NOTE: I realize although I'd continued to make updates on the website this past year, I somehow drifted away from including them here and on other forums. I apologize if this has left anybody wondering, and hopefully it did not keep many of you from thinking to visit the site itself the see the updates. Remember, you can always feel free to check out what's going on here
December 28th, 2011
I have some good news, and I have some GREAT news!
I’ll begin with the good news… THE OUTER EDGE OF EARNON WILL USE 3D-ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNIQUES TO DERIVE ARTWORK:
No, no no!!! This will NOT be a 3D game, it shall remain the classical adventure style and interface. What this simply means is that, utilizing tools available from 3D programs, production of the 2-dimensional backgrounds, lighting/shadowing, reflection, and animation will be incredibly easier from this point on and even more convincing. Imagine not having to redraw every sketch as you imagine it, just to achieve a slightly different angle. View some of the examples below of the experimentation that has been conducted, and you will acquire an idea of what this means for the fangame project…
…now, when working on a large area of the adventure, where there are many rooms or screens present which relate to one another, a model of the area need be built only once. Thereafter, camera angle and position keyframes can be utilized in order to take snapshots of these models form different locations/angles. Imagine, for example, if you desired to animate an introduction sequence which scrolled across Xenon City, viewing all its buildings and streets. You could program a camera to do this and take snapshots every so many frames, and then those snapshots can be later traced, colored and textured in a paint program, to acquire the 2D backgrounds necessary for your cut sequence.
Or… imagine wanting to cover a portion of the game both in day or at night, or with alternating atmospheric effects. The power of using a 3D pipeline system to support the derivation of these calculations is an immense time-saver. You could move lights in and out wherever you desire, shine different colors on things to see how they interact with other objects in the scene, or even apply a texture effect to an object to get a good idea of how specific surfaces should be later depicted in 2D, as with metal, water, or plastic, for example.
This new direction in art development will help the project more than can be expressed in words. And, in case you’re foolishly wondering, “No, this 3D method will not subtract from the uniqueness of the games artwork. The temptation to allow screenshots to become monotonous in their great numbers will be resisted at all costs!”
And now… for the GREAT news… AFTER HARD DRIVE CRASH FOUR YEARS AGO, THE OUTER EDGE ENJOYS A MIRACULOUS SOURCE CODE RESURRECTION!!!
Yes, yes fans! The unbelievable has occurred. It all began a week or two ago, when I realized my desktop pc (which I’d built back when I was 19), would no longer boot up successfully without shutting itself down due to an overheating/hardware problem (it’d been growing worse and worse over the past year). The 3D progress I’ve just shown you in the screenshots above had become temporarily un-accessible, and I was determined to get them off that hard drive (which, as you can see, I most certainly did). However, as I was going through this process (which required the purchase of an external hard disk cover and the reading of some articles regarding hard-disk recovery utilities, the thought crossed my mind, how likely might it be that I could perform a deep scan that would turn up some really old stuff I’d REALLY forgotten about, and had accepted long ago that it was gone forever…???
For those of you who have only been following The Outer Edge of Earnon recently, I will provide you with the necessary exposition in order to comprehend the magnitude of this wonderful achievement of data recovery: You see, this project was begun back in December of 2003, and had slowly developed, until a team was eventually formed in late 2007. The team and I had a great but short run together; as many life issues and worldly circumstances more or less broke the team up and drove SQ:OEOE to a screaming halt. I, in my early twenties (22), had become quite depressed for reasons I will not explain, and it was at that time when I was being called to walk through the door from adolescence to adulthood, that I deliberately erased all the project files shortly before I entered college.
I spoke a little with my team members, at least one or two of them, during that April of 2008, but things really didn’t hold together for long. I had almost immediately regretted my upset and having given up on the adventure, and so I was able to retrieve the “majority” of the important stuff from a zip file I’d uploaded into an email account for backup purposes. (Do bear in mind, this file had to be kept small enough to email). The rest, I began to rebuild, very slowly, but college kept development at a near freeze.
I had a couple of good development bursts, and you all heard from me quite a bit these past three summers.
Now, at this present day, I could not possibly be more pleased to tell you that I have recovered GIGABYTES worth of information!!! The reason this number of bytes is so large is because back in the earliest days of the project, I had literally played through every SQ game, taking snapshots of the backgrounds and of the dialogues, and even of the descriptions of certain areas and objects. I did this because I strive for a great degree of organic transition (or, think of it as coherency) between this fangame and the official other 6 adventures. These image files I had saved as bitmaps. This is one mere example of why there is so much information.
But the best stuff I’d recovered is the stuff I’d lost JUST before the “Great Down”, as I call it.
For starts, how’sa ‘bout these two images below, which I’d earlier released in very old updates:
(VISIT WEBSITE TO VIEW FULL SIZED)
(VISIT WEBSITE TO VIEW FULL SIZED)
Other things I can’t show you, but will be glad to explain
First off, fortunately, all this time, because I’d been VERY good about protecting the script via email backups, the script had never suffered anything more than about a paragraph (or one page) of loss, which I still had fresh in my memory, but much of the original penmanship in this precise area had been compromised. The biggest things I’d lost were the most recent “team development chats,” which the guys and I had enjoyed with each other over yahoo messenger between November 10th of 2007 and April of 2008 – of which I have recovered ALL!!!
These chats include the latest ideas and innovations we’d collaborated on for the plot of the adventure, and other design areas.
In addition to this, I have recovered documents upon DOCUMENTS of information, regarding plot ideas, character ideas, deaths, eggs, YOU NAME IT! You see, although there had been but one single “screenplay” file, many other documents had separately comprised design aspects for other facets of the adventure game project.
HOW DID I GET THIS LUCKY…???
Articles online will tell you that the odds of recovering computer files that had been deleted from your hard drive FOUR YEARS ago are slighter than the odds of winning the lottery. However, I had always been in the habit of having my computer’s drive split into two virtual partitions. Whenever I needed to format and re-install my operating system, the other half of my drive would remain intact with all my files (DELETED AS WELL AS NON). This no doubt protected this old lost information from being forced too deep below the hard disk’s surface after all these years, minimizing the number of “overwrites” that had occurred. Furthermore, because my hard drive was so large, in terms of needed usage (I hadn’t done much heavy, hi-res gaming during my college years) , this allowed for more free space the hard drive could write over, rather than cramming and compressing within the same small amount of sectors.
But the recovery was a bit of a challenge. The entire process took about 9 hours; that is, to search through and find the correct files. For the first several hours, I’d recovered bunches of individual and some partially corrupted images and documents, which fueled my excitement to thoroughly complete the search, no matter how long it would take, and eventually, EVENTUALLY… I’d stumbled upon a compressed zip file (quite large in size), which was perfectly intact and which extracted with no trouble. I checked the output folder, read the description of the unzipped folder, ”Fan Game,” and my eyes lit up like a Spiny Alien Thang about to grab an unsuspecting, wandering hero janitor. Every single file from the fan game project had been preserved: EVERY SINGLE FILE, IN ITS ORIGINAL LOCATION IN RELATION TO THE MASTER FAN GAME FOLDER, WITH ALL THE CREATION AND MODIFICATION DETAILS, PERFECTLY PRESERVED IN THEIR ORIGINAL DIRECTORY STRUCTURE!!!
And along with the great progress and growth that this project has continued to enjoy over these recent years (despite the adversities), this amazing triumph will just... PHHHHFFFF!!! Forget words!
Reading this source code and document details, and seeing my initial plans for latter stages of the adventure, has in a way patched small gaps that had been nearly patched already, but still not completely. I feel almost as though I’m there again, four years earlier, and the feeling and awareness of suddenly seeing what I’d typed – all my ideas and progress – which I haven’t seen in nearly half a decade, has immensely jumped the motivation factor.
Stay tuned, more great updates to come. This baby’s about to take off and I mean for real. By the way, I survived my first semester at university with a cumulative 3.38, and I’m minoring in digital production, and working under a previous Hollywood special effects master and recipient of an Oscar award. I couldn’t possibly be happier to be where I am this day, and I would say the prognosis for this adventure to turn into everything I’ve ever dreamed it would be is undeniably positive.
Sincerely As Always,
Johnathon and the Outer Edge Dev Team