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Messages - GameDevChris

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246
Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: October 11, 2006, 10:51:08 PM »
Sounds strange. There is no sound.vox included with the game. Only a music.vox and a speech.vox file. Have you tried installing your game CD on another computer to see if that works?

It could be that your CD drive is too old/slow to read the disc properly. I would suggest trying to copy the setup.exe file (which is located in the CD's root folder) to your hard drive and then simply installing the game from there. Once it has installed successfully, you can safely delete the setup.exe from your hard drive again.

247
General Forum /
« on: October 09, 2006, 06:48:52 PM »
Thanks for the comments, Tribe. As you guys are no doubt aware, it can be a very frazzling job at times, so it's good when others recognize the immense amount of behind-the-scenes type stuff that goes on when developing a game.

It's also interesting to hear that you know Stuart. Small world, indeed! He's a superb 3D modeller/animator and we got him on board to model some of the more detailed 3D characters in the game (Antonio, Skeleton). We actually approached him for his 3D work, rather than because of any affiliation he had with adventure games. The six degrees of separation work in mysterious ways sometimes!

Finally, nice job on TSL! The demo really brought through the same atmosphere of KQ6 and the characters were written in such a way which makes you really believe that they're an extension of Roberta Williams' original story. I also like the approach you took with the backgrounds (lots of moving stuff) and the interface works in that familiar old-school Sierra style too. It's definitely a game I'm looking forward to playing!

248
Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum /
« on: October 06, 2006, 12:38:33 AM »
Quote
I have no idea what AGDI plans on doing after QFG2.

Probably booking some appointments with a shrink!

Quote
So, is there a chance that Himalaya Studios' next project might be slanted toward the whole family? You make a compelling argument about the rising age of adventure gamers.

Funnily enough, the first build of Al Emmo was nothing like how the finished game actually turned out. We still have an early alpha demo floating around someplace from when the game was still in 320x200 resolution.

Back then, it was just a plain vanilla Western with the same basic "mail-order bride concept" in place. Originally, the game was supposed to be a quick project that was intended to be finished within several short weeks. But it got shelved.  Only after several months had passed, did we reconsider it and decide to take it seriously as a game we could release commercially. We realized it would need a lot of fleshing-out from the initial concept and that's where the 'racy' side of things started to develop.

I'm not sure exactly how it worked out that way, suffice to say that the original script we rewrote was a lot worse than the version of the game you're playing now. Many of the innuendo jokes that exist were formerly just crude lines which weren't that funny at all. It took Daniel's writing skills to rework them into clever jokes that had double meanings (and for which we could blame the players' own dirty mind for the way they interpreted it instead of having them blame it on our own writing).  :D  But, yeah, the whole game went through several 'sanitization' processes to ensure that it wouldn't filter out too many people.

Quote
However, doesn't that just mean that we should make games targeted toward a younger audience and "indoctrinate" a whole new generation? Let's face it: without games like this and your King's Quest remakes, my children would have to be raised on "adventure games" like Dreamfall and such.


The problem, as I see it, is that in order to impress most kids these days you need to have a huge budget so that you can produce games with impressive 3D graphics including all the trimmings. This costs millions of dollars. Not to mention that action games tend to provide instant gratification whereas standard adventure games require thinking and operate at a much slower pace. It'd be a big challenge to hook the 'gotta-have-it-now' generation on adventure games, even if said adventure games rivalled games like HL2 and Doom 3 in terms of graphics. It's also difficult to make any kind of mainstream impact in the midst of companies like Xbox, iD software, Rockstar Games etc.

Trying to 'win kids over' would also be a very risky move from a marketing standpoint since you'd basically have to do something immense to revolutionize the adventure genre. Something so different that it would turn heads with its innovation and spark a series of copycats trying to cash in on the craze. Unfortunately, a lot of money would be required to set a new standard like that. Not necessarily to implement the innovation, but more so to make the graphics sensational enough to impress the majority of young gamers out there... and also enough money to cover you in the event that it doesn't work out as planned.

That said, I'm not sure what kind of game we might do next. It depends on Al Emmo's sales. That will determine how much time and money we could afford to spend making another title.

249
Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum /
« on: October 04, 2006, 11:05:43 PM »
Personally speaking, I don't think the content of Al Emmo is any more racy than that which you might find in The Simpsons. Of course, some people will also find The Simpsons to be over-the-top in the innuendo department, while others would consider it tame in comparison to something like South Park.

As to the question, the only answer I can think to give is... well, why not? :D  We didn't really set out to make an exact replica of a Sierra game, we wanted to put our own spin on it so that it was unique to our own company as well. Although, that's not to say that all of Sierra's titles were child-friendly either (e.g. Larry, Gabriel Knight, Phantasmagoria).  The game's not really intended for young kids

Additionally, most adventure gamers who grew up with these 2D type of point & click games of the 80's and 90's now range from their mid-late 20's to people their 80's. So the majority of the intended target audience are, most likely, mature enough to deal with the subject matter contained in Al Emmo.  Of course, this kind of humor may not be to everyone's tastes, but there will probably be other opportunities in the future for us to try our hand at tamer games (not to mention even darker ones). I see no valid reason to put a limitation on how creative one can be when designing a game or writing a story. Variety is the spice of life!

250
Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: October 02, 2006, 09:35:46 PM »
By 'video', do you mean the movie cutscenes or just the normal game graphics?

Not all monitors are capable of displaying the game's default 640x400 resolution. So some combination of settings in the winsetup.exe program may be necessary to get it running properly. Another idea is to run the game with the 2x-nearest-neighbour graphical filter enabled. Although this will make the game to run slightly slower than usual, it will also solve a large number of incompatibility issues with certain video cards/monitors that won't display the game properly at full screen mode.

251
Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: October 02, 2006, 09:32:27 PM »
Hmmm, this is a bug that appeared once or twice during beta testing when pressing ESC to skip the Mayor's head-turning animation or his dialogue. I thought it had been fixed. Fortunately, this only occurs very, very rarely so it's unlike that the crash would ever happen consistently after restoring the game and trying again.

Thanks for the report.

252
Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: September 29, 2006, 02:16:49 AM »
What happens when you click the HAND icon on the melon pile in Act 4? Do you receive any messages or character speech?  Al should just walk over and take them.

253
Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum /
« on: September 28, 2006, 04:58:56 AM »
There's a lot of recorded dialogue in the game -- and I mean a LOT. We did get all of the speech recorded in a professional studio, but in order to get it all to fit onto a single CD it had to be encoded at a set-bitrate (ogg vorbis files). This, no doubt, decreased the audio clarity a little. But I don't think it's anything the casual player will really notice.

Tom, too, would have liked to include the in-game music at a higher bitrate, but such are the trade-offs required when taking the media size into consideration. The music on the soundtrack CD is actually encoded at a much higher bitrate than the in-game music, and that's one advantage of owning the CD soundtrack which music aficionados will probably appreciate.

And thanks for the feedback on the voice, Sven. The idea behind the character development is that Al's supposed to grow on you more as the plot progresses, so it's good to hear that our intended effect worked for you. :)

254
Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: September 25, 2006, 03:38:13 PM »
You could install the game, copy and paste (i.e. not cut & paste) the files to a second directory, and then uninstall the first installation in order to ensure that all of the start menu tabs and registry settings get  removed.

Then, if you later wish to remove the game from your hard drive, you'd have to manually delete all the files from the new directory you created.

255
Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: September 25, 2006, 03:14:55 PM »
Moving the directories manually like that may present other problems. It would probably break all the shortcuts in the start menu and the game then might not uninstall properly (though I haven't personally verified this).  It'd be best to leave the files in the same directory that you installed them to.

However, perhaps the information you've provided in your work-around might be useful for Chris Jones in tracking down the cause of the crash. Thanks for posting the details.

256
Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum /
« on: September 24, 2006, 03:35:56 AM »
Ironically, I didn't like the narrator in GK1. But that was mainly because she read the descriptions so slowly, and by the time she'd finished speaking, I could have read what she was saying three times over.  I've never tried playing GK1 with the narrator left on, but I'm sure if I did then it would grow on me.

I first played GK1 without voices, and it took quite a while for me to get used to Tim Curry's voice as Gabriel. I'd imagined Gabe's voice not to be as deep. And at first, I kept picturing the guy from Rocky Horror Picture Show or the concierge in Home Alone 2.  :D  It didn't take me too long to get used to the voice though, and now I can't picture it any other way.

Many people also tend to be confused about the definition of bad voice acting. You could get a person with the clearest diction on the planet and have them read, but their pronunciation may be completely monotone and sound very wooden. To me, that's bad voice acting because the actor hasn't convinced you that they're playing a believable character and they still sound like an actor reading from a script. (QFG5 had quite a few voices like this.)

On the other hand, voices that are 'unappealing' in some way are not necessarily badly acted. For example, the GK1 narrator wasn't a bad actor at all. It was simply the slowness at which her lines were read that caused some people to grow impatient with waiting for her to finish. But if a character's voice, regardless of its appeal, can still convince you that they're a believable character and not just an actor reading from a script, then in my opinion, that's still the single most important factor when selecting voices.

Personal opinions on the pitch, tone, delivery, speed etc. of a voice are always going to vary. But everyone can tell when an actor's performance sounds forced or like they're reading lines. So as long as that's avoided, everything else just comes down to character traits and a player's personal preferences.

257
General Forum /
« on: September 23, 2006, 01:27:33 PM »
Ok, ok... so I wasn't as trigger-happy on the "t" key as I should have been. It's fixed now.  :P

258
Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum /
« on: September 23, 2006, 11:02:42 AM »
I found myself hoping that Al would get beaten up more...

Spoiler
Well, he can get shot at the end, does that help?


 :D

259
Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: September 22, 2006, 04:41:12 AM »
If, for some reason, the installer doesn't work from the CD menu, you should be able to run the Setup.exe program directly from the root directory of the CD.

As for the installer appearing to freeze during the actual installation process, you just need to wait longer until it's finished.  Take a look at the following thread for more details. It was posted by someone else who reported the same problem recently:

http://www.himalayaforums.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=459

260
Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum /
« on: September 22, 2006, 01:35:13 AM »
For every person who doesn't like the voices, there's someone else who either does or who says that they didn't even give them a second thought. It's definitely a 50/50 thing.

Most people who do not approve are just very boisterous about it, which is usually the way things go on the Internet. But we used the voices we thought suited the characters we created. This is how we envisioned them.

Obviously, it's not possible to please everyone all of the time and no matter which voices were used, there would, no doubt, still be some complaints. I've honestly seen all kinds of feedback on the voices, ranging from "awful" to "decent" to "absolutely brilliant". It's a mixed bag. In the end, all we can do is stick to our own vision and hope that players will take the game exactly for what it is - a cartoony, comic style adventure that doesn't take itself too seriously.

Also, this is why we have provided the option to turn the voices on and off at will. If players don't like them, they're not being forced to listen to them. The game has been designed to cater to everyone's tastes, so that they can enjoy the experience regardless of whether they choose play with the voices enabled or disabled.

261
Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum /
« on: September 21, 2006, 07:29:59 AM »
Yep, the review certainly does make the music out to be very mediocre -- that's the impression I got.  I was a little surprised at the exact wording used to describe the score!  

Honestly, I couldn't imagine the soundtrack turning out any better than it did for this game!  Tom and Dianne nailed every piece and composed each and every tune to perfectly suit their counterpart scenes.

Music and sound make up a huge portion of a storytelling experience and, in my opinion, the soundtrack to Al Emmo compliments the story in the best way it possibly could. True, it's difficult to be innovative with game music, but to generalize that the soundtrack is nothing more than a variation of other Western games is a pretty broad and unsubstantiated claim to say the least. It's just a shame that some people will base their final opinion on those comments without further investigation.

262
Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: September 17, 2006, 11:17:10 PM »
No problem. I'm glad to hear that things worked out.

I have heard back from PestPatrol that they will most likely be updating their definitions in the future to prevent their program from flagging the installer as spyware.  

If anyone else out there runs PestPatrol (or any other anti-virus/anti-spyware scanners for that matter), please make sure that you keep your definitions up to date.

263
General Forum /
« on: September 15, 2006, 10:47:10 PM »
That review was put up before those additions were made to the game.  The link went dead for a while, and now it has resurfaced again after the game was released.

It's a good article and a nice read!

264
Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: September 15, 2006, 10:24:47 PM »
I've read about some scanners which report false positives when running the Clickteam installation program (which is the installer we used for Al Emmo). I've also come across specific reports of PestPatrol reporting the 'Iambigbrother' keylogger in other programs which use Clickteam's installer. It seems that PestPatrol has some type of hang up with  ClickTeam's setup program.

The Al Emmo disc has been tested thoroughly on many systems with different virus and spyware scanners and there haven't been indications of any spyware before. This particular spyware seems to be several years old, and most of the modern virus/spyware scanners have the ability to detect and remove it. If it had existed on our compile system, it would have been easily detected before printing the master CDs. I just ran several spyware programs on our machine and the final game disc (including SpyBot Search and Destroy, Ewido Anti-Malware, and Bitdefender online scanner), and no keyloggers were detected in either the source files or the files on the final game CD.

The compile system is also kept very clean to ensure that it is free of viruses and spyware at all times. And the game is compiled from a single directory. The game's installer EXE is generated by Clickteam's own software from scratch and would not have the opportunity to come in contact with any malicious files.

This is a false alarm being reported by PestPatrol.

It is also possible that your system already had spyware installed prior to installing the game from visiting a website which downloaded it onto your system without your consent or knowledge.  If you want to check if the IamBigBrother spyware is actually on your system or not, I suggest taking a look at the following instructions from Norton Anti-virus. The page also contains removal instructions.

http://www.symantec.com/security_respon ... 16-0957-99


Of course I am interested to hear anything from other people who have experienced this issue.

265
Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum /
« on: September 14, 2006, 11:38:40 PM »
The savegame files will be in the game directory and the filenames are agssave.xxx, where xxx is the number of the savegame file. The most recent file will have the highest number.  So if you find the Kevin savegame, restore it and then simply resave the game as a different filename "screw up", for example. Then the affected savegame will be the one with the highest number in your game directory.

If you could zip it and send it to chrisNOSPAM@himalayastudios.com (remove the NOSPAM part), I'll take a look at it.

As for the slots, I know what you mean! I wonder how much sooner we could have released this game if we didn't spend so much time playing them. I'm glad you're only trying to hit us up for $5000 -- if that's the case, we should consider ourselves lucky you didn't get the jackpot!  :D

266
General Forum /
« on: September 14, 2006, 11:24:55 PM »
Cool, thanks for putting it up there, Angelus! Now for google video... anyone? :D

And three cheers to Broomie for the nice work on the trailer! The layout of the entire thing was well-done, so it was almost intuitive knowing where to put things like the film reel effect and the goofy sounds.

267
Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum /
« on: September 14, 2006, 11:18:43 PM »
Hmmm, that's very strange. I've checked over the code and none of the things you mentioned in your original playthrough seem like they should cause this type of anomoly.

Do you still have a copy of the messed-up savegame? If so, it might be helpful if you could send it to me for further investigation. (Let me know if you need help identifying which file it is).

Thanks!

268
Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: September 14, 2006, 01:45:04 PM »
You just need to wait for the installer to do it's thing. It will appear to have frozen, but it hasn't.

When it reaches 7%, it's still busy unpacking the sprite file and this can take a while. It's normal for the 'cancel' button to not respond at this time. Using Ctrl-alt-delete to exit the installer will most likely leave partially installed files on your system, so it's best to just wait for the installer to finish normally.  Patience, young grasshopper, patience.  :D

The reason for the delay after clicking "Install Game" from the launcher is due to the Software used to design the launcher menus. I'm not really sure why it does this, but that's why I put the "Loading... please wait" message in there.

In the unlikely event that your installer actually has frozen on the CD, try copying the Setup.exe file directly from the CD to your PC and install the game by running the Setup.exe directly from your hard drive. It should install faster that way. (Just remember to delete the Setup.exe file again from your hard drive after the game successfully installs).

269
General Forum /
« on: August 17, 2006, 07:26:14 PM »
Whenever I hear "Austria" the first image I have is of Arnold Schwarzenegger. The second image I have is of Bill and Ted nabbing Sigmund Freud and pushing him into their phone booth/time machine. And the third image I have is of Sir Elthil, the animator from the hero6 project who shocked everyone by announcing that "he" was really a "she" after several years of working amongst us!

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Memory brings to mind "Dumb and Dumber."


Ha! Dumb and Dumber is one of the stupidest yet funniest movies ever. Ever since I first saw it, I wanted a car shaped like a sheep dog.  :laugh:

As for translations, most versions would probably be a localized release in the relevant country and there would probably not be enough room to fit the English version on the disc unless a DVD was used. The English version will always be available directly from our website store, though.

270
Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum /
« on: August 17, 2006, 07:09:39 PM »
Yeah, too bad everyone started behaving themselves and you haven't had a chance to use it yet!  :D

271
Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: July 20, 2006, 02:13:08 AM »
Thanks for the report.  I bet this happened when you pressed ESC while talking to the Mayor, right?

I believe this bug was fixed for good (for the full game) a couple of weeks ago.

272
Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum /
« on: July 19, 2006, 12:42:16 PM »
You don't actually need the worm until later in the game, and the patrons at the table are randomly placed there whenever you enter that screen.

There is also the chance that nobody will be sitting at that table when you enter the saloon, so by the time you reach the point in the game where the worm is needed, hopefully players will have had a good chance to examine the saloon properly.

Thanks for the suggestion, though.

273
General Forum /
« on: July 16, 2006, 01:31:58 PM »
Hey doggans, thanks for the comments and the compliments. I'm glad you enjoyed your experiences with the demo!

274
Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum /
« on: July 12, 2006, 10:20:29 AM »
It's just a direct mirror of the info on Gamespot's Al Emmo page.

275
Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum /
« on: July 11, 2006, 12:50:27 PM »
Al-Qaeda and the Lost Dutchman's mine?

...Nahhh, it just doesn't have the right 'ring' to it!

276
Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: July 08, 2006, 07:36:16 AM »
The cutscenes are standard MPEG-1 video files.  You should probably check to see if your system has any problems playing MPEG-1 videos under normal circumstances in Windows Media Player.  If you also experience problems there, then it might have something to do with your computer's ability to play back these kinds of video files.

Some suggestions:

-Update your video card drivers to the latest version.

-Install the latest version of DirectX, available from http://www.microsoft.com/directx/

-If you continue to get scratchy sound in the game and cutscenes, try running the winsetup.exe file and changing the sound driver to something else. That usually fixes the problem.

277
Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: June 30, 2006, 12:38:57 AM »
Yeah, it's a bug that slipped past the demo testers. It doesn't occur in the full version. Luckily it's only a minor annoyance in the demo too!

278
General Forum /
« on: June 20, 2006, 06:51:34 AM »
One more time now... Happy Yadrib! I mean Hoppy bathboy... err.. Happy Birthday (that's the one!)  <):)

279
General Forum /
« on: April 11, 2006, 02:32:06 AM »
One possible solution could be to send it via a reputable courier, such as FedEx or DHL to places where the postal services are unreliable. This may be a little more expensive, but at least delivery should be guaranteed.

280
General Forum /
« on: April 05, 2006, 07:15:45 AM »
As far as advertising is concerned, gaming magazine ads are fairly hit and miss (not to mention very expensive). Truthfully, the AGDI scene will probably be our main (and best) source of advertising initially due to our small budget.  But I expect that the demo's distribution and word of mouth will help spread knowledge about the game far beyond just the AGDI audience. We'll also be trying to get the demo on some magazine cover CDs which will help get it into people's hands who otherwise would not know about it (or may consider it out of their niche).  

Al Emmo's demo is also much larger than the average game demo nowadays (about 1/9th of the game) so it will give players a very good idea of how the full game looks, feels, and plays like. I think it was Ken Williams who said that you should set your first game in any series up for brand-name recognition, and not necessarily to make a major profit; that's what sequels are for.

For Al Emmo 1, I think there will be a lot of scepticism surrounding the game at first, but once people try it and become familiar with its characters, game mechanics, and humor, they'll discover that it includes the same charms as the adventure games of the past (along with some modern improvements) and then the game/series will effectively be able to market itself from that point onward. So, that said, the first thing we need to do is to make sure enough people play it and become familiar with it.  This is also why pricing will be important and we have some interesting ideas up in the air at the moment regarding that!  :)

Oh, BTW Disco:

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Correct Chris! a fellow browncoat I presume?


Actually,  I hadn't ever seen (or didn't even know about) the Firefly series prior to seeing Serenity. I just saw it on DVD one day because it was lent to me. I was kind of surprised to find out afterwards that it was a sequel of sorts! The film seemed to work quite well as a self-contained story.

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