Ghost of a Tale - All News
Tuesday - December 24, 2013
Ghost of a Tale - Christmas Update
The development of the game with the mouse, Ghost of a Tale has a new update.
When I started the Indiegogo campaign back in May I was hoping for some kind of closed alpha to be released right about now but it seems that was a little optimistic, as I’m still putting something together as we speak. I am aware that we live in a time where huge studios cancel or delay their games on a whim, without much apparent respect for their audiences. And sometimes when they do release their games they are crippled by strings of bugs, broken features and half-baked ideas. But let me assure you that I have no desire to follow in those tracks!
Actually, given the fact that this is my first game ever (and that I’m still learning as I go) I’m very happy about the way things are evolving. Indeed I’m slowly reaching the feature-freeze stage where everything starts to gel and game mechanics just… work. Although one of the perks of developing the game 95% on my own is being allowed to change my mind and experiment with things without enduring the wrath of irate team-members. On the other hand if I break it, I have to fix it!
Still, I am glad to benefit from the help of great collaborators whenever the need arises (thanks Paul, Cyrille and Stephane)!
As a side note for a couple of months now I’ve been working with a new computer (bought with the campaign’s funds) and the speed at which I can develop the game has been greatly enhanced. It doesn’t look fancy but it’s got 16gigs of RAM, SSD drives and a GTX Titan graphics card. I am so happy about it because it makes the development process so much more effective (and enjoyable!).
In addition there is a new wallpaper to download and peek into the process of creating the game’s sets.
Tuesday - December 03, 2013
Ghost of a Tale - Game Progress
A new update for Ghost of a Tale popped up with information on the progress of the game and a screenshot.
Hi everyone! It’s been a while since the last update but that’s because work on the game is moving forward at a brisk pace. So here are just a few improvements since the previous update, in no particular order:
- Started testing DX11 global illumination asset (called “Dynamic GI”) for potential future integration (thanks Chris!)
- Integrated new camera with auto-corrective behavior (more on this at the end of this post)
- Deepened the lore and background story elements for characters, locations and quests (thanks Paul!)
- Implemented modular Actor AI with shared behaviors and waypoint system
- The crystal crab is now functional (and quite scary)
- Implemented traps game mechanics
- Footsteps sounds now match the ground material under the actors
- Implemented hiding spots game mechanics (really fun to use)
- Implemented faction system for NPCs (player is no longer the de-facto target)
- Stealth behavior is integrated
- Implemented ladder climbing system (yay for verticality!)
- Created new animation assets (player, skeletal rats, crab, etc…)
- Created additional foley sounds
- Implemented new props attachment and equipment system (great way to customize the character’s look)
- Started testing a new DX 11 Unity asset (called “Fluidity”) in hopes of integrating it in the game (for cool pyrotechnics)
Tuesday - October 29, 2013
Ghost of a Tale - Behind the Scenes & The figurines
It has been a while since we have posted anything about the mouse with a lute RPG Ghost of a Tale. The games website has a bunch of a new information for anyone interested.
The figurines are back!
After several tests we’ve found the best way to protect them: we put them in a plastic bag and fill it with what’s called “exfoliated vermiculite”, which is basically powdered/crushed volcanic rocks. That substance is not organic (so it’s fine for international shipping), but it is also very light yet firm enough that it can maintain the figurine safely from all angles and safely absorb the effects of inertia.
Each figurine is numbered and they’ll be shipping early this week. And then an army of undead rats will be unleashed upon the world!
Perks have shipped!
Hey guys, this is a quick perks-related update: you’ll be glad to know the T-shirts and post-cards all shipped. So hopefully you’ll get them fairly soon (please allow the time for snail-mail to reach you before panicking!). I really hope you’ll like those…
Behind the Scenes
Since David suggested I do a post regarding the applications I use to develop “Ghost of a Tale”, here’s a quick breakdown of how my pipeline goes, starting with Maya.
Whether it’s character or environment I tend to begin with very basic poly shapes before I then move on to thinking about details. So Maya acts as a modeling software for very early stage exploration. Of course character animation also happens in Maya. I also developed an exporter for Unity which allows me to export models and/or animations with just one click. Let me tell you it’s a real time-saver!
Thursday - July 18, 2013
Ghost of a Tale - Game Progress
Seith provided a development update for Ghost of a Tale, the game with the mouse.
On the other end, I’m happy to report that the game is making great progress (with the help of a few very talented people). So here are a few things that have been changed/improved since the alpha trailer:
- Gamepad support has been fully implemented. I never thought I would one day utter those words, but I actually prefer using the gamepad to test the game now.
- Several concept art pieces were created (thanks Adam!).
- Player control and animation have been completely overhauled; better collision detection, smooth transitions, new interaction animations, etc…
- Started implementing sneak mode (I can’t say much more about that yet).
- Started implementing dialog/interaction support. This is linked to the game’s UI and is still very much a work in progress.
- Dynamics are on! The mouse’s hood is now completely dynamic, it responds to the mouse’s movements; this saves a lot of work on the animation side and looks really neat to boot (thanks Enrique!).
- New fur (thanks Dariusz!), cloth and environmental shaders with multi-layered POM and tessellation support (thanks Andy!). This allows the texture work to really pop.
- New interactive bending vegetation (thanks Dominik!). Bushes and grass react to the player running through them. It really adds a nice touch.
- Player character awareness system; it’s a mouthful to just say that the mouse is aware of what’s around him, even if the player isn’t. So if you run about and the mouse notices something he’s going to turn his attention to it. In other words his body language will clue you in about interesting features you might have missed.
And that’s it for now…
Of course some of those things you guys might take for granted in games nowadays. But the thing is, in Unity you have to create pretty much everything from scratch. It’s a lot of work, but on the plus side it also means that you can create exactly what you need.
Finally, just a little picture of our mighty hero for you:
Friday - May 24, 2013
Ghost of a Tale - Interview @ Polygon
Polygon has created an article-style interview with Ghost of a Tale developer Lionel Gallat.
Gallat cites Disney's animated films starring talking animals as a major source of inspiration, naming the Winnie the Pooh franchise and Robin Hood specifically. He is also a fan of the Redwall books and The Secret of Nimh, both of which are stories of small mice overcoming hardships in fantastical worlds. Gallat loves these types of stories because they firmly belong to the imaginary world but still contain nuggets of realness to them.
"At no point during [them] do you wonder, 'Okay, is this a real world?' It's different," he said. "It's like a translation of things that we know. For me it's a mixture between something you can believe in, in terms of credibility, like the world, the water, the rocks, the architecture. But it's transposed through these fantasy characters and that makes it more fun, more interesting."
Gameplay in Ghost of a Tale is based on exploration and encourages players to discover what makes the world tick on their own.
"You are thrown into an adventure and you don't really know much about where you are and what you're trying to do," Gallat explained. "I'm not playing the trope of the amnesiac character, but you will have little nuggets of info at some points so you have a sense of what's happening and what your goal is."
Gallat added he wants to keep the interface as simple as possible, and will not add directional arrows on screen or include fetch quests that involve hunting down and talking to people. There may be a "little bit" of melee combat in the finished game, but Gallat is playing up the stealth aspect and wants to encourage players to find their own ways around obstacles.
Monday - May 20, 2013
Ghost of a Tale - Funded
The mouse with a lute RPG called Ghost of a Tale has been funded on Indiegogo with one day left to go.
WE MADE IT!!!
That’s incredible! No, really; it is. Why? Because a month ago “Ghost of a Tale” wasn’t on anyone’s radar. No journalist was aware of anything in regard to the project. The campaign was a text-book cold start.
So you can all be proud of yourselves, because you’ve made it happen. In fact from my point of view that is the single most amazing thing about the whole adventure; to see that you, the backers, decided this could be a special little game worth helping. And that you acted on this feeling.
As I wrote on the main page, one of the reasons I started this campaign was to see if there were enough potential players that could be bothered; it was to be a stern (and very public) verdict on the viability of the project itself. And boy did I get a resounding endorsement!
Thank you to each and everyone of you who have contributed to this campaign, whether from a financial or moral standpoint (and often both). As one of you said in a recent message, I shouldn’t think of this success as a heavy pressure weighting down on me as I work on the game, but rather I should think of it as an huge mark of affection for the project. And indeed I very much like the notion!
I will keep posting here any important updates until I can all direct you to an official site and community forums where you’ll be able to keep being involved in the creation of the game. Meanwhile, I am sure all of you will join me in breathing a long sigh of relief… :)
Saturday - May 18, 2013
Ghost of a Tale - Wallpapers
There are still 3 days to go in order to reach the required additional 4.5 KEuro for Ghost of a Tale to get funded. With a bit of help that should be possible.
In the meantime there are some wallpapers of the game you can enjoy.
Yeah I know.... a newsbit on wallpapers?? It is indeed just a trick to lure you into pledging for the game where you get to play as a mouse.
Tuesday - May 14, 2013
Ghost of a Tale - How to Build a Crab
In the recent days four updates were added to the Indiegogo campaign for Ghost of a Tale, which just requires a little of 10 KEuro more to reach its goal of 45 KEuro in the next 7 days. The updates are about the steps that are required to create a crab from scratch.
For those of you interested in the more technical aspects of the game’s development I thought I would present the method I used to create the crab model. As a side note, I’ll have to spread that presentation over several updates, as Indiegogo only allows for one picture per update.
Before starting to work on the model, I always surround myself with visual references (photographs, paintings) and make mental notes of aspects I will emphasize in order to end up with a model that’ll be interesting enough.
It all starts with a simple cube (within Maya), followed by other cubes to roughly represent all the body parts and get a feel for the overall volume of the limbs. As you can see, it’s all very blocky and I do not worry about details at this stage. It’s best to check that everything looks as expected now (in terms of overall morphology), as it will become more difficult to change things further down the line.
Then I start to work on the body parts in Zbrush (bottom picture), simply refining the broad shapes. Again, not caring too much about details yet; just roughing in the main volumes. Note that at this stage I already know I’ll have to open the arms of the creature so I can get a better look while sculpting. But starting with the arms folded ensured that the crab would eventually be able to get into that pose later on.
And the result is this:
Thursday - May 09, 2013
Ghost of a Tale - Interview @ Rock Paper Shotgun
RPS: Let’s talk in a bit more detail about the game. What sort of game is it going to be, and what can we expect from it?
Gallat: You play as a little mouse. This mouse gets to an island and this island is populated by undead rats. Something has happened on the island that is not normal. You came to the island for a reason, though, and you have a quest, which is to get to the tower of Periclave, which is the name of the island itself. That’s the underlying struggle. When you get to the island you start to discover what had happened there, and why it happened. I think it will not be too much of a spoiler if I say you are going to meet a ghost. You are going to help him, somehow. It’s really about exploration, about discovering things, and it is not at all focused on combat. In the alpha trailer there is a moment where you get some kind of a weapon and start whacking at the rats, and that was fun to do, but it does not reflect the gameplay that I have in mind. It is about stealth. The mouse is not powerful at all, and it is engaged in a very dangerous adventure, it is perilous, and so it is really a game about exploiting this fact, not about fighting through enemies that are twice your size.
RPS: Can you talk about those gameplay mechanic ideas at all?Gallat: Well there will be puzzles in the sense that you need to find your way through the island. There will be some mechanics and mechanisms which involve discovering things that are not of use at first sight, but when you look, really look, you find out their purpose. There is also going to be a good deal of stealth, and avoiding of confronting enemies directly, because that is not going to work. Indirect methods of confronting enemies will be important. We will have quests and objectives of course, but I think of it more like an adventure than like a Dark Souls or something.
Wednesday - May 08, 2013
Ghost of a Tale - Interview @ IndieGameMag
IndieGameMag has a new interview on Ghost of a Tale. We posted another interview earlier also. Both offer new information so be sure to read both.
If you search for the name “Lionel Gallat” on IMDB, you’ll find the name attached to a number of animated feature films: animation director for The Lorax, animation director for Despicable Me, supervising animator for Shark Tale, and the list goes on.
But more recently, Gallat has stepped away from animated feature films, and started developing a video game…on his own. The game is called Ghost of a Tale, and with one look at a screenshot it is easy to see that Gallat’s artistic skills have easily transitioned into the video game. Ghost of a Tale looks beautiful.
“As an animation director I was responsible for the animation of entire movies, leading 60+ [person] teams,” Gallat explained to IGM. “I was longing to go back to the nitty-gritty of creation; writing, modeling, painting, rigging, programming and… playing. I’ve already been in a position where I mostly tell people what they should do (and it’s probable [that] one day I’ll go back to that position) but today I’m having a lot of fun doing things myself for a change!”
Gallat, who is in the middle of promoting the funding campaign for his debut title Ghost of a Tale, chatted with IGM for a bit about his experience transitioning from Hollywood to the game development scene, his woes with Kickstarter, and why Ghost of a Tale deserves your support.
IGM – What inspired you to start working on a game, and move out of the animation industry?
Gallat - It was a good time for me to do so. I’ve always loved games and I’ve always enjoyed writing stories, creating models and animating them. But I also love programming (I’ve written tools used in production in several studios). So it wasn’t really that far-fetched for me to put the two together.
As an artist who programs I can get lost in a coherent game world and get to look everywhere I want, and interact with things that I created. In a nutshell it’s a lot of fun. I feel like a kid again, when I was programming moving sprites (an achievement!) in Microsoft Basic. It’s a huge amount of work obviously, but so rewarding.
IGM – So if the game isn’t fully funded…is that it? Would Ghost of a Tale cease to exist?
Gallat - Yes, probably. Several people have asked me that same question recently. I’ve been working on Ghost of a Tale full-time for more than a year (that includes changing engines), funding everything from my own pocket. So if I can’t remain financially independent and get a modest budget to pay for a handful of collaborators I’ll have to pull the plug at some point. Although let me tell you in all honesty it would hurt like hell, since I love this project with all my soul; I’ve poured so much time, energy and love into it.
If the campaign isn’t successful I would still try to keep working on the project for as long as I could afford it. But at some point my savings will eventually run out. I’m not complaining though; it’s the risk I took so I’m the only one responsible.
I also have to be lucid on the fact that if there aren’t enough backers maybe it means that there simply aren’t enough people interested in a game like Ghost of a Tale. That’s what frightens me most.
Tuesday - May 07, 2013
Ghost of a Tale - Interview @ Venturebeat
The Ghost of a Tale campaign at Indiegogo has still 2 weeks to go (the duration was increased recently with one week) and is currently at 27K€ out of a requested 45K€.
In the meantime an article style interview showed up at Venturebeat with developer Lionel Gallat.
“All those influences, just being able to put some cute animals … into a situation where they have to really face danger, but also find empathy in the player, so that the player can care a little bit about the characters and understand, even though they don’t look human,” he said. “That’s what I’m trying to do. To be able to show that even though they don’t look at all like us, we can really understand [them].”
“I’m just trying to do something that’s charming, sympathetic, but I’m not shying away from violence or danger or stuff like that,” he added.
Monday - April 22, 2013
Ghost of a Tale - Updates
There are two new updates for the Ghost of a Tale campaign on Indiegogo. It is a fixed campaign, so you will only be charged if it succeeds and it is currently at 16K€ of an asked 45K€ with 22 days to go.
The first update is on simplicity:
I just would like to quickly address the topic of simplicity, since I mentioned it on the main page. It is quite common to see game projects flounder because of over-ambition. Sometimes, in the hope of raising as much money as possible, projects try to cater to too many audiences and end up disappointing a large chunk of their backers. It is my wish to try and avoid this as much as possible.
So let me make something clear: if as a player you MUST have deep statistics and number crunching, then chances are you will be disappointed in “Ghost of a Tale”. I can’t stress this enough: my goal is to create a game that’s beautiful, charming, fun, accessible and straightforward in its approach. This should not however be necessarily construed as “dumbed-down” or shallow; after all you can build fairly complex architectures with simple stones.
Finally here’s a short turntable video which shows the main character you’ll play in-game. It’s the first of a series of videos which aim to give you a better look at some of the characters that were only glimpsed in the alpha trailer…
And the second on the Undead rat
Here’s a better look at one of the undead rats that was seen on the video. This is one of the more heavily armored ones. They’re not very fast, but they can kill you with one well-adjusted blow (as opposed to what you see in the video). Let’s not forget that compared to your small mousy self they are indeed towering giants!
Again, this is simply the game asset directly within Unity, as it appears in-game. No fancy CG makeup.
Keen-eyed ones among you will no doubt notice the royal sigil of the Rat King painted on the shield. Although it’s seen better days. Too much salty water if you ask me… :)
Incidentally, the character’s pose is the one used for the figurine available on the campaign page.
Monday - April 15, 2013
Ghost of a Tale - Interview and Fixed Funding
An interview for Ghost of the Tale, currently on Indiegogo (currently at 1/3th of the asked 45K Euro) can be found at The Verge.
In order to keep the project manageable, Gallat is making Ghost of a Tale relatively small. There will be exploration, combat, secrets to uncover, and even some role playing game elements, but don't expect a game on the scale of Skyrim. You'll explore a haunted island as opposed to a vast world. "My goal is to craft a small yet beautiful game with environments that look a bit like movie sets and characters that have a sense of stylization in their design, while retaining a certain simplicity and immediacy as far as gameplay is involved," Gallat explains.
He began development on Ghost of a Tale last year after a lengthy career as an film animator, starting in 1996 with Dreamworks' The Prince of Egypt and ending with 2011's The Lorax, where he served as animation director. "The set of skills needed to make a game or a movie are virtually the same," he explains. "So for me it doesn't really make a big difference. I feel what I have learned working on movies is absolutely relevant to Ghost of a Tale."
Even still, the process hasn't been easy, mainly due to the fact that — as Gallat explains it — he's not a "real" programmer. Progress was slow early on, and Gallat says that he struggled for close to a year trying to wrangle his ideas into a particular game engine. Eventually he switched to the Unity engine, a popular game creation tool among smaller studios, and things started moving much faster — the alpha was built in just two months, and that includes the time he spent learning a new programming language.
In addition on his Indiegogo page he explains why he went to fixed funding instead of the commonly used flexible funding campaigns.
Lately I’ve been asked about the campaign type for “Ghost of a Tale”. As you know, Indiegogo offers the option to keep whatever money has been pledged, even if the goal is not reached by the final deadline. But as I said on the main page, this is not the case for this campaign. If it is not successful, the project will not get any money at all. All the money that you guys have pledged will be refunded to you in its totality.
Why did I do it this way? Because I couldn’t morally justify the “flexible” approach. If I set a budget goal, it’s because that’s what’s needed to complete the game to a suitable standard. So if the campaign only gets to, say, a third of the budget, I don’t want to go “Oh well, too bad. I’ll take that, bye!”. What would it then mean for you backers? Your money would be taken away and then what? You would have basically paid for a product that won’t be made? Anyway, I’m just speaking for myself and for “Ghost of a Tale”; I’m sure in some cases flexible funding makes perfect sense.
Wednesday - April 10, 2013
Ghost of a Tale - Interviews and Greenlight
The Indiegogo campaign for Ghost of a Tale is currently at €13.7K out of an asked €45K and with more than a month to go it should be able to reach that goal. There were some updates in the recent days, one is that the game is currently in the concept section of Greenlight. the other updates cover 3 interviews with the developer.
"Which brings me to the second point: Time. Animators in video game studios are rarely allowed time to learn, to refine, to improve their skills. So they mostly get better at being faster, more efficient. Which is important of course, but only the first half of the journey."
It's these two factors that can potentially bring video game animation down, Gallat believes. "As an animator it truly saddens me of course when I see bad animation in a game (truth be told it often ticks me off)," he adds. "But as a professional I understand the reasons behind that."
You mentioned this game being a combination between an action/adventure and an RPG. As such, will the game feature more of an open-world environment, or will it be more linear?
Well, the term “open-world” environment definitely seems too big for this game. The game will happen on the Island of Periclave, which is not very big, but that’s the price to pay for not having a big team of developers. All I can say is topography will be consistent. Which means that all the different locations share the same unity of space and time. The game will also be linear story-wise. There is a progression towards a goal. This is not going to be like ‘Skyrim’ where you can spend hours wandering through a huge world with 50 quests going on at all time. Which is why I always emphasize the “small” aspect of the game.
And there is this podcast at Et Tu, Gamer?
Monday - April 08, 2013
Ghost of a Tale - Combat Update
In the latest update for Ghost of a Tale (curretnly at 10K out of an asked 45K, with 36 days to go), Lionel shares his thohughts on combat.
In this update I'd like to focus, mostly, on combat.
But first of all a few words about the plot of the game: at this moment I am purposely keeping the story under wraps. Not because I don't know where I'm going, but because I wish to maintain a sense of genuine mystery. In a manner of speaking "Ghost of a Tale" will be the opposite of "Skyrim" (which is a game I love by the way). "Skyrim" is not about an intimate, compelling story; it's about a huge world where you play a nondescript character that you can mold entirely to your liking. "Ghost of a Tale" on the other hand will be infinitely smaller, with a set story in which you play precisely the character of the mouse and none other.
Now many people have asked me about combat. The most common question being: is it going to be like "Dark Souls"? The answer is no. "Dark Souls" is heavily focused on fighting with dozens of weapons, shields, armors, damage modifiers, various attacks, parrying techniques and offensive strategies, character classes etc... "Ghost of a Tale" can NEVER expect to compete on those grounds: it will be a much simpler game. In fact, combat (as far as the player character is concerned) is still very much uncertain.
Let me explain: as a player, I enjoy pressing a button to make my character attack monsters. It's a very basic, yet satisfying, game mechanic. But as game-designer for "Ghost of a Tale" I am less and less convinced that's the right way to go. By now it has been established that you play as a mouse who (obviously) isn't a warrior and who is thrust into a very perilous adventure. So I may in fact tone down combat A LOT to emphasize the helplessness of the mouse. Which of course means I will have to find fun and interesting alternatives to monster-bashing. This is important, so please let me know what you guys think!
There are many more things I would like to say, and points I would like to address but I'll keep that for a next update! Finally here's just a quick WIP screenshot (no set-dressing yet) that shows a new hood color scheme for the mouse, which makes the character stand out better against the earthy natural environment.
Friday - April 05, 2013
Ghost of a Tale - Launched
Lionel Gallat, a former Dreamworks animation supervisor and given direction to the animation on "Despicable Me" for Universal is also working on a game on his own named Ghost in a Tale. This game is on a fixed funding campaign at IndieGoGo, so he only gets the money when the game is funded. It is currently at 5.821€ of an asked 45.000€.
Here is the video:
And here is the press release:
Former Dreamworks Animation Supervisor Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Unique Adventure Game "GHOST OF A TALE"
PARIS, France - April 2, 2013 - SeithCG is launching an Indiegogo campaign to help fund the development of its first action-adventure game "Ghost of a Tale". The game is developed by a former Dreamworks supervising animator who more recently directed the animation of Universal Studios' "Despicable Me".
"Ghost of a Tale" follows a little mouse as he sets out on an adventure into a medieval world populated entirely by animals. The mysterious Island of Periclave, which has long been a disputed outpost for the Army of the Rats, is abandoned now, and reputed to be haunted. Of course tales are told of a fabulous treasure hidden high up in the Tower of Periclave, but it would be folly to try and get there, even for a mighty warrior - and the little mouse certainly doesn't look like one. The island is a mystery, rewarding the little mouse's curiosity and bravery in combat with the discovery of great secrets.
"Ghost of a Tale" is past the stage of a mere concept, however, and footage of a playable demo can be seen on the campaign's page. Remarkably, this project is being developed by just one person, yet it strives to combine a visual quality usually seen in big-budget AAA titles with the craftsmanship and emotional resonance more commonly found in independent, experimental games. Its developer, Lionel Gallat, is finally able to bring his years of experience working for Hollywood studios to bear on his passion project in order to deliver a product of the highest quality, and great beauty.
The Indiegogo campaign page for "Ghost of a Tale" can be found here.
SeithCG (www.seithcg.com) is a one-man studio founded by Lionel "Seith" Gallat, based in the south of France. SeithCG's website offers animation tools that have been used in production by many studios around the world, including "poseLib" and "retimingTool". Gallat has worked in the movie industry for more than 15 years, first at Dreamworks on several movies ("The Prince Of Egypt", "The Road to Eldorado", "Spirit", "Sinbad", "SharkTale", "Flushed-Away", etc...), and more recently as the animation director for Universal Studios' "Despicable Me" and "The Lorax". He possesses a wide range of skills rangin
Information aboutGhost of a Tale
Play-time: 20-40 hours
Voice-acting: Partially voiced
Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· Expected at 2014-08-24
· Publisher: Unknown