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An Open Window is an experimental MOD for Half-Life 2, Episode 2. In this project I will attempt to bring the concept of different realities to life in a realistic scenario. Instead of being another Shooter, AnOpWi centers around the role of the player and his/her experience, emotion and memories. By interacting with the world the player will define his own reality within the story. For this project I chose an open development cycle, which means I will update very frequently and share every step I take in the process of creating this game. Next to the regular media updates, I will also share my thoughts on the different areas of game design in the form of articles. In every article I will also ask for your opinion with the Question of the Day. This MOD also functions as a knowledge base for new and experienced designers.

Report article RSS Feed An Open Window: PLD -14

This would be officially Project Launch Day +1 but for the complete picture of the development I would like to take you back 14 days, to PLD -14. The urge to create arises, but what to create?

Posted by Hezus on Jan 30th, 2011

An Open Window: Project Launch Day -14

As this profile was authed officially yesterday, my open development schedule starts today. This would be officially Project Launch Day +1 but for the complete picture of the development I would like to take you back 14 days, to PLD -14.

First off, for new readers, these news posts are experimental. Instead of keeping everything shrouded in secrecy, I want to post as much of what I do as often as I can. Most projects keep everything indoors and release a few awesome screenshots or videos and then do not get back to the community for months and sometimes years. I'd prefer not to do this. Plus, these posts will give some insights for new developers about my way of handling this project. If you enjoy these posts, let me know in the comment section below and don't hesitate to ask questions or post suggestions!

What to create?
In the first 7 days I thought about what I wanted to make. Since 1997 I've been making maps for Doom, Half-Life and Half-Life 2 for various projects but they had all one thing in common: they were all shooters. While I can't deny this is by far my favourite game genre, I also enjoyed more engaging genres like RTSs and RPGs. Over the years shooters became more and more meaningless to me. Even though some had a good story and character development, the maps I made never included much of that.

I took a while to think of games that actually made an impact on me, games I felt a connection to other than nostalgia or a community forums. Shockingly, off all the 100s of games I played, this list only included a few titles. My list of movies I hold dear is far longer. Is gaming really just a way to waste time? If movies can speak to people so much, why do most games lack this ability?

On top of my list you'll find a game I have played numerous and still doesn't cease to amaze me: Planescape Torment. This game took character development and environment to a new level. The story runs deep, the characters have interesting backgrounds and your character actually develops itself while you pass through the game. The music was brilliantly composed for each individual character. This is the only game I know where Intelligence and Wisdom will give you the best rewards. Even though I'm not a D&D player, this game sucked me in. The sentence "What can change the nature of a man?" has become a mantra to me and if you google it you will find people who think like-wise.

Now I could not possibly hope to create something that epic with my meagre skill in art and music composing. But I could on a smaller scale in a different setting. The ultimate goal is not eye candy but the attempt to capture an experience inside a game. For that I needed a story, a gameplay concept and lots and lots of ideas. And I'll tell you more about that in the next update.

To spark your own thoughts and ideas I want to close my posts with the Question of the Day, which is related to the subject I've been ranting about. You can leave your comments below!

Question of the Day:
Did you ever feel connected to a game? Which game and in what way did it speak to you?

Post comment Comments
nado Jan 30 2011, 8:00pm says:

Zelda: Ocarina of time.
Everything about that game amazed me as a kid, and I haven't enjoyed any zelda game more.

and portal was kind of just really genius and I had so much fun playing that for the first time.

+2 votes     reply to comment
billyboob Jan 30 2011, 8:10pm says:

Abe's Oddysee for Playstation. Gorgeous artwork, intuitive gameplay, mad laughs and immensely fun. For the first time I didn't feel like I was playing a flat/linear time trial platformer. I'd played alex the kid, mario, sonic and they were fun but afterwards i felt nothing. As Abe I was leading a rebellion, inspiring my people, helping them. I had a goal, a purpose. And I just read that a HD release for PC is being worked on!

So glad you've started this project. It's a great idea

+2 votes     reply to comment
vegerich Jan 31 2011, 8:15am replied:

Same here with billyboob, Oddworld Abe´s Oddysee and Abe´s Exoddus were such great games. I was fascinated from them.

+1 vote     reply to comment
half-life Jan 30 2011, 9:20pm says:

Grandia, that game was ******* brilliant.

+1 vote     reply to comment
chris_coma Jan 31 2011, 12:33am says:

Braid. It's like conversation. Close private conversation about life and time... and with some life experience it can make you cry yourself to sleep. and it's a simple mario-style platformer. amazing.

+1 vote     reply to comment
nado Jan 31 2011, 4:18am replied:

agree. Braid is awesome.

+1 vote     reply to comment
ponpat Jan 31 2011, 3:19am says:

Amnesia. It builds a story and an atmosphere around you that give ou the feeling of beeing inside the story yourself and it realy is... you now... it eats your soul while you play it xD

+1 vote     reply to comment
Otter. Jan 31 2011, 10:47am says:

I'm going to say Beyond Good and Evil. Although it had some frustrating moments and a few clichés I still think that game was fantastic in every way: gameplay, characters, environment, music... I hope Ubisoft finally gets the time and money to finish the sequel, and it better be as good as the first.

Also I really loved Psychonauts (that one needs a sequel too, it ended with a sort-of cliffhanger) and the Monkey Island series.

+1 vote     reply to comment
xXMaNiAcXx Jan 31 2011, 12:15pm says:

Well... Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. That game is really great, I just love the storyline and the gameplay, the cutscenes are epic and everything makes you feel like the real character. I don't know if i'm the only who thinks this, but really, it is really immersive.

There's another, Star Wars Republic Commando. The ending made me an emotional person, i've never felt something so bad when a character in a game died. I was like "OH NO! THIS CAN'T BE! HE WAS MY FAVE GUY! NOOO!" and then I ragequitted the game and never played it again. Bad memories.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Sph!nx Feb 1 2011, 4:21pm says:

Too many games to list! Nice read, Hez. Looking forward to what you'll cook up!

+1 vote     reply to comment
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