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The Secret of Grisly Manor
Started by firemaplegames Nov 15 2010 12:32 PM

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#26

mymidlet

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hey,
nice game... from the pictures :)

May I ask for a promo code?

Best
Ale
uid: 940 topic_id: 3679 reply_id: 16016


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#27

firemaplegames

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Hey guys!

I am back on the grid!

If you would like a promo code to play the game, please email me at:

joe AT firemaplegames DOT com

I am going to blast through most of them later tonight, but I will save some for anybody that wants one!

Thanks!
Joe
uid: 8444 topic_id: 3679 reply_id: 16032


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#28

firemaplegames

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Hey everybody!

I was just alerted that The Secret of Grisly Manor has been reviewed in the latest issue of Know Your Apps magazine!



Unfortunately the game only received 2/5 stars, but any press is good press, right?

I'm determined that my next game will get at least 3/5 stars! ;0)

Joe
uid: 8444 topic_id: 3679 reply_id: 16054


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#29

J. A. Whye

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Okay, that has to be cool -- and suck at the same time. :)

If I read the article right, the reviewer didn't like that there was no intro/help/tutorial to the game -- that's easily fixable, although in some cases maybe you *want* the player to figure out what to do.

Not sure exactly what he/she was getting at in the third column, but I think the summary at the end sets you up nicely -- "Welcome point-and-click fare..."

They had problems with something, but not the general idea, so "fix" what they didn't like and send them the next one for a "Wow!" review! :)

Jay

PS - I bought it yesterday and am playing through it a little at a time. I like it so far, but I'm not a magazine reviewer. ;)
uid: 9440 topic_id: 3679 reply_id: 16084


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#30

firemaplegames

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Thanks, Jay!

Yeah, no worries, I am much more critical of my own work than most reviews anyway!
uid: 8444 topic_id: 3679 reply_id: 16091


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#31

linh

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I bought this game awhile back. Is there anything new? I'm just curious why you ported it to Corona.
uid: 9075 topic_id: 3679 reply_id: 16107


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#32

jmp909

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do you do your own graphics, Joe?

there's no denying the quality of your productions and you've got nearly a full page spread there showcasing it, i wouldn't knock it! ;)

j
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#33

firemaplegames

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Hi linh!

I originally created the game in a program called GameSalad. A few months ago GameSalad was going to change their business model to a become a third party publisher with a revenue share.

I did not want to go that route, so I started looking for other options, and starting playing around with Corona.

I really enjoy the power and performance of Corona, and as I have been a Flash programmer for the last 10 years, I find the scripting really easy.

My intention is to create a lot of these adventure games, and I needed to create a game engine that is powerful and scalable.

This new version of Grisly Manor has not added any more content, but is much more stable. The loading times are completely gone, and I was able to finally eliminate the random "black screens" that some players were experiencing.

I was also able to port the game to Android.

I am busy creating a new, much larger adventure game. The new game will be 5x the size of Grisly Manor when it is complete.

My new engine also has some nice new features: a journal that keeps track of symbols and codes you encounter in the game, a dynamic map that charts the locations you've visited, and a robust inventory system.

The inventory system is key as it allows me to make way more complicated and challenging puzzles.

The new game also supports multiple languages.

Anyway, that is why I ported it to Corona!

Joe
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#34

firemaplegames

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Hey jmp909!

Yes, I do all of the art, animation, sound fx, and programming.

Yeah, the article is cool. It's nice to see the game featured in print. Grisly Manor gets more good reviews than bad ones, so I am at peace with it!

Most of the complaints have to do with the game's length, and I will be the first to admit that it is on the short side, something I am rectifying with the next one!

Joe
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#35

J. A. Whye

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Joe -

I finished the game in bed last night -- played that instead of reading a book. I really enjoyed it -- although it did end a little soon for me! ;) I really liked the falcon puzzle -- I keep thinking I should make something like that in real life.

You said, "...a journal that keeps track of symbols and codes you encounter in the game..."

Yay! Playing the game last night I kept grumbling that you didn't put a camera in my satchel -- then I could have taken pictures of the things I came across. :)

While I think it would be a completely foreign idea to old-school adventure game players, if your'e going to have a map, what about a "zip-to" option so you could go from one area of the map to another without actually walking back through all the rooms? I'm not sure what that would do to the playability of the game -- it's just a thought.

I built my first adventure game engine in 65816 assembly language over 20 years ago and that's what I'm playing with in Corona now, so batting ideas around (whether good or bad) is something I can really get into. :)

Jay
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#36

firemaplegames

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Hey Jay!

Thanks for the nice comments!

Regarding the map, there is a logic issue with the "zip-to" idea for this current game. At certain times during the game, certain areas that you have unlocked become inaccessible. The map would have needed a bazillion "special cases" to make it all work.

However, I did build in special teleporters into the game that take you back and forth to specific chunks of the map to alleviate all the walking around.

Yeah, the journal is working real nice too. You won't have to write anything down or remember any arbitrary codes. The game also builds the journal dynamically, as the player could see things in a different order depending on where they felt like exploring first.

The expandable inventory is a breath of fresh air as well. In GameSalad there are no Arrays, so it was pretty impossible to build a truly dynamic inventory. Which greatly limited the game. Every item gets used only once and discarded. Since I only had 6 spaces to work with, everything had to be extremely locked down. And having things like the log and matches that you did not necessarily need to use right away, meant that I only had 4 spaces to work with. It made the game very linear and easier/shorter than necessary.

I'd love to bat ideas around with you! Did you ever publish anything with your original engine? Can you imagine having something like Corona back then? These kids today are so lucky! ;0)

Joe
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#37

carlos m. icaza

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amusing game... clues are interesting... but still stuck....
uid: 24 topic_id: 3679 reply_id: 16490


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#38

firemaplegames

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Hey Carlos!

I am sorry you are still stuck! Email me what you have in your inventory and I can give you a nudge in the right direction! ;0)

My new game has a complete hint guide/walkthrough available as an in-app purchase!

Joe
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#39

MagnetiCat

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This is a brilliant game, I tried it in the previous iteration, but I will jump to check this version on Corona.

I would be very curious to know your pipeline for the art of the game, if you can share some bits of info (no worries if you can't).

On a note, the music is also brilliant - bravo!
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#40

firemaplegames

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Hi MagnetiCat!

Of course!

Do mean how I make the graphics?

Well, the graphics are based on photographs obviously. Which was necessary for me for this type of game. It would have just been impossible for me to complete it in a reasonable amount of time if Ihad to paint everything from scratch.

So the base images are photographs, mostly from photos that my friend took for me, or from stock photo sites. Each image is usually built up from 5 or 6 photos: a wall here, a floor there, some odd doorway from somewhere else.

Then I meticulously paint on top of them in Photoshop. This is necessary to make everything feel part of a whole. All of the photos have different light sources, colors, etc.

I would say that each image probably took me a day to complete.

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#41

MagnetiCat

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Absolutely stunning job. We have had some experience doing image composites like these (like this), but these were single artworks, never a whole series of them and never with the purpose of looking realistic (more Terry Gilliamesque in style!). I remember reading a few reviews about your game in which the author believed it was all pre-rendered CG.

The overall work has a coherence in view that is often lacking in indie games. I am really impressed. Did you design a layout for the home before starting the project?

I will play through this again with the Corona version soon, maybe today.

Thanks also for your kindness in replying me!
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#42

firemaplegames

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@magneticat!

Thank YOU for the kind words! The image you linked to is awesome! You should make a game around that! And yes, my technique is very similar.

Yes, the entire game was laid out ahead of time. The way all the rooms linked together and how the objects are used.

The Corona version of the game is pretty much exactly the same except there are absolutely no loading times between scenes, and the whole game just plays must smoother.

My new game, The Lost City, is much more ambitious. It is about 5x the size of Grisly Manor. So tons and tons of artwork!
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#43

MagnetiCat

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Thank you! Maybe one day we will!

The Lost City looks awesome, I cannot wait to play it as well. We are fans of adventure games in general, and we had plans on creating a framework on Cocos 2D to do that, but lack of multi-platform support brought us here. The art pipeline is of course the hardest part for a small team if you create games that require all these backgrounds - and in case of 2D adventure games, to create all the animation sprites for quality characters.

I'll be following you ;)

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#44

carlos m. icaza

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Congratulations Joe on being our App of the Week Winner.

Carlos
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#45

MagnetiCat

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Oh yeah! Congratulations!
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#46

darkconsoles

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Hi, congratulations! I'm working on adventure game myself and if you may, please, tell us how to create an ingame inventory like in Manor and how things that "touched" placed in there. Stuck at that code. Thanks in advance :)
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#47

ksan

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Great example of its genre. My kids and I loved it. GOTW well deserved! Can't wait for the new game!!!
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#48

firemaplegames

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Thanks everybody! This totally makes my day!!!

@darkconsoles: well, it's a little hard to explain here...my inventory handling code is built up from many different functions: setInventoryItems(), saveInventory(), updateInventory(), etc... My advice would be to approach each step separately like that.
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#49

darkconsoles

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@firemaplegames thanks for advice, and i'll appreciate it if you share some code with us on Code Exchange.
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#50

MagnetiCat

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Darkconsoles, @firemaplegames gave you a good suggestion. Coding an inventory system is not difficult, but it is not something that can be answered with just a few lines of code. The inventory management should be at the core of your adventure game engine.

For example, you could use SQLite and setup a series of wrapper functions like those in the example @firemaplegames gave you. I recommend checking the example in the API documentation and start from there. If your inventory is very limited in size, even using files might be more than enough, and would save you 300Kb in the Android build - but since you are working on an art-heavy type of game, I suppose 300Kb is not that big of a deal.
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