Dec 232015
 
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Hello and welcome to this new Ghost of a Tale update featuring a unique papercraft gift for you! But first some news about the game’s development.

Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been very busy transitioning to the latest version of Unity. A move which proved (at least at first) to be pretty much a catastrophic one and generated quite a lot of stress.

It is a transition I dreaded but unfortunately there was no choice; we needed the bug fixes and the new features. Long story short; after the upgrade almost all the game’s shaders broke, resulting in a “pink screen” (Unity’s way of letting you know in no uncertain terms that your shaders are broken).

ScreenShot 2015_12_09 16;59;090012

So with the help of Joachim (the developer of Shader Forge, a great tool to create shaders in Unity) I had to manually fix each of the game’s shaders (and materials) one by one. After which everything (at least visually) was back to normal.

There were also a plethora of issues with other third-party assets but I only have praises for their developers who responded very quickly to my cries for help (a special mention to Stephan, the developer of TextMeshPro and Diogo & Ricardo from Amplify) and provided us with stellar support.

And I am indeed quite relieved to say the situation is now back under control! 🙂

ScreenShot 2015_11_24 22;49;28001

As you may know Ghost of a Tale uses a couple of third-party assets (AI, C# tweening, etc…) but the way I picked them up is not just based on their intrinsic quality; it is the professionalism of their coders that makes them extremely valuable. And once again, without their help and the genuine concern and support of Unity people (thanks Chris!) that could have been an even more stressful event.

So we’re now back to work, toiling on things like integrating Unity’s new scene streaming system (Cyrille’s got a grip on that), fixing bugs, adding the remaining features and making tweaks. One such tweak included making the sliding door’s levers a little more readable (they used to be smaller and very dark before):

ScreenShot 2015_11_23 23;13;36001

And now for our Christmas gift to you: how would you like to have your own papercraft Tilo to adorn your desk? 🙂

Well Paul lovingly prepared just the thing for you: if you possess a little patience and moderate finger coordination you’ll be able to create this little papercraft figurine of our favorite musical rodent! All you have to do is print out this PDF file and follow Paul’s instructions! Note that this is a revised and improved version of the one he did during Gamescom last year.

tilo_paper

Finally all of you guys who backed up the game on Indiegogo (starting at 10 euros) should have received by now an email asking for your “credit name” information (that’s your name as you would like it to appear in the game’s credits). I did get a couple of undelivered emails bouncing back (maybe ten or so) but it would seem 99% of them reached their destination.

And that’s the end of this update. In closing, Paul and Cyrille join me to wish you all happy holidays! 🙂

May 142015
 
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Ghost of a Tale is often called a one-man game. While in a sense this could be considered as true (as in “if I didn’t work on this game it would never exist”), I wanted to give a detailed breakdown of who directly participates in the creation of Ghost of a Tale.

Please forgive me for starting with myself but let’s get it out of the way quickly: I create all of the game’s visuals on my own. That includes all the art, characters, models, rigging, animations, lighting, textures, environments, etc…

I’m also responsible for about 95% of the game’s code (including AI behaviors, mechanics, interface, controls, etc…). In other words, if something breaks down or looks ugly, I’m to blame for that! 🙂

But all this would be rather lonely and daunting if I didn’t get any help. Luckily I do!

ScreenShot 2015_04_06 16;32;22001GK

Starting with Paul Gardner, who is the writer for the game. He puts up valiantly with all my nagging regarding finding specific “voices” for the characters. But Paul’s role is not “just” writing for the game; he’s also a professional game designer (having worked on quite a few titles at Namco and Traveler’s Tale).

So we talk a lot about ideas, back and forth several times a week. Our discussions range from game mechanics to dialogs to back-story to level design. And I never move forward if he disagrees strongly with something. If Ghost of a Tale is anywhere near what it is today it’s thanks to Paul’s steadfast collaboration.

On the technical side I have the considerable benefit of receiving help and support from Cyrille Paulhiac who is an experienced coder. As I mentioned previously Cyrille has created a couple of amazing tools that allow me to concentrate on creating the game itself rather than dealing with technical tediousness. His work often remains “behind the curtain” but is nonetheless very cool.

As a concrete example during the weeks leading up to Gamescom last year I had to manually model all the tessellated environment colliders (using Maya) for the demo. Which was a thankless, time-consuming job. Since then, Cyrille has coded a tool which creates those colliders in seconds with just one click, directly within Unity!

Untitleasdasdd-1

Last but not least I want to talk about the very talented Jeremiah Pena. He’s the composer for the game’s soundtrack and his work gives its auditory identity to Ghost of a Tale. There again I feel very lucky indeed to have been contacted by him just before the Indiegogo campaign went live.

From the get go I used one of his existing compositions to edit the very first alpha trailer. I had even thought of leaving it in, but Jeremiah was confident he could come up with something much more fitting to the game’s mood. And what he did blew me away, obviously. That’s when I knew I could entrust the entire game’s soundtrack to him.

Needless to say I am extremely grateful for Paul, Cyrille and Jeremiah’s continuous involvement with the project.

Of course there are many people who at one time or another generously lent their help (and sometimes still do) to the game, but I hope next time I mention Paul, Cyrille or Jeremiah you guys have a better idea about their respective roles.

Talk to you all next time! 🙂

Aug 292014
 
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We’ve been back from Gamescom for a week now and it was a blast. Of course I was a little anxious as to what the gamers’ reaction would be. As I said in the previous post, up to now Ghost of a Tale was just a couple of pretty screenshots. And from one day to the next it became something real that players were experiencing first hand (even though it was just a demo).

Here are a couple of pictures of the convention (including a nifty paper Tilo created by Paul and a group of fans who wanted their picture taken with the poster!):

Gamescom montage

In a sense it was trial by fire. Usually when studios or publishers introduce a new game it happens behind closed doors for a hand-picked group of journalists and the demo is carefully conducted by a developer who only shows the game under its best profile. We did the exact opposite.

We put the controller in people’s hands and said “Go ahead, try it!”. It was a little nerve-wracking at first but it quickly proved to be an exhilarating experience for us (and the players seemed to have a grand time too!). So I am personally reassured that Ghost of a Tale will probably turn out to be a pretty good game! 🙂

I also want to thank Stephane for organizing the logistics of our presence at Gamescom, David for coming up with the idea of the Tilo costume (and wearing it despite the heat!), Cyrille for his help both programming-wise and on the booth, Jeremiah for his kick-ass soundtrack and finally Paul without whom GoaT’s gameplay and story would not be what they are today.

Above ground

The media coverage was quite extensive and we had articles on many websites (RPGWatch, PCGamer, IGN, Rock-Paper-Shotgun, Gamekult, GameInformer, Destructoid, IndieHangover and many more in many different languages). And that doesn’t even include quite a few threads on various forums like Reddit and Neogaf, interviews by German media and the mentions in a bunch of podcasts and on Youtube.

Basically for a lot of people Ghost of a Tale completely came out of the blue. A lot of them noticed the game during Microsoft’s press conference and went online to find out more about it (and watch the full trailer). So a big thank you to Microsoft for that!

Tilo finds a skeleton

As to anyone wondering what’s the deal with Microsoft: they simply heard of the game and decided they also wanted to see it released on their new console. So they sent us development kits free of charge along with the means to pay for the port of the game. And that’s it. So Ghost of a Tale remains at its core an indie PC game which is also going to be released on Xbox One thanks to Microsoft’s help.

As a side-note I found German gamers to be very polite and thoughtful! Which made for an extra-nice overall experience. We had a lot of people playing the game and on average the demo itself was about 15 to 20mn long. Although some people spent almost 45mn to do everything and Cyrille holds the speedrun record of 2:38 !

Thanks again to all of you who continue to follow the game’s development. And keep sending us good vibes, they are very much appreciated! 🙂

Cheers,

Seith

Aug 152014
 
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Hi guys, just a very quick post from Cologne to say “Yay! We’re at Gamescom!”. So far it’s a quite intense but positive experience. We’re basically introducing the game to its potential audience and it’s really cool to see reactions not only to the visuals but to the gameplay as well.

Here’s the trailer in case you haven’t seen it yet:

Microsoft posted this trailer online and showed a glimpse of it at its press conference, which really helped us in terms of exposure (kudos to them).

Finally I want to clarify something: Ghost of a Tale is primarily a PC game which will also be released on Xbox One thanks to Microsoft’s interest in seeing the game on their platform (which is, I believe, a very good thing)… 🙂

As always, thank you for the continued support and stay tuned for more news!