Message from Josh Mandel:
Greetings again from your faithful correspondent, Josh Mandel.
During the past couple of weeks, both Paul and I have (on separate occasions) visited the offices of N-Fusion in beautiful New Jersey. Jeff Birns, the CEO and Creative Director at N-Fusion, led a six-hour meeting in which he and I, along with team members Chris, Joe, and Dennis, went over the design and milestones. Jeff’s approach to milestones is as meticulous as I’ve ever seen in this industry, with seemingly every miniscule detail plotted out and planned.
On LSL, N-Fusion is undertaking several tasks at once. Programmatically, the game is being constructed from start to finish immediately, using sketches, placeholder animation, placeholder text, placeholder music, and even placeholder voices. This way, each finished asset can be dropped right into the game as it’s completed, and we can immediately see how it fits and identify any issues or revisions needed to make sure the completed asset works as needed.
Simultaneously, the artists are developing model sheets for every character in the game. Al and I will go over the rough models before they’re brought to a finished state (as we will with the backgrounds and animations). Once the model sheets are complete, we plan to share some of them with you in future updates. Al and I are also spending a lot of time talking about the game’s music. This is one area that’s extremely near and dear to Al’s heart, what with his musical background, and I remember well on Freddy Pharkas how tightly Al holds those reins. I believe – but don’t swear me to it – that Al’s own band will be recording at least some of the in-game music.
I’ve always felt that, as the original Sierra LSL series progressed, the music got jazzier and jazzier, to the point where the melody line – the most infuriatingly catchy melody in the business – was getting a little too lost. Moreover, LSL1 specifically takes place in a Vegas-like atmosphere. So my suggestion to Al was that, since neither the original LSL1 nor the LSL1-VGA remake has had a Vegas soundtrack, that that’s what we should strive for here: a brassy, big-band sound such as you might hear accompanying The Rat Pack. Al agreed that this was a new and appropriate direction for the music, so I’m tremendously excited by this. We’re currently reviewing various arrangers.
One last bit of great news, which I freely admit is purely victory-by-association for all of us with a stake in LSL: N-Fusion has been declared a Finalist in the Unity 2012 Awards for their most recently-released game, Air Mail! Better still, they’re not just Finalists in one category…they’re Finalists in three categories:
Best Visual Experience
Golden Cube Award (given to the Grand Prix Winner)
The Finalists are individually selected by Unity “to honor the best content being created with Unity.” The awards will be presented on Thursday, August 23rd. (Air Mail, not incidentally, was the iPad Editor’s Choice in the App Store when it was first released in late May.)
The complete list of Finalists: http://unity3d.com/awards/2012/finalists
To bring it a little closer to us: since N-Fusion will also be developing LSL in Unity, I think this bodes extraordinarily well for our project.
So I’ve got my fingers crossed for them, and I know Larry, wherever he is, is pulling for them as well. But then again, Larry pulls for everybody.
My name is Josh Mandel, and I approve this update.