Integrator 2012: inviting people to join

After work today I was thinking that I see myself in a similar position as John Twiddy: coding tools that a graphician would use to design the graphical elements (locations, sprites, animations) just as Hugh Riley did back in the day.

I am quite sure that Hugh was feeding back user-experience and suggestions to John, in order to make it more effective to use his design tools. It probably was a steep learning curve, but look at the result 🙂

Graphicians interested in helping: this is a call for you! Get in touch, let’s discuss where we could get with this.
I can get you started on the requirements of the isometric engine and you can take off and design some static locations the way you prefer on the platform you like. We can then follow up together and grab elements out of your scene in order to make them reusable and rebuild the scene that way. I seem to have found indication of a similar approach followed back in the day in LN and LN2.
The idea is not about creating a game overnight or before a story is even written, but to get familiar with the tools and make sure they are tailored and effective for you to use 🙂

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3 Responses to Integrator 2012: inviting people to join

  1. Kai Ninja says:

    I will definitely give the Integrator 2012 a try and provide feedback but I’m not sure what you mean with “We can then follow up together and grab elements out of your scene in order to make them reusable and rebuild the scene that way.” Could you elaborate a bit? Thanks! 🙂

    • luigidifraia says:

      Hey Kai. What I had in mind was to let graphicians paint some graphics, possibly a whole location, outside of Integrator 2012, i.e. using their preferred tools. The only constraint would be to adhere to isometric rules, along with using some common sense to facilitate re-usability of most of the graphic elements. The catch here is that they would not have to create single objects and place them here and there but the other way around: they create a scene and I help them go through the process of extracting building blocks from the scene itself so that the scene can be rebuilt with Integrator 2012.
      This seems long-winded but in my opinion it is the only way you can optimize the whole design process and reduce the catalogue of building blocks to a minimal subset. I am pretty sure there would have been no other way to design level 3 in LN2 but something like this. Have a look at the catalogue here: https://luigidifraia.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/level-3-is-the-best-in-terms-of-design-elements-and-rules/
      In my humble opinion, if you were a graphician and I was giving you these 62 building blocks to design a location (without exposure to Hugh’s locations) you would have to be really creative to come up with a good quality location. Also, for some of the building blocks I think it would not be clear to you what they are and how to combine them to make any sense of them.
      I believe one way to produce entirely new good quality graphics is to follow the above approach: you first let creativity guide you and produce good quality graphics, we then go through the “cut” process to make them re-usable.

    • luigidifraia says:

      In a sense this reminds me of how you reduce boolean algebraic expressions by using the Karnaugh map, or reduce a finite state state-machine using Moore’s procedure.

      The initial algebraic expression or finite state-machine is equivalent to the work of a graphician whose drive is creativity, without too many constraints. With the aid of a programmer, they can then go through the optimization process which is equivalent to breaking down the design into a minimal set of building blocks (bear in mind the memory constraints on a C64).

      If you look at LN2 level 7 objects in Integrator 2012 you will find a clue there that this might be the approach followed back in the day by John and Hugh: Hugh produced the design and it was not broken down into reusable components. Why? I think that’s simple to explain: they did not need any optimization/reusability because level 7 only contains 2 locations.

      One of the things I would like to stress at this point is: there’s a big deal of information a graphician can gather by examining LN2 in Integrator 2012, which would greatly simplify the optimization/reduction process of new graphics/building blocks.
      Of course certain users of Integrator 2012 might become so proficient with existing building blocks in LN2 that they might just want to reuse them for an entirely new LN2-like game, arranging existing building blocks in a new exciting way, without adding anything new to the catalogues: that is another perfectly fine use of Integrator 2012 🙂

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