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WORKING FROM ISOLATION: AUGUST 2020 DEVLOG

by Pirita in blog

In the last few months, life seems to have paused.  Keeping social distance and having our masks ready to go, our little world as indie developers seems to have become smaller than ever.

Within the solitude of our 2-person studio, with Twitter and Skype as our only means of contact with the rest of the indie community, we continue to work at Mutropolis. Which, at least, makes us happy.

Emerging out into the light, we have a few pieces of news to share with all of you, readers of isolation!

VOICE OVER, BABY!

We’ve finally started the voice-over work for Mutropolis! We can’t deny it’s one of the areas we’ve been waiting for with the most enthusiasm. It’s so exciting to give voices to your beloved characters and see them come to life.

Thanks to the support of our publisher, Application Systems Heidelberg; and our voiceover director, Alasdair Beckett-King; it is now a reality. It’s still early days, but we already have a pretty good idea of what Mutropolis will sound like – and it’s lovely! We can’t wait to share it with you 🙂

The casting has been an incredibly exciting, yet bittersweet experience. If you have a delicate soul and hate having to make transcendental decisions (like having to choose between two very talented actors!) it’s especially daunting.

We couldn’t be happier with the way things are going. We hope that in a very short time we can start showing Mutropolis, full of voices and present our talented actors to you.

GAMESCOM ONLINE

No doubt more mixed feelings on this issue too! Pablo and I have been dreaming of going to Gamescom for years. We’ve come close to going on several occasions, but due to budget and/or schedule we hadn’t been able to go. Ahem, yes. Mostly because of the budget.

But, thanks to ASH, this was our year! It breaks our hearts not to be able to physically attend the event, but we will try to enjoy the online format to the fullest.

Gamescom joins the list of events in which we’ve participated from the comfort of our homes, along with the Steam Summer Festival and EGX.

We’re already working on what content we’re going to show you. For more information, follow us on Twitter.

AND NOW, WHAT?

We’ve been working hard and there are now fewer milestones to reach before the release of the game.

Last month we finished the English translation. As Spanish speakers, we had built the script of the game in Spanish. While it’s a pleasure to write in your native language, most players (obviously not Spanish speakers) would not be able to enjoy the nuances of the Spanish version. That’s why ASH suggested that the English version of the game had to be more than just a hired translation. With the vital collaboration of Alasdair Beckett-King, we built a fresh and improved English version.

We are currently working on fixing some unexpected bugs in the game’s menus (they are always unexpected!), adding new graphics and optimizing performance.

We still have to start recording the voices, translate Mutropolis to other languages and start a last round of beta-testing.

We hope to be able to give a release date soon!

Until next time, with love – Bea and Pablo , Pirita Studio.

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THE CHALLENGES OF DEVELOPING A VIDEO GAME (When you only know how to draw)

by Pirita in blog

WE WERE SO YOUNG…

I am Bea, and together with Pablo, we are the developers of Mutropolis! It’s been almost 5 years since these two naive devs opened their little Twitter account and set about working on the game. Back then, we had no dialogue, no characters and no story – just a couple of sketches and the crazy thought that we could do it all within a year and a half at most…

HA-HA-HA. I laugh at your optimism, me from the past.

Although we had a casual interest in learning the ropes regarding programming, we became very excited when we discovered that an adventure game could be created without any such skills or investing a lot of money. The games industry is spoiled with options for creating an adventure game using an engine that guides you through the process, such as Adventure Creator (for Unity) or Visonaire Studio. We chose the latter as we found it the most accessible.

A custom engine to build an adventure game! What a great idea. It was perfect for us, a couple of illustrators who couldn’t recognise a line of code, even if it were put in a police lineup. Despite our lack of programming experience, we did have some experience in videogames and had worked on several projects before as graphic designers. But never on our own.

FIRST CONTACT WITH THE REAL WORLD

Our goal was to create the whole thing ourselves. Doing it this way, we would kept the costs under control, and any possible profits would be shared 50/50. We would work from the comfort of our home during our free time, and communication between us would be very easy.

Of course, Visionaire Studio would make things simpler, but it was still a challenge for two useless programmers.

When I mentioned about the programming earlier, perhaps I was not clear.
We didn’t know how to program ANYTHING.

Despite the out-of-the-box tools at our disposal, it soon became clear we had potentially over-hyped our software. One of us was going to have to learn at least the basics of building a game using an engine. Which one of us would it be?
Pablo comes from a Fine Arts background and my own is in film and screenwriting. Neither of us seemed to have the right qualifications. With Pablo’s latent interest in programming piquing, he volunteered for the task (I dodged a bullet there).

We always thought that this might be the biggest challenge (and although we were correct, it didn’t come alone). It took us a year to get comfortable with the engine and put together a decent demo.

Then we deleted the whole thing and started from scratch again. Fun!

NEW SKILLS FOR NON-STRATEGIC PEOPLE

Looking back, I honestly think we did the distribution of tasks on a whim. I got to animate the characters even though I had never done anything like that before in my entire life… instead of using Pablo, who had been doing pixel art animations for mobile games for years! But what the hell, I just wanted to learn how to animate. As for Pablo, the only one who already knew how to do it, he wanted to program! Maybe we weren’t that practical, but we were able to enjoy the process.

Let’s not forget that Pablo was the Fine Arts graduate. My interest in drawing started as a hobby and ended up as a profession. I had no professional training, which made me very insecure from the very beginning.

I don’t consider myself a great expert in drawing scenes. I’ve always specialized in creating characters and I was happy with that. But with Pablo overwhelmed with the titanic task of learning how to assemble the game, it was on me to take over the graphics of Mutropolis.

I postponed designing scenery and settings for as far as I could. I remember that at first, I went crazy drawing characters. I managed to get Pablo out of his programming bubble on occasion to help me do the scenery sketches. In return, I made a commitment to learn the engine as well to help him with the more mundane tasks (like setting up the technical scenes).

THE FINAL RESULT

In the end we got a very good balance. Pablo would draw for me on a sheet of paper the basic lines of the most difficult scenarios. Having a base, I was able to work from it. And vice versa, I was able to help him manage the engine and dedicate myself to setting up each scenario from scratch while he did the more complex programming.

The concept of the game was created by just the two of us. It was definitely one of the parts we enjoyed the most.  We’d sit down and discuss what was going to happen in the plot and then I’d start writing like crazy, using my notebook full of ideas.

Eventually we began to realize that we were making the game entirely between the two of us, and fulfilling our original plan! Both of us doing art, writing, programming and whatever it took.

There are still times when I don’t remember which one of us came up with an idea for the game, or who made the first sketch of that scenario or who made a joke that still makes me smile.

It is true that there are certain areas that have been exclusively authored by one of us. Pablo is 100% the creator of the game music, another skill he had to learn on the fly. It might be the only decision we made wisely, since at least he had some musical training. I devoted myself body-and-soul to learning how to animate and design the characters. The rest is a fog of authorship.

Five years ago, the mad idea of making a game between two people who only knew how to draw crossed our minds. In the process, we had to learn how to do everything else.

One last thing we didn’t expect either, we were going to have to speak in public! A nightmare for an introvert. Not to mention for two!

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Nice awards from London!

by Pirita in blog

This week has been an exciting one!
We have participated in the Indie Prize showcase in London. It’s has been a sublime experience, with hundreds of nice people, lots of beautiful games and infinite coffee service 🙂

We are delightful to announce that we have win the BEST GAME ART award.
A real real honor, considering all the wonderful games that share with us the showcase at the Casual Connect.

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Wishlist Mutropolis on Steam

by Pirita in blog

Oh, Dear! Mutropolis Steam page is here!
Give us some love and WISHLIST on Steam: HERE

WHAT IS THE GAME ABOUT?
Archaeology! Adventure! Sci-Fi! Comedy! The future!
Mutropolis is a lovely SCI-FI archaeological post-apocalyptic adventure.
In the 25th century, the great humankind achievements, such as pyramids or Humphrey Bogart’s movies, were completely forgotten.
Henry and his nerdy team of archaeologists have been working hard for years, on the ground, digging treasures with the extremely rare hallmark “Made in China” and watching weird Indiana Jones documentaries.

Until some dog-looking God come to ruin everything.

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Meet MAX

by Pirita in blog

MAX have big feelings and small wheels. He was manufactered by a Russian spy and somethings he misses the Great Mother Russia (even though he never know her).
Regulated by the Three Laws of Robotics, Max have many human friends. But he only truly loves Micro.
Their relationship comes way back, when Micro found MAX in a desert of Mars. Micro didn’t make any question and Max didn’t offer answers…
MAX is faithful, but he likes to keep his secrets. However he is nice and thoughtful.

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Meet Cobra

by Pirita in blog

Meet Cobra, our favourite organic food obsessed character. She is proudly unfriendly and cute as hell.

We love Cobra because she doesnt fit in the nice & neat Mutropolis team. She doesn’t understand sensitive behaviour. She just doesn’t care.

Our beloved Cobra is mean and selfish and she always look suspicious. But we loved her anyway!

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Meet fluffy Henry

by Pirita in blog

We wanted to turn off the computers for a few days but still work in Mutropolis! So we grab some wool and this is the result!

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Lovely awards from Spain

by Pirita in blog

We have been in the IndieMad this weekend and we have come back home with this little fellow!

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Why Archeology? Why the future?

by Pirita in blog

Mutropolis main story is set in a far, far future, but the real focus of the story is the present.
Our main characters are archaeologists and the treasures they find are today ordinary objects, like 20th century mysterious mummies, Humphrey Bogart’s films and many objects “Made in China”.
As players, we know the real use for this objects and the history behind them, but the main characters are clueless.
A confussed interpretation of the present was an interesting prisma for us, the perfect place to start our story.

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Little update!

by Pirita in blog

Hi! We have a little update for you! Just a small making off, so you can know more about Mutropolis.
We have been working hard since the last few months. We have design new minigames, new places and new long-legged characters. Now Mutropolis is almost finished.
We need to polish the game and introduce new cinematics.

In the meanwhile, you can see some of the character design process, our sketches and character references.

Main characters, secondary characters and “No-one-cares” characters:

 

 

Characters for puzzles. Because puzzles are the new black!

 

And, of course, our logo!

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