Bel-Ocean is a point and click adventure game. You play Jean-Chien, a disenchanted dog who has been cursed by a giant fly-fairy that makes him living the same day over and over again.
Jean Chien lives in a seaside city over polluted. The sea became became a giant pool of poop and the sun is not helping the stink by striking big time. People are trying really hard to keep their dignity though, but that's not going to last very long.
On top of that, there's also his best friend, Jean-Dauphin, killing himself every night at 3AM.
The fly-fairy has been clear on one point. To break the curse, Jean Chien has to clean the ocean during this one very day. This is up to you to take advantage of that curse to change the course of other things, like saving your best friend.
Bel-Ocean is a "classic" point&click game. The gameplay twist lies in the looping day and the need to organize your actions in order to achieve all your goals in one day. For this, the player has special tools such as : a magic map able to track the NPCs, a magic watch to travel through the hours of the day, and a magic notepad to organize your roadmap.
So you get everything you need to do the fastest run you can !
TEAM & TECHNOLOGY
Developped by Fromage Interactif, basically composed of two brothers : Charles Torris, writer, developper and music composer, and Paul Torris, designer, illustrator and animator, both passionate with videogames. Construct 2 has been chosen for efficiency and convenience, combined with the powerful Spine software for the animation. Our own dialog management system in PHP / MySQL has been made from scratch, allowing us to deal with more than 4500 lines of dialog.
We started this project 3 years ago, and now the gameplay part is finally almost done, as a complete playable alpha version already runs and rocks. We need an extra 4 month to complete the graphic assets. A devlog is available here.
However, one main question remains : shall we do some voice over for the characters?
We would need 3000€ to make it the good way, and we don't have the money. So we're thinking about crowdfunding. Why not trying ? If it fails, we'll release the game anyway, because it already works like that. And maybe that's for the best ?
Stay tuned !
The game engine is now like complete and well-tested, and the playthrough has been massively written these last months. It means some full alpha version is about to be done for internal use, so Paul will test it for the first time very soon. It means tons and tons of debug action but that's the funniest part isn't it ?
And I also ordered a whip to get him working faster on the remaining assets.
We're also starting to investigate about the voice over matter. This is the only part we can't deal with by ourselves if we want quality english-speaking actors, and that means money. And money we, of course, don't totally have yet. That's why we're thinking about doing some crowdfunding just to pay some nice voice over. Or would some editor interested ? We don't really know how to sell our game, but for now we're more likely to do it by ourselves : doing a good game is the first priority.
To get the voice over quotation, we had to do some nice statistics; we got 3000 lines of dialog and counting. Since there's still a lot of secondary characters to design, we can expect 3500~4000 lines the end.
Then, here we are. We can start to see some schedule : a beta playable version should be done for the end of the year. We may need some beta-testers at this point, so, if you're interested,get in touch !
We did some nice updates before my daughters birth, and now it's time to get back to work ! In order to celebrate, my brother made a nice joke, while leaving some pasted items in the last background update, so I spent like 2 hours to find where this "bug" was coming from. How funny !
Beside that, I think we're getting close to a complete game engine. You can follow all the technical details in my technical devlog here .
Despite the sporadically blog entries, we did work this year !
The first good news is that we found a better main character than the horse : let me introduce Jean Chien.
The best thing about him is that he tolerates the shitty smell of the studio. Problem solved !
New episodes about Paul's Wrath Against Cutting-Edge Softwares !
Paul has been working on Spriter for a few weeks more before he went berzerk about the
shitty unprofessionnal quality of the unfinished software. He started to harass Spriter's developpers to fix some basic features but they just ignored him and keep on releasing "art packs" instead. The Paul went completely mad ! (he's a passionnate kind of person). Eventually he started to break everything in the studio.
It went to a point Paul turned is rage against me and, for my defense, I suggested to roll back to traditionnal animation with a FPS cap ... That was very sad option but we had to move on.
HOPEFULLY we discovered Spine. Spine is a new software that does just exactly the same as Spriter, but with all the professionnal features that Paul needed !
ONE problem remained : no official plugin from Spine to Construct 2 was released. After a few days, we did find one on Github made by Flyover (nobody knows who is he) but the plugin was incomplete : no mirror function, scrollTo didn't work, no interpolation disabling ... Problems .. ALWAYS !
(George's Character is totally inspired by Paul's deep nature)
One month later we got back to our Spriter developpement state. But this was for the best, for now we're absolutely sure everything will rock .. almost ...
Because we found out that Spine wasn't supporting animation duplication in order to create the skins we needed (mostly to create the dynamical illusion of day and night lights on characters). Paul went berzerk again (he threatened to kill my hamster this time) but hopefully quickly found a solution to accomplish this skin duplication with hacking the export files with notepad. I eventually took a few hours to create a patch software to make this automatically ! Damn, another problem solved !
What else ?
- A new NPC "engine" of our game, allowing to use simple functions to create their agenda in the world.
- The Dialog Manager has been upgraded.
Approximative statistics :
- YEARS OF DEV : It's been like 4 year of irregular developpement (beside our day jobs) since I wrote the plot of this game. 7-8 month of full time work estimated.
- POINT&CLICK ENGINE (made w/ Construct 2) : 80% complete
- GRAPHIC ASSETS : 69% complete
- STORY TELLING IN GAME : 7% (fully written on the paper)
- DIALOG LINES & TRANSLATION SOFTWARE : Written in PHP, 99% complete . I managed to fully connect it with C2.
- SPINE PLUGIN : 100% complete.
We hope to get a fully playable alpha around september 2016.
See you soon !
Yesterday, we discovered with anger and fear that our main character, Jean-Cheval, was fed up with the slow developpement pace of our company, he still didn't get paid (naturally ! we're just a small indie beginner studio and didn't sold anything yet ! We work part time beside our day-jobs !) and this piece of shit found a new job ! He's now working for the TV Show "BoJack Horseman" !
Of course, that's a big show on Netfli, featuring Aaron Paul the Breaking Bad superstar, so yeah of course, he's better paid ! Well, thanks mate, we wish you the best, don't get fooled to much with money and champagne ...
After one-year developpement, having our main star stolen is pretty much a hard thing to deal with. So we made an emergency conf call and we're now casting new actors for our game ... We think about a dog because we don't trust horses any more.
Yay ! Spriter tests are allright ! Animations weight is divided by 10 or 20, and procedural animations are A LOT more fluid, as expected. It's all we needed !
The main problem is that Paul must dump all animation work made so far, and start again from the beginning. Wow, that's not easy. But we're doing it ....
He's a test with Josiane working in the office.
Paul is a professionnal animator and he's using flash to generate hi-quality animations. Problem : he makes fucking huge weight animation with 12 frame per seconds !
So my lead animator went berzerk and said Construct 2 was damn shit, that he'd rather work with real professionnals using Unity and stuff.
He refuses to make 6fps animation and / or low definition sprites. It seems that traditionnal animation and Construct 2 are not compliant !
So we had a dispute ... He sweard that I was uncompetant for using this and for me he was too unprofessionnal about technical matters.
Then we looked for something more like vectorial - a lot more light - despite C2 is not supporting any vector graphics
and he found SPRITER !!
Spriter is an early stage software especially made for C2, creating rig-stuff sprite based puppets, as they do in 3D, but for 2D ! This should make super light sprites and animations, top of that it is programmatically animated so it may look way more fluid. WOW !
And it just costs 10$ for now !
Paul started trying the software, I cross my fingers.
Paul has completed some new characters !
Josiane is the secretary of John's Company. She recently broke up with Jean-Dauphin, the artist, and now goes out with Crockyle, a factory worker, who understands her better.
The game plays in real-time, with something like 15 minutes IRL = 1H in-game, so a full game day lasts 6 hours IRL. However, travelling will make time to go faster.
All scripted events are related to time and space. For example, something will happen in downtown at 11AM but something else will happen elsewhere at the same time. That's why the looping day is usefull.
Every character will have its own life and planning. For example, Josiane will wake up around 8, leave her house around 10 and work until 18, before meeting her boyfriend at Fast Food and then go to bed around 22.
The player will have to make a detective work to know each NPC's schedule.
So when you figured this out, if you want to catch her without her boyfriend, you know what to do.
To organize all these events, I've created a "time space table" :
First, player will find little by little how to get deeper into this day's secrets.
But there's also an ultimate walkthrough to achieve for the most dedicated players : get to the end of the game using only one game-day. I already figured this out. This will require some tight planning ! 😀 And who knows : maybe there will be several ways to achieve it, maybe some I won't plan myself !