Laura Bow and the Mechanical Codex

Feeling like this game could be murder... literally? Well, come on in here for some extra detective work (and clues/hints/etc!) for the Laura Bow games (The Colonel's Bequest and The Dagger of Amon Ra).
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Re: Laura Bow and the Mechanical Codex

Post by Tawmis » Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:50 pm

Email wrote: Happy Holiday Season to all of you amazing Laura Bow fans out there! This month we'd like to show off a few more images of our progress [above] and talk a bit more about the characters and interactions in the game.

To view the above wallpaper images in their full size, just click on them (Gmail) or right click and select Save Image As or Download Image to copy it to your computer. If you are on a mobile device, you can touch and hold to save the image to your device. And, as always, visit the website if you'd like to view some of our previously released images: www.ninezyme.com

Also, the team will be taking some time off at the end of the year - so we will be skipping our January newsletter all together. We will be back with more progress updates in February!
What, Where, When, Who?

For the setting of The Mechanical Codex, we are picking up many months after the events from The Dagger of Amon Ra - everything pivoting around a real-life historical event (no spoilers!). Laura has continued working at the New York Daily News Tribune and is a bit more established in her career. She has become slightly more accepted at her role as their first and only female reporter - and she is starting to gain a bit more confidence with her life in the big city.

Our aim is to advance with Laura, and make her a more relatable and lovable character - while still maintaining that small town southern innocence and charm from the original games. We have already cast a super talented voice actress to play her role, and she is doing an amazing job so far!

The Mechanical Codex will also feature a couple of other familiar faces (one of whom you might recognize above). However, the majority of our extremely diverse cast will be all new and very specific to this story. Currently we plan to have 20 primary characters, plus some filler ones for more generic events... oh, and a cat (she plays a very important role actually). Several of the characters are based on real life people from the time period - although we have changed names in cases where it could possibly be defamatory. After all, a Laura Bow story needs a good villain!

The first chapter of the game (which is our focus at the moment) contains 5 of these primary characters and a couple of filler ones. These are all completely designed, modeled, and textured - with animations in progress. We will continue to reveal them to you over the next few months.
The Little Genre That Could

Point-and-click games... we love them, we hate them, we make them, we play them, we sometimes forget them. It has indeed been a troubled genre after the golden age of the 80's and 90's. There is always a small and passionate audience who will continue to support them - however, in reality, they just don't tend to sell well enough to build a stable foundation on (or to garner major support from publishers, investors, license holders, etc).

We recognize this and are attempting to adapt with the times in an effort to attract both classic and new audiences. Hard core fans will shudder at the thought of messing with their tried and true formula - however, we see it as an opportunity to enhance the gameplay in ways which will do right by our beloved heroine. With our full 3D environments and richly detailed characters, we will be able to create a clue finding experience well beyond what was possible in the previous games of the series.

At its heart, it is still a story driven point-and-click adventure! However, you can expect to also see some additional mechanics adapted from modern games and gaming devices - and much more meaningful character interactions than what was possible before. We hope that all of you are looking forward to seeing what we come up with, and will keep an open mind about what a Laura Bow adventure could be - using the plethora of tools at our fingertips today.

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Re: Laura Bow and the Mechanical Codex

Post by DeadPoolX » Sun Jan 26, 2020 9:58 pm

Well, hopefully they have Activision's permission for this or they'll likely get hit with a cease-and-desist letter, or worse yet, a full lawsuit. Either way, it'd be a shame to see all that work go to waste.
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Re: Laura Bow and the Mechanical Codex

Post by Tawmis » Tue Feb 04, 2020 2:00 am

DeadPoolX wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 9:58 pm
Well, hopefully they have Activision's permission for this or they'll likely get hit with a cease-and-desist letter, or worse yet, a full lawsuit. Either way, it'd be a shame to see all that work go to waste.
I have your answer.
NineZyme Entertainment wrote: Hi Tawmis! Thanks for your interest in the project, and for reaching out to us...
We have approached Activision with what we'd like to do, however it is a complicated situation and things aren't entirely sorted out yet. They are extremely hesitant, and basically won't even consider it without some kind of playable prototype/demo. So, our plan is to just move forward and complete the entire first chapter of the game - then use that as a platform to reconnect with them, gain some community support, and do a funding round for the remaining chapters.
It's unfortunate, because it basically all just comes down to money. These types of games don't tend to be very lucrative, and Activision is only really interested in projects with high profit potential.
Sooo, there are a lot of things stacked against us. But we're going to give it our best and see what happens! Meanwhile, if anyone in your forum/community would like to help... talking about the project and getting the word out would be great - or spam Activision with support for what we're doing (just don't tell them we asked you to do that, ha). ;)
Thanks,
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Re: Laura Bow and the Mechanical Codex

Post by Tawmis » Tue Feb 04, 2020 2:03 am

And with that...
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Welcome to the 20's! We can't believe that it is already the 2020's and we are creating a game set in the 1920's - but it does seem oddly appropriate somehow.

That being said... yes, we have returned from holiday break and hit the ground running with more Laura Bow updates for you! This month we are going to talk a bit about what it takes to go from an idea all the way to a completed scene in the game - and also introduce another one of our characters, along with a sample of what our animator has been up to.

Remember, to view any of the images in their full size, just click on them (Gmail) or right click and select Save Image As or Download Image to copy it to your computer. If you are on a mobile device, you can touch and hold to save the image to your device. And, as always, visit the website if you'd like to view some of our previously released images: www.ninezyme.com

How About Something Like This?

It all starts with one simple question: "Hey, what if we decided to do something like...?" For every scene in The Mechanical Codex, this question fluttered through someone's brain - and for each person on the team, it may result in something different. One person might consider how that question translates into something visual - another might think about how it relates to something functional - and others might consider the audible or narrative aspects of the question. Ultimately, we try to give each person on the team enough autonomy to introduce their own creative perspective and do our best to seam them together into a cohesive experience for the player.

For these images, the process went a little something like this: "We need to set the scene. What if we decided to do an establishing shot of New York City in the 1920's?"

After that, our concept artist and project director talked about how to best portray that vision and decided on a layered transition from distant to near city views. This resulted in several sketches, a couple of quick chats about how it could all connect together, and then some visual colorizations. After that, our 3D team took over and started building the geometry, painting the materials, determining camera placement, motion, visual fx, and all. Here is the outcome for one of those views, and we think the results turned out quite nicely! Let us know what you think.
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Turning Characters Into "Characters"

A good Laura Bow story requires some deep character interactions, emotion, and drama. Our amazing character team has been working very hard to bring our cast to life and give them very distinct looks and personalities. One of our primary goals for The Mechanical Codex was to be able to "read" the mood of a character just by looking at them.

Here we are showing off another one of our characters in the intro Chapter of the game. This nameless gentleman is considered one of our generic characters, and doesn't play a very large role in the story - yet we still want him to feel alive and part the world we are building. Here you can see a sample of the high quality bar we are aiming to achieve for this game, in regards to animation and personality.

As always, let us know what you think... we love hearing from all of you amazing fans out there!
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Re: Laura Bow and the Mechanical Codex

Post by DeadPoolX » Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:32 am

I'm not surprised that Activision is taking a wait-and-see approach to this. The adventure genre hasn't been a big earner (in mainstream gaming) since the early-to-mid 1990s.

I've looked at the characters on NineZyme's website and although I didn't really notice it, Maia said the fashion and hair for women — at least as far as Laura herself is concerned — seem off for the 1920s and closer to the 1930s.
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Re: Laura Bow and the Mechanical Codex

Post by Tawmis » Tue Feb 04, 2020 10:22 am

DeadPoolX wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:32 am
I've looked at the characters on NineZyme's website and although I didn't really notice it, Maia said the fashion and hair for women — at least as far as Laura herself is concerned — seem off for the 1920s and closer to the 1930s.
Laura was always a trend-setter. Maybe she's to thank for that 1930's look? :D

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Re: Laura Bow and the Mechanical Codex

Post by Collector » Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:09 pm

I always assumed that TCB took place in the '20s when she was still in college, but Dagger was several years later, after when she graduated. All of the Art Deco and other things in Dagger scream '30s.
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Re: Laura Bow and the Mechanical Codex

Post by Semi-Happy Partygoer » Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:32 am

Collector wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:09 pm
I always assumed that TCB took place in the '20s when she was still in college, but Dagger was several years later, after when she graduated. All of the Art Deco and other things in Dagger scream '30s.
Laura's notebook states the year is 1926, a year after TCB. But the overall design of the game does suggest the early 30s more than the late 20s.
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Re: Laura Bow and the Mechanical Codex

Post by Tawmis » Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:19 am

Latest email...
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The Mean Streets of NYC

Well, February just flew right on by... and our work on The Mechanical Codex is still on a nice slow-but-steady path. We have made some significant progress on the introduction to the game, and the initial gameplay areas this month, and March will be entirely focused on these areas as well. Our goal is still to release a playable demo toward the end of summer this year, and at the moment, that still looks like it might be achievable.

That being said... this is game development. Anything and everything can happen, usually causing delays. Sometimes it is due to poor planning, or lack of communication - other times it is because some grand new idea has arisen from the depths of creative inspiration - and then there are those moments which are just completely out of our control. On that topic, a couple of our team members have been dealing with some very difficult problems in their personal lives recently. It has impacted the schedule a minor amount, however giving people time when these situations occur is absolutely critical in our opinion. In order to do our best work, keeping a healthy personal life is super important. If you would like to express some words of support, please send us a little note at [email protected]. I'm sure it would mean a lot to the team to hear encouragement and positive feedback from all of you amazing fans out there.

And with that... back to our regularly scheduled newsletter, currently in progress.

Remember, to view any of the images in their full size, just click on them (Gmail) or right click and select Save Image As or Download Image to copy it to your computer. If you are on a mobile device, you can touch and hold to save the image to your device. And, as always, visit the website if you'd like to view some of our previously released images: www.ninezyme.com

The City So Nice, They Named It Twice

Ahhhh, New York City... culture, adventure, intrigue, and maybe some "exotic" smells here and there. It is also the starting point of Laura's next big adventure! What will the future hold for our naively sleuthy heroine?

Similar to last month, we would like to show off what our art team has been up to with one of our New York City scenes - and how it has progressed from some quick sketches all the way to a fully 3D animated environment. Here we get to see a street view of Laura's home town.
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The Mechanical Character Corner

Who is this mysterious looking chap, you might ask? Well, allow us to introduce you to Nasir. He is one of the major characters in The Mechanical Codex, although you will only get a brief introduction to him during the section of the game that we are actively working on. However, assuming all goes well with this first Chapter (and our dealings with Activision), you will get to learn a lot more about him later on in the story!

For now, however, it will remain... a mystery! [duhm duhm duhhmmm]

As always, let us know what you think... we love hearing from you!
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Re: Laura Bow and the Mechanical Codex

Post by Tawmis » Wed Apr 01, 2020 7:30 pm

The Daily Tribune

Hello to all Laura Bow fans out there! We have some exciting news to share with you this month - which is both bitter and sweet.

After many discussions with investors and Activision, it is clear that there is no longer belief that adventure games are a sustainable direction for a developer to hang their hat on. However, the infinite runner concept is BOOMING these days. So, after much deliberation, we have decided to switch directions and make a different game called The Daily Tribune!

This new game will feature Laura Bow and her boss, Sam Augustini, in a race to release their daily newspaper to the citizens of New York. Control Laura and Sam as they bound through the bustling city streets... collecting articles, avoiding traffic, and helping solve cases that no one else dare take. Can you help them get their paper out on time??

To kick off this new venture, here is a preview image of how it is looking so far. We hope you all agree that it is a much more appealing and potentially fruitful direction to take the game (and our tiny indie development studio). Let us know what you think, we'd love to hear your thoughts!
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On a More Serious Note

We hope all of you are safe and sound in the crazy world in which we find ourselves right now. Please remember to follow all of the latest guidelines provided by your local or international health and safety organizations - there are many lives at risk.

And if you find yourself needing someone to talk to during these isolating times, reach out to us. We'd be happy to have a chat and get to know more of you out there - or maybe kick back and play a game with you.

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Re: Laura Bow and the Mechanical Codex

Post by Collector » Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:55 pm

Still don't lie the cartoony characters.
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Re: Laura Bow and the Mechanical Codex

Post by BBP » Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:56 am

Laura Bow The Platformer. That's great, that means that not taking the two guys from Andromeda into account, every attempt to rehash Sierra IP is a total bust.
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Re: Laura Bow and the Mechanical Codex

Post by Qbix » Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:54 am

BBP wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:56 am
Laura Bow The Platformer. That's great, that means that not taking the two guys from Andromeda into account, every attempt to rehash Sierra IP is a total bust.
Maybe it might have been posted on 1 april ?

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Re: Laura Bow and the Mechanical Codex

Post by Tawmis » Fri Apr 03, 2020 4:15 am

Qbix wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:54 am
BBP wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:56 am
Laura Bow The Platformer. That's great, that means that not taking the two guys from Andromeda into account, every attempt to rehash Sierra IP is a total bust.
Maybe it might have been posted on 1 april ?
It's clearly indicated as a joke. It was sent on the 1st of April. And the image of Sam Augustini jumping up and hitting what is clearly a "Mario Box" is further indication.
And then below it it says, "On a more serious note, we hope..."

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Re: Laura Bow and the Mechanical Codex

Post by BBP » Sun Apr 05, 2020 1:26 pm

:oops: I'll shut up now...
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