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Author Topic: Sunset  (Read 29236 times)
Michaël Samyn
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« on: March 12, 2014, 10:09:20 am »


Sunset is available now! For PC, Mac and Linux. On Steam and DRM-free through Humble. Thanks for joining us in the incredible ride that was its development!


Below is the original content of this first post.



We have started production of a new game, called Sunset.
Here's an introduction.

Since it's a very narrative-oriented game, we will be talking about the story most of the time. But this looks like a good place to share some more behind-the-scenes information.

Hope you like what you see so far.

Come and say hello at the GDC!
« Last Edit: May 21, 2015, 10:36:14 pm by Michaël Samyn » Logged

Tale of Tales now creating Sunset
Michaël Samyn
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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2014, 10:43:31 am »

I feel pretty good about using that Helvetica Neue Bold in the poster. It was a difficult decision. Especially since I very lively remember my first task in graphic design school: design a poster for a circus with only the word "CIRCUS" in Helvetica. This was in the late eighties. But my teachers were stuck in the early seventies. I spent the subsequent four years in art school battling that will all sorts of extravagant postmodern nonsense.

And now we've come full circle, creating a poster for a story set in the early seventies. I wonder if my teachers would be proud.

I love the way Helvetica is used in early seventies print and film. It's not used in the tasteful stylish way that people use it now. It always feel kind of bland, a little bit kitschy. Rough. Like here:
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Michaël Samyn
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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2014, 10:48:53 am »

Anyway. Other influences were of course the "revolutionary" graphics of that era (Black Panther Party, Che Guevara, etc). We're collecting reference material on Tumblr.
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Michaël Samyn
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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2014, 10:55:36 am »

We sort of arbitrarily chose the year 1972 to set the game in. But it turns out to be a very interesting time. It's the transition moment from the old "authoritarian" polite society to the new "free" egalitarian world that we still live in. The tension between the two streams is fascinating.

It's also the time of Blaxploitation movies and since one of us is black, we're having fun playing with that. Hence the big afro on the poster (the player character is loosely inspired by Angela Davis). Not that you see her much since it's a first person game.
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Ouren
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2014, 06:58:13 pm »

See you guys at GDC! :D
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Sean Han Tani
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2014, 07:52:58 pm »

Awesome to see you keeping a devlog for this here. Loved Auriea's talk at IndieCade - just finished playing through Luxuria Superbia, really enjoyed it. You two's work is really inspiring!


---
Informative updates, by the way. Cool how a sort of arbitrary chosen year led to a lot.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 07:58:18 pm by seagaia » Logged

An adventure platformer.
Also made Anodyne
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2014, 08:14:52 pm »

So far I'm liking the idea Smiley

By the way, that site looks a bit odd here, hard to read. Something similar happens with a specific font in macs, I don't remember the name, but looks good on macs and on PCs looks bad.
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Michaël Samyn
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« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2014, 10:55:52 pm »

Sunset is based on an old idea. We even got some art funding for it while making The Path and made a prototype back in 2005, called The Apartment. This prototype was included in the bundle of experiments that we released for the occasion of our ten year anniversary last December: http://tale-of-tales.com/anniversary/
The game went through several permutations. One of which we pitched to Sony but they liked Vanitas better. Of course in true Sony style nothing happened beyond that. Some versions of the idea were similar to The Novelist. But it's very different now.
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« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2014, 10:57:24 pm »

I'm a lover!
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William Chyr
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« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2014, 12:05:00 am »

Found out about this devlog from Seagaia. Really looking forward to following the development of this game!
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Michaël Samyn
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« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2014, 02:11:29 am »

We're currently prototyping the game with PlayMaker in Unity.
Here's a screenshot:



The apartment where the game takes place is based on a design that was published in a 1970 copy of Playboy magazine. We've already changed it a bit though, to fit the game better.

But prototyping is not as important for this game is it has been for most of our previous ones. Sunset is our first game that is really structured as a story. As a result we're doing a lot more preparatory work (writing the story, defining the structure, defining the ways in which the story is delivered, etc) than we're used to. Usually we just start modeling and programming based on a very slight idea and see where the prototyping leads us. The development of Sunset is a lot more disciplined.

Here's what it looks like with a bit of lighting:



Most of the game takes place during the hour before sunset. So the apartment will always be semi-dark, lit by orange-yellow light.
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« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2014, 05:26:51 am »

Looking nice with that light. I like the concept, interested to see where this goes.
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Michaël Samyn
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« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2014, 04:06:52 am »

Leigh Alexander and Ste Curran at helping us achieve our desire to create a game that is appealing and enjoyable by people who actually play games (specifically people who enjoy games like Gone Home, Dear Esther, Journey, etc). The past has proven to us that we cannot do this on our own. We can't trust our own instincts. No matter how hard we try, our games have often alienated and even upset many. We think this is a pity and unnecessary and are working with Leigh and Ste to overcome any barriers to joy our weird creative minds might invent. So far the collaboration has been very helpful. At least for us. Time will tell the rest.
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Michaël Samyn
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« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2014, 04:17:11 am »

We met with composer Austin Wintory last night in a diner in San Francisco, his voice raw like an Italian crooner. Very much looking forward to the collaboration! He is different from the other composers we've worked with (Gerry De Mol, Jarboe, Kris Force, Walter Hus, Zoë Keating) in that he is an experienced soundtrack composer with a passion for games –and a staggering knowledge of music throughout history. We hope Sunset can offer him a platform to realize some of his musical dreams, even if our production is quite modest compared to some of his other projects. We're very grateful that he seems to be equally enthusiastic about our collaboration.
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Michaël Samyn
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« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2014, 01:14:41 am »

Finally back at our desk from our trip to GDC and almost done with the email backlog. I hope we can find some time to work on the game next week.

We're still refining the story. We are not writers. This is one of the reasons why we have mostly worked with existing stories before (fairy tales, biblical legends, literature, etc). But for Sunset we are inventing a fictional universe and a sequence of events. To aid us, amateurs, we have used an application called Contour. Contour imposes a structure that is based on research of successful film plots. A classical three act structure with exactly 44 plot points through which the protagonist evolves from an "orphan" in act 1 over a "wanderer" and a "warrior" in act 2 to a "martyr" in act 3. The peculiarity of Sunset, as in many narrative games, is that the fictional protagonist is not the player character (the housekeeper) but a third person (the owner of the apartment).

I was surprised by how convenient the "writing by numbers" of Contour is and how convincing the resulting story. But I'm happy that we have a human writer whom we can consult with too. Sadly they must remain anonymous.

Personally I don't care much for storytelling in videogames. I consider this medium to be "post-content". I like exploring stories but a causal sequence of events doesn't excite me much. I prefer a more personal journey. But after some research into the reception of first person exploration games I discovered that most players don't share my preference. Many deeply enjoy discovering a story and being carried through a plot. So in our continuing effort to meet the audience half way, we decide to come up with a story to frame the events and situations we wanted to have in the game.

And I admit that it has been fun to do so. Coming up with a story and traversing this fictional universe is very pleasant. And the research into the reference material is very enriching. A story also makes it much easier to talk about the project. People like a good story. Have done so since the dawn of time. I only hope our game will deliver.
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« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2014, 01:52:34 am »

Really liking everything about this so far. Hoping to see you guys on A MAZE.
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Michaël Samyn
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« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2014, 11:51:33 pm »

Glad to hear it.
Come and say hello in Berlin!
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Michaël Samyn
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« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2014, 11:46:26 pm »

I'm extra excited about Sunset because Auriea and I are collaborating closely again. During the last two projects (Bientôt l'été and Luxuria Superbia), her focus was on another project and she only contributed to some aspects of the games. But with Sunset we're both on the project -almost- full time, developing the entire thing together. This gives me an enormous trust in the quality of what we're making. I feel so much bigger when she's around.
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« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2014, 06:56:44 am »

This sounds awesome.  I always look forward to seeing how Tale of Tales will try to break the mold - every game you've done pushes the envelope of what "games" are (though I'm sorry to hear it's been a struggle connecting with your audience).

Stay true to yourselves, and best of luck!
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Ouren
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« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2014, 02:16:35 pm »

I'm extra excited about Sunset because Auriea and I are collaborating closely again. During the last two projects (Bientôt l'été and Luxuria Superbia), her focus was on another project and she only contributed to some aspects of the games. But with Sunset we're both on the project -almost- full time, developing the entire thing together. This gives me an enormous trust in the quality of what we're making. I feel so much bigger when she's around.

Lovely!
She's way more active on twitter and you guys seem super upbeat about this together. I'm so pumped to see more. Smiley
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