Interview with Mega Bad Code's Alan Thorn - Wax Lyrical Games

Interview with Mega Bad Code's Alan Thorn - Wax Lyrical Games

Just Adventure talks to Alan Thorn about Mega Bad Code, a 3rd person point and click adventure - for those with a taste for sci-fi, the weird, and the unsettling.

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Hi Alan, I know you have a busy schedule, so let me thank you for taking the time to provide Just Adventure with some information and insight into your upcoming adventure game – Mega Bad Code.

No problem, David. It’s a pleasure.

1. To start, the look and feel from the screens released show an environment that’s quite different from your previous adventure title, Baron Wittard. Can you let us how you and your team developed the idea for Mega Bad Code?

From the outset with Mega Bad Code, I wanted to do something completely different from Baron Wittard. Baron Wittard proved successful in so many ways, and I’m still delighted to receive emails from people who are enjoying the game now. But, with this project, I wanted to explore new possibilities away from the first-person horror genre.

The concept and foundation for Mega Bad Code really began back in 2004, when I created a free adventure game, called ‘Blast Zone’, which is still available from my website today at http://www.alanthorn.net. There were so many ideas and scenarios I wanted to implement there but never did, for one reason or another. So when I set about creating this game, I took all those older ideas from my mental shelf, blended them together, and arrived at an eclectic mix, which is ‘Mega Bad Code’. 

Other games too have inspired this one, games such as ‘Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller’ and ‘Bad Mojo’. The flavors of these games are to be found throughout. Ultimately, I think Mega Bad Code is a blend that works very well. And if you have a taste for sci-fi, as well as for the ‘weird’ and ‘unsettling’, then I think you’ll really love what’s in store in Mega Bad Code.

2. Adventure gamers always want to be treated to something new and original, be it the story, the artwork, the gameplay or puzzles. The story and the world of Mega Bad Code certainly appear to have a very unique style, but will this extend to the puzzles and gameplay? Can you talk about what will set Mega Bad Code apart from other adventure game titles?

In terms of graphics and story, Mega Bad Code is distinctive and unique. It has its own look and does things its own way. But with the puzzles and gameplay mechanics, it’s unashamedly traditional. It’s an inventory based adventure game, like Gabriel Knight or Day of the Tentacle or Monkey Island.

The controls vary, depending on the platform and operating system of course. But in essence, the mechanics are familiar. You explore the environment, meet characters, collect items in impossibly large pockets and then figure out how to use them in logical ways to progress.Anybody who’s played and loved the classic adventures will feel at home here.

Of course, that’s not to say there’s nothing new to see. Mega Bad Code takes the traditional and much-loved formula, and applies it in original ways that haven’t been seen before. There’s a large world to explore with plenty of secrets, there are unusual and outlandish characters around - some friendly and some dangerous, and there are devious inventory-based puzzles for those seeking a challenge. Plus, Mega Bad Code has plenty of Tizon-Bang!

3. Sound effects and voice acting are always a key component for a successful title. In your press announcement, you prominently mention an original musical score and full voice-over cast. Can you provide some more details to get us excited?

I make the kind of games I like to play, and voice-acting is important to me, along with a soundtrack. Mega Bad Code features a wide range of characters, and these will all be voiced by a cast of talented actors specifically chosen for the parts. Among the characters: we’ve got nerd-like Lucas McCreebie, the easy-going and relaxed Pendragon, the up-tight and competitive Vega, the pensive shop-keeper Simon, and the Psychotic Henderson, plus many more. Biographies for some of these characters can be found at the Mega Bad Code website: http://www.megabadcode.com.

As for the soundtrack, I’m currently working with a composer to develop a soundtrack that deeply captures the Cyberpunk dystopian mood.

4. It might be too early to know, but how has the development of Mega Bad Code been different from your work with Baron Wittard?

Well, though both Baron Wittard and Mega Bad Code might be classified as ‘Adventures’, their workflows are very different, from a development perspective. Baron Wittard was developed with the DX Studio engine, and with tools such as Maya and Photoshop. All of these are excellent tools. But this time around I wanted to take a different route, with different tools that are also excellent. I’m using the Unity Engine, and tools such as Blender, GIMP, Anime Studio and others. Different software and different approaches. But whatever tools you use, I think it’s important to be organized. Development has run very smoothly, and I think this is reflected in the degree of polish in-game.

5. Has the team at Wax Lyrical changed or grown? 

For Baron Wittard, Wax Lyrical Games was a two-person team: Marlies Prins-Maalderink and me. But for Mega Bad Code, I’m acting as a sole developer. This means I work on nearly every aspect of development, except for soundtrack and voice-overs. This includes: design, programming, graphics, animation, sound effects, marketing materials etc. If it’s in the game, then I need to make it. Of course, being a close friend, Marlies still plays an important role in Mega Bad Code: she play-tests the development-builds I make, comments on the game, and offers valuable support and feedback.

6. The release date for Mega Bad Code is set at late 2014, any idea on how soon a trailer might be made available?

Right now, four screen shots are available from the Mega Bad Code website and also from JustAdventure. But throughout the year I plan to release many more materials: specifically more screen-shots, and a trailer. I can’t comment yet on exactly when that will be. But it’ll be soon. Some more screen shots will come first, and then a trailer later in the year.

7. You’re known as an accomplished author, mathematician and independent video game developer, but it would be great to know more about Alan Thorn. Can you share with us some of your passions outside of game development?

I see beauty in so many things, and my tastes differ so widely over time, that I tend not to have concrete favorites for long. That being said, I find myself coming back frequently to ‘old games’ for enjoyment or inspiration, games such as: Quest for Glory, Police Quest, Conquests of the Longbow, Dizzy, Wonder Boy, and others. The EGA and CGA graphics hold a special fascination and place in my imagination.

Outside of games and gaming, I meditate, practice Yoga, study philosophy, and take long and peaceful walks in the countryside. There’s a certain, but perhaps not obvious, roundness to all these things that are a powerful and motivating force for me when making games.

Thank you Alan, for taking the time to talk with us at Just Adventure. We look forward to hearing any progress update, and are certainly looking forward to playing Mega Bad Code.

Thank you, David and Just Adventure! I'll be sure to keep you updated on the game's progress, and I hope you enjoy playing it..

Mega Bad Code will be released for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android and Windows Phone in late 2014.  

 

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