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Live Adventure is a graduation project (at RUBIKA Supinfogame).
The team is composed of 11 people.

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Made with Unreal

Trailer (edited and recorded by my cares)

Concept

Live adventure is a 2nd person story-driven single-player adventure game where the player controls a sibling duo. While the brother carries the game's camera, his sister is filmed by that same camera.

Game Prototype

Version Finale

Intention

The game proposes to embody a duet through the eyes of a carried camera in a colorful universe carried by a captivating narration with a light tone.

My Missions

At the initiative of the project, I took different roles including

Gameplay programmer
Narrative Designer
Lead Writer
Creative Director.

 

Dialog System

Creative Direction

Since the game has a strong narrative intention and the constant presence of two characters, we need a versatile way to expose all the elements of the plot while marking the impact of the protagonists and the player's actions as he progresses.

Another major objective is to underline the importance of their complicity during the adventure in order to reinforce the emotional journey proposed to the player.

The story is documented on Miro and Confluence. In addition, in order to meet our intention to make an emotional experience, our game artists have established a color script to study the color evolution of the game according to its story.

Live Adventure - Les refs - ColorScript.

Narrative Design

Dialogues are an effective way to introduce our characters and expose their personalities, goals, and challenges

 

The player's actions with the protagonists are marked by an exchange between the characters reinforcing the immersion and the experience of living the adventure of a duo.

 

Dialogs are also used to guide the player through the levels. Thus the characters mark the signage elements that have been put in place. They can also intervene during the puzzle phases by giving clues via input.

To estimate the number of dialogs needed, we've analyzed the game and the possible location/moment where dialogs can intervene to give feedback, information, or enhance the narrative. Then, we've established their necessity and give them their level of priority. That way when a decision has to be made whenever a dialog is more important than another one, we can quickly decide. 

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After this process is done, I start to write dialogs that have a higher level of priority. That way, we can then implement them (and even make a custom recording of ourselves) in order to confirm their importance in the game. Thanks to the playtest we affine our list and tweak our dialogs to respond to the players' needs and actions.

Once the dialogues are validated, I enter them into a document for the attention of our dubbers. I add descriptions of the acting situation for each dialogue, indications of acting on each line, and a folder on the Drive so that the dubbers can put their recordings there, but also listen to those of others. Finally, I inform the dubbers concerned about the presence of new lines of dialogue to be recorded. 

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Note: Due to the time difference between our dubbers (USA) and ourselves (France), we could not set up remote recording sessions. However, we proposed them to set up, on their side, these remote sessions to obtain the best result for the recording of the dialogues.

Once their recordings are uploaded, the voice actors notify me about new recordings that are directly processed by our sound designer. Recorded lines have a "Recorded" status on the list so that they can be easily spotted. If retakes are necessary, I notify the voice actors by giving them new indications, and I change the status of the "Recorded" lines to "Retake".

Writing

When writing dialogues, all traits for each character are discussed in groups using references. From this base, I write the character sheets and some examples of dialogues to practice. The story is defined by key scenes allowing to remain modular in its development.

All the character sheets are written on Confluence using a template that I have established according to many references such as The Game Narrative Toolbox.

Download

Download

The story is documented on Miro and Confluence. In addition, in order to meet our intention to make an emotional experience, our game artists have established a color script to study the color evolution of the game according to its story.

Download

Download

In order to evaluate the importance and the content of a dialog for the project, several excerpts have been written and recorded in French. Then, after having implemented them, it was easier for us to estimate the approximate number of lines of dialogs to write for the whole game (of course, this estimate evolves according to the level design).

Programming

The dialogue system must meet the needs of writing, and be modular in order to respond to the many situations in which it must be implemented. Research work is carried out to conceive all the necessary elements in the realization of this system by taking example on those of Double Fine, or Naughty Dog. 

All information relating to the operation and implementation of the dialogues is documented in English on Confluence and made available to the team. 

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This is a habit I had for my tools back on QUASH! so my teammates can easily use my tools. I find it very useful to also do it for features as it permits me to review my logic and get their limits. 

I decided to start with a database of all the dialog lines called "MasterList". In the form of a shared excel file, it is easy for writers to work together. 


This system makes it possible to consider a possible localization using excel sheets.

This first file gathers all the elements related to the writing for each line: the name of the scene where the line is used, the name of the speaking character, the text, the type of the dialog (related to the dialog hierarchy), the name of the group to which it belongs, and a unique ID.

Each line has a unique reference composed as follows:
#"Scene". "ID". "Character".

The "MasterList" is then exported as a CSV and interpreted in Data Tables.

The DT_DialogLines contains the dialog lines and allows you to fill in information about the in-game implementation: an audio file, a volume adjustment, a delay before activation, a character animation, a lipsync, etc. The DT_DialogLines are used to create a list of dialog lines.

The DT_DialogGroups groups all dialog lines by dialog group (or conversation). Each dialog group contains a priority order to see if a dialog can interrupt another dialog in progress. Additional parameters for the conditions necessary to be played are available, ranging from the required gameplay situation to the triggering character that should trigger the dialog. These rules are mostly used in the context of a popup dialog requiring certain conditions before being played.

Additional Notes

For optimization and organization reasons, the dialogs are distributed and loaded by "scene" of appearance (knowing that the gameplay dialogs intervening in all the scenes are gathered in a "Common" scene).

The implementation of sounds and the creation of soundbanks in Wwise follow the same organization.

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Camera

Creative Direction

Like Brothers: Tales of Two Sons, the game requires you to control a duo with a single gamepad. The difference is that one of the characters carries the game's camera. We find the perception of a game in the 1st person mixed with the navigation of a character in the 3rd person.

 

Special attention is given to the camera's feedback to support its tangible aspect. The player must feel the presence of a cameraman at the controls of the game's camera and direct him in a 3D world.

Programming

A default configuration appeared; the one where the cameraman targets the filmed character and moves around it. The difficulty of this mode lies in the lateral and backward movements, as the player has no visibility in these directions.

 

Another mode is proposed in parallel where the cameraman moves as in a first-person game. This mode has been added to address the frustration of most players not being able to move their gaze without having to reposition the filmed character.

A configuration system and an architecture have been set up with the Lead Programmer to facilitate the creation of different control modes (using a Data Table). For example, a mode where the filmed character is automatically followed by the cameraman or a mode where the cameraman does not move anymore unlike the filmed character, etc.

A "pawn" manages all the "characters". While the inputs are managed with interfaces, the characters are generated, referenced as "actor" and assigned to the "pawn". This architecture allows us to modify the assigned actors for others at any time, as in an exotic sequence where the controls change.

Camera feedbacks work by using "curve" and "timeline". All the curves are gathered in a DataTable allowing the game designers to easily customize them, and to vary the feedback by offering several versions.

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Narrative Design

Characters interactions and thus player's agency is expressed with a dynamic dialog system. It allows us to react to any player's actions such as stoping one character or another or both of them. 

Dialogue triggered by the collision of the characters

Dialogue resuming after an interruption

Dialogue triggered when a character has reached the maximum distance

 

Signs

Creative Direction

The orientation of the player in the levels responds to a desire to lighten the player's mental load. Several signs are necessary: both to guide the player to the next level and to indicate the right points of view.

Narrative Design

Hooks belonging to the parents, and used for the grappling hook by the filmed character are placed in the path of the player. This solution marks key positions for the player's progress and literally puts the characters on the trail of their parents.

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Other graphic elements indicate the right path to take, such as ruined path remains, colorful frescoes, "god rays" or the layout of the level composing the cameraman's frame.

The protagonists' dialogues guide the player in his progress. During puzzles, for example, the characters interact during the success of a workshop, or, when the player is blocked, they highlight our clue system.

A system of eye weight on the camera allows the level designer to bring the eye to a specific point whenever he wants. Particularly useful when the player asks for a clue, the camera turns towards the next level or workshop.

Narrative Design

After several playstests we noticed that the display of subtitles mixed with the atypical controller forced the players to choose between "stop to read them" or "ignore them to move forward". In both cases, the dialogs were difficult to integrate into the gameplay.

Writing

To prepare the dubbing, several dialogue excerpts were written and then selected to judge the range of emotions of each candidate in addition to their concordance with the characters.

For writing, I use Celtx by creating a shared file. This way, we can easily work together and leave each other comments.

Here is an excerpt of the dubbers selected for the characters (Carmina MANLEY & Arianna FOX respectively dubbing LENCE for the cameraman & REEL for the filmed character)

00:00 / 01:39
 

Dubbing

Creative Direction

To feel the complicity in the duo, dialogues are written and implemented. However, a text hardly conveys as much emotion as a voice. To add dubbing, I had to prepare and gather all the necessary elements to launch the castings. The management of the applications is done by a game designer, a sound designer, and myself. 

Many thanks to the whole team!

Without whom this project would not be possible.

as

Artistic Director
& Character Designer

as

Lead Game Programmer

as

Lead Game Designer

as

Environment Artist

as

Environment Artist

as

Technical/VFX Artist

as

Animator

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as

Technical Game Designer

as

Level Designer

as

Level Designer

Eugène Abadi

as

Sound Designer

as

Composer

Sound Designer