It has come to my attention that some of you were not able to attend our presentation at WonderCon last Friday. Since we are dedicated to making sure all of our fans have equal access to Telltale related goodness, I have here provided for you an exact transcript of the presentation. At least as exact as my memory provides.
DAN: Welcome everyone to our talk about Telltale Games, and thank you for coming. Unfortunately, Steve Purcell will not be able to make it today, as he has a very important meeting with a very important person whose name is best left unmentioned.
AUDIENCE: BOOO! HISS!!Audience stands up to leave
DAN: But he did send along these nifty signed prints to give you in order to quell your anger.Audience sits back down
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: oh ok. That's not so bad then...
DAN: My name is Dan Connors and I'm the CEO of Telltale Games. With me here today are two of our completely brilliant and talented team members. Heather Logas is a designer with Telltale and comes to us from uhm...someplace in Georgia...
HEATHER: That would be the Georgia Institute of Technology Mr. Connors.
DAN: Yeah, what she said. We also have Dave Bogan, who is our Art Director and also went to a school.
DAVE: mmm hmm...
DAN: Let's turn this over to Heather who will talk about game design and Bone.
HEATHER: Thank you Dan. We are very fortunate to be working on Bone, which is absolutely fabutastic. If you haven't read the story yet, make sure you go out to the dealer's room after this talk and buy the $500 leather bound limited edition. It makes a lovely gift or family heirloom. Now its possible that some of you were here for Jeff Smith's talk at last year's WonderCon where we announced that the first chapter of Bone was coming out. Based on some of the questions we got there, it seemed like some people were assuming that we were going to make Bone into a first person shooter or platformer. Why is it that game adaptations of other media are ALWAYS first person shooters or action-adventure/platformers? WHY???
HEATHER: Ahem. The gameplay must fit with the nature of the story being told, just as much as the plot points and art style. Bone fits really well with the kind of games Telltale wants to make. Bone has a great story, really great characters and a fun world to explore. All these things lend themselves towards making a story-driven adventure game that everyone can enjoy.
HEATHER: When starting to think about how to adapt a story like Bone to a game, the place to start is with the story itself. First of all, we need to analyze the themes in the story that we can bring out through the game. In Bone, I feel the two most important themes are quiche and stuffed bread thingies.
AUDIENCE: Mm...stuffed bread thingies...
HEATHER: Sorry, I skipped breakfast. What I meant to say is that friendship and responsibility are very important themes in Bone that serve as a touchstone for creating the games.
HEATHER: Playing a story is different than reading or watching a story. In a game we have the POWER OF INTERACTIVITY! For example, we can do neat things like let the player play through the game as Fone Bone and then play through similar situations as Phoney Bone and really experience the difference between the two characters. (shows the part of the game where Phoney talks to and knocks out Ted's big brother)
HEATHER: See, who needs shooting to make a game when you can instead smash a big bug into an even bigger rock! The other thing that's great about interactivity is that we can let the player really explore and investigate the world of Jeff Smith's Bone in ways that isn't possible on the page of a comic.
HEATHER: Don't you just feel the loneliness, the despair? Can't you feel the cold wind whipping through the stone spires? It reminds me of this poem I just finished writing...
DAVE: O -- KAY...I think it's my turn now....
HEATHER: What about my poem?
DAN: Remember what we discussed about sharing the podium, Heather.
HEATHER: Oh fine. Your loss. (Heather sits down and Dave stands up)
DAVE: Okay everyone, you can wake up now. Since you people are all here because you love comic books, you will probably actually care about the rest of the presentation. Plus, I have prettier pictures. (Audience members wipe their groggy eyes. Heather seethes.)
DAVE: Re-creating the art style of Bone in our games is vital to creating an authentic Bone experience. I want to talk about how Jeff Smith treats environments and characters. When Jeff draws an environment, he leaves a lot of room for his actors to move around and he environment never distracts from the actions of the characters. His animation background really shows with his characters, who are drawn with energy and are very...animated.
HEATHER: It really is quite a good poem.
DAVE: I'll show you first of all the process we go through to create an environment. This is the source material we used for the Barrelhaven tavern, which comes directly from the comics. Next you'll see the concept drawing.
DAVE: Note how we keep it looking as much like the tavern as possible, but we might need to include some of these other objects for game play. (clicks to advance slide)
DAVE: Here's a video showing a walkthrough of the tavern, you can see how things get translated into 3D... (clicks to advance slide)
DAVE: And here is the tavern with lighting.
DAVE: Yeah, that's beautiful eh...what do you think Heather?
HEATHER: I suppose its nice.
DAVE: Now I'll show you the process for the characters. Here are two of my favorite characters, Phoney and Lucius, from the comic. These are really great characters to work with. Plus they're just AWESOME! Dave laughs. The audience just stares on in apathy.
DAVE: Ok right. Here's Phoney and Lucius in wireframe...
DAVE: Here's their skeletons, so we can pose them and make them animate.
DAVE: And here they are posed. This is where they really start to come alive.
Now I'll show you a clip of animation for each one. (clicks to advance slide)
DAVE: Here's Phoney being Phoney... (audience chuckles and Dave clicks to advance the slide)
DAVE: And here's Smiley with Lucius as the disciplinarian... (audience laughs)
HEATHER: I have to say Dave, Lucius really looks fantastic.
DAVE: Thank you Heather. Okay, one more slide... (clicks to advance slide)
DAVE: Humor is very important to Jeff's work and we want to fully capture it. But you can do things a little differently with animation than you can with the printed page. Like this... (audience guffaws. Dave runs the animation again. Audience guffaws again. This repeats for about 10 minutes, when Dan finally makes him stop clicking "play"�.)
DAVE: Okay, that's all I got for ya. Dan?
DAN: Thanks Dave and Heather. You guys are two in a million.
DAN: So working with Jeff has been a blast. Jeff is a great guy and lets us do anything we want as long as we pass it by his eyes first. Here you can see an image of Smiley before and after the approval process. We sent in the top Smiley, and Jeff drew on top of our version to show us how he'd like us to actually make Smiley. Jeff approves everything we do, from dialog to characters to voice actors, but working with him has been very smooth.
DAN: Now for the part you've been waiting for, Sam & Max! (audience cheers)
DAN: Telltale is working with Steve Purcell on the next Sam and Max title, and its been great working with him. What's great about Sam & Max is that anything is up for grabs. You could do an episode on the moon and another in the Amazon, and its all cool. What's funny actually is that you'll come up with the craziest idea you can think of about how the game is supposed to go, and you bring it to Steve and he'll ask you "that all you got?"� and push it that much further to make it even crazier!
DAN: Ok, what else we got here? Oh yeah, my marketing buddy made me put in this slide. Here's all the important URLs for our web-site and the Sam & Max online comics and stuff. Oh and you can also check out our store where you can buy this awesome t-shirt I'm wearing. (audience laughs)
DAN: Thank you for laughing. Ok, let's open this up to some questions, shall we?
QUESTIONER: Can we have our posters now?
DAN: Not till we're done with the questions.
QUESTIONER: In that demo you showed us of the game just now, why was it that when you were finished with that dialog there was only one line available to click?
HEATHER: Because it is brilliant and perfect that way. Next question!
QUESTIONER: Heather, exactly how much caffeine have you consumed today?
HEATHER: Plenty. Next question!
QUESTIONER: Is The Great Cow Race gonna be longer than the last game?
HEATHER: Hey, lay off the last game! It was great!
DAN: Yes, the Cow Race will be longer.
QUESTIONER: Is there any specific process by which you insert Jeff's humor into the Bone game?
DAVE: Well...wait, what, process? I dunno, we just make it funny.
QUESTIONER: I have fifty questions about Sam & Max.
DAN: You get three.
QUESTIONER: Ok, first will it be episodic and downloadable.
QUESTIONER: Are you going to go with a more adult feel than Sam & Max Hit The Road?
QUESTIONER: It would be cool if you would make each episode a different art style. That'd be really neat.
DAN: What's the question?
QUESTIONER: Are you gonna do that?
DAN: I don't know yet.
QUESTIONER: Since Dave Grossman is completely awesome, I was wondering how much involvement he was going to have in Bone or Sam & Max...
DAVE G: (standing up from the back of the room)
Hello hello. An honor to be here. Yes, Heather and I are working on The Great Cow Race together. Sam & Max is very early in pre-production. So far I haven't touched it, but who knows?
QUESTIONER: Can we have our posters now?
DAN: Yes, yes...try not to trample each other on the way up. (Audience tramples each other on the way up with the exception of my parents, who deftly dodge out of the way, do quadruple summersaults, grab their posters and back-flip out before the crowd makes it to the front.)
That was our presentation as I remember it. Which is to say, exactly how it happened. Probably.