Prodigal


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News

An epic horror/thriller adventure game series with a story that spans centuries, Prodigal is the tale of two estranged brothers thrown into a world of darkness and deceit beyond anything they could have ever conceived. Will they reconcile their shadowed and twisted past and survive the night? Or will the darkness that threatens them consume them as it hungrily reaches outwards toward an unsuspecting world?

Then, as darkness engulfs the world, Jacob and his fiancee Ashley must stand up as the sole remaining light and attempt to defeat a foe so dark and twisted and evil he will stop at nothing to gain dominion over all the universe, even if it means killing every last person on the planet.

Welcome to the world of Prodigal!

THIS GAME IS FREEWARE! It has come to my attention that some jagoff is trying to sell the game on itch.io. Prodigal is a freeware game, and he has no right or permission to be selling it! If you paid for it, DEMAND YOUR MONEY BACK!

Drop me an email and let me know what you think about my opinions and thoughts in these news articles and topics featured below, and if you have some good points to make and offer a perspective that makes me sit back and say, "Good point!" I'll send you pre-release goodies from Prodigal 2, either screenshots, music, sounds, or whatever is relevant to what I'm currently working on in P2! My contact info is over there in the "About Me" section!


4/10/2012 - A bunch of New Classic DOS Music in the Music Section!
Oh ouch. It's been way too long since I updated. I keep stalling out on Prodigal 2. I'm sorry. Grumble. I'm working on Ulisigi Ela landscapes right now, which are coming together beautifully and look just amazing. I continue to learn the 3D software and figure out ways to push it farther and farther for best results, but I'm making an entire game, just by myself. It is a maddening amount of work, but it DOES CONTINUE, I promise.

In other news, I've played around some with Reason 6 and recorded a bunch of new songs from old DOS games, including Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior, Rise of the Triad, and even the arcade game After Burner II! Go check them out, I think you'll like them! I have more completed which I will upload later, as I am still not happy with my mixing job on the rest of them.

5/17/2011 - Well, I have finished the refilming of the first set of animations! I recorded Ashley, Jacob, and their together scenes, and the results are worlds better than my first attempt. All of them are much better greenscreened, which means I am much more easily able to strip the backgrounds out of the images and making smooth, clean animation. They were also filmed in hi-def, so I could do extreme close-ups, if I so desired.

I rented some stage lights, too. Those made beautiful, color neutral light and eliminated shadow problems that plagued the original animations. They were incredibly reasonable, and came with everything I needed and more. I was very happy!

I feel bad having to throw out the animations that we did several years ago, as the people who volunteered worked really hard to help me on the project, but the resulting video was simply too dark, too grainy, too inconsistent, and the costumes sucked. I'd never filmed before and really had no idea what I would need to do, so I came to the shoot totally unprepared.

So, what does all this mean for Prodigal 2? It is FINALLY, FINALLY back into production! Yes folks, I have BEGUN BUILDING THE GAME! I have enough 3D scenery, enough 3D models, enough actors, enough sound, enough music... It is at last time to officially announce the game! Look for the official announcement on the AGS website within the next few weeks!

-Useless fact for you: The original Prodigal had over 3100 frames of animation for the entire game. That's for Jacob, Mike, Demelza, monsters, videos, everything. Prodigal 2 already has over 450 frames of animation for Ashley alone, and I still have lots of her animations to do! Oh yeah, the animation is gonna be SMOOOOTH.

1/18/2011 - I continue to work on Prodigal 2. I've been rendering a constant stream of 3D lately, in rediculous detail that will never be visible on screen. Specifically, I've been carefully building the kitchen to Jacob's apartment. Take a moment and go look through your kitchen. Look at the staggering amount of crap in every door, drawer and shelf. Look at the appliances and their little details, both inside and out. Imagine trying to render all this, and you'll understand why I've been working on it for many months.

I hope this spring to refilm the animations. As I've mentioned, the original concept was to turn all the animation into cartoons, and as such I wasn't worried about lighting conditions on the actors, just on getting the actions. When I resolved to shift to live action animations, I found that we hadn't lit our footage properly, and even worse, some of the lights were burning out in the Iowa summer heat, making animations inconsistent from one cycle to the next. For instance, having Ashley turn 180 degrees put her through no fewer than 3 strikingly different lighting levels, an unfixable mess.

It stinks because I won't be able to get the same actors again, which means their work will never see the light of day, which I feel really bad about. I tried for months to use color matching and even fixing lighting by hand, but nothing worked.

I've also noted a huge shift in the way AGS works, hopefully for the better, but at least very different from before, so I have opted to throw out what I had assembled of the game already and start over using the new features of the engine, many of which fixes limitations I was harshly feeling in Prodigal 2. Don't fret though, I'm not pulling a "Duke Nukem Forever" here, I only had at most a week of work on building the game, all the rest of what I've been working on has been content; music, 3D renders, animations, sound.

I will admit, Prodigal 2 hasn't been my only focus, as I've been working a ton on a new GZDoom level pack to end all GZDoom level packs...go see screenshots in the GZDoom section. I also have a couple new songs up in the music section, my own recompositions of some classic game music.


7/7/2010
- Well, I continue working at a glacial but steady pace. Of particular frustration this month is trying to find good help! I was interested a month or so ago when I found someone on the internet, a person who plays and analizes games as a hobby. This person had really analyzed Prodigal's story and had actually figured out several of the revelations to be revealed in the sequel. To my knowledge, this person was the first person to ever noodle some of the storyline out based only on the clues we'd given, and I was impressed. This person also offered some excellent critiques of the first game, things that made me slap my head and say, "That's right! That would have made the game way better!"

So I decided I would ask them if they wanted to help work on Prodigal 2, as I thought that many of their criticisms of Prodigal were very good points. I felt that this person "got" Prodigal more than any other person ever had, and I would have valued their thoughts on a beta playthrough of Prodigal 2, when I get that far.

Well, after a month I finally got a response to my email. That is pretty unimpressive in itself and would make me worry about paying this person for work, but the reply was something along the lines of an arrogant "I love my games and am too busy playing them right now to bother with you. I'll read your email sometime in the next year and reply."

In a word, "Wow." OK, I'm certainly not Activision or Ubisoft, and because I'm funding Prodigal 2 out of my own pocket, I can't pay a whole lot for employing people, but c'mon...If I offer to pay you to play through a beta of Prodigal 2 and give me opinions and insites, doesn't that warrant at least the courtesy of a response?

I'll grant you I have no idea about this person's situation in life other than a screen name. This could be anyone from Ivana Trump to a homeless bum out on the street, I just don't know. Maybe they have some legitimate reason that they can't read an email and respond with either a 'sure' or a 'no thanks,' but Bologna Fudge and Mustard! If you play and review games as a hobby for fun, FOR FREE yet, why would you just flip your middle finger in the face of someone complementing your review work, offering to PAY YOU MONEY to play a friggin' game?

I'd kill for an opportunity like that from any game designer, and I think most of you would too! And it isn't like people are beating on this person's door trying to get help, this person's average views of articles and other things they'd done were getting something like, 120 visitors. Woo. How could you leave all that and get paid a bit to beta test for a couple weeks?

Needless to say, even when this person does DEIGN to come down from thair golden throne and read my email, I'm no longer interested in hiring, reguardless of if they're excited about it or not when they finally read what I was asking them.

And that's another thing here. I bleed every cent this game costs me to make out of my own pocket, but I try to pay a reasonable compensation for the work I'm asking out of people I hire. I have learned that people with attitudes like this are NEVER going to pay off. I've hired arrogant pricks like this, and I've ended up loosing all the money I spend on them. (Don't get me started on those stories.) This tells me that this person is a looser and a flake, and I'll get burned no matter what if I try to contract work out to them.

So my final point to all you videogame fans out there...for GODSAKE, if you get offered work in videogames, no matter how small the job, you NEED to be all over it like a fly in stuff! Employers are always going to be looking for someone with drive and passion who are willing to go the extra mile, not someone who is more interested in themselves and what they'll get out of it and can't even read an email.

There are thousands of passionate game players and programmers and artists out there who would do ANYTHING to get a job in the hobby they love, get their name in the credits, and get things to add to a resume in hopes of greater opportunities in the future. You've just got to do whatever it takes if that time ever comes for you, no matter how large or small or you'll never break into this business!

Beta testers will be easy to find when the time comes, and the people who've taken the time to write and express opinions and offer constructive critisism are always going to be my first choices for that job, but I feel bad about this because I really think this person had the talent and attention to detail that would have really been invaluable to making Prodigal 2 an better game for all of us to play.

But sorry Mrs Trump or Bob the Bum or whoever you are, your attitude stinks and that makes you a liability, not an aid, and I don't want or need you anymore.


5/30/2010
- Prodigal has a new home on the web! More updates coming soon!

10/19/07 - We continue working on Prodigal 2, even though the webpage hasn't been updated in many months. Right now the game is stuck in a constant grind of rendering animation frames. But bit by bit, frame by frame, it is coming along. At the beginning of production here it is obviously the worst as new frames have to be rendered for all the basic movements and animations. Things like picking up an item off the ground, the same animation can be recycled and used over and over, but it must all be rendered the first time it is needed, and that takes a while.

On a happy note, I'm throwing a couple of screenshots up for a couple areas, so go check them out and let me know what you think! These are, of course, work in progress pictures, so expect the actual game to look different, blah blah blah.

3/17/07 - Well, it has been a while, but finally I'm announcing that Prodigal part two is in the works! I'm buried in work on the 3D renderings for all the locations in the game, and am very pleased at the results so far! Just one area of Prodigal 2 has more polygons than all the areas of Prodigal combined!

I'm working on real world reference material as much as I possibly can, rather than just rendering off the top of my head like I did for Prodigal. The results are evident!

Andrew Edmark and I are also working on developing a new form of animation for the game. We have a theory we'll be working out in the coming weeks to see if it is feasible. If it works, expect smooth, expressive sprites that far surpass my efforts from the first game!

As I've said before, the story for this sequel was written before the first game even came out, but it has been worked on a bit by Nathan and I. Once I've got some backgrounds and sprites together, we'll begin storyboarding out the game.

Shadowplay's music will be returning for the sequel! They have just finished mastering their debut CD, and have given me permission to use two of their songs for Prodigal 2! I've always felt that the song "Alone" is the heart and soul of Prodigal, and I took alot of my inspiration for the look and feel of the game from the song. I'm overjoyed that I'll be able to use their music again! Folks in Europe/Australia, you owe it to yourself to pick up their CD! Help support an amazingly talented indy group!

Anyway, look for screenshots in the coming months, as well as more news on development!

Later all!
Ben

3/13/2006 - Abandonia Reloaded Interviews Trisk:

Head on over to the interview page and check out DeathDude's interview on all things Prodigal! Learn how the Prodigal team formed, and all about Prodigal's humble beginnings! Learn what the influences were in game design, and a bit about creating the game's rich audio environment!

It's all there, waiting for you to check it out!

1/26/06 - Reloaded.org has posted a review of Prodigal on their website! You can check it out here.

They really liked the game!

"With Prodigal it is very clear how much effort and time went into developing this very excellent adventure game, in such things as the different graphic styles seen in the game." -reloaded.org

"The story itself really drew me into the game and really made me want to keep playing." -reloaded.org

They close the review saying: "If you are looking for a lengthy adventure title, that really has had a lot of effort put into development, look no farther than Prodigal, a worthy adventure game that you should definitely check out." -reloaded.org

Sounds great guys! My thanks go out to the Reloaded team. They were fun to work with and easy to communicate with! Want to see what the buzz is about? Why not check out Prodigal today? Just click on "Download" over to the left, and start your adventure today!

11/08/05 - Prodigal Shooter released. Look for it on the download page!

11/08/05 - Prodigal version 1.1 is released. Now with 50% less fat!

11/08/05 - Prodigal version 1.0 released! At long last, the game is done! Go download it now from the downloads section of the website!

Just run the file, and uncompress to the directory of your choice. I suggest C:\Prodigal.

I already have the game configured to the way it should be, so you shouldn't need to run WinSetup, unless you have a less than 2.0 GHZ Pentium, in which case I recommend dropping the resolution to 320x240.

If you like the game, spread the word! Feel free to drop me a line with your thoughts, or to report any bugs.

Trisk


7/25/05 - After slowdown for a few weeks due to RL conflicts, Prodigal has resumed production! We are entering the home stretch to an alpha build! With only one area left to render in the game, things are coming together! I also took a time out and went back and inserted all the cutscenes that I hadn't done yet, and added some game logic to places that didn't have it yet.

So what is left? Well, I need to render the final room, then put it into the game, add all the sprites for it (with the help of the incredibly talented Edgar), render the end cutscene, and put in the credits! Not much left at all!

The game now stands at:

  • Over 3100 sprites
  • Around 150 rooms
  • Around 100 sounds
  • 27 Music tracks

The compile is over 60 megabytes of gaming goodness! Yeeha!

I probably won't update again till we hit alpha...which shouldn't be longer than a couple of weeks!

In the meantime, I've added some juicy screenshots of areas in the game! Go take a peek!


6/23/05 - Work is continuing at a feverish pace! It wonít be long before Prodigal hits alpha state! The biggest thing Iím missing now is animation sprites.

If youíve played Prodigal 0, and think you could draw sprites in the same style, please drop me a line! I need a plethora of monster sprites. You must, however, have at least worked on a project that WAS completed, and NOT have quit the project before it was completed. Iíve gotten burned several times already by people who have NO drive to work on a project.

Edgar has all but finished with drawing the multitude of close-up artwork for the game! His work has improved this gameís quality incredibly, and I just canít possibly thank him enough for all his work! He is a really great guy! :) Now Iím hoping he can transfer over and help me with sprites. :)

I also decided to convert over to 16bit color for the main game. There were a multitude of special effects that I just couldnít do with 8bit colorÖplus light plays such an important role in the game, and 8bit color can hardly cope with it. The downside is the game will be much larger because of itÖbut most people seem to have broadband these days. Am I the last one on the planet who canít get broadband in any way, shape, or form?

Iíve already converted a large number of sprites over to 16bit color, and have reinserted some of Edgarís beautiful artwork in full 16bit, making the colors much smoother and more striking.

I have, however, decided to leave the vast majority of the gameís areas 8bit color. For one thing, unless a room uses a wide variety of colors and subtle shading, 16bit just wonít look that much, if any, better than 8bit. Not only that, 16bit color rooms take up a VAST amount of storage space, and I feel this just isnít really worth it for many of the gameís areas. Finally, the game would more than double in size if I convert everything over. If Prodigal ends up being incredibly popular, I may decide to release a special edition high color version, but for now, itís an 8bit core. :b


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