Wheel of Space

Wheel of Space is a quirky adventure game created by myself and Mark Cautillo for the Game-Making Deathmatch 2008.

Download – 18 MB

The GMD 2008 competition ran for three weeks during which time the contestants need to create a game based on one of two given themes:

  1. Deadly Viruses from Dimension N+1.
  2. Planet Earth and Frogs with Potatoes on the side.

Now, Mark and I wanted to create an adventure game in the spirit of Sierra’s old Space Quest games, with all the ridiculousness added in, so we chose theme 2.We made the game in Adventure Game Studio. This enabled us to focus on the game’s silly humour, CG art, and sound (which included voice acting, sound effects, and music). There was minimal programming involved in this project, which was a departure from what both of us usually do for GMD competitions. In programming-intensive games, such as my Blood Vessel game made in Flash, I tend to challenge myself to learn a new programming (or scripting) language, whereas the development of WoS was a challenge in other aspects of game development, such as writing and art.The part that was most fun to do was voice acting. :)

We recorded about 240 lines of spoken dialogue, most of it adventure game styled narration (for looking at things, using objects, etc). We both played several roles. I played the majority of the game’s narrators, which was tons of fun. Mark voiced the introduction narration, the game’s hero and Commander Obama (a play on “Commander Adama”, from Battlestar Galactica Sci-Fi show). We used Audacity to remove the noise from all our recordings, and to tweak the pitch of introductory narration and Commander Obama. The computer voices we borrowed from the text-to-speech generated output provided by AT&T Labs TTS Demo.

Whee of Space

The most challenging part in making WoS was creating the CG art. I was in charge of creating all of the game’s environment backgrounds and their animations. Even though it was a lot of work to complete within a short period of time, it was nevertheless time-well-spent in practicing CG painting and the general use of some cool features in Adobe Photoshop.

Whee of Space

Whee of Space

During the making of this game, I realized how much work there was behind making only a small fraction of the classic adventure games in the 90′s, from companies such as Sierra and Lucas Art; especially in terms of the amount of voice-over dialogue that needed to be recorded to cover the large amounts of game text. Even a simple action of looking at the in-game environment within a particular scene accounts for about a dozen lines of text – if the scene is simple, and even more text if the scene contains a puzzle that changes the state of the environment. Add to that the various items the player can use to interact with the environment, and a simple scene can take several days to complete.

Speaking of in-game items: in keeping with the second competition theme, we decided to add a potato to the player’s inventory, which the player can use to interact with the various parts of the game’s environments. The same holds true for the talk, look, and touch actions. Try them out. :)

Whee of Space