Gamedev. The Book of Alex - Critique

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Bacrylic, May 17, 2019.

  1. Bacrylic

    Bacrylic New Member

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    Hi, I'm Bacrylic. I'm the acting art director and sole artist/animator for Squaretale, a two man indie development group currently making their first game. Our game, The Book of Alex, will be a pixel, metroidvania fantasy adventure. We've been working on this on and off for quite some time. Due to real life constraints we've only been able to dish out the time as of late. Conceptually our inspiration derives from the movie The Pagemasterand the game Kingdom Hearts. Where in you play as Alex who world dives into public domain stories and has to fight creatures and take quests in order to clear up the corruption of the originals. Btw we're going with the original stories, not the Disney clean up stuff. I'm talking the dark and twisted shit. Anyway here is our progress, I'd appreciate any feedback I can get.

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  2. John Hauge

    John Hauge New Member

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    Feedback \ Critique – The Book of Alex


    By looking at the first concept art picture with the guy sitting on the book with allot of spears coming out of it is well made and really gives an initial idea of how the game would look in terms of colors and theme, but whilst looking at the rest of the content shown it feels a bit like it does not fit in at all. The animation for the game play suddenly looks a lot more cartoony and even the later concept art has a very different art style. This might have been the result of progression and further developing the idea and story of course.

    The fighting animations area great, I really love how he spawns a sword out of his book and can really imagine how this could make the game very unique in terms of game play, you could for example draw out tools from the book such as (grappling hook, climbing rope, ladder, etc etc) Could get really creative with this, though my suggestions where not very creative at all here.

    You mention I the text that you draw inspiration from the page master and Kingdom Hearts, but it is unclear to me if Alex was from kingdom hearts or if your main protagonist was named Alex, but I could find no Alex in kingdom hearts after some googling, haven’t played Kingdom Hearts myself, only heard about it.

    But I get the feeling that you are basing the game allot around the narrative concept of kingdom hearts and you would probably be better off if you didn’t lock yourself to this concept, make it your own and not just do it in a different way. (I have no idea if this is the case, so just disregard it if I am wrong)

    Again, I must say that the animations you have are good, I think your concept has allot of potential and could make for very interesting game play and level design. But I would also focus a bit more maybe on the narrative, give it more depth and meaning.

    Questions I ask myself is:

    why is this small round dark figure carrying around a book?

    why are all enemies made from books?

    Who are trying to corrupt the stories and why?

    Why does the book the protagonist have function as a weapon?

    What is the goal, what is the purpose?

    Sorry that I don’t have much more to write as of right now, maybe try and fill in some of the blanks in a post under here if you would like better feedback. But from the work you have shown here the visuals are great and animations are very like-able, but I can’t say much in terms of game play etc. Hope to see more of this one!

    If I am wrong about the narrative bit I pointed out, please post some of the narrative you’ve got, I would love to read it.

    Best of luck to you guys!
     
  3. Bacrylic

    Bacrylic New Member

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    Hey John, I appreciate the feedback.

    I'm in a bit of a hurry so I'll try to clear up some of the questions and comments you mentioned.

    As far as the art style, the top poster is the most recent one, where as the lower is one of my earlier creations. Conceptually I'm not terribly concerened with the style of the the posters or the concepts unless it is relavent to how I convert them into pixel art for the game's purpose. However if it is a question about future merch or promotional art, then the top one is the style in which that will be done in, for the most part.

    As far as our inspiration goes, we didn't take Alex from Kingdom Hearts or The Pagemaster (which is why you won't find him in that google search. Did you think we took him from their story/game?). What I meant was that the idea behind the game's story and gameplay was conceptually inspired by the two. For the most part, we don't think we're taking too much from Kingdom Hearts storywise. I'm not sure what makes you say that, since I haven't posted anything in depth about the story. When finished I'm sure you could find similarities to some degree, but that wouldn't be because we're mimicing it, just that it is the direction we're taking the story, (in all honesty I never beat Kingdom Hearts, I just liked the concept for the game so I don't know a lot about it). In fact you might find it closer follows The Pagemaster as it is a huge nostalgia hit for me and my partner. Don't worry we have full intentions of making the story our own with our own lore to follow.

    Answers for you:

    That is our version of Heartless (to a degree). I wanted a main named type of enemy that has multiple variations with similar concept design restrictions. They are called Inklings (name pending) and they are beings manifested from ink drops and literature. Their bodies will often be made up of ink shapes, often punctuation to say they are ink manifestations of the text they are carrying. Which are also used to draw out attacks, as if a line from a page comes to life and is thrown at you.

    Why is the book a sword? Because booksword dude. Its fucking awesome, reading that kills. Simply put it was a concept I liked and stuck with as giving him an actual sword didn't seem iconic or interesting. I like the idea of having multiple weapons to use for combos, so the weapon book can be more than just a sword, and I like having options to work with.

    Anything I didn't answer for you, is on account of I don't want to spoil anything just yet. Digging too deep can give away some of the unfinished details. There is a lot we don't have solidified yet, though we have most of it thought out, we're keeping it open to new ideas.

    We're not gonna dish out the whole narrative to the public just yet. I hope this covered everything.
     
  4. John Hauge

    John Hauge New Member

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    Hi, thanks for answering my questions. As I think I mentioned in my post I have not play kingdom heats, so I don't fully know how it works. Which is why i said that!, I only meant to be constructive with my criticism and also as noted if I am off about anything you should just disregard it, I didn't have allot of info at the time of writing an was just guessing from what I saw.

    I understand that you can't spill everything you got here publicly!

    Really like your work so far and would be thrilled to see more as you progress !, best of luck
     

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