In the previous article, I told you the most important details about the development of all the episodes of “A Matter of Caos” and the great results that we obtained with the release of the fourth episode. In this article I’ll talk about the birth of Terribilia Van Quinn, a.k.a. Terry, and the development of “A Tale of Caos: Prelude!

Terry’s birth

1. Terry’s first colored draft

After the completion of the last chapter of ‘A Matter of Caos’, we wanted to make a step forward towards the making of a really old-style point and click game. Moreover, Eli was really exhausted for the commitment in the intricated and beautiful AMOC story, so he wanted to try something less serious, with a more humoristic setting.

We also wanted to show more about the Caos, so we decided to show the surreal and delirious part of it. This time we chose to use a weirder, non-sense humor, getting closer to the Monkey Island style. As always, we wanted to fill the game with all kind of appropriate references, without showing them directly just to “make a reference”, but hiding them in the most unexpected places.

2. The cute first Heimlich draft

To do this we needed an exuberant, impulsive, vibrant and full of life main character: in a couple of days Eli created Terry and her mechanical owl Heimlich (Terry needed an external consciousness, like the Talking Cricket, to limit her impulsiveness, and the idea of Heimlich was perfect!).

Unfortunately, we still had a problem for the creation of the game graphics (yes, we searched A LOT for someone who wanted to help us, but the researches has been inconclusive). First thing first, Eli tried to draw some high resolution graphics, but the result wasn’t very good, so he experimented to make some pixel graphics: the result wasn’t really professional, but was absolutely nice and good for us in that moment! So, the first pixelated version of Terry and Heimlich were born! Eli will talk about them in more details in another article!

The Prelude

3. An adorable creature that Terry is going to save

While Eli was preparing the story, the mechanics and the graphics for this new funny adventure, I started to make a complete refactoring of the adventure framework code, adding the new functionalities needed for the new adventure. During this period a friend of us (Mirko Argenzio) joined the team for a month: he helped me to refactor the code and implement some new important functionality in the framework. After the release of the game, he left the team for personal reasons.

In the prelude, we started to implement the typical interface of point and click games: the text positioned on the talking character, with a different color for everyone, and the main character visible in scene (not the first person like view of AMOC). We divided the inventory in two parts: the Terry’s “toolbox” and the “normal inventory”. Terry is an inventress and she built her own useful tools for every need; she built Heimlich, the Meta-matic™ (a powerful tool, that gives to Terry the possibility to save the current space-time moment), the Portable Alchemy Set™ (to create powerful alchemic substances), the Multitool™ (useful and very versatile) and the Eco-Engine™ (a powerful engine that can motorize almost everything, and which is also very ecological).

4. The Meta-matic

The graphics were simple, in pixel art and without any animation (Eli still wasn’t able to make the animations). The inventory and other UI elements were an exception: we decided to make them in full resolution (it was just an attempt, we then realized that it would have been better to make everything in pixel art, for artistic coherence). To avoid the pixel hunting, we tried to highlight the interactive elements with a white outline: this kind of worked, exept for the fact that the final graphics looked a little bit confused, with the interactive elements that seemed like stickers pasted on the background.

The gameplay was quite normal for a point and click game: the main difference was in the interactions between Terry and Heimlich. Hemilich it’s sort of an assistant in the game: you can talk to him to have some suggestions on what to do next, you can use your items on him to have a detailed description and you need his help to solve some puzzles during the game. Also, we inserted a simple minigame at the end of the episode.

5. The Portable Alchemy Set

The story was quite funny and delirious and there were a couple of scenes that were absolutely hilarious (like the catapult and the bear scene) and we were absolutely certain that the game would have been a hit on Kongregate: we released it the 9th of July, 2015.

The feedback of the players were good, and the game won a weekly prize, but it didn’t received the same acclamation as ‘A Matter of Caos’: it was nice and funny to play, but it wasn’t addictive enough.

6. A screenshot from the game

Conclusions

After the tremendous success of ‘A Matter of Caos’, we were a little bit disappointed that ‘A Tale Of Caos’, even if technically better, had a less warm welcome. We tried to understand the reasons, from the feedback of our players, and the only answers we got was about the story: ‘A Matter of Caos’ have a more immersive and deep story, more fascinating characters, and an inusual and great main character (we really love Terry and Hemlich, but Mr. Gilbert it’s undoubtedly a more charming and deep character and the players really loved him).

Even if the game wasn’t bad, we suffered the blow: after ‘A Matter of Caos’ we wanted to immediatly make another big hit and the fact that it didn’t happen was a little bit demoralizing. We decided to try to make other type of games to digest the disappointment: this choice was a very bad one for us, because interrupted the positive trend that we were building. I’ll talk about it in the next article.



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Luca Porrino

Luca was raised by an engineers tribe, which teach him to function like a clockwork device.
After years of research, he finally developed a mechanical brain, and he’s now part of the Matrix.
Also, he practices medieval swordfighting and doesn’t give up a chance to tell it to everyone he meets.
He’s the functional brain of the Expera Game Studio.

Comments

  • Arceus20 Feb, 2017

    I’ve played a number of your games
    some time ago (AMOC series, the Tale
    of Chaos, Rogue Quest 1 & 2). I just
    came across these blog posts
    replaying through AMOC 4 (going to be
    writing a review of it).

    I am sorry to hear that Tale of Chaos
    received less favorable reviews,
    especially since I really liked it. I
    hope that you will continue to
    produce more games and that it will
    not deter you from trying new things.

    If you need any help along the lines
    of proofreading, feel free to get in
    touch. I’d be happy to see what I can
    do to help.

    Sincerely,
    -Arceus

    • Luca Porrino20 Feb, 2017

      Hello Arceus, I’m glad to see your
      comment here! Thanks for your
      beautiful words! 🙂

      We (and also a lot of other players)
      really liked ATOC, too: what I was
      saying here it’s that, compared to
      AMOC, it was less appreciated by the
      majority of players, and because of
      this we took some wrong decisions
      that could be avoided. Anyway, we
      would always try our best for our
      games, don’t worry! 😀

      Thanks again for your support and if
      you want to give us any help, send us
      an e-mail, and I will answer you as
      soon as I can.

      Cheers and, as always, keep having fun!

  • Nikola "Mentoliptus" Banko22 Feb, 2017

    Hi Luca! I just read your 4 articles
    and it was almost as reading our own
    story. It is great to see that others
    had similar experiences and problems
    we ourselves faced. I’d like to
    contact you via email (anche in
    italiano se vuoi, il mio italiano é
    meglio del mio inglese) if you’d like
    to chat about the development process
    (I am our team’s developer) and to
    show you our point-and-click
    adventure games we released on
    Kongregate. Tanti saluti da Black
    Olive Games!

  • Luca Porrino22 Feb, 2017

    Hello Nikola, I’m glad to see that
    you read all the articles! It would
    be a pleasure to see your point and
    click game: feel free to send an
    email to us and I will answer you as
    soon as I can. You can use Italian or
    English, as you prefer! 🙂

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