Tag Archive: Story


Dear Lisa

Dear Lisa,

It’s been 2 weeks since I last wrote you and many things have happened. I told you about my troubles with my physics tests at school, but these worries have no meaning anymore. Not since last Wednesday. The school is closed and the city abandoned.

It seemed like a bad promotion stunt, when we saw the first giant balls rolling through the streets on YouTube. Unfortunately it was more than a well crafted special effects video. This was real.

Most of the city has now been evacuated, but daddy doesn’t want to leave. “Some black eyed red Martians don’t scare me!” he says. But they do scare me. The screeching sound they make scare me. The explosions they cause scare me.

I have seen one of them. It was near. It had a metallic reddish kind of skin, or more like a shell. It’s eyes were of the deepest black you could imagine. I think it saw me and it screeched. It produced a deafening high pitched tone, as if it was about to attack me or crying for help. Why are they here? What do they want?

We have no television down here, but we have a working radio and enough food and water to stay here for months. Months… I don’t believe I can stand another week of daddy’s End of Day stories: “It was only a matter of time that something like this would happen. I told you so, didn’t I… I told you boy. We have deserved this. We screwed up and now we’re punished. But I knew, didn’t I? I was prepared!”. He doesn’t understand that none of this has any meaning whatsoever. It just happened. That’s it.

Yesterday, the men on the radio said that the giant balls wrecking the city are not created by the Red Monsters. They even seem afraid of it. Some people claim to have seen a white machinelike creature, infused with light, that seems to battle these monsters. It appears that it uses these balls as some kind of weapon. I’d like to belief that there is something out there, helping us.

Although I’m scared, the stories of the light-machine-creature thrill me. It’s exciting to think that some alien races are fighting an intergalactic war and that our planet is their stage. Just like in that show Transformers I used to watch as a child. I’d like to think that something is out there to watch over us…

 

I intend to post these letters whenever it’s possible and until them I’ll keep them save for you.

 

I hope you are well.

 

With love,

Nick

 

PS. I made you this drawing. I hope you like it.

nicksArt

Making a video game trailer

How to make an awesome trailer? That’s the question. Last Friday we discussed our upcoming trailers. We try to release a new trailer soon!

According to Kert Gartner’s helpful blog post there are some important rules of thumb when creating a video game trailer. In my own words those are: entertain, shoot quality footage, tell a story, keep it focussed and short.

Entertain

When I stumble upon a new video game title – for example, on a video game website – I skip the text and I first watch the video game trailer. If the beginning isn’t entertaining I probably move on to the next article. For me, a trailer is THE source of information about a video game and the first seconds are crucial.

Of course it’s hard to entertain everybody. But, when the quality and tone don’t match the actual game, it might work against the game.

That’s why we concluded that we must take the time to create some quality trailers. In particular because a good, entertaining trailer contributes to letting the world know that Caromble! is a great game!

Thankfully, for our next trailers we will get the help of our friend Jasper who happens to have studied Film and Television Studies and who likes to create and edit movies.

Brainstorming about trailers

Shoot quality footage

Although I like pixel art and the pixelate effect we use in our game, it’s expected to have a high resolution trailer with a minimum of 720p. This means capturing insane amounts of raw data on a machine that doesn’t drop frames while recording.

Caromble! is not yet finished. We would really like to release a new gameplay trailer soon, because we made a lot of progress since our last trailer in February. However, at this point we can’t capture all the footage we would like to put in our next trailer.

Tell a story

In its simplest form this means to structure the trailer. Give it a beginning, a middle and an end.

Caromble! has a story which we incline to focus on in our upcoming trailers. However, while brainstorming about our trailers we discovered that the game’s story still has some gaps… So, before storyboarding the trailers we have to finish our writing.

Keep it focussed and short

This is a general rule in communication and it also applies to video game trailers – and blog posts.

The end.

Like a Boss

“DOH”!

Most people will interpret this as Homer Simpson’s catchphrase, but that’s actually spelled as “Do’h”. For me, and perhaps most Breakout fans, the story of Arkanoid comes to mind. Arkanoid’s almost unbelievable story goes like this: Vaus is the space vessel that escaped the ill-fated mothership named Arkanoid – hence, the name of the game. That vessel acts as the game’s focal character: the paddle. After some rounds of brick breaking awesomeness the player reaches the final round where the goal is to demolish the ‘dimension-controlling fort’ which is named… “DOH”.

This illustrates that a Breakout game can have a story to add to the overall experience. In an earlier post we promised to put in boss fights. We didn’t initially plan this – in fact, we rejected boss fights earlier in the development process because we didn’t see how it would fit into Caromble! – but as art, gameplay and story developed, the boss fights seemed to find its way back onto our agenda and seemed to fit right in. Storywise the paddle is our so-called protagonist, the lead character whom the player can identify with. Opposed to that we have the boss as antagonist, the character that (literally) creates obstacles that the protagonist must overcome. Throughout all aspects of the game the idea of protagonist versus antagonist is a nice contrast to elaborate on.

Caromble! is almost gameplay complete now. The boss fight is one of the latest gameplay features that we are still experimenting with. Despite the fact that we rejected boss fights earlier in the development process we are really excited that we put this element back into the game. Finally we arrived at the point that we can proudly say “THIS is Caromble!”.

P.S. For those wondering what Arkanoid’s “DOH” means. If my Google skills are okay it’s an acronym for ‘Dominator of Hours’. I guess this knowledge will score you some nice points in your next video game themed pub quiz!

Meaning of Life

Up to this point the background story has been our neglected child. She has become a wild beast. But now we are walking her back from the forest and we begin to tame her.

I hear you ask: “Why does Caromble! need a background story?”. The answer is quite simple and binary. Concerning stories there are 10 types of gamers. Those who ignore the story, just play, and find that beating the game is its own reward. And those who want an explanation for what they are doing.

But that’s game design theory speaking. The real reason is that we love stories! Every Friday we come up with tons of new game ideas, backing them up with a story as we sing their theme songs describing new fantasy worlds. Games in general are about doing stuff we can’t do in the real world.

Caromble! will be about good vs. bad alien ‘viruses’ in an earth-like environment. That leaves us with more than enough ingredients to write a wonderful background story to reward our players looking for meaning in their games and lives.