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More images on Ether. Modified map and new structure.

Hey guys,

Here are some more images for people to view, we have modified the original structure of the map in the blocking our process to represent a bay that has a coastal town in it. This has the feeling that we want to achieve with our first playable areas and it ties into the narrative structure and game play very well. As you can see there is a lot more detail in there than our previous image posts.

Thanks for checking it out and please let us know what you think in the comments box below, or if not just subscribe to us for up to date information!

 

 

 

 


Posted on by White Paper Games

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Ether first images (Early production) and Forum info.

Hey everyone

Here are a few images of Ether in its very early stages of production. The setting for the demo is on a coastal pathway with a looming lighthouse off shore. The visual style is not a final representation of the game (in fact it is nothing like that at all!) just a guidline for us to build a great game.

Hopefully next time we post images they will have full models and textures to wet your appetites.

For more info on what we do please visit our UDK forum here and our ModDB page here.

Enjoy!

Posted on by White Paper Games

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Engaging Episodic Gaming

Hey guys,

Firstly, thanks to all the people that are following White Paper Games. It really is an exciting time for us and all your support makes it well worth the while. We are putting a lot in to the development of our first title “Ether” and after a Skype meeting recently we are even more confident that we are on the right track to delivering a truly unique narrative experience.

We’re firing on all cylinders at the moment and I know Ben has talked about the narrative side of the game so I just wanted to give you a little information about the design side of things and how we are tackling the game play.

After many trial and error designs (mostly error!), we came to the decision to design tactically. We know we are applying for funding in the next few months but we also don’t want to rush the design process as its the most important step, for me anyway. We need something playable and running in a short space of time, but we also need this to be exciting and fulfilling, enough so that someone will put a hand into their own pocket to invest in. This left us with a difficult decision in terms of what parts of the story to include so we decided to go with a business model similar to that of Valve which are always great a looking at if you have any design dilemmas or even just find out how they go about creating games. The Valve business model of episodic gaming is something that I find truly interesting and I think it would best benefit us in this situation. Creating a playable demo space using only a small chunk of our story should be/will be enough to capture people’s imaginations and want them to play more. In the same way that an episode of Dexter ends and you NEED to know what comes next, our game will deliver a similar experience.

So where does the design come in to all of this?

Me and Ben (mostly Ben) broke the story down into manageable chucks which would start and end at the most intense or powerful parts. This approach also lets us design the specific locations around parts of the story making the environment unique to what’s going on which also gives us much more control over the player experience without them feeling like they are being controlled. The more “aware” gamers that play Ether will obviously pick up on this fact, however the ability to choose which episode you play rather than playing episode 1 then 2 then 3 should be a refreshing lift. This leads me nicely to my next point.

Apart from breaking the story into episodes we have left it open to interpret the story and gather parts of the story you want in any order, maybe even missing out sections of the story. It is then up to the player to piece it all together in the final sequence of events therefore not only being rewarded completing the game, but also for putting the story together themselves rather than being mouth fed.

Hopefully you will agree that this will create a fresh and unique style to game play but we’d be interested on hearing your decisions on whether you think this approach would work or not. What if you have gung-ho players racing through the game not bothering about narrative, will they still experience something from Ether? What if people want a full narrative experience but accidentally miss something that is crucial? All factors we’ve considered but we’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the subject either on our facebook page “White Paper Games” or on twitter @whitepapergames.

Thanks for reading and especially thank you for everyone following us in the development process of Ether. More to come on design soon and hopefully some video blogs showing gameplay and the more visual side of our project.

Pete

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Ether Development: Building Narrative around our Game Mechanics.

Pete and I have now been designing and building Ether for about 2 months now whilst also attempting to set up a game design studio and getting our names out there as independent game developers. Its been hard work and we don’t expect it to get any easier going forward yet the progress that we have made have given us absolute faith in our project and the work that we are doing. Creativity is high and being an independent studio has allowed us to really push our ideas into interesting areas of design. As you can see from the title of this post one of these areas is our narrative and game mechanic designs and how they work together within the game.

What we really want to achieve with Ether is a game where what you play really matters and ties in with the narrative, without detracting from the actual game play or breaking the game up into narrative bits and game bits. We wanted to integrate those into a seamless world, where the narrative is integrated into the game play.

Our approach to this was quite simple at first. Lets work out some really cool and solid game play elements, make sure it works with basic design, then take time out to really contemplate whether a strong and compelling narrative could be intertwined into the mechanics. We thought this would be the best possible way to create excellent game play with a good engrossing story…we were wrong.

We found that this resulted in a really nice game play mechanic that played very well, yet the narrative ended up constraining the game play, pulling it into boxes that we really didn’t want to be in. With this in mind we took the best parts of our initial designs and game play and went back to the drawing board. We didn’t have that excitement for that project that we so needed, so we started designing in a slightly different way.

We looked at our ideas as an opportunity to think of narrative elements as we were designing Ether. So when we thought of our awesomely cool game mechanics and a rough setting we thought, what could this be in the game? Why would it be relevant? What would it contribute too? This allowed us to come up with ideas that all linked together in a chain that actually meant something, they were all related to each other through our ideas like a narrative train of thought. We then would look at our environments and look at what we would need in them to compliment the mechanics and then ask the same questions to determine if they would work with each other or if they wouldn’t. We also thought about how the narrative would be brought to the player in game, it needed to be fluent and never detract from game play yet also keep the player engaged and intrigued.

This on going process pulled us from one idea to another till we started to form a coherent and deep world for Ether. It was then that I looked at all the elements and started to piece them together into a fully functioning narrative. The narrative now breaks up into two parts that are forever entwined in the game, the first part being about the character you are playing as, what they are doing, what they are going to achieve and how they are going to achieve it. The second part of the narrative is a story that overlays this one directly in game, that gives reason why you are doing this, what you are going to achieve and how you are going to achieve it. It gives you reason to play and hopefully will keep you playing through to the end.

I have always felt that games are more like books than films. In films you watch a story happen to someone else, they are on an adventure, the events are happening to them. In books, even if it is a character-based novel, you project yourself onto the character through imagination, the events happen to you. You are on an adventure; the companions are your friends. The same applies to videogames, you are in control and your actions will determine the story and this is why narrative when used (for we strongly believe that not all games need narratives) needs to be integrated into everything the player does, sees, feels and hears.

Some games manage this and some games don’t, what we want to achieve is a game that does this that is fun, intriguing, compelling and mesmerising right to the end. We now have a game demo that is designed with a strong game mechanic, a wonderfully interesting world and hopefully a really good story that you will enjoy.

Next time I will hopefully be able to talk to you a little bit more about where we are up to with Ether on a physical level, until then if anyone has any thoughts on our journey whilst developing this game or if anybody wants to find out more about Ether and what we aim for the project please feel free to contact us via the contact tab at the top of the page.

What a Day.

Well today has been very busy for us at WPG. We set up a Twitter and a Facebook page for you all to view with delight. We also have this wonderful new website with a whole host of new information and a shiny new logo.

We are currently working very hard on ETHER to get some viewable work to show you as well as make it as professional and fun as possible. If you want to keep up to date with our progress please follow us on Twitter and Facebook or subscribe to this site!

Support from everyone is so important to us and keeps us going to create this game. Thank you.

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White Paper Games

Hi there and welcome to the White Paper Games website. You can find all the information you need to about White Paper Games in the pages located at the top.

Thank you for taking the time to look around

WPG Team

Posted on by Pete Bottomley

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