ASA: A Space Adventure is a first-person slideshow adventure game made in tribute to Riven and 2001: A Space Odyssey. You play in 2057 as an astronaut who finds a strange black cube, which will teleport him on an unknown spaceship called the Ark. You will soon discover that you're not the first astronaut from planet Terra to come here : Philip Forte lived the very same experience in 2011 and, fortunately, he left a diary explaining his story. With this help, you will visit the Ark and try to access the various environments and planets, with one single thing in mind : going back home ! ASA was created by a single person for the love of puzzle games of an era, and if you're fond of the Myst or Rhem series, it's more likely that you will enjoy this journey ! <<With a captivating backstory and engaging, challenging puzzles, ASA: A Space Adventure is a welcome addition to the pantheon of Myst-style puzzle-adventure games!>> (AdventureGamers.com)
This is a summary of my experience on making ASA: A Space Adventure, from the writing to the production.
Posted by Simon_ASA on Dec 31st, 2012
Today I wanted to summarize and share my experience on making ASA. As I’m a single developer, it's quite hard - but interesting - to compare with what a team could have done on a similar project.
First thing I made was the short film 2011: A Space Adventure, which received good criticisms, and it encouraged me to make the game later.
Having this film done was a very big help because :
- I knew what people liked/disliked
- I can use it as an opening movie for the game
- It gives me a strong background and a beginning for a scenario
Of course, when I made the film, I just didn't imagine that the project would go so far ! 2011ASA (the short film) released in november 2011, where the production of ASA (the game) only started in july 2012 ! And between them two, I had no project of making this game... The idea went suddenly in june 2012, when I started thinking of the best way to use the original scenario.
Speaking of scenario, this short film was based on a small book I had written in self-publishing. I don’t say it is a qualitative novel, but I had a strong idea, at least.
Then I developped the game scenario from this point, and didn’t start the 3D production before I had finished the writing ! I know it’s hard to resist to the temptation of going into 3D modeling, but the writing step is very important.
When my scenario was complete, before starting the real prod, I thought for a long time of the best software for programming. I have to be honnest, I’m not good in programming, that’s why I chose to make a slideshow game and that’s why I chose Adventure Maker. That’s probably not the soft everyone would choose nowadays, you know ! But the author and the community are very nice people, and they really helped a lot.
From this point I just made some rough sketches of the world of ASA (the main ship, the planet). And when I say rough, I mean rough ! I didn't draw some great artworks : just made plans in top view, and started placing my main puzzles. The aim was to precise the main idea, and start knowing where the puzzles/enigmas would bring the player when he solves them. That’s how I built ASA. I have drawn it into sketches, from the starting point to the end (or almost… ). Easy when you have your scenario ! Of course, this step was not accurate, and the final game changed a lot compared to my sketches, but I don’t imagine how you can create an adventure game without this step.
That's how I finished the most important and could conclude the "pre-production process" by designing the characters and environments once and for all. Personally I started the real 3D process/programming at this point, and I met no real problem then. I just imagined the final puzzles gradually, depending on what I had made in the environments, in order to integrate them well. The biggest thing was to stay motivated until the end !!!
To make long things short, here is how ASA has been produced, chronologically :
- writing main ideas, searching for references
- sketches of the world (top view map) including the place of the main puzzles/steps
- choice of softwares/tools
- pre-production 1 (drawings : characters/environments)
- pre-production 2 (3D : chara modeling, setup, etc…)
- production, including puzzles, 3D and programming
- finalisation (sound, music, videos…)