Hi guys and girls.

First of all let me apologise for the lack of updates. I’ve been EXTREMELY busy with getting Arif Games up and running, setting up strategic alliances, making contacts, etc and am now juggling several game projects aimed at both Steam and the Android market (yes I’m doing casual games too!).

As for the new mini-adventures, don’t worry – it’s 100% alive and still under development. It’s just that it’s going slowly with all the other projects I have going. The engine is pretty much complete and I’m just in the middle of sorting out the script/story logic itself. The amount of features, etc is pretty intense compared to the last one so it should keep you guys going for hours once it’s released.

I’m also nearing completion of another game (with a comical/crude humour theme aimed at both adults and kids) which should be out within the next 2-3 months on the Android market if things go as planned.

 

Am just in the process of upgrading the AAGi engine from v2.0 to v2.5. The new engine has a slightly larger screen along with a completely revamped interface.

Anaksha’s cellphone will play a MAJOR role in this new game. You now have a full-on close up view of her phone and will be able to use it just like a real gadget. Am currently coding all the various apps for her phone which will allow you to do things like save/load game, check stats/bonuses/achievements, alter settings, and lots and lots of other things. Like a lot of people, Anna cannot live without her phone and this game will accurately reflect that. All the cellphone/app interfaces are animated and all I can say is so far it’s all looking BEAUTIFUL!

The bonuses in this game are also being taken seriously. There are now 6 different bonus types, (some of them have their own subcategories) and earning each one depends on a completely different game mechanic. Of course these are all optional and will have no effect on the gameplay.

Am also hoping to add a “side-quest” system with mutiple micro-stories – all being totally independent from the main story (and totally optional too). Anaksha’s in-game journal on her cellphone keeps track of all “quests”.

There’s also a few interesting upgrades which can be earned. One of them being the ability to walk faster. I won’t spoil the others by telling you. :)

The graphical style will remain the same, although the faces in the dialogue box will be a little larger and clearer this time.

Having said all that, the main difference between ‘A New Threat’ and the new one will be a LOT more content (more content = more hours gameplay), more logical puzzles and more of a true adventure game feel. The random paths will still be there but there won’t be any “time senstive” randomness.

I’ve also decided to step up to the next level and take things a little more seriously now. I’ve given a lot away for free over the years and so I’m seriously considering making this my first commerical release for Windows, Mac and iOS. I want to make this my permanent full-time job which means a lot more games being released down the line. That’s my intention. :) Anyway, I’ll see how things go.

 

Yes you read it correctly. Anaksha is back in another mini adventure! A New Threat seems to have done pretty well so I’d like to continue the series with something very special. I’ve already announced it via the Anaksha mailing list, and now I’m announcing it here.

I don’t really have a title for it, but I do have a pretty good idea of what I’d like to do.

My intentions are to:

  • Re-use the game engine and keep the same visual style (this will heavily cut down development time)
  • Create more emphasis on allowing the player to experience the story, rather than get stuck on extremely tough puzzles, and illogical random events (I think the illogical randomness was the only thing which let the last game down. e.g: Check fence in alley. Find nothing. Check fence in alley again (for no apparent reason). All of a sudden, find needle stuck in wood). No more of that! Everything has a logical progression and every event has a good reason for occuring.
  • Create a much larger game world spanning several locations around Santa Lina with many fun and interesting characters to interact with.
  • Write a MUCH larger, more emotional, more involving story. Something which is a one-off, standalone tale, rather than a sequel. (I already have something in mind. Something which I’m really excited about!)
  • Create less emphasis on cutscenes (unlike Dark Angel). There will be some but only in the places where they’re necessary (this will heavily cut down development time)
  • Create more emphasis on the player interacting with NPCs, making their own decisions (fork in the plot are now decided by the player’s actions) and being an integral part of the experience as much as possible.
  • Create mini-games that are much simpler and easier (which can also be skipped if the player finds them too difficult)
  • Add a little more functionality to the inventory screen and improve certain parts (it may not be obvious, but the inventory screen is very limited with what you can do with the items)
  • Add more optional bonuses in addition to the virgo symbols (this will only appeal to certain players and be ignored by everyone else)
  • Add a shortcut key to check for virgo symbols, and make it less painful when the player finds nothing
  • Add an autosave feature
  • Add a few minor upgrades (movement speed, etc)
  • Use professional-quality film production music
  • Limit the file count to 1 and keep the file size below 20mb so it can be easily uploaded to all the portals

As for delivery date, don’t worry – this won’t take as long as Dark Angel did. I’m not spending years on this as I want this out as soon as possible. To be honest, developing these mini adventures is a lot easier and quicker than doing the full blown sniper games.

I’ll add some progress bars soon.

What do you all think? Do you have any suggestions? Drop your comments below.

 

Just so you all know I’ve announced my new game project. The details can be found at www.arifgames.com

Believe it or not, the core game engine is complete so now it’s just a case of adding the gfx, menus, music etc.

 

Just a quick post regarding the offline version of Dark Angel. Some people have been having trouble running the game which is partially a small error on my part for not making the instructions clear enough. The mistake most people are making is to run the index file from inside the zip file. Now the index html file will run but it won’t be able to find any of the game or image files. So here’s what to do:

Once you’ve downloaded the main zip file (you can get it from here) create a new folder on your harddrive (or even on a USB thumbdrive if you like). It must be somewhere that’s easily accessible by you. A good example would be c:\darkangel

Once you’ve done that make sure ALL the files have been added from the zip file to the new folder you created.

Run index.html from the new folder. The game should run without any troube.

If it doesn’t then it’s most likely something to do with your internet security settings being too high. You can adjust them via the browsers menu. Also, if you’re using Mozilla and have something called ‘noscript’ installed make sure you allow local files (right click -> noscript -> Allow ‘file://’).

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Well it’s still early to say, but so far most people seem to be liking the game. As for my own opinion, I think the main thing I’m most proud of is the story and cutscenes. I’m not really a good games designer (I’m getting better though) and there were a few minor game design flaws here and there but nothing too major. The most important thing regarding the game code was stablity. So far I’ve not had any complaints about the game crashing or anything which is good.

My strong point has always been cinematics and everything related, eg: cinematography, screenplays, directing and visuals. The story for me was the most important thing – more important than the game itself. I spent 6 months on the game design and the rest of the time was all spent on cutscenes. But I did what I set originally out to do which was to create a sequel on a very large scale and I’m real proud of Dark Angel being the first flash game ever to have a feature-length storyline to accompany it. :)

Maybe next time round I might ask someone else to do the programming and game design so I can just focus on the story – it’ll probably get done a lot quicker too! Who knows where it could go from here. :)

Regardless of everything I’ve said, if you haven’t put your 2 cents in then I’d love to hear your opinions on what you thought. Please feel free to post your comments or reviews on the good points and bad points of the game (please be honest and constructive with any criticism). Feedback from the players is the only way I can improve and I’m always willing to listen. :)

 

Just thought I’d let you all know that Anaksha is a big girl now and has left the nest to take her first step into the great big wide world. That’s my melodramatic way of saying Dark Angel is now available on sites other than her home on anaksha.com. :)

Jayisgames have not only written up a positive, glowing review of Dark Angel but have also hosted it.

Here’s the review:

http://jayisgames.com/archives/2011/12/anaksha_dark_angel.php

Feel free to leave a comment there and also be sure to check out some of the great games on their site.

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Want to learn how to write screenplays for games and film? I’ve started a teaching blog on the Arif Games website. My first series of articles will be a small course that teaches you how to write high-impact stories for video games and film, using everything I’ve learnt plus a lot of my own personal methods and techniques.

http://arifgames.com/blog/

I’ll be using Anaksha Dark Angel as a teaching aid throughout most of it and you’ll get to hear some of the back stories and stuff which you didn’t get in the game, along with lots of other things you won’t find on anaksha.com. The first article is already up, so please go check it out.

I hope you guys find this useful, and if you do end up using the info then I’d love to see what you come up with. :)

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It seems I underestimated the power of achievements and so decided to add a hell of a lot more. Version 1.1 not only fixes a few minor bugs but also has a staggering 62 achievements which is pretty impressive when compared with the 26 it used to have. That’s way more than some commercial XBox titles. Anyway for those of you who are into achievement hunting you may want to head on over to http://darkangel.anaksha.com and give the thing a test drive. Hopefully I haven’t screwed up the code or anything with all this. :/ Let me know if it all works OK.

A full list of all achievements and final ranks can be found here: http://www.anaksha.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=540

Have fun! :)

 

Updated Dark Angel to v1.03. Dee has a friendlier, less commanding and more loving tone in her SMS messages. She sounds a little more like herself now.

Should have really nailed that before I released it, but it kinda slipped by me with everything else I was doing. :/