ISSN 1555-8320

Kai Grand Sentinel

 

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Project Aon on the Nintendo DS

We have a developer who is currently working on bringing the Project Aon editions to the Nintendo DS. He currently wants to keep a low profile (hence the anonymity), but it sounds like he's doing good things:

Right now, I have a running prototype which does the following:

  • Use a fake filesystem which merges the data files at the end of my ROM,
    allowing me to dynamically load contents like pictures, texts and musics
    during the adventure
  • Display a justified text using a custom font across several pages
  • Use of sprites for navigation, using the stylus
  • Realtime Gif images decoding
  • HTML parsing for cleaning the text in real time (right now I'm loading the standard HTML files you use on your site, and I'm stripping them just before displaying them)
  • System of hyperlinks to navigate between sections


So basically right now you can navigate through the entire book (I'm pretty sure there are still some unhandled formatting exception though), and I'm now thinking of the second part of the project : the gameplay. I'd like the user to be able to manage an inventory, fight monsters, throw dice (or at least pick a random number), handle the Kai disciplines, and things like that. Many things in the text right now rely on the human understanding, like for example "Pick up a random number, if it's less than 5, you fall off the ladder and turn to 195, else you climb it up successfully and turn to 225"). What I'd like to do is to prevent people from being able to click the "turn to 195" and "turn to 225" links without having first used the random number generator. Then, given the result, only the appropriate link would get selectable.

I think it would make the experience much more consistent if all this was handled by the DS, because the user would then really feel playing an interactive adventure where all the tedious parts are handled by the console, and at the same time not being able to cheat. All the choices the user makes would really have an influence and would not be taken lightly, allowing the adventure to be played the way it was meant to be.

But for all these gameplay elements, I think I'll really have to figure out an extended data format, which may require some manual editing. Maybe a bit tedious, but it would allow to precisely define what kind of music, graphics, and options would be visible for the reader for a given section.

As a bonus, here are a few screenshots of the first section displayed in a DS emulator. As you'll see, I chose to finally overlay the black and white illustrations over a simple parchment background, since you were concerned about the colorization of them (and I can understand why). I think it's the best compromise between the respect of the original art and something less dull than a fully black on white drawing.






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