Critical Hit: Plus que ca change…

adventures in gaming, critical hit, indie, Process Writing

When the mentors and industry people who came to talk to us about Critical Hit told us that our game would change every week, I didn’t believe them – or, more accurately, I didn’t want to believe them. I should have guessed that they were right, since in the first week alone the game changed drastically at least three times. Naturally, what they predicted is exactly what’s happening. Thankfully, we haven’t abandoned anything that spoke to us metaphorically or ideologically: the changes that we’ve made have continually been to narrow our focus, to make something that we will be able to complete in the remaining five and a half weeks of Critical Hit.

Luckily, the art assets haven’t changed all that much since we’ve kept the kinds of objects in the game consistent, so Andy has still been able to plug away, creating awesome and funny animations for us. Also, as I’ve probably mentioned, Charlotte is a speed demon when it comes to prototyping – she is able to get at the core of what is essential to testing a mechanic with no bells and whistles (that’s my job as the sound person later on).

We have also had an amazing support team in the form of just about everyone at Critical Hit and all the amazing mentors that have been brought in. It isn’t always easy to hear how your game is really great conceptually but that you’ll never be able to make and polish all those amazing mechanics in the time remaining, but we’ve tried to balance not being swayed by every single thing that everyone says with taking good advice when we hear it.

I don’t even know if I should describe the current version of the game at all since who knows when things might change again, but I think it’s a worthwhile exercise and it’ll be nice to have this to look back on, so here goes. We’ve dispensed with body types in that we’ve combined the body types with the items that we had representing our stereotypes: Rosie can now wield a vacuum cleaner to take items through subterranean mazes, and once she’s acquired those, she can carry them in her inventory, which is the baby carriage. In the mazes are items that she can use for different purposes: the red light, which lets her examine dark areas and read hidden text, the briefcase, which she can use to break through glass obstacles (ceilings, shall we say?), and blocks, which come as circles, squares and triangles, and are placed in different configurations to complete puzzles. From the maze, she can also acquire a very shiny bikini, which causes other zombies to follow her. Other than that, there will be other objects in the maze that help and hinder and refer to different metaphors. Rosie is still looking for brains and other zombies still give her a piece of their mind, which she can return with interest.

So, if you were to stop by today, you’d be able to see some of Andy’s great animations and concept art, some of our prototypes for the puzzles from Charlotte, and some good ol’ fashioned paper map level design from me. Here’s a picture.


More soon!

Critical Hit: Call for Voice Actors

adventures in gaming, critical hit, indie, Process Writing

Hi Internet, but particularly people of Montreal!

I’m starting on the audio for our Critical Hit Collaboratory game, Assembling Rosie (working title) and I need your best zombie noises! I plan to be setting up a few recording sessions here at Concordia and I was hoping that some of you might be willing to contribute your voices. The recording shouldn’t take more than an hour or so: we’ll do some zombie growls, zombie groans and confused zombie “huhs?” and any other noise you have that you want to throw at us.

If this is something that you might be interested in, please let me know at The recording sessions aren’t scheduled yet but they should be happening Monday to Friday, between 9 AM and 8 PM (although ideally we’d like to finish the recording before 5 PM). We’ll schedule them based on general availabilities of our volunteer zombies.

Thanks so much! Hoping to hear your best undead soon!

Critical Hit: End of Week 3

adventures in gaming, critical hit, indie, Process Writing

So, as you all probably know by now, or maybe you don’t, I’m a part of the newly-formed Rivet Games (we have twitter as of today! @rivet_games) and I’m taking part in the Critical Hit collaboratory that’s going on in the TAG space at Concordia this summer. You might also know that Charlotte and Andy, the rest of my team, weren’t really around for the first two weeks of the 10-week incubator because they were finishing up another contract. Well, this week was their first week with me and wow did things ever start to move around here!

We’ve made ourselves a schedule and so far we’re ahead of it, so that’s great news. We’re doing our first character models and prototyping the mechanics. On my end, I’ve been redrawing all of those ideograms via tablet this week and I’m now onto storyboarding. Our main issues are that even with all this great progress, ten weeks isn’t all that much, and that we still haven’t quite found the perfect gameplay for all the sections of our game – in particular, we’re searching for ways to introduce the stereotype objects in a more seamless way, and we’re also trying to liven up the gameplay between the block puzzles – we do know that we’re going to have a zombie reaction system, but we’re not sure what else the player should be doing at that point. We’re toying with the idea of maybe consolidating the puzzle section and the zombie reaction section in some way. We’re hoping that we’ll be inspired while we’re prototyping but we also have to be aware of how much time we have. We need to control our scale.

Our aim right now is to create a first “vertical slice” that shows just what kind of game this is and how the mechanics work.

Well, I’ll leave you with a few pictures of what I’ve been working on since I should get back to it: a few of the “thoughts” of the zombies. These will appear in thought-bubbles above their heads when they react to the player. Try to interpret them?