Wednesday, January 23, 2013

ASA : the big summary

People who liked playing ASA sometimes ask me interesting questions that I thought I already answered. It's true that some of the articles here are starting to get old, so it's time to summarize some info.

- About the release ?
ASA released in the very end of december 2012, but because of the Christmas holidays, nobody noticed it before january the 7th. That's now the official release date. The game came first in direct buy via paypal on the homepage for 6€, but I originally wanted to sell it $7.99 (6€ is around $8 but there are money fluctuations). Then the came has been approved on indievania for $7.99. Since december, people of GOG and Desura seem interested in the game, and ASA could have already been published on these portals, but we encounter difficulties. GOG couldn't run the game on Vista (a patch has been released this week-end) and on Desura there's a problem when packing their MCF file. I'm working on fixing this.

- The french surprise.
That's a fact : I'm french but I made the game in english because I thought it would reach more people. The original short film released on vimeo and received a great welcome from english people all over the world. According to me, it was the best choice to release the game in english. Surprisingly, it's the french magazine JeuxVideo.com that released the very first review, and now there are many french people who await for a french translation of the game ! This is a big piece of work, but I'm on it.

- The original short film.
Before starting the production of ASA (the game) in july 2012, I had released a short film entitled 2011: A Space Adventure in november 2011, which is itself based on a small novel I have written in french and in self-publishing. The short film 2011ASA can be watched on vimeo here, but I would suggest YOU DON'T ! Why ? Because it would spoil the game : the short film is used for the introduction, but also for one of the endings... Making the game was somehow a way to tell what happens to the hero of the film before he wakes up. Please watch the film only if you finished the game. The film is 6 minutes long, I made it in 1 month with no money (like all my works), and I had no idea it would become a game later.

- Other personal works ?
ASA is not my first project, but it is my first game. Originally, I'm a film director and I made many personal short films. They're more a matter of passion than anything else, because I made them during my free time, and I'll keep making some in the future. You can learn more about my previous work in an article I made in october, and I'd be happy if you watched them, even if they're more artistic than realistic.

- Made the game "alone" ?
A question which comes back often is : did you really make ASA alone ? The answer is yes, almost. "Almost" because, to be honnest, I got great help from friends and great people like Bob and Giovanni.
I made the game all alone on the graphic part (pictures and videos), and then used adventure maker to create the game. This soft is quite old and has technical restrictions (screen resolution i.e) but it simplifies the coding in Visual Basic for newbies in programming (like me). I really recommend it if you're interested in making personal games ! You can use photos for the backgrounds if you're not familiar with 3D, and the community on the forums will welcome you warmly.
Graphism + coding took me 4-5 months of work, and in parallel, Karreo composed the soundtrack and made the sfx. This great music, like the track on Kepler, was composed by Stélian Derenne, and he really worked hard to get this result. I then inserted the music and sfx myself in the game.
Finally, I got some help to proof my english texts and I did my best to find people to record the voice of P. Forte for the diary. I chose the current actor, Steven, who has a nice deep voice.
To record the other voice (MAID, your "micro audio intelligent device"), I bought an audio soft in which you enter text and it reads it to generate a synthesis voice. It was perfect for an A.I. and simplified the work a lot. It was much harder to find an actor here because of the way the game is built.
Then the beta-tests happened in november and the game finally released in the end of december. I think that's it, and that it was quite an adventure for me too :) If there's a next time, maybe I'll try kickstarter... Making a game without money is quite a crusade.
Have a look at the credits in the game options if you want to learn more !

- To go further :
3 articles about my work since I'm a freelancer, and around the ASA projet :
An article about the way I made the game on IndieDB
An interview I gave after the release of the short film 2011ASA on Ceiga Magazine
An article I wrote entitled "Generalities on precalculated 3D graphics" on IndieDB