Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wallpaper #6 and demo info

Hi everyone! Thanks to all of you who downloaded the demo. I hope you could try it and that it made you curious about the game.
Today, I continue to share some ASA wallpapers and we reached the 6th one ! I think I'll make 7 in total, so you can change your desktop wallpaper each day of the week :p


About the demo : did you notice there are 2 demos in 1 ??? I could read comments about the second demo (Sunbath), but don't forget to try the first one (Beginning). You make your choice in the main menu via the image split.

Some people asked me :

- Is there an ending in the demo, or can we just wander here and there to watch the environments ?
Yes, there IS an "ending" for each demo : if you solve the puzzles, you will see a black screen with the text "end of demo".

- It's too hard, I don't know what to do !
Of course it's hard, it's an adventure game, and a Myst-like :) But these two demos are easy compared to the full game!!!
What I can do is give some advice by mail, so don't hesitate to contact me.
OR best choice : just try by yourself a little more, and wait until friday for I post a walkthrough on this blog !

- I have an error about a 32-bits problem. Or the antivirus says something about silent.exe !
I know, and I apologize for that, but I can assure your computer is not in danger ;) See the previous post !

Finally, I'd like to relay this article about the demo release on AdventureGamers :
http://www.adventuregamers.com/news/view/23200

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Demo issue

 Issue 1 : 32-bits error?

Maybe you got an error message during the installation of the demo about a 32-bits compatibility problem. This is not related to the game, but to the installation of Xvid codecs silently.

If you get this error, the game will run correctly, but :
 - if you don't have the Xvid codecs installed, you need to download and install manually the latest version for windows here.
- if you already have the Xvid codecs installed, you dont have anything to do, the game should run with no problem.

In the case where the codecs are not correctly installed, the videos won't play during the game. So if you don't see the videos while playing, please try to install manually the Xvid codecs !
This shall not happen on 64-bits machines...

 Issue 2 : antivirus notification?

This issue is all linked to the previous one. The silent install of the Xvid codecs is made from a file called silent.exe

Looks like some antivirus think it's problematic. I can assure it's NOT. Silent.exe is absolutely virus-free ! I made it myself, it's a batch file (converted into an exe) with some code to run the Xvid installer silently (calling the /verysilent option), so you don't have to install them manually.

For those of you who had the problem and are wondering what they can do, there are 2 ways to solve this problem. Make your choice :
- you trust me and choose to change the antivirus settings (Norton ?) so it allows silent.exe to make its job.
- or you don't really trust me and you can re-download the ASA demo using the original link. I just made a modification in the installation process and you will be prompted to install the Xvid codecs manually, with the original Xvid installer.

I'm very sorry for the inconvenience, this will be solved in the final release of the game.
Thanks for your understanding.

ASA PLAYABLE DEMO !!!

I was about to post a very short article with the 6th wallpaper. I was about to say : "don't worry, the demo will come soon ! Come back tomorrow to get it".
I had decided to wait for more comments from my friends who had the chance to play the demo already.
I was about to wait one more day, thinking of the quality of the demo.
Is it good ? Not as much as I want. Is it representative of the full game ? No, not at all : the main focus of ASA can't be found in the demo.
So... ?

So I just decided I had to take the plunge, even if that means you could be deceived. You can download the playable demo of ASA here. Right NOW.

download ASA : pre-beta demo
 size : 275 MB

Of course, you can send me your feeling by mail ! You'll find my address on my personal website : http://www.simonmesnard.fr
Have fun ! And thanks for playing !

Demo limitations :
- the ASA demo will only run in windowed mode in 1024x432 (the full version will run in fullscreen).
- save/load function and main menu disabled.
- the sound effects are not implemented during gameplay.
- restricted to 2 short areas of the game with easy puzzles.
- it is a pre-beta version, which means it doesn't include any of the future improvements of the beta-tests.
- english only.

Recommended system :
PC only
CPU: 2 GHz processor
Memory: 2 GB RAM
GPU : graphic card with 128MB VRAM
Free Space: 300 MB
OS: Windows 8, 7, vista

Monday, October 29, 2012

ASA OST : ready !

Today I'm glad to announce that the ASA OST is done and ready, and will be a 18 tracks album. The Karreo team is proud to invite you to the "release event" the 1st of december on their facebook page, here !
If you like their work, and if you want to support the game, just click to say you want to participate to the online event, and spread the word on facebook !






You probably want to hear some extracts before clicking the above "event link". That's why the people of Karreo made a special OST (understand a teasing OST) of 5 tracks here, entitled The Cobalt-5 Album. The name Cobalt-5 may sound familiar to you, because it's the name of a satellite in ASA (the game).








Finally, if you like the music made by Karreo, you can listen to their past works.

Poll deleted

I deleted the poll about cursors, it didn't save the votes at all. Sorry for all of you who took some time to vote...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Wallpaper #5

I don't know what happened with yesterday's poll : looks like for some reason none of the votes were taken in account, and all the stats have been reset to zero... I will leave the poll just in case, but I'm sorry for those of you who voted already. If you wish to give me your opinion about the cursors, you can still contact me by mail. You'll find my address on my personal website (bottom right, www.simonmesnard.fr). 
 
I give you today a fifth ASA wallpaper. It's in 2048x1152 px and represents the hero (you) in front of planet Terra. Terra, your home, the place you want to go back. That's what you can see in the opening movie of the game.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

[Poll] About the game cursors

Today you have a chance to tell me your opinion about something important : some people told me they didn't really like the cursors they saw in the Gameplay video. I can understand that, but I made these little cursors with love and I thought they were nice ! :P
So, what do you think about that ? I added a new poll on the right of this blog, just under the Gameplay video. It will be opened for a week, until the 1st of november. Thanks in advance !

The current cursors are the hand of the hero. You probably recognized his suit.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Working with great people

Today I'd like to make a special article to thank all the people who helped me so far on the ASA project.

- First, thanks to you who read this article, and maybe follow the blog from time to time ?

- Thanks to Karreo, past and current members. They're the music makers of ASA, and you can find several articles about them on this blog !
ASA music is composed by Stélian Derenne and supervised by Jeff K-ray.
Special thanks to Mathieu Legros who gave his opinion several times.

- Robert Neuendorf, a great man who's always willing to help. I even don't know him personally, but his involvment is awesome. He worked with me on the english localization, gave me some contacts and I know he'll help a lot during the beta-tests.

- The Adventure Maker community. All users of the AM forums are to be thanked, and particularly the ones who gave their opinion about the game of course. The AM software wouldn't be what it is now without them.
Giovanni Albanni, creator of the Adventure Maker software, is always trying to improve his produce. His help was and will be very important until the end of the project.

- Special thanks to the Beta-testers for their interest in the game. The job has not begun yet, but I know I can count on you : Juanjo Barceló, Peter Veldman, Stelian Derenne, Robert Neuendorf, Dejan Stanojevic, Samuel J. Venble, Christopher Clews, Matthew Donatelli and Mathieu Legros.


- If everything goes well, Steven Tidwell is gonna give his voice to Philippe Forté for the Diary. I cannot wait to hear it!

- Thanks also to the following online magazines, Adventure Gamers and IGM: the Indie Game Mag, who were the first ones to talk about ASA.

And to conclude, I would like to thank many other people, and please forgive me if I forgot you in the list ! You can contact me via my website if needed (www.simonmesnard.fr) : it will help to complete the game credits for the final release.

Thanks to : The Adventure Gamers community, Nikos Patsiouras, up-voters on Steam Greenlight, Chrysalide Studio (and Tiphaine Renard for her advices), Yves Mesnard, Miao Zhao, all the people on Vimeo who liked my short film 2011: A Space Adventure (including Sam Morill from the vimeo staff), my friends and family who supported me... and all the talented people in the world who give me a lot of inspiration! 

Going back to work, I don't want to deceive you guys, and the game is not finished!
  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gameplay video

As promised, here's a gameplay video. I'm sorry, I had some issues recording video and audio...


What can you see in this video ? Well, it's a very small part of the game, I still don't want to show too much.

In this part of the game, the hero is on the Ark (a spaceship) and wants to go by step on Planet Forté. So he goes to the teleport station of the ship and uses the device. But the Ark is not in the right place of the Space (Planet Forté is too far) and the teleport station doesn't detect any other teleport pod near the current position.

So, the hero goes to the Bridge and uses a device to change the position of the Ark in Space. He looks for new coordinates in his diary, enters these coordinates, then the whole ship is "transported" to a new area of the Space. Planet Forté is now detected on a monitor. 


The hero just needs to go back to the teleport station, and he activates it. He's finally teleported to Planet Forté.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Demo & video coming (very) soon!

Liked ASA trailer 1, but you wish you could see more ? Good news then : trailer 2 should come out this week, and will be a gameplay video !

What ? Videos aren't enough ? You want to try the game now ? Wow, thanks for your interest in ASA ! Then be aware that I will release a playable demo in a little while ! And it could be this week too ;)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

ASA news : the big summary

Hi there! I know I will be too busy tomorrow to post my daily article, so no news this friday. Which means you have 3 full days (including the week-end) to read all the articles you could have missed ! ;) That's why I made you this short list of the most important articles about ASA !

Parce qu'il s'agit d'un récapitulatif, vous aurez même droit à quelques mots de français : cette courte liste d'articles reprend les plus importantes infos au sujet d'ASA jusqu'à ce jour. Je rappelle à l'occasion qu'une traduction française du jeu devrait sortir en 2013.

- Video trailer 1 (vidéo de présentation 1)
- Game mechanics (mécanique de jeu)
- Game screenshots (captures d'écran)
- Overview of the areas of the game (aperçu des aires de jeu)
- Understanding what ASA is : the Riven model (comprendre ASA : le modèle Riven)
- A word about the music composers (un mot sur les compositeurs musicaux)
- ASA OST : listen to the main theme (la BO d'ASA : écoutez le thème principal)
- About the author : previous works (à propos de l'auteur : précédents travaux)


The ASA model : Riven

Why speaking again and again of Riven on the ASA blog ? Because people who don't know what ASA is can refer to Riven.

Let me explain Riven, and I think you'll understand ASA.

Riven was certainly my biggest inspiration while making ASA. ASA is an all new game, yes, with a different universe and some new mechanisms, but the way it's built won't disturb Riven fans in any way : slideshow game, beautiful 3D pictures, exploration on your own, a strange universe, few help and a difficult game. Very difficult.You won't beat ASA in a few hours if you're not familiar with Myst clones !

Riven was released on PC in the late 1990s. I'm not sure of the exact date, but I think it arrived in France in 1998. I remember getting the huge 5-cd box from a friend at school, and being quite sceptic on the interest of a slideshow game. I played it and changed my mind. I was totally taken by the amazing graphics and the universe of the game. A few years later I even bought my own version  so I can lend it to my friends and family. Bad luck, my dad broke cd2 and I could never play again the french version of the game...


Riven is difficult, yes. You're left alone in a very strange world where you need to activate various mechanisms and solve puzzles. Difficult, but not impossible if you are patient and observer. The difficulty mostly resides in the way the world is built. I remember passing a full day looking for a clue, and realizing the next day that I missed something obvious that I just didn't see !
Like in the real world, when you're on your own, if you don't take notes on a paper when you know  you won't remember a thing, then you'll be totally lost. That's the point of the game : locate yourself in the world, take good notes, and you'll make it to the end. That's what I did, and I still have my sheet of paper with all my notes !


Of course, Riven wouldn't be the same without its awesome graphics. Just have a look at these pics, and don't tell me they're awful, just because it's not realtime 3D ! I really thought they were some photos taken in an exotic country somewhere on Earth, and transformed for the game ! I never imagined it was in 3D the first time I played it. Sounds funny nowadays, when we're use to see great CG graphics everywhere !



I'd say Riven is an experience, not a game. It's not only for people who like adventure games : everyone can try it. You need to be totally immersed in this universe, and beating the game must become an obsession. Lot of people won't understand this feeling and will stop from the beginning, that's normal. But the others, the one in need of evasion and mental challenge, should persevere. And, honestly, if you're really stuck, it's not a fault to use a walkthrough from time to time. Just don't use it during the whole game !
 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2 great adventure games to be released soon !

Today, no ASA news, but you want to know more about these 2 wonderful adventure games (after all, ASA is an adventure game !), they're my favourite of the moment.

Ever heard of Lilly Looking Through and Gorogoa ?
If you like cute graphics and great ideas, I suggest you try the demos ! I did enjoy them, and that's why I share the links today !

And don't make an opinion on the static pictures below (particularly for gorogoa, which has an amazing gameplay), they really deserve to be tried out !

Lilly looking through
http://geetagames.com/ 










Gorogoa
http://www.gorogoa.com/ 






Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Space view

Today I have a lot of work... I'll just post a single picture.

Monday, October 15, 2012

About the author

For those who had never heard of me before ASA (which is very likely), I'd like to share some of my personal short films (made on my own during my free time).

In most of these works, I always privileged the artistic approach over realism, which is quite ironic when you know my first job was to make photorealistic pictures. From The Seed to Hunter, I tried to develop a painting or ink effect, and I used it also in A Bug in the Paint. That's only with 2011: A Space Adventure that I started to make new things and went back to more realism, even if it keeps an abstract side due to the "yellow material" (particles).

In parallel, I worked on a much bigger project called Mon Village est Magique (My Village is Magical), thought to become a 3D animated film. It's based on a series of books for children I have written (french only), and I already made a lot of research. There's even a full storyboard of the movie, but the project is stuck for now, and may never be produced as is...

I hope you enjoy the following films. Click on the titles to watch them !
You can also find them on my vimeo : http://www.vimeo.com/gnemix

Huorn (2006) 
 





Ecosystem (2008)
 







The Seed (2009)
 







A Bug in the Paint (2010)
 







Mon Village est Magique (Books Teaser) (2010 - 2013)
 







Hunter (2009 - 2011)
 





2011: A Space Adventure (2011)

 






Friday, October 12, 2012

Beta-tests

The beta-tests of ASA will take place between the 5th and the 25th of november, assuming I finish the game in time...




The following people will participate :  
cc89 
dransem 
GM
MaT 
Peter 
reneuend 
Stelian 
time-killer-games 
Vairon 
vengeance66

Other people willing to participate can send me an e-mail before the end of october, but be sure you like slideshow games first ! And that you have free time in november, too...


The necessary modifications will be apported to the game as soon as I get the feedback. If everything goes well, the game should be ready to release at the very end of november.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A word from the composer


Stélian Derenne, ASA OST composer :

<<Lucky enough to surf on the relative success of the short film preceding the game, I took back the introduction scene's theme and try to spice it to the various environments the player would be going through out the game, most of the time putting myself in his shoes and wondering what I'd play on my iPod on the spot.
Composing it felt more and more like a casual movie soundtrack thanks to the many great graphic material provided, keeping it easy on the ear on most parts, dynamic on other, and even experimental in some cases...It's all inspired by the fine job of Simon.
This is my first complete video game soundtrack, made fun thanks to the freedom I had, mostly due to the fact that Simon didn't really had any budget for it and was extremely happy with pretty much anything I made him listen to...
What worried me in the making was how to keep the balance in the lively and dramatic touch I believe any composition of this kind should have, and how to prevent the player not to just turn the music off out of boredom.
What I believe interests me the most in the game is the scenario, the quality of the graphics and the development of the adventure, I actually wish I didn't know that much about it, just to enjoy discovering it totally once I get to play the full version.
What I enjoyed the most making the soundtrack was as usual the naming of the various tracks, there are 20 different songs, lucky me! Thanks for reading, I hope you'll enjoy the listen.>>

You can listen to Stélian's personal and professional projects on www.stelian.be

Here is a part of his work, an album entitled Ecgos :


And the music video for the song Amoenitas from the same album (Ecgos)


Amoenitas - The8thstep from Stelian on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Introducing the Cube

<< [...] Try to find your way on the Ark, and always keep the Cube with you. It'll be very helpful sometimes. And more than helpful, it also contains a part of the knowledge I was speaking of before, and it will be slowly transmitted to you during your journey. So don't lose it ! >> Philippe Forté's diary, page 4.

The Cube is the key to the Ark. This is where it all begins. You - the hero - find this black strange cube during your mission in space. You're somehow hypnotized by it : it's calling you. And when you decide to take it in your hands, accepting your own death due to a lack of oxygen, the Cube finally saves you : you're being teleported aboard the Ark and you can start the real quest. Something similar happened to P. Forté 46 years ago, and you'd better find what became of him ! When you hold the Cube, some strange radiations seem to fill your body, and Forté could probably tell you more about that... What is this knowledge he's speaking of in his diary ?



Monday, October 8, 2012

On making a slideshow game

 I won't deny it : ASA is made with the Adventure Maker software. If most of the game is based on my pictures, the rest relies on this handy tool. If I hadn't found it, ASA wouldn't have existed, so we can say whatever we want about AM, it was a great help. And the soft would be nothing without its community ! Hi guys from the forums, you made ASA possible !

http://www.adventuremaker.com

Adventure Maker is a toolkit to create point-and-click games and multimedia software, and is based on simplified Visual Basic scripting. It's extremely easy to use. All you have to do is to import your pictures, add some hotspots to link the pictures to one another, and you are done! 


When creating software for Windows, Adventure Maker provides "Load/Save Game" functions, conversations, inventory items, 360-degree interactive panoramas, support for Flash, multiple-CD distribution, third-person game characters for creating third-person adventure games, full-screen transitions, water/smoke effects, multi-channel sounds, animations, support for over 30 file types (OGG, XviD, DivX, mp3...), support for plugins, and more.
 

Overview of the areas

It was announced already : ASA is divided in various areas, in which you have to find the secrets and solve puzzles. Through the pictures posted lately, you already had a preview of these areas, but to make things clear, let's go with a summary. This will make your exploration much easier !

The space
Most of the game takes place on the Ark, a strange spaceship. It can move instantly from a galaxy to another. There are 3 galaxies you can reach, and each one is represented by a planet in the game. Everything starts near Terra, the planet where you - as the hero - are born. Then, when you find new planet coordinates, the Ark moves to a new galaxy where you can visit another planet.


The Ark
The spaceship is probably the biggest place to play. It's divided in 7 areas. From the Central room, you can choose where to go. You will need to find the secrets to open some doors...



The planets
Once you will know how to move the Ark, you can visit 2 planets. Their names were given by Philippe Forté. Planet Kepler is a vast desertic planet, but an oasis was a good place for some natives to build a village. Plenet Forté is a paradise world, with turquoise sea, and it seems to be the place where Philippe Forté chose to live for a while...


The mysterious places
Some areas are closed or can't be reached from the beginning. Makes you want to visit them, uh ?