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Q&A With the Design Team

posted by Chuck on - last edited - Viewed by 2.3K users

Hello, honorary Freelance Police! Thanks for pre-ordering the game.

I'm Chuck Jordan, designer and writer of "The Penal Zone", the first episode of "The Devil's Playhouse." I'm also the guy responsible for making sure all the season's stories fit together in some semblance of order.

This thread is for your questions about the new season, as well as "Beyond Time and Space" and "Save the World," and general Sam & Max design-type stuff. I'll be starting out, and as we go on I'll try to rope in the other designers: Mike Stemmle, Andy Hartzell, Joe Pinney, and Dave Grossman.

I'll be answering your questions whenever I've got the time & know-how, with a super-bonus semi-live Q&A today (Monday Mar 15) from 2-3 PM.

So ask away!

479 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • @Chuck said: Motion capture is getting more common in games, and there are plenty of studios who use it like you describe. It's still too time- space- and labor-intensive for episodic adventure games from a smaller studio, though. All our stuff is animated "by hand."


    For facial expressions too? I know for body animation, Fahrenheit used it very nicely for example. I guess I should play Heavy Rain to see, but it's a PS3 exclusive still.

    And by hand ain't bad or anything. Just wondering if they used a tape of the voiceactors to add specific gestures and stuff they made up during it, that otherwise would never be imagined by the animator to add, but add to the whole.
    Animated movie featuretes always praise how that helped them all after all...
    Also I'm pretty sure you made up the word "mimications."
    I probably have :D.

  • Who was the idiot who thought it would be a good idea to release for Ipad first?

  • @Fury said: Who was the idiot who thought it would be a good idea to release for Ipad first?


    I think you first suggested it in a thread back in 2007. Weird, huh, the way things work out?

  • @Jake said: I think you first suggested it in a thread back in 2007. Weird, huh, the way things work out?



    Oh god.

    I remember that post.

    What was I thinking?!?

  • @Fury said: Oh god.

    I remember that post.

    What was I thinking?!?



    Okay that exchange was hilarious. You both get tons of points for that.

  • @Will said: To be fair, the opportunity [Sam 'n Max for the iPad] didn't present itself until after we had already started pre-orders, and we couldn't just come out and tell everyone about it because we were contractually obliged not to.

    In fact, 90% of the studio didn't even know about it until yesterday. It's been kept under extreme lock and key at Apple's bequest. I still haven't even seen the sucker, and I've got my hands in a bit of everything around here.

    (Copied from http://www.telltalegames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15844&page=2)

    That is actually very interesting to learn. So does that mean the Telltale engine is easily ported to the iPad or did you guys just steal one or two programmers and locked them away in a bathroom with an iPad SDK manual, throw in some occasional soy kaf and something inflatable and get out some killer code in record time?

    Are you guys allowed to answer questions about developing the game for the iPad now that the news is broke?

  • @Fury said: Who was the idiot who thought it would be a good idea to release for Ipad first?



    I'm interested in hearing on what actual, measurable criteria this person would be judged as an idiot.

  • I'd be interested in knowing what compromises, if any, had to be made to make it runnable on the iPad.

  • @Nojh said: (Copied from http://www.telltalegames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15844&page=2)

    That is actually very interesting to learn. So does that mean the Telltale engine is easily ported to the iPad or did you guys just steal one or two programmers and locked them away in a bathroom with an iPad SDK manual, throw in some occasional soy kaf and something inflatable and get out some killer code in record time?

    Are you guys allowed to answer questions about developing the game for the iPad now that the news is broke?



    All of our core engineers happen to be in one room together in the back. So we just papered over the windows and no one was allowed in that back room. We all knew that a big secret project was going on, just not what it was.

  • @Nojh said: (Copied from http://www.telltalegames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15844&page=2)

    That is actually very interesting to learn. So does that mean the Telltale engine is easily ported to the iPad or did you guys just steal one or two programmers and locked them away in a bathroom with an iPad SDK manual, throw in some occasional soy kaf and something inflatable and get out some killer code in record time?

    Are you guys allowed to answer questions about developing the game for the iPad now that the news is broke?



    It wasn't two guys locked in a bathroom, it was three guys locked in a small office in the back. So you were pretty close!

    @Nojh said: I'd be interested in knowing what compromises, if any, had to be made to make it runnable on the iPad.

    The game, content-wise, is identical to its PC/PS3 counterparts. Same puzzles, dialog, core art. The interface got a decently-sized makeover so that it is touch-friendly (and works at the iPad's different aspect ratios and orientations), the same way we clean up the interface to work with a PS3 controller instead of a keyboard, or whatever else. So, at it's heart it is the same core engine and the same game scripts running. The iPad can't match a PS3 or PC for raw power, so the textures and models are often a bit lower resolution, and some of the full screen effects (like color tinting and glow/bloom) are reduced or removed. Fortunately, the iPad has a pretty high pixel density -- the pixels are pretty tiny! -- and runs at 1024x768, so the game still looks very crisp and nice even with a few of the PC's details missing. We think it's pretty impressive and fun to play the game in its full 3D, full voice and music glory, on such a weird slim device like the iPad.

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