the story around and the techniques used for 'das weihnachtsmannspiel'
the idea of this game was born in the middle of october. da_duke was thinking about to make a small funny game for the christmas time and to send it to friends and clients instead of christmas postcards. first, he was thinking about a flash game but since he doesn't have so much experience with flash it wasn't really sure if he can handle this project. so he desided to ask fakt-software if they want to join this project. because they have a powerfull and flexible game engine it should'nt be a big problem to create this kind of game.
after some discussions about the idea and the concept the deal was perfect. so [dbki] and fakt-software started to work on the game around middle of november.
like his initial idea to use the engine of fakt-software the creation of the project concept was based on the possibilities of the engine. 2 examples of the flexibility of the game engine (used for 5 games now). first one, a scrolling game like 'weihnachtmannspiel' called 'ballermann' and the second one, a non scrolling game called 'toy factory'.
ballermann1 ballermann2 ballermann3
toy factory1 toy factory2 toy factory3
there wasn't so much time left and the launch of the game was set to the 6th of december, nicolaus. the imagination was a round, comic like look, with lots of snow all over. and the lighting should be smooth and warm, with many small lights coming from glancing balls (baubles) and windows. and all the stuff has to be easily to handle and to render. since this is really a job for lightwave because of his stable subpatch modeling and this pretty nice radiosity renderings there was no other solution. after some first concepts we had the first previews of the models and scenes.
preview one house preview two houses
it was really very flexible to put the houses where we want, to check the gameplay and the overall size of the graphics. but then we discovered the next problem, we need music. so we asked phantom alias patrick if he is interested in to create a small christmas like music for the game. after some problems finding a 'royalty free' song he gave us this nice theme for the game and it fits very well into the project.
the good side of 3d graphics is the flexibility. if an object is too big or too small, just scale it, render it and done. so it was very easy to scale the layer, then scale the santa and all the other objects. ok, we had some work to render the animations into bitmaps but with the help of sprite edger and aura 2 it was really easy (removing of antialiasing borders, sorting, black background for color keying, animation check, bitmap conversion). the final bitmap was stitched together with tyler (Savage Logic). (if somebody knows a way to do this with aura feel free to email me, thanks in advance)
santa walk single frame santa walk animation complete santa ani
after we had nearly every graphic done we worked on the balancing and the gameplay. the overall positions of the elements was ok, the scaling and the items too. we've played a little bit with the lights because we had the time for the renderings during the testing phase. the big surprise was on the 1st of december. some german game publisher anounced a christmas game. so we hit the pedal to the metal and finished the game and the page over the weekend.
the overall production was fast and very linear, no big mistakes, no traps. the choosen tools where totally right. lightwave for rendering and aura for animation post production. the idea turned fast into the final product. the spectrum of possibilities are wide spreaden. first, and this was our main usage, for advertising. advertising games are very popular and the production of games like this is fast and affordable. the very same with different graphics can be used for many purposes. and to change parts of the gameplay or elements is very easy. it is easy to optimize the game for different computer systems and the size of the installation is with 3.5mb within the limits of modem users.

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