, I haven’t been doing much on that front lately. My main focus was on prototyping graphical assets to make absolutely sure I can pull this off… nothing worse than having developed the perfect game engine only to realize that your assets just won’t be able to keep up with the images in your mind!
For the past couple years I’ve been working on and off on this point n’ click adventure game called Fatal Attractions. This is the first time I’m publicly showing my work on this project, but I feel it’s been incubating for long enough now and should start to finally see the light of day, for better or worse.
The game takes inspiration from ‘80s horror movies as well as classic 2D adventure games, two of my favourite things.
Fatal Attractions is set in the good old days of the early ‘90s in a small town in the US. We follow a couple teenage boys as they come across a curious looking girl lurking around their treehouse in the woods. She leads them to a seemingly abandoned theme park just outside of town. Once night falls, the boys quickly realise that the park is not as abandoned as they were led to believe…
The game plays very much like the classic adventure games from LucasArts and Sierra Online: You point the cursor at objects on the screen, choose an interaction method and see what happens. Throughout the game you get to explore mystic places, meet strange folk and solve puzzles along the way.
Originally I’d planned to make Fatal Attractions look a lot more like the games that inspired it: Clean pixel art with a limited VGA palette. Alas, it turned out I’m absolutely rubbish at this art style. Also, it wasn’t really jibing with the mood I had in mind for the game.
Thanks to my background in feature film animation I happen to know a thing or two about rendering in 3D. And so, after a lot of trial and error, I eventually settled on the style you see here. The pre-rendered 3D art gives me lots of artistic options to capture a nostalgic look reminiscent of ‘80s teen movies such as The Goonies or Fright Night. Moreover, the low resolution keeps the amount of time and work it takes to create and render the assets fairly reasonable.
Fatal Attractions is built on the lovely LÖVE game engine and written entirely in MoonScript. At one point I’d ported the whole thing to Unity, but eventually came to the conclusion that it’s just overkill for what I’m doing here.