I OBEY

I have been requested of more Dalek footage (as referenced here). Far be it for me to overlook a chance to show off.



The colors are deeper now, and more in line with the New Series Daleks. I don’t know if it’s obvious from here.

As before, this fellow is a product of Graffiti Kingdom. I’ve now beaten the game; it’s short, and intentionally easy. There’s a lot more that could have been done, in the end; I kept waiting for a few tools that never presented themselves, like the ability to rotate and move pieces you’ve already drawn, or to define a “body” element, or to set multiple attachment points. Or to set individual portions of arms and legs. Or light-up or “hover” pieces. There’s a lot of overlap, and not much organization. The versus mode is a wasted opportunity, too.

Still, it’s pretty neat for what it is; these are all just details. If someone’s paying attention, a DS sequel could be one of the niftiest games around. Come to think of it, maybe the map drawing feature I proposed earlier would work even better if the levels were 2D. That would bring this game even closer to Cocoron. And that could hardly be bad!

Author: Azure

It's me!

28 thoughts on “I OBEY”

  1. At first I thought it was a raccoon grafted onto a vacuum cleaner powered hovercraft. Then I read what it really was and felt silly. Of course, I’ve never seen an episode of Dr. Who in my life so you’ll forgive my misinterpretation.

  2. Ahh! The SNES release, much loved by my then-kindergartner brother, was an arcade port. I had no idea.

    So … in the main series, every other console release Konami made was an arcade port.

    Although, (Ah ha!) I’m noticing that the arcade release of Turtles in Time was actually unnumbered. “IV” or nothing would be correct, it seems.

    Apparently port is not entirely accurate — they are changing it somewhat to disguise the fact that it’s different ninja turtles… although how far they might get with that, I couldn’t say; I’ve only seen one episode of the new series in total — twice. Funny how that happens.

  3. Lan has made a sideways black frog ninja in GK, and wishes to know how long it took you to make the lovely Dalek?

    Am emailing to inquire about the licensing status of possible DS rights for this game. We have far too many projects right now, but…

  4. That’s interesting — but HotB didn’t make Magic Pengel? I checked their website (for the contact information), and was perplexed by their development path. Famous for their fishing games — and then, out of the blue, Graffiti Kingdom? It will be interesting to see whether someone gets back to me about the DS rights query, and if so, what they say.

    1stP should be positioned well to negotiate, if HotB is willing. We’d basically be doing the same thing for/with them that we’re doing with GoPets, negotiating for DS rights and then pitching to a publisher (if Taito wouldn’t fund it directly themselves). It’s even a similar sort of IP, in a lot of ways.

    I think sharing the critters over wifi would be key. Maybe even having downloadable ‘ecosystems’ populated by critters that other people have made. Another angle that 1stP would push well, since we’re doing that with GoPets — having a GoPets DS server to store the pets of other users that then come to visit new users. There are a lot of parallels in the technology.

    There are probably other things we could kind of correct, too, in addition to the refining of the actual critter creating process (which is already really impressive, all things considered). Gameplay elements… on the DS it would probably be very minigame based. Agility trials for your graffiti creature…

    So Miyazaki apparently made a one hour video for GK? It’s really bizarre to me that the game hasn’t gotten more press.

  5. I don’t know! One of those things where, over a period of a few days, you fiddle for a while, then do something else, then come back and edit some more. don’t think it took all that long; the hardest part was actually just getting down the slats that make up the base. I had to work out the angle by sight for each one, and if I misjudged I had to start all over. All trial and error; the frustration could have been lessened by a little by a continuous readout of XYZ statistics or something. Or if I’d been able to make a decent cone shape. I was surprised that there weren’t a few more drawing tools than there were. Still, a big step up from Magic Pengel.

    I think everyone’s first creature is sideways. One nice concession would be the ability to re-establish one particular angle as “frontways”. And similarly, it’d be nice to set a “body” piece rather than that simply being the first piece you draw. There’s this one time I tried drawing a really detailed, muscled arm — only for it to become the main piece of the creature. So I copied the arm and stuck the second one to the first, and put a yo-yo in the hand of the first arm, that it would walk along the ground before it.

    Graffiti Kingdom is sort of a sequel to Magic Pengel, with a bunch of improvements. The drawing system is a lot more sophisticated, and there are actual levels here, with an attempt to balance them out with new drawing abilities. It’s not much, but it’s a big change over Pengel’s rock-paper-scissors battle arena. I think the most logical extension is to give players some control over the gameworld itself, as well as the creatures within it. By the time the player has completed the game, which also serves as a tutorial, she’ll be able to draw whole levels — maybe as line maps, that get interpreted and turned into 3D space.

    Then maybe the player can populate the maps with creatures and share them over wi-fi — assuming the game is produced for the DS. I’m thinking for issues like this, a memory back-up cartridge should eventually be developed for the GBA cartridge slot, allowing users plenty of space to save their designs. It could also be used to hold Pictochat logs and Mario Paint drawings and things. With a small firmware upgrade, the DS menu could incorporate a file browser of sorts. This could also update Pictochat to allow logs, or at least backing up particular images.

    Egad. This is getting complicated.

  6. Oh, about rights issues: the game’s by Taito. Under normal conditions I’d say this would make the rights not too difficult to acquire; although Taito is one of the oldest, most well-established, and most profitable game companies out there, no one really knows or cares about ’em over here. Just look at who’s publishing Graffiti Kingdome here. Hot-B? Who the heck is that?

    However, for some ungodly reason, Squenix just bought out Taito. That might complicate things a little.

  7. Yeah, this is a full-on Taito game. If you get far enough in the game, you can even encounter Space Invaders and the ships from Darius and whatnot. Taito just… doesn’t have any pull over here, for whatever reason. It’s odd. After drifting in limbo for a while despite positive press, that Tato Legends collection eventually got picked up by Sega, of all random companies. Magic Pengel, the predecessor to Graffiti Kingdom, was put out by Agetec.

    Both the Pengel games have Ghibli animation in them — and in those places where it shows up, it’s really good. It makes you wish the whole game looked like that. Yeah, I’m surprised the games have such a low profile. Especially since, you know, in terms of how it interprets things for animation and whatnot, the game kind of pulls the rug out from under Spore. And Magic Pengel was doing it in 2003.

    I think, again, the main quest in Graffiti Kingdom is mostly a tutorial mode: it feeds you information and tools at a steady rate and gives you environmental examples on how to use the new information. I think the major problem is that there’s nothing really to do with your characters once you’ve unlocked all the drawing tools and beaten the game. You’d think that would be when things would really begin. There is a versus mode, though it’s not implemented too well.

    I guess there are two questions for what to do with the game, outside the tutorial: what would be neat to do with your creations, and what would be neat to create? I think the two are pretty intertwined.

    Maybe in order to “visit” someone else in his workshop or whatever (which could be custom decorated, kind of like an Animal Crossing), you have to play through a level of the other player’s device — making the online network sort of like a big overworld, or at least a big web of paths and hubs. Making an actual “graffiti kingdom” of sorts, that’s defined by its populace.

  8. Sorry to be so late in coming back to this…

    The problem currently with releasing a game like this for handheld (and all DS games are basically high profile at this point) is that even with a short dev cycle it would be considered an ideological ‘followup’ to Spore… even though Magic Pengel came first. You could tell people that until your face turned blue and they would still see it and think ‘Spore’… though arguably that would be the gamer crowd primarily, since most “normals” don’t even know about Spore yet…

    Do you know off-hand when Spore is scheduled for release? It looks like they haven’t even announced a ship date yet.

    I contacted Hot-B (and yeah, they do appear to be no one) and didn’t receive a response… we could go directly through Taito, and might even be able to leverage our D3P connection to do so, but it would really be cool if we could have their code base to work from. I guess it’s kind of moot right now because there is virtually no way we can take on another project before our current batch is up, but I’d like to begin setting things up if it’s at all possible. I guess I’ll have to just explore ways to contact Taito… but that’s why I’m curious about Spore’s release date. This game is strong enough on its own to withstand comparisons, but it would be less optimal to have it released at the same time or slightly after Spore.

    What do you think about music, in these games? I mean, GK has its own sort of roleplay thing going on, but it seems a trend that these “building” or creative games have this sort of pastoral, usually guitar- or piano-based soundtrack… like Animal Crossing. I just played through the first couple of hours of Tamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop for the DS, and they followed a similar model, though one could argue that they simply copied Animal Crossing in a LOT of ways, probably in an attempt to achieve comparable popularity or ride the wave of its fans’ attention…

    Anyway, I’m also thinking about music because I am toying with the idea of doing some composition for GoPets before we contact our German contractor. I think there is a lot of potential for very interesting music on the DS, but I’d prefer to step away from the Sims/Animal Crossing/Tamagotchi elevator music trend — I’m just not entirely sure to where, yet.

  9. Oh, and design-wise, I definitely think more focus on the actual character creation (and matchups against specific other critters, maybe a la One Must Fall) would exercise more of the game’s potential, especially from a handheld standpoint utilizing wifi and ad-hoc to do versus modes. And then perhaps a single player puzzle-based mode…

    And voice commands! “SIDEWAYS BLACK FROG NINJA MONKEY… KILL!”

  10. I thought that I had seen Spore for Q3/4 2006, but then I couldn’t find any press information to that effect anywhere, even from the E3 demo stuff. Didn’t Sims2 slip quite a bit? I think Maxis is somewhat exempt to their shove-it-out-the-door-we’ll-patch-on-day-one policy, not that Sims2 wasn’t buggy as hell on release…

    That does give me some good directions to go in with the music. It basically is the elevator music concept… that you may be spending a lot of time there / hearing the music a lot so it needs to be unobtrusive, but when I think of the breezy atmospheric music, I immediately think of Animal Crossing (particularly since we will be in a tropical island environment), and I’d really rather not evoke that… hmmmmm… working animal sounds into the environment (other than waves — maybe discreet parrot calls, toucans, etc) as a part of the music itself is a very interesting idea…

    I’ll probably have to just order myself some toys and see what I can come up with… (Though Garritan doesn’t come with a toucan simulator, sadly.)

  11. The closest Spore projection I’ve seen is Q3 2006. Were EA not the publisher, I’d expect this to slip a couple of quarters and maybe come out early 2007. As is, it’ll probably be bare-bones on release.

    The music depends on what you’re trying to get across. I think they’ve been avoiding overly melodic and catchy tunes just because you’re going to be spending so much time fiddling around and concentrating. That’s certainly a consideration. If the player is to create his own levels, I think maybe some ambient soundscapes would be best; you can allow the player to select an “atmosphere” for the level: haunting, breezy, boisterous, anxious, whatever. That amosphere could consist of wind, creaking noises, crumbling, chirping and croaking, maybe a few spare notes here and there — or it could be more driving; even something like dance music, that would get the player nodding his head while playing. Depends on what the level’s trying to convey.

    Or not!

  12. While you’re here, just for the fun of it, you might want to go download a game called Cocoron, for the Famicom. It was translated a few years ago, and is I think easier to find in that form. It might be… somewhat pertinent to this discussion, maybe kind of.

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