Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Engine demo - Character encounters

Phew, this took a bit longer than I expected it to - I kept finding more and more things I wanted to implement for the test content seen in this video -  but the next gameplay video is finally ready for display.  This time, we're taking a look at character encounters.  A full explanation can be found in the video (now with narration!), so I'll just stop talking and post the video:

More details about just what is seen in this video appear after the break.

So for those who are really keen to understand the progress thus far (which I'm assuming you are, since you clicked to see more), the following things are new as of this video:
  • Character encounters - Obviously.  More specifically, you can now define character encounters, which hold multiple questions and interrogations, and you can also specify which of those are enabled at the start.  The ones that aren't enabled at the start can be enabled as easily as saying "EnableConversatinon <ID>" within the conversation or action in which you want them to be enabled.
  • Evidence addition - Similar to questions and interrogations, when you define evidence, you can now also specify which are available at the start (if any).  Those that aren't available at the start can be enabled within a conversation by saying "EnableEvidence <ID>".
  • Variable background music - Within the context of a conversation, you can now say "PlayBgm <ID>", "StopBgm", "PauseBgm", and "ResumeBgm" to muck around with the music that's currently playing.
  • Inline sound effects - A new bit of markup to dialog has been added, which is of the form {PlaySound:ID}.  Adding this to a piece of dialog causes the sound effect with the specified ID to be played when the part of the dialog in which it appears is written to the screen.  Examples of this are the glass smashing and the "ding" sound when Twilight says "impossible".
  • Character shaking - One of the most amusing things in the Ace Attorney series was the ridiculous way in which characters seemed to almost take physical damage whenever a new fact came to light that was damaging to their case.  That has now been implemented.
  • Custom animations during dialog - Last, but not least, I've put together a rudimentary animation engine that enables case-makers to define a scene with a background and elements in it, and then to control the elements' position and tinting transitions within each frame.  Once an animation can be defined, it can be brought on screen just by saying "StartAnimation <ID>" within a conversation, and then you can advance to the next frame by saying {NextFrame} within a piece of dialog.  An example of this is the animation of Scootaloo by the Carousel Boutique in Apple Bloom's recollection.
And that's about it thus far!  Thanks for watching and reading.


  1. Looks like the engine (probably a better word for it. The basis in any case) is shaping up really well so far! Nice job on the narration, the BGM was a bit loud at times but I could still hear it all OK.

  2. I loves the Ace Attorney games and i'm on pins and needles waiting for this to be so keep up the good work!

  3. This looks amazing! I can't believe how fast you're making progress with this game. ^.^

  4. Great progress so far! I still wonder if you are still going through with that "confrontation" part of the character interaction (It should be a point of no return after having the necessary evidence. You either catch the criminal/suspect or not!) Anyway, this is shaping up to be really good!

    I guess the next step is to find out how to add the famous shouts after presenting evidence, pressing witnesses.(OBJECTION!, TAKE THAT!, HOLD IT!) Then, of course, implementing a "present evidence" option outside the questioning and interrogation phases in hopes of unlocking more details. I look forward to how you are going to approach the investigation phase of the game. Can't wait for more!

    One more thing. Are you going to separate evidence and profiles in the Court Record (or whatever it's called in AAI)? And, is there any plans on implementing photographic/multiple text page evidence? Basically, can we look forward to examining evidence in more detail?

  5. @Chibito

    Yeah, I wasn't really quite sure what to call it. I figured since it's that thingy that loads the case information and then runs the game, "game engine" was good enough, and required the least explanation.

    I'll try to drop the BGM more in future videos when I'm talking; I wasn't sure whether it was too loud, and it sounds like it was.


    Haha, I'll try. :)


    Thanks! :D


    I can't really respond regarding confrontations yet. In my head it feels like it *might* work, but I will need to do a full mock-up of it to establish exactly how it will go, and then I'll need to determine (as I said before) whether I can find enough determination between it and interrogations to make it a worthwhile addition. I imagine that will not come for a while - there are many things still to implement of which I have a much clearer picture in my head - so unfortunately I probably will not have an answer for you regarding that for a while.

    In terms of adding the shouts, actually adding those would be trivial, really. The trick for me is figuring out exactly what to do there. Do I grab voice clips from the show that approximate those? Do I send out a casting call for voice actors who can do a good impression? I don't really know, and since that's largely window dressing as opposed to foundational gameplay, I'm leaving that question unanswered for now. I imagine I'll revisit it later when it comes time for the final polishing job on the game engine.

    As far as evidence/profiles go, yes, I do plan to separate the two. I just haven't done that yet. In addition, I also plan on having a third class of evidence not seen in Ace Attorney games, which is "testimony" - my plan there is to make it so you can page through things that characters have said previously and present a line that a character previously said as contradictory evidence. This is kind of like how in Ace Attorney games you'll get a single line someone said added to the list of evidence you can present, but it'll be more integrated and will require more searching, which *hopefully* (in my head it is at least) will make for interesting puzzles to work through. At worst, it'll just make it terribly tedious... which is something I'd obviously like to avoid, so I'll need to be careful exactly how much content to put in there.

    I imagine that I probably will implement the examination of evidence (nothing as fancy as the 3D inspection in later Ace Attorney games though), but that's another thing that is minor in comparison to the rest of the gameplay, so that will not be tackled until later.

  6. I'm loving the dialogue. You've got a fantastic grasp on the "voice" so to speak of both the Ace Attorney writers and the FiM writers. So far, it really does sound like Faust decided to team up with Capcom to deliver us this product.

    Keep up the good work!

  7. In regards to the shouts, I think using voices from the show would be best. They don't even have to be of the exact words "objection," "hold it," etc; references to the show are much better than precise legal language. Fluttershy's "objection" could be her "Waaaaaaaaaiiiiit!" when she was fighting the manticore in the pilot. Twilight's "PIIIIIINNNKKIIIIE!" in the Ticket Master could be one of her situational objections. Stuff like that.

    As far as "testimony" evidence goes, you're right to be wary, but properly implemented it could add a lot to the game. I suspect it will require a bit of playtesting to figure out just the right number of red herrings to put in there.

  8. This really is awesome. I really like what you have going even in these demos. It feels like the Ace Attorney series from what I've seen. Great work.

  9. Oh my gosh, this is awesome.

  10. I love what you guys are doing! I'm a huge AA fan and I can't say anything but "I'm freaking excited"!

    That said, regarding the "OBJECTION!" and such sounds, I actually wanted to suggest something...considering Twilight is not an attorney, but rather, a detective in the loosest sense in the word, you could probably have her have her own, equivalent catchphrase taken from the show (in other words, I was thinking that perhaps something akin to Shi-Long Lang's "NOT SO FAST!" could probably do the trick very satisfactorily). The other suggestion I had was browsing through Tara Strong's other roles and hopefully finding voice clips that fit.

    If you think this method is a good idea, I'd try to find and rip some appropiate voice clips and send them to you.

  11. @Anonymous 4:00 PM

    Wow, that's high praise! Thank you!

    @Anonymous 4:13 PM

    Well I'm kind of going back and forth regarding the shouts. I've had SO many people clamoring to hear "OBJECTION!" that I'm thinking I might consider including it just for kicks. I feel as though I could pull it off by utterly lampshading it by having someone point out initially how weird it is that Twilight said that. I dunno, I'll think about it.


    Thanks! :)


    Thank you!

    @New DCD

    Just singular "guy" for right now - it's just little ol' me until further notice! :D

    See my response to Anonymous 4:13 PM regarding the shouts, as it basically applies to what you're talking about. I'd definitely be interested to hear what you might suggest for voice clips, though. Feel free to shoot me an email at!

  12. I think having 'objection!' as a one-off joke would work best, as something she read in a guidebook or something. Details, of course.

    I was also wondering if Spike will have some kind of a sidekick role? I'm unfamiliar with Ace Attorney, so it might be an obvious yes or no, or a minor detail, but oh well.

  13. So awesome. From what you've shown so far, it looks, sounds and feels very professional! As a fan of both MLP:FiM and AA, i'm lookin' forward to this.


  14. @Chibito

    The Ace Attorney games do have the concept of a partner, which I've definitely been thinking about. Nothing really to talk about there, yet - haven't nailed down any concrete details of what I want to do.


    Thanks! :)