Weekend of the Dead in The Endless Forest

Halloween (today), All Saints (tomorrow) and All Souls (Monday) are special days in The Endless Forest. Then the world we know as idyllic and sunny turns grey and chilly. Bats circle in the air and mist clouds float over the land. There’s graves everywhere, and burning candles, as we commemorate the dead. The giant Lord of The Dead (also know as BZD -the Big Zombie Deer) visits the forest and tricks those who want to treat him. Through the extended weekend, the Twin Gods will be making their appearance too for additional tricks and treats!

Dead in The Forest

If you happen to find yourself in Scotland today, head down to Inspace in Edinburgh, where Tale of Tales’ creepiest stories are on display in a fitting Halloween décor. There’s six computers to play The Path on. And a computer from which the Dark Lord of Darkness can be controlled. Now is your chance to terrorize the innocent!

Are indie games too cheap?

(…) if Machinarium sold for just $10 more, a price I would still pay for the game, many gamers would instantly be turned off of the title. Not because they don’t feel the title is worth their money, or even because they don’t think it’s worth $30, but, rather, because they are accustomed to getting indie games at super cheap prices, despite how much money, effort, love, and creativity was put into the title.

Geoff Gibson, DIY Gamer

John Jackson responds to this that the problem is not that indie games are under-priced but that AAA games are over-priced. And to some extent, he is right. He just doesn’t seem to realize, however, that what you’re actually paying more for when buying a AAA game in a store is not the game itself but the wages of the shop attendant and the truck driver, the heating of the store, the bribes to get shelf space, the advertising and marketing, and in some places additional taxes. If you subtract all of this, you are indeed only giving $20 out of the $60 you paid to the developer and publisher of the game, the same amount as you pay to an indie developer who sells their games via digital download from their own website. This sounds fair (as long as the customers can accept that most of their money goes to other things than the actual production of the game).

If AAA games would be sold online, and not through expensive retail, their price could be the same as that of indie games.

But what should that price be?

Continue reading “Are indie games too cheap?”

New prototypes with FoAM in Brussels

On Thursday evening, at the groWorld bazaar, we’re presenting some prototypes we collaborated on with FoAM for a strange multiplayer game in which everyone plays a plant (!). Come and have a look between 6 and 9 at FoAM studio, Koolmijnenkaai 30-34, Brussels.

groWorld prototype

– groWorld plant game prototypes by Tale of Tales & FoAM
– groWorld gardeners web by Sixtostart
– Urban Edibles by Foamlab Holland
– urban gardening info-booths by FoAM & Foamlab
– biologically corrupt hard-drives & Biomodd game by Angelo Vermeulen
– PhoEf tribute to the sun by Bartaku
– patabotanical illustrations by Lina Kusaite & Theun Karelse
– experiments with plant sensing by Nik Gaffney & Dave Griffiths
– vegetal scents by Maki Ueda
– seasonal botanical refreshments by Rasa Alksnyte & Pieter de Wel
– sonic atmoshperes by Lowdjo & Antz

see more…

The Path wins a Quest3D Award

Quest3D Awards 2009

Much to our surprise, The Path has ended up second in this year’s Quest3D Awards.

When you start the game you immediately notice this game is different. Your first instruction is “Stay on the path” and visit your grandmother. If you do so the game ends and you start over. What could be the intention behind this game? This game offers an experience no other game can so this alone makes it deserves a spot in our Quest3D awards.

Quest3D is the authoring tool that we used to create the game. It is mostly used for architectural visualisations. So the winning projects are usually these amazingly photographically realistic spectacles. Hence our surprise.

Quest3D is a great tool to make games, though. Especially for the code-allergic and the artistic (like us). Its realtime visual programming system is second to none. That’s right, both The Path and The Endless Forest were created by connecting little virtual blocks together with little virtual wires. We believe that one day, this style of programming is going to supersede coding, much like C++ and Javascript have removed the need to punch in zeroes and ones today.

The Path in Quest3D

This is part of the “source code” of The Path, in the Quest3D editor. There’s hundreds of little flow charts like this and together they make the whole thing tick. And look pretty. :)

Eurogamer reviews FATALE

FATALE @ Eurogamer

Christian Donlan has reviewed FATALE for Eurogamer. And quite spectacularly so! Not because he enjoyed the piece, but because he relates very eloquently how hardcore gamers might approach it. Expressing the confusion and even anger they might feel as well as the doubts concerning the sincerity -or even sanity- of the creators. I found it most enlightening! And an amusing read to boot.

Tale of Tales’ latest is another GameFAQs disaster, in other words: what do I do? Where do I go? Why won’t the door open? How do I get my seven quid back? If Fatale had a hints hotline – and I really wish it did – I’m pretty certain players’ calls would be patched directly to Mark Lawson and Umberto Eco, dressed as mimes, answering all queries in Aramaic.

We’re just plain astounded that a project like FATALE can be reviewed on a mainstream games site nowadays. These are fascinating times, indeed!

Tale of Wales

This Saturday, at 2 pm, we’re giving presentation at the Ffotogallery in Penarth, near Cardiff, Wales, UK, during the May You Live In Interesting Times festival. Booking is essential. Please contact the gallery staff on 02920 708870 to book a place.

And next Saturday, the 31st (Halloween), kids are invited to the gallery to make Endless Forest masks! Yes, in case you forgot: He is back!

While we’re there, we’ll also be meeting up with Alex Mayhew discussing secret projects, Emma Westecott and, hopefully, Eddo Stern, whose solo exhibition is opening at Chapter in Cardiff tomorrow.

Fatale 1.01 released

We’ve released a minor update to FATALE. People who purchase FATALE now, will get the new version automatically. People who have purchased it before and want to upgrade, can download it again (contact us if the download link is expired). Note that this update is not essential. It only concerns details.

The most notable -and least important- change is the option to use conventional first person navigation (mouse to look around, keyboard to move). We personally feel that the default control system is ideal for the experience, but some people seem so comfortable with game conventions that any deviation ruins things for them. We hope it improves their enjoyment of FATALE. But we don’t recommend using this option to anybody else.

There’s a full list of things that have changed behind the cut.

Continue reading “Fatale 1.01 released”

Interview with Frank Lantz

Frank Lantz Area/code‘s Frank Lantz makes all sorts of games. He worked on web games with Gamelab, created a real life Pac-Man on the streets of Manhattan and has people park cars on Facebook. He also has strong opinions about game design. Opinions that he’s not shy to voice at conferences. Opinions that are more or less diametrically opposed to our own. And that we actually, oddly, agree with, wholeheartedly. Frank Lantz thinks that games should be more game-like, that they shouldn’t even try to become a medium, that they are worthwhile in their own right and that computers are just a minor detail in their evolution.

Read the interview!

Photo from Flickr by A*A*R*O*N