Buccaneer II Preview

The winner of August MAGS, Buccaneer, is now awaiting its sequel. Looking at the screenshots Hobbes has made, it will be one of the games that will fight for best graphics for 2004. But the thing that made Buccaneer a MAGS classic is most certainly the plot… Why don’t we hear Hobbes himself instead?


Tell us a bit more about yourself – what you do for a living, what you like etc.

Well, I’m 21 year old guy. I finished my teacher’s education last summer, so for the past six weeks, I’ve been a member of the working class. No more classes for me to attend but the kids I teach. As this is a full-time job, it took some getting used to when I began. However, I’m enjoying it immensely, teaching all those 9-year olds what’s good (or bad) for them. 🙂

As far as my hobbies go, I love to write, play the piano, write poetry or sing. I hang out regularly with my friends; go to the movies, head on downtown, that kind of thing. And for all those people who’ve been wondering out there, yup, I’m still single. 😉
Which was the first adventure game and AGS game you played and which are your favorites?
Oooooh let me see. The first adventure game I played must’ve been Zak McCracken back on my brother’s Commodore 64. I was probably around 7 years old. I didn’t know a word of English (picked it up remarkably quick thanks to that game, though). Nevertheless, it fascinated me that you could play a game like this. Compared to the joystick-destructing Summer Games, this was a novelty.

The first AGS game I ever played was Pleurghburgh. Liked the style, although it took some getting used to, being the spoilt person I was then with all those classic commercial adventures. My favourite games include Gabriel Knight, Police Quest, Fate of Atlantis, DoTT, Monkey Island, Sam ‘n Max and Beneath a Steel Sky.


Did you expect such positive feedback on Buccaneer?

Never. I enjoyed making the game as a little private something and of course for the MAGS competition. But mostly it was a test to see if I could actually finish an AGS project. It was also one of the few projects I ever did which flowed naturally. The dialogs popped into my head, and soon the storyline revolved itself. There was no forward planning. As such, the game was as much a surprise for me, as it was for other people. I was pleased to see they were equally charmed by the characters as I was. (And still am!)
What will the sequel be like? (How long will the gameplay be, how will the story evolve etc.)

For one thing, it will be a lot longer. I can’t say how much gameplay we’re looking at yet, since I’m continually tweaking the plot and the locations. At the moment I’m exploring the possibility for Richard to travel to another country, to broaden the scope a bit. Whether or not that makes it into the final game is debatable yet.

The story will continue roughly where the first one stopped. A few months have gone by, and Richard is facing a dangerous business rival. This rival seems hell-bent on getting Richard out of business. And, once things take a truly dangerous turn, Richard discovers things about himself that he’d rather not remember… and, of course there’s Margareth. The relationship between her and Richard was left hanging by the end of Buccaneer, so it wouldn’t be fair to simply ignore it. I’ve got quite a few surprises in store for their relationship and I’m interested to see how it all plays out.
Why so much drama in the first one?

Why not? Hah, no I realise that’s not really an answer. As I already mentioned, I didn’t plan too much for Buccaneer. Most of it was done in a manner of “what felt right at the moment”. And I’m a big sucker for drama. Be it in books or movies… any medium. I’m a big admirer of people who manage to pull it off. I’ve read writers who attempted drama and failed miserably. And then there’s the occasional writer who can truly move me to tears. Such deep bonding with a character is rare, and I treasure it immensely. Drama is, for me, one of the most driving forces to attempt in entertainment.


Not that I presume to reach such a high level with Buccaneer, of course. I would hardly call Buccaneer a good work of fiction. As a game it did well, judging by the reactions, but if I imagined it as a book, it wouldn’t work.
Do you think that drama is inevitable for adventure games with deep plot?

I think that depends on what defines a “deep plot”. I think Day of the Tentacle has one of the most unique plots in gaming history. However, there’s hardly any drama. Not counting the scene where Laverne says goodbye to Dead Cousin Ted (or was it Fred? ;)), of course. However, strangely enough, when I think about a “deep plot”, I don’t think of DoTT. I think of Gabriel Knight. Those games were dark, mysterious, dramatic, and very, very satisfying. A deep plot to me is a very serious story that tries to tell a surprising tale. So in reaching the emotions of the player, I think drama is indeed a necessary element to bring your point across as a writer. However, I also think it’s one of the hardest things to do right, for fear of “overdoing” it.
Do you think that adventure games faded away of the market because of the lack of interest in plot in the gamers?

I’m not too sure players lost their interest in plots. For years the PC game scene was dominated by adventure games. This began to change with the release of Wolfenstein 3D. Sure, there was this EGA variety which ran on a 286 made by ID software as well, but Wolf3D was the hot topic at school. For a time 3D and adventure co-existed but clearly, the majority of people had seen enough adventure back then. 3D action games dominated the market; and still dominate them to this day. But, the interesting thing is that most action-oriented game are slowly discovering the need of a plot, of characterisation, again. We have Warcraft III which has these Avatars, 3D games which begin to feature cut-scenes again, and plots. Sure, those stories wouldn’t hold against a good novel, but slowly the gaming industry is rediscovering what it left behind almost ten years ago. Stories. Good plotting. So, I think that the interest never really left, it was only satiated for a time. And as stories become more and more important again, people will automatically rediscover the adventure game.


 When can I get my hands on Buccaneer II? Yarrrrr!

Hahaha, good question. Right now I’ll have to “Yarrrrr” you back to where you came from. I’m hard at work on the graphical aspects, the plotting, the puzzles, and all that. Foz is busy composing some MIDI‘s, and I discuss these with him. As most of the graphical work and the coding has yet to be done, I’ll have to say: 2004. I’m hoping it’ll be released early in the spring, maybe sooner, but I can’t be too definite on that yet.

Do you have plans for the future projects of Unosar entertainment?

Right now: No. Handling Buccaneer II is enough work as it is. However, I was kinda busy making “Depths of Clearbay” before popular demand made me do a 180 and start working on Buccaneer II. So, once B2 is finished, I’ll probably start work on DoC in earnest. It’s going to be something completely different, a modern crime-based game set in a completely fictional city.

 And also, there’s The Strange Day. I’m thinking that I’ll probably finish that one off after that… in 320 x 200, with a DoTT like interface. However, I’ve discovered humorous stories aren’t really my strong point.


Thanks for your time!

You’re welcome! Thanks for having me in the magazine… keep up the great work!


Jaap Marsman a.k.a. “Hobbes”


1 Comment

  1. falko said,

    January 29, 2014 at 3:38 pm


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