The Haunted House of Dracula
Meet Booh and Babbot
They are based on a combination of Laurel and Hardy and Abbot and Costello, a little more of the latter than the former and with a twist of my own imagination. Hopefully Booh and Babbot will go far. There first adventure is going to take them to a haunted mansion once owned by the famous Count. They start out as gentlemen cleaners, that's janitors in suits, it is Babbot's idea. He is the almost brains of the duo who have been together since childhood. Booh is the dreamer.
Bartholomew Orinthal Oliver Halstead
Based on Lou Costello, he is thinner, younger and more of a dreamer. He is cute and cuddly and for some strange reason, women are attracted to him.
He is a planner, an idea man and the life long companion of Booh. At times he may seem hard on Booh, but don't ever put Booh in danger, because Babbot is as protective as they come.
A Journey into Adventure Gaming
I should explain, that this is neither a book or movie, but an adventure game that I have been working on for about two years. It may seem strange to be working on a game that long, and I should explain. I am a programmer analyst, and have never developed a game before, this is my first. The game has gone through several iterations since I am a novice in this industry and I wasn't really sure how to get the game from my imagination into reality. So I thought I would take you on that journey.
It begins with my introduction to Kings Quest III from Sierra Online in 1987. Booh and Babbot were not even a twinkle in my eye at that time, but it was when I was introduced to computer adventure gaming. I came to gaming late in life, if forty is late in life, although I had played a number of computer games, it was always a bit hit and miss for me. I was never a big fan of text adventure games, mostly because I am more visual oriented than most.
Sierra Online leaped the shark tank with Phantasmagoria and Kings Quest VIII. Sierra Online went through several changes including Ken and Roberta Williams leaving the company. It seems that adventure gaming had peaked and took a bit of a dip.
From Game Playing to Game Developing
In the late 1990's I got interest in adventure game development and I started looking for game development engines. A number of them were popping up, but it was AGS, Adventure Game Systems, that caught my eye. It was geared towards creating adventure games much like those created by Sierra Online and Lucas Arts, and it was free, a definite advantage. I had I couple of ideas for games although I didn't have time to really develop them, I learned about what was needed to make a game fun to play, although my vision was a little idealistic. I was an amateur learning about the gaming industry and working at another job so my game development activities were hit and miss.
Although AGS is an excellent tool and I recommend highly for anyone wanting to develop a classic Adventure Game, but it wasn't quite what I was looking for, plus I didn't really have a game in mind, I wanted to do something that was new, but I also wanted it to be familiar to me and others.
In the new century I became acquainted with casual games. Several things about casual games appealed to me; the variety of game types, game elements could be played in a brief amount of time, and they were inexpensive. I found several adventure game types, but they did not satisfy my adventure gaming desires until I came across HOG's, Hidden Object Games. As I began playing them, some of the better developers started moving towards a story line type of game that bordered upon being first person adventure games, and although they were static, the graphics were becoming more sophisticated and engaging. The more I played, the more I was convinced that I was closer to what I wanted to create.
A Game Maker Apprentice
I found another game engine, Game Maker, and a book “Game Maker's Apprentice” by Mark Overmars. This was about 2007 and although the game engine didn't easily lend itself to the classic adventure game, I had become acquainted with so many other game types that I was sure this engine with its scripting language would bring me closer to developing my own game. The book by Mark Overmars is fantastic. Not only did it provide step by step directions on how to use Game Maker, but it was a college course in game development in itself. I purchased the “Pro” version of Game Maker, somewhere between $20 and $40 dollars and I stepped through the book building the games and learning about game development. The book and game engine were just what I needed to understand what I wanted to do.
One of the games in the book was Pyramid Panic. This reminded me of the old movies I used to watch, mummies, Laurel and Hardy joining the foreign Legion, and Abbot and Costello meeting Frankenstein, and many more. In late 2008 Booh and Babbot were beginning to form in my mind. I actually created a level of a game based upon Pyramid Panic except you were caught in the basement of a haunted house and it was the first level to getting out. I published it on the game maker's web site and it is playable today. I started work on the second level of the game where in the main living quarters of the house you had to play a clue like game and figure out who got killed where in the house and with what. You had to take the portrait of the killed person to the appropriate room along with the murder weapon. There were clues about the house to help you with your task.
Additionally I created a street scene that was a pure hidden object game level, though not very good, that would lead you to the house. There was a second hidden object level and when you got passed that you would ring the bell and fall into the basement where...
The Economy Collapse Catches Me
In 2009, I became one of the great the unemployed, and I spent a lot of time trying to get a job in vane, no one wants to hire a 60 plus year old man to work. As a distraction to keep from dwelling on my income predicament, I started to flesh out the game “The Haunted House of Dracula”. Although I was considering turning it into a HOG, I wasn't truly satisfied with how to incorporate it using the Game Maker Engine. In 2010 Jacob Habgood and others put out a second book on Game Maker named “The Game Maker's Companion”. In a way it left off where “The Game Maker's Apprentice” left off. “The Game Maker's Companion” worked on a specific game type, Platform. Although there were a couple of games included in the development, the genre was Platform Games. Again game development played a major part in the book, it was like getting the second semester of the college course on Casual Game Development.
Although it provided no direct solution for me and my game “The Haunted House of Dracula”, in a sense it provided me with additional information, I would need assistance in developing my game. As an added distraction I started on a whole new game development idea, “Kayala's Journey”. My job search proved unfruitful and I realized I would need to find a way to generate income that did not include working at McDonalds. I have nothing against McDonalds, my Grand Children love it, but I am not quite ready to start working there, if they would have me. Money got tight, so I applied for Social Security to make ends meet, as unemployment ran out.
After I finished my initial design on “Kayala's Journey”, I decided I wanted to get back to “The Haunted House of Dracula”. I had expanded the game design to include seven levels and the back story had solidified itself in my mind, and all there was to do was to flesh out each level of game play. It was at this point that I realized that something was missing.
A little Unity in My Life
The game engine seemed geared toward first person shooter games, which was not encouraging, but there was a tutorial on a space station with a walk through that indicated that there was hope in developing an adventure HOG game. I started reading more about the engine, and discovered several books on Unity. Unfortunately they were a little older and didn't seem to meet my needs. Then I came across a new book that was just coming out by Sue Blackman, “Beginning 3D Game Development with Unity ...”, there is more to the title, but it was a recent book, and I found that encouraging, but after reading the description of the book I was convinced that the final piece was put into place for me to move forward with my game development with the Unity 3D engine.
The first part of the book explains the logic involved in game interaction, and soon has you creating game assets through simple examples that you can build upon and gradually expand.
In the second part, you'll build the foundations of a point-and-click style first-person adventure game—including reusable state management scripts, load/save functionality, a robust inventory system, and a bonus feature: a dynamically configured maze and mini-map.
With the help of the provided 2D and 3D content, you'll learn to evaluate and deal with challenges in bite-sized pieces as the project progresses, gaining valuable problem-solving skills in interactive design.
The Private Investigators Office Circa Film Noir
I have started working through the book and altering and applying code snippets to my own game. I have started on Level One, a PI Office. Here the beginning of Booh and Babbot's first will begin.
Booh and Babbot in the Haunted House of Dracula
For those of you who would like to see the progress of the first level, Here is a brief write up of the game navigation.
Up And Down arrows on the keyboard control forward and backward movement, as do the keys “w' and “s”. While in motion the mouse controls the view. The right and left keys provide turn right and left and can be used in conjunction with the forward and backward keys. The “a” and “d” keys strafe left and right. The space key causes the view to jump. If you hold the shift key down, then the mouse will also control the view, as well as holding the right button of the mouse down will control the view. The arrow cursor disappears when in motion or when changing the view.
The action elements of the scene are the door handles, they will cause the doors to open. If you touch an open door, it will close. You can open it again by “touching” the door handle. The safe door works the same way, touch the handle, not the combination dial, and the door will open. Touch the open door and it will close. The chest lid will open and close when touched.
The light switches in the inner offices control the lights, there is a crate in an office, and touching the lid will cause it to open, and the rock by the wall in the hallway does nothing.
The Journey is just beginning.