Interview with Mark ‘m0ds’ Lovegrove, project leader of FoY

Ezine: What is the story of FOY

Mark Lovegrove: It’s 1939, the dawn of WWII and whilst on a routine archeological hunt, our hero Indiana Jones jnr. finds himself robbed of a mysterious gel containing gem. It is after hearing about a German Nazi general, Kaltenbrunner, that he realises the Nazi’s may be up to something.

They’re searching for the Fountain Of Youth as is Indy, now. As the plot thickens one of Dr Jones’ students, Shelley Hartley finds herself mixed up in the chase to reach the mysterious fountain, that is said to give those who drink it eternal youth – but does the general have something else up his sleeve?

 

Ez: How far along is the project.

ML: We haven’t finished the intro just yet, but at a good five minutes long theres a lot of artwork, animation and scripting to be done! It may sound like it’s not getting very far very fast, but everyone on the team is putting in whole-hearted effort. After that, we’ll be rattling through the puzzles (and no doubt, more animation!) and we’ll have the game ready for 2004.

 

Ez: Who is on the team.

ML: We have the very talented Misja van Laatum working on background, object and inventory art. You’ve undoubtedly seen snippets of his artwork for FoY and it truly is amazing. Alan Rodrigues is creating our sprites and animating – his hard work will deffinatley show in the game. Helping him with animation of sprites is David Scott who has kindly put in time to help out with the project. Theres Shawn Guzzo who’s working on the story and design and of course Amberle Johnson, who is doing all the book-work for us 😉 Last but not least, myself – and currently I’m just sitting on my butt. But, I do the coding and music too 😉

 

Ez: What are the specs of the game? (Res, Music Quality, length, etc.)

ML: The game is in high-colour, which surprises some because FOA was in 256 colour. Other than that, we’re using MIDI music and 320×200 resolution. We have no indication on how long the game will be, but gurantee you’ll be addicted for hours 😉

 FOY exclusive art

Ez: What’s the expected release date.

ML: 2004! I thought everyone knew that? 😛

Ez: How linear will the story be?

ML: Most certainly non-linear. The intro is expanding and so are the puzzles. What we’ve got down in design is never set in stone. Therefore we’ve already found that the first puzzle can be

AGS Ezine

 

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expanded somewhat to what is already written in the design. Because of this, the team will more than likely have idea bursts and just keep expanding the length, playability and enjoyment of the game. That way, we can assure non-linearity.


Ez: FOA had a fight system, will FOY implement one?

ML: Naturally. Although Indy does a lot of thinking, we all know theres a fair amount of fist work. Many fans of FOA have asked about a fight-system and FoY will deffinatley have one. Although it may not come in to play as often as it did in FOA, there will be something there of a similar nature.

 

Ez:Where in the hell did you find Miez?

Here is it, folks, the absolutely exclusive art for FoY at its best

 

ML: To be honest – I can’t remember. Miez, where did we find you?

Misja ”Miez” van Laatum: I saw a question for BG artists somewhere and sent him an email. Then he asked me to make a test-image, to see if I could do the FoA thing and when I did he liked the image, told me I was more than welcome to join the team – and that’s it. 🙂

 

Ez: Will there be a speech pack?

ML: Who knows! There’s some wild aspirations like putting FoY on disc and getting its own box, full MP3 soundtrack and talkie versions, translations and more – but that’s really something to think about in the future. We haven’t even got past the intro yet, remember? 😛

 

Ez: When can we expect a demo and/or full release.

ML: The demo will be available to all on September 1st 2003. As some know, we’re taking a very very alpha version to Mittens this year, and then having a month to touch it up etc before the demo release on September 1st. That way we can add more sprites, animations etc before the demo release. As for the full game itself, sometime in 2004. Who knows, we sure don’t.

 

Ez: Thanks for your time.

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Indiana Jones and the fountain of youth preview

Remember the good old days when you were ten years younger and you played “Indiana Jones and the fate of Atlantis”? Do you want these days to come back?

            Well, Mark Lovegrove and his teammates sure do! One of the most promising projects out there is Indiana Jones and the fountain youth. The story is about Indy, who is trying to prevent the Nazis from getting to the fountain of youth. For details, see the interview with Mark Lovegrove below.

            The thing that makes this game one of the most promising games out there is the graphics. They are simply gorgeous. Outstanding. Fabulous. Awesome. And I am not exaggerating a single bit. They are made my Misja Van Laatum, a professional artist. In my humble opinion, they are even better than the graphics in Fate of Atlantis. Misja just gives them a semi-realistic look and feel. He has also made a tutorial how to make FoA-like graphics, which is available at the FoY website.

         The music is also very professionally made. From the two tracks mark has released, I may say that they are very reminiscent of… “Fate of Atlantis”. Even though he said that they are not completely finished, they sound great and most certainly will fit into the game’s atmosphere.

            The sprites are also smashing. Judging from the many sprites Alan has done, I must say that they look great and are at least equal to those Lucas arts did ten years ago.

            One thing that I am doing wrong about this preview so far is the comparison between FoY and FoA. It is very unfair to say that these guys are just making a fan-game based on FoA. Instead, they are making a very original game which is vaguely based on Lucas arts’ games. They have optimized the GUI and made lots of research to write the storyline. So sorry guys, FoA is just the closest thing to FoY and thus is compared to it.

            Another thing that is vital for an Indy game is non-linearity. Although it FoY wont follow the “three ways” path, Mark promised that the plot will be fairly non-linear and the game would have big replay value.

 foy1.png

Talkie version and digital soundtrack aren’t planned yet, but Mark’s intention is to have two versions of the game – a freeware one with text and midi music, and a boxed one with digital soundtrack and voice acting. As he said, who knows?

            The demo which features the intro and the first set of puzzles will be released on September 1st, but all the lucky ones who are going to Mittens can get a sneak preview of the intro. The final release isn’t scheduled yet, the team just hopes that it will be released somewhere in 2004.

Let’s hope that the Indiana Jones and the Fountain of youth team will not disappoint us and will do its best to give us a high-quality game which will revive the good old days some years ago…

Candace Grace: Bard’s Blood preview

“If music be the food of love, play on!”

-William Shakespeare

One of the most original and promising adventures to come is most certainly “Bard’s blood” by Dragonrose. The first thing that impressed me about this game was the original plot. Grace is a young musician in a band. Unfortunately, after an incident in a concert hall, the burning ceiling falls on the drummer and he dies. Then Grace is having horrible nightmares about Patrick’s (the drummer) death. She thinks it was a misfortune, but what if it was not? Then the game takes off. As Dragonrose described it herself, it will be a combination of Celtic myth and Rock ‘n roll.Bard’s blood screenshot 2

            The next thing that impressed me were the graphics. I must say that her style is quite unique and very good, as you can see from the exclusive screenshots on the left. Overall, I think that they fit just right in the game’s atmosphere.

Bard’s blood screenshot 1

Another original thing about this game is going to be the music. While the in-game tunes will be midi, there will be three originally recorded and performed songs Called “Fire Inside,” “Fall Into the Stars” and “Take You Home.”

The interface is going to be similar to Gabriel knight: sins of the fathers, as you can see from the screenshots. A cool thing about it is that the songs grace knows will be used as spells and will be kept in a separate inventory window. Very original indeed. As for the release date, she said she hoped that the game will be released till March. She also said that there wasn’t a talkie planned, but hey, who knows? We can only wait to see what Dragonrose will make as a final product. As for me, both thumbs up!

The Uncertainty Machine review

This month’s first review goes to “The uncertainty machine” by ratracer. IN it you play Susan, a young and prosperous journalist on her way to sensation. The story starts off with a simple burglary, and after a slow start the plot is becoming more and more complex. It is maybe the strongest point of the game, and obviously ratracer has done much research in Physics in order to write such plot. I am no expert, but the Physics part sounded really well and got me very intrigued.

            Another good thing are the background graphics. They are a mixture of 2D and 3D; overall very stylish and professional looking.  The character art is also pretty good, but not as awesome as the background art. The thing that bugged me were the talking animations – two frames per each character. Surely Ratracer could have done better than that. On the other hand, the sound is very rough. While the music tracks are well composed and digital, they are few for this overall big game.

Another bad thing about the music is that the bit rate is too low. It is perhaps 64Kbps or even lower. The music sounds like it is played by an old radio in a field 100km away from a city. The sound effects could also have been better. While realistic and many, some of them that are looping, are not actually “loopable”. This makes a very unpleasant stop every four or five seconds (like in artists’ garden, for instance).

            Another unpleasant thing for the player are the many and various bugs. The walk-behinds are very badly drawn, and I even sometimes found myself walking on them! Probably the worst bug in the game was when I was supposed to hide from a man in whose house I have broken into. He entered the room while I was walking across it and didn’t saw me. I actually thought that this was a cut scene, until I realized that the cursor wasn’t in “wait” mode. The rather bad scripting throughout the whole game ruined the impression of a professionally made game.

Uncertainty machine

A well-made thing were the puzzles. They are rather original and various. The only not-so-good thing I can think of is that you do not do enough research with the laptop.

            But if you think that “The Uncertainty Machine” is a bad experience to play, you are very wrong. It is one of the AGS games with best graphics and best plots out there. I finished the game for approximately four hours, which puts the game into the “medium-length games” category, but if you have time and want to play one of the few adventure games with plot based on Physics; give “The Uncertainty Machine” a shot.

 Overall rating:

78%