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Meet Nichelle Nolan, Artist.

Hi everyone! My name is Nichelle Nolan and I’m part of the game dev crew on Clockwork.

Nichelle

What is your role?

My role is as an artist and I spend most of my day in the office dressing up levels to make them aesthetically pleasing, painting modular assets and solving all the lovely issues the version control throws our way.

How long have you been doing art?

I have been drawing for as long as I could hold a pencil. I just love challenging myself and expressing myself through art so it’s something I’ve been doing every day without fail for as long as I can remember.

How did you get into games?

Well I used to work as a graphic designer and illustrator but always had a huge love for playing games and the amazing art that is involved. When I decided that I no longer wanted to do graphic design I made the decision to go and get a Bachelor Degree in Game Development and that’s something that made it possible to now be here working on Clockwork!

What or who are your inspirations?

In an artistic sense, I have been so inspired by Nei Ruffino, Boris Vallejo and M C Escher. In a game dev sense, my biggest inspirations would probably have to be my fantastic lecturers at college who taught me most of the game dev things I know… if you’re reading this, you know who you are.

What’s your favourite game?

Well the one that made me want to get into games is Prince of Persia: Warrior Within so it’s up there…. But I also really love the FEAR games… pretty much most creepy games in general even though I can be a huge chicken when playing them.

If you weren’t making games, where else would you be right now?

I’d probably be a linguist. I very nearly decided to study linguistics instead of games but luckily for me, the stars aligned just in time to make games happen and I couldn’t be happier about it!

Story Building: A look into the themes of Clockwork

Hi again!

Just a quick update on what we’re up to!

clocktower_face-story

We are currently working on NPC implementation, and developing the story elements of the game. So I thought we’d quickly talk about what kind of story Clockwork has!

Themes are an important part of any story, and Clockwork’s are no exception. The dysfunct world and propagating lack of humanity is a key theme amongst time as well as the growth of Atto in this world.

When looking at a dystopian universe, it’s easy to classify it as a fictitious setting built for the future. We realized when analyzing the era of the past where Clockwork is based from that a semblance of this theme was present in our history.

Looking at the older days, when inequality was abundant, and the divergence between the rich and the poor was growing. We realize little has changed.

Atto is a child set in that world, and so we come to think of what would a child do. What would a child want to do?

He is very much influenced by those around him, as that is where he receives his image of the world. And so he slowly begins to fade into the roles of the society around him, performing the routines but as a child he still holds a flicker of imagination. He isn’t broken.

And from his new companion Milli, he finds a way to engage in this part of him and grow.

This sense of progress and inner discoveries is part of Clockwork’s story, one of many glowing lights of a disjointed world. And on this journey, we’ll venture into the past of the characters we meet, and find life where we thought none existed.

It’s a great hurdle we’re trying to step over with the story, delivering this world we’ve so carefully laid out is arduous work. But there’s a story to be told in Clockwork.

 

Let us know if you’re curious about any other themes in Clockwork! We’re always happy to talk!

World Building +

Hello!

I’d like to talk about World building again.

Yeah, I know. Sorry if you’re not interested in all that.

But we’re also showing off some cool concept art whilst we do this!

A large part of our responsibilities as a small team is to flesh out this world, and how we’re going to tell it.

We’ve always wanted it to be a very ominous world, where everything is very ambient, dark and gloomy. Part of our art redesign from our GDC build was to address that.

Sure, we showed the gameplay but from an art perspective it wasn’t quite there. As a game studio we had to make this drastic change because it was starting to deteriorate our workflow, and our vision of the game.

Here are some concepts from each act of the game, that we’ll be going through to discuss what the design solutions behind them were. Albeit being very rough, they’ve served their purpose more than some of our detailed concept art.

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The factory floor is where we spent the most time on. We built all the mechanics and character in this environment, and so we had to really hit the head on the nail hard to sell this world.

This is also one of my favorite pieces of concept art from the game. It’s not much, it’s low detail and it’s really subtle. But the dark undertones, the lighting mood and the eeriness of it all is how many of us imagined the world of Clockwork to be. Dank.

In this next piece of art, we see a new location. the Dilata Basin, and where it all entails. From one to the other, we can see how much the design language has changed.

WorldBuild_04

What is the blue stuff? Is it dangerous, is it safe? All these ambiguous questions are part of what we like about this. From a world perspective, you won’t know where it comes from or what it does, but it’s there. This is an example of a world we’re building to tell the tales of the characters there.

Lastly, another example of the world is scale. Atto is a small boy in a big wide world. Everything is larger than life and how it all operates is a wonder. It’s that kind of wonder we want the player to feel that we didn’t make room for in our previous builds.

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The story is about a greater scheme at play than what Atto is experiencing. Like any other child in the world.

E3 Hype: How did we feel about E3?

E3-logo-2Hey guys, it’s us again.

This time even less professional than usual.

Lately, we’ve been reviewing all the amazing stuff we saw at E3, and have been thinking about what’s got us excited. Let us know too what you guys really enjoyed too. We posted this right after E3, but with Australian internet there’s no telling when this post will come out.

Here are some quotes from our team.

“The usuals really. Fallout 4 everybody is hyped about, and intrigued by the new Dishonored as well as the revamped titles shown at the Sony conference. But Dark Souls 3 and Miyazaki’s return as director is going to do some great things for the franchise.” – Designer/Artist

“Ahh, ooh I like Kingdom Hearts. I guess. What else is there, there’s nothing else I care about. I knew about Assassin’s Creed before E3 came out so not that. I just want to see HD Riku at this point, really.” – Artist

“ I really liked the Hololens they showed. I hope they take glasses alright, or let us change lenses for various prescriptions.” – Programmer/Designer

“I’d say I felt pretty encouraged with the Battlefront reveal, it’s nice to see that kind of enthusiasm put into a game production. Seeing that it stood on the fence for so long and that it’s finally become something kickass.” – Animator

“The Witness. I think Braid was a really good example of how Indie games can be, from a purely game design perspective, so I’m curious as to what Jonathan Blow is making now.” – Producer

“OHH MY GOD!! IT’S FINAL FANTASY 7, SHENMUE AND LAST GUARDIAN!!!  They did it! Every dream has come true.” – Artist/Designer

 

Extra points if you can guess which team members liked which games.

A look into World-Building.

clockwork_cityscape512x512-512x512Hello, folks. 

Today, we’re taking a step into world building and how the world of Clockwork came to being. From the creative minds at Gamesoft to the vibrant development of this fictional city.

We’ve mentioned in the past that it came from a few of our team members here, but never delved into it with too much detail. We had originally been bouncing ideas about the setting of the game. This version of Clockwork, which wasn’t even called Clockwork at the time featured a completely different story. Different characters, different environments and no game mechanics really tied to it. We originally were aiming to tell a story before we wanted to turn it into a game.

It wasn’t long after that our lead of programming, Adam Pinto saw his vision for how the game would play. Introducing the base of the game mechanic, and how time behaved in this new world.

Like any good ideas, it started with the simplest concept. That our main character could watch his past self going through motions. From there, as the team grew so did the idea and the world behind it.

But what was this world we claimed to have built?

It’s easy to get carried away with all the details of every story. We’ve crafted this giant world, that we may not get the opportunity to demonstrate. But as the creators we find it imperative that we’re aware of what’s happening and why.

Watchtower is a machine city/state, governed by the rich and populated by the poor. The typification of hierarchal society. The story is set in a world parallel to the French 1600s, through an age of Renaissance and Industrial revolution. Imagine a world where we had stopped developing technology and wandered into paranormal physics.

If after we had developed steam engines, clocks and automatons, we decided we had enough of growing.

The people of Watchtower have lost their drive to continue forward. Like clockwork, they go through the motions of their lives and jobs, not knowing when the day begins and when it truly ends. The mindless denizens grow weary through time, their bodies rusting away as their gears creak and grind into dust.

Their metal bodies were built for their salvation, yet now that the danger has passed and time goes on, humanity has reached a standstill. A standstill on rusty legs. And amidst the workings of this city, a boy looks for screws in need of tightening, nuts and bolts to replace, bodies to fix and above all, his place in this ageing world.

I know there are many questions we have left unanswered about Clockwork, and so ask us any question you’d like answered about the game. 

Let us know what you think, and what kind of article you would like written next as well.

Thanks!

 

Clockwork Progress Update: A word from the team.

Milli_movement-512x512“What is currently happening with Clockwork?”

Howdy. I’m running out of ways to introduce these articles. But fret not, for today we will actually talk about the game a bit more. We’re not quite ready to announce anything major yet, but we’re well on our way there. We’re not ready to start showing screenshots of what we’re working on for Clockwork, but here are some of the changes that have been made from what  you last saw.

A word from the artists:

Since the start of the project, it’s been an arduous journey in achieving what we hope with Clockwork, and in doing so, we’ve developed the game to offer a much better experience for the player.

The first thing you can expect to change from what you saw at GDC is the art. We’ve revamped the art to provide a cleaner, more efficient look from a development perspective. The clockpunk, grungy style that you saw will still be there but you can expect a lot more room for the amazing backdrops of the world.

We haven’t just reworked the environment, but also the characters. Our protagonist, Atto has been revamped to provide a clearer picture of who he is whilst keeping with the artwork you’ve seen. He’s become the image of Clockwork, so we’ve worked to recapture his essence and clean him up significantly. Both from his drawing, to his animating.

The world of Clockwork is a constantly moving, oscillating environment. We’ve designed our environments to turn, spin and lift as you’d expect the innards of a clock to. In our previous build, much of the motion of the environment was missing and we’re hoping that fans will be entranced in the world by these dynamic environments. We had always anticipated making this a part of the game, but now it is one of the many parts we have adding to our world building.

A word from the designers:

From a design perspective, there’s a lot that’s changed that we’re incredibly eager to share with everyone. We’ve mentioned this numerous times before, but now we can finally talk about some of the developments we’ve made since then.

Firstly, we found at GDC that players as well as us preferred to see more of the level on screen. We’ve taken that, and redesigned all of our levels to compensate for a broader view of what’s going on. We’ve been pushing for this since the start, but now that we have the players’ opinion of the idea we’re able to justify its implementation.

Atto is exploring this vast world of which he only had ever scratched the surface of. We’ve amped the ante and introduced many more supporting elements, as well as obstacles he will face. Watchtower has its dangerous side, and we’re really hoping to reflect that when the player progresses. Atto’s home is a haven in a very disrupted world. Players will long for the peace they will experience during the easier times of the game.

The bigger design news we’re going to talk about is the player’s exposure to Milli. Milli is one of the many great characters that make up the main story of Clockwork. We’ve been meaning to improve her presence in the game, through both the visuals and the narrative. Players will now be able to take control of Milli during their playthrough of the game. This will let you clip through walls and obstacles, but won’t be able to affect anything physically. It will serve as a method for the player to view what’s coming ahead and plan out their progress through the level.

Visually, she will take physical form as the young girl you may have seen in the artwork. We felt it a waste to keep her contained within the clock, and since we had designed for her to be personified in some manner, we thought may also give the player some more attachment to her. She will prove to be a lifesaver during the more complex puzzles, and just adds to our design solutions.

There is much more we can’t talk about, but as every solution becomes more concrete you can expect more updates like this.

In upcoming news, we’re opening ourselves to answer frequently asked questions. So leave in the comments anything you’d like to know more about the game.

There’ll be a lot of details we can’t give out yet, as usual, but we’d like to engage with you as much as possible. We do take any feedback we see and consider it, so feel free to be open about it!

Thank you,

 The Clockwork Team.

Gamesoft: A look into an Australian game studio.

c-1024x576Today, we look at a very different part of our studio. I’m sure you’re all well aware that we are an Australian studio, and if not then welcome to our website! Australia is an awesome place, so we’re glad to be here, and this is why.

What’s it like living in Australia?

Living in Australia is pretty cool. We get the sunny days, and the cool beaches. Every game developer’s dreams. That being said, we don’t get to enjoy most of these at the moment because it’s winter now. Australia has a nice variety, and from my personal travel experience it’s got such a great dynamic weather system that fits perfectly for human gameplay mechanics.

What are some of your challenges as an Australian studio?

The biggest challenge is probably survival. Indie companies may come and go, and so we’re eternally grateful to be doing work that isn’t for a specific client.

Australia is a pricey place, but we’ve managed to balance ourselves well enough to maintain this kind of lifestyle that we live comfortably. That, and we adore what we do, so we’ll most likely never really complain.

On top of Clockwork, some of us have numerous projects on the side that we’re developing as well.

How did your team come together?

We met because we come from similar backgrounds, and originate from a common place. We’ve encountered the talent we need, amongst our social circles and found to suddenly band this team. From more experienced generations of Gamesoft, to new ones, we’ve all moulded to fit with each other really well. Going to work is a lot of fun for that reason, we all get along and we all have such a varied perspective. Almost like the Breakfast Club only with less angst.

Is there any difference being an Australian studio?

I can’t say there are really any notable differences. We get slow internet speeds, and most games never host an Australian server save for a few. These are all problems beyond our control, and only time will tell before more support is directed towards Australian games.

When it comes to actual development, we don’t do anything backwards contrary to popular belief. Our keyboards aren’t the other way around, and our left click isn’t right click. From a purely employee perspective, there’s little difference. We make art, code or game designs and then they shape together to make a game. Right now our collective effort is simply Clockwork.

What do you think of the Australian game industry?

The Australian game industry is bundle of ambitious developers looking for their big break. That includes us. There’s a long way to go, but it’s very much driven by indie companies like us. We try to do what we can for the industry, but as for any creative design it’s really all about delivering the project you want to do. We have the ability to do that, and for that we’re grateful at the opportunity.

What does the future look like for Gamesoft?

It’s pretty early to say, we’ll have to wait and see how Clockwork does and maybe you’ll see more of us. Either way, there’s no chance we’ll leave this industry anytime soon so together or alone, we’re going to deliver more awesomeness for our comrades in Australia.

 

Image: (courtesywallpapers.com)

How does Time Travel work in Clockwork?

So, how does Clockwork’s time travel work?

blogpost_art-attoTime travel in Clockwork has always been the most confusing part of the game. Alike any other time travel theories, convolution and confusion are prominent parts of the theory that unfolds.

Forget what you’ve learned from Back to the Future and Donny Darko, what I’m about to describe is an absolutely valid idea without any kind of issues whatsoever.

The time theory in Clockwork is known as the “Bilinear Time Travel Theory.”

I tried using the grandpa scenario to explain it, but it doesn’t quite work so instead ponder this.

 

You want ice cream.

You’re in your car following an ice cream truck. The ice cream truck will only stop if two people want ice cream.

But since there’s only you, you buy ice cream from the truck whilst on the move.

Yourevert back in time.

The new you can see the old you chasing after the ice cream truck. You decide that current you also wants ice cream, and also chase after it. 

Since the ice cream truck driver sees two people that want ice cream, he decides to stop.

Because he didn’t stop in the previous timeline, that timeline breaks.

Due to you never receiving ice cream, the second timeline where you chased the truck a second time never happened and your consciousness reverts back to seemingly the first timeline.

Only, the truck has stopped when you reverted back.

This is because your return to the first version of you is considered an event.

And that event could have only happened if the truck stopped.

And all of this is in a linear timeline, with inexistent tangents that merge into what you are currently experiencing.

Hence, the Bilinear time theory, because whilst it looks like two timelines it’s actually just one.

 

I hope that this has made sense to all of you, you can read the extended article after I receive my Nobel Prize on the matter.

Bottom line: I want ice cream. Lemon Sorbet, thanks.

Xbox One Development Kits have arrived!

Good day citizens!

Rejoice, our Xbox One development kits have just arrived, courtesy of Microsoft. What had begun from a low key project has escalated and will reach an Xbox near you! Hopefully we’ll know how to take care of equipment, our stone brick hands haven’t had the best of luck in that regard just yet.

All that aside, we’ve worked through multiple ideas of how vast the scope of our game will be, and as a result we’ve decided to explore as many options as we can to let as many enjoy our game as we can.

XBoxONE_lego XBONE UNBOXING

Here are some screenshots of the Xbox One at our desk, as well as when we unboxed them.

Oh, and don’t mind our collection sitting in the images, we’re running out of room for them, they’ve recently made their homes around our desks and have begun asking us for rent.

That aside, our programmer has already begun playing around with it. Hopefully soon, he’ll start working with them.

But fans of other platforms, do not fret. We’re working on getting development kits for other platforms and will definitely be sharing this experience with however far we can.

Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below, and again be sure to keep checking for more updates!

Clockwork at GDC

We are exhibiting at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco from March 4-6. Please come visit us at The Mascone Center, GDC Play booth PL215.

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