After the intense experience of completing the first chapter of The Dream Machine for the IGF competition our workload has reverted to a more agreeable pace. Right now we're re-working some of the features in the first chapter of The Dream Machine that we always felt needed a bit more love & attention.
This post will briefly describe a typical situation where we decide to change some graphical elements in order to make the world of The Dream Machine more coherent...
We had some challenges early on in the production trying to find the right look for some of the areas in the game. In order to get everything up and running, we had to build quite a lot in a very short time span. At the time we didn't have any detailed design documents, and built most of it by ear. Most of this worked out fine, but we had to rush some of the environments in order to be able to build others. The kitchen was one of these environments that we felt was a bit too rough.
We couldn't re-shoot the entire set, since pieces of it had been misplaced while moving out of the old studio. Instead, Anders suggested that we only redo certain parts of the image. The floor, for instance, could simply be overhauled using a single 4x4 tile piece (see picture above). This single piece was then duplicated in Photoshop and replaced the old kitchen floor, which felt bland and disproportionate to the characters. We went with a more classical look for the kitchen using black and white tile.
Furthermore: During our playtests we noticed that every player would try to interact with the fridge. Which stands to reason, since if you present a large interactive looking object in a room, people will expect to be able to do something with it. Not allowing them is kind of like placing a piece of candy in front of a child and say that they can't eat it. Our first fridge was cut out of a single piece of Styrofoam, and couldn't be opened. Re-dressing the location, I had to build a new fridge with an inside and a door that could open (see picture above).
As much as we loved the green fridge, it had to go in order to allow for more interactivity.
Almost final result above. Better? Any comments?
There are some elements yet to be added to the foreground and Anders will probably work his magic with Photoshop tweaking details here and there, since some stuff would be very difficult to do in an entirely analogue way. But when you mess around in Photoshop too much you risk losing the all-important hand made quality, so we try to keep the re-touching as low-key as possible.
OK, that's it for now. The development is progressing in a very promising way, and hopefully we'll have some good news for you in a week or two.
Thanks for your comments and input! Tell us what you think! Take care and stay tuned folks...
PS: They mentioned The Dream Machine in diygamer.com last week. You can read about it here.