Subterraneus: the basis

Warning: potential spoiler!

The idea

I have always loved Point&Click games, funny ones like Monkey Island or enigmatic ones like Myst and many others! Subterraneus was born due to my playthrough on the second episode of Deponia : Chaos on Deponia. I had an idea the very night I finished my adventure in this game. What if, on an earth-like planet, the government of surfacian inhabitants were urging their citizens to “recycle” their garbage by throwing into a huge pit leading to an alleged recycling factory?

What if Clodomir, clumsy hero (slightly helped by his destiny), fell into this pit? What if, right after an eternity-like fall, he discovered a large maze of caves and galleries where some medievalish people live? What if these people discovered every day new garbage on specific spots? Maybe this garbage came from the all-mighty gods ?

This was the beginning of Subterraneus’s Story.

The objectives

I wanted to create a game like the big ones, which meant :

  • a visible hero with free movement and interaction with interest point,
  • collectible and usable items,
  • a choice of topics with NPCs,
  • famous or infamous allusions,
  • and of course, a lot of bad jokes!

About the game itself, I wanted to create a dozen of scenes at first planning to reach 2 or 3h of gameplay. In my mind, few months should suffice.  What an optimistic one! Obviously, things had to take way more time than that! So, I decided to add some content to reach 4 to 5h of gameplay, intending to attain 20 scenes.

Why adding content if it already took longer than expected ?

Well, adding more scenes and story extend a little the development time. But the big part is building the core mechanics : moving the hero, shrinking or expanding him with the perspective, making him pass in front of or behind scene objects according to the depth of both elements… and other mechanisms like handling data-saving or dialogue tree. All of these things are necessary and require the same amount of time to be developed, whether for an 1h or a 10h game.

The means

For programming:

Unity.

+ Thanks to its large community, every encounterable problem has already been resolved.

+ Free at the beginning and affordable when you need to subscribe to it.

+ Easy exportation to multiple platforms (computer, tablet, smartphone, console, …).

Unity has been developed as a 3D engine and even if each update brings new functionalities for the 2D engine, there are some situations that need some serious twisting of a 3D functionality.

For graphics:

Pen and paper for organic things (characters and natural scenes) as sketches. Then, these sketches have been scanned, edited and colorized (with Gimp, an open source photoshop-like).

3D modelization (with SketchUp) for hand-crafted things (houses, facilities, furnitures, objects, …) to help keeping coherent perspective and proportions.

Exterior scenes have been composed by mixing these two techniques.

For scripts:

Blank paper, a dull pen and insomnia for the outlines, then a good old notepad.

 

These are the basis that support Subterraneus.

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