After some time without posting activity (due to heavy pressure from my daily job) and a small trip abroad to Rome (which was indeed very refreshing), there comes the hour when I intend to return with a steadier flow of posts.
Spellbind development still marches on and I expect a significant portion of the game to have been finished by the end of April.
Looking back in the beginning, when the whole project was conceived, I remember a friend’s request for a story in a fantasy setting, a story that was going to be used as the basis for a multimedia interactive game for children. That was the first time when I wrote down something that was very close to the prologue of Spellbind. Well of course, the game was never published. But I thought back then that it would actually be good as a story start for an adventure game, so I decided to work a little more on that.
So I worked on the prologue, the part where Luppe finds himself inside Lord Amatar’s cellar, discovers the big strange door which draws his curiosity and finally unlocks it and proceeds to the rest of big mysterious manor. All these were written hastily in a couple of days and proudly presented to the team in a coffee meeting. The sketches included a pretty rough puzzle flow and just about every other detail I could imagine regarding the prologue.
Till then, I had a story start and an actual playable prologue with its puzzles and almost all of its details defined. And then what? If I wanted to have a fully fledged storyline, I needed a beginning, and end and the whole thing that comes amidst them. And that’s what I set myself down to do. Josh Roberts in his really good Adventure Architect Series talks about giving your game a beginning, a middle and an end. It was a procedure that really suited my mind so I did the same thing. I wrote three paragraphs, one for each part of the game. I didn’t like them. I wrote them again. And again. And after five or six iterations, I came up with a nearly satisfying result. Those three paragraphs were the skeleton of my storyline and the only thing I had to do was build on top of them. Those were the pillars of my storyline, the only unchanged aspect of the development from then on. And after that, I moved on to designing these parts with much more detail.
However, Spellbind is an adventure game and specifically a casual one, easy to play and easy to finish, facts that make it difficult for me to say anything more about the storyline which I think is the most important aspect of an adventure game. But I think that a flimsy idea of the initial design procedure as it was stated previously would be good and interesting for you to read.
Don’t forget to read, in case you are interested and you have not already done so, Josh Robert’s Adventure Architect Series of articles. They can be found here. Some of them are a bit outdated but have no doubt, they are really worth reading.