LSL Update #42

Happy CyberMonday, Larryettes. (May I call you that?)

Before I get into this week’s bits and pieces, I want to thank everyone who supported Corey and Lori Cole’s HERO-U Kickstarter project. Though they made it a nailbiter, they DID reach their goal, so the project is a big thumbs-up. In fact, projects from ex-Sierra designers have a 100% success rate on Kickstarter (Jane Jensen, the Coles, the Two Guys, and the Larry project)…and in the games category, the general success rate for funding is under 40%. We’re hoping that this fact isn’t lost on the major publishers.
Now onto Larry news.

We’ve got the additional final backgrounds for:

  • Mugger’s Alley
  • Fire Escape Alley (Right side of Lefty’s building)
  • The Payphone closeup
  • The Video Poker closeup
  • The Come ‘n’ Go exterior

Mugger’s Alley called for some clever thinking on Colin’s part. This alley actually appears in numerous places throughout the game, and we wanted to make sure that it matches up well with all its locations. In the best of all possible worlds, and with an unlimited budget, each alley would look completely different, but that’s neither practical nor really necessary, as you never get to spend more than a few seconds in these alleys.

The Video Poker Machine will actually have several skins depending on where it appears, because we’re putting it in several places throughout the game. This is a departure from the game’s earlier incarnations, simply to reduce the number of cab rides that a player has to take.

Speaking of departures from the original design, we’re also taking out the concept of death due to going broke. There will always be a way in the game to get a buck or two with which you can rebuild your funds (I’m not going to reveal that methodology; it will become apparent only when and if it’s needed). This is borne out of our feeling that running out of money should just be another obstacle to overcome, not a cause for death.

That’s not to say we’re caving completely to current trends and removing death from the game. There are still many ways to die, but three that we’ve removed are:

  • Going broke
  • Bringing an alcoholic beverage into the taxicab
  • Running out of time

Many people might not remember (or might never have discovered) that the original Larry was timed, and you would die if dawn broke without your finding true love. But with our emphasis on being able to try vast numbers of actions, that naturally can add to exploration time, and it would be cruel to give people more opportunities for exploration and then punish them for taking advantage of those opportunities.In the original game, some deaths would result in Larry being taken to the “Larry Factory” underground. In the very first LSL1, it was an assembly line, and you could see other Sierra characters also waiting to be reassembled. In the VGA remake, it was more of a blender-and-mold affair. Our Larry Factory is neither of those; it’s a concept which I’ve actually hinted at obliquely many times throughout my updates. This new Larry Factory will return you to the exact point you were at in the game *before* you made your fatal error, so it’s as pain-free a death as possible.

We are *this close* (making pinching gesture with fingers) to signing our composer, and if it hadn’t been for the usual Thanksgiving shutdown of everything in the United States except for retail sales, we’d probably have it by now. We’re so excited about this that I’m going to put out an extra Update as soon as we can release the info.

Along with Windows and Mac builds, N-Fusion produced its first iOS build of the game last week. I had it up and running on an iPhone, and it’s absolutely beautiful. Jeff had it running on his iPad, and we were arguing on the phone about which looked cooler, and why.

That’s the news for now. Take care, keep warm, don’t fight, and thanks again for your support, not just for our game, but for all the resurgent Sierra-related projects. Those of us who are anxiously watching the Sierra renaissance are looking forward to a truly memorable 2013.