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Entry 2020: The Pandora Incident

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image.thumb.png.7bedc555b566087d7f39e7349c7d2902.png

 

Brought to you by Team Pandora:

  Game design and coding: Carlos Madruga

  SFX and additional coding: Arturo Ragozini

  Graphics: Justin Cheer

  Music: Adán Toledo

 

Latest alpha:

02.26.2021

For details, see release notes below.

 

Release notes 02.26.2021.txt

 

Important:

- Getting stuck? Download the new Player Guide, link below. Beware: lots of spoilers!

- Make sure to disconnect the Intellivoice when playing the game.

- Connecting the ECS module will give you better music.

- It is recommended to use the latest version of Jzintv when emulating the game.

- Command for running the game with jzintv:  jzintv -z3 -v0 -s1 <rom name>

 

bin/cfg

TPI_02262021v3.cfgTPI_02262021v3.bin

rom

TPI_02262021v3.rom

Player Guide 

The Pandora Incident - Player Guide - 01.21.2021.pdf

 

The Pandora Incident features...

- Tense and story rich gameplay, in which decisions matter and affect the outcome of the game.

- Intellivision graphic capability fully utilized, with rich background graphics and large, detailed sprites by Justin Cheer (Black_Tiger).

- Awesome music by Adan Toledo (Nyuundere) using ECS extra sound channels

- Game concept born from Carlos Madruga's (Cmadruga) dream of doing a homage to Project Firestart (C64), with all new story, characters, music, graphics. An apparently impossible game to pull off on the Inty suddenly became reality!

- An elegant internal framework for graphic compression, screen attribute mapping and event processing designed by Arturo Ragozini (Artrag). He also created the sound effects.

 

Videos

 

Snapshots

 

pandora1.gif.ed6f360e61778eede6aaf6a2934d4006.gif    pandora2.gif.2374ea095cf4515b9aba976784d3ec7c.gif  

 

pandora4b.gif.fd5114150c8e3512b8f669833b704fe0.gif  pandora3.gif.b877ac86f4b553323bd3111fc70041be.gif  

      

 

Game description:

In "The Pandora Incident", players assume the role of "Ellen", a cargo starship pilot who is forced to respond to a distress call while in transit. 
The distress call was issued by a secret corporate science research ship, named Pandora.
Once Ellen's ship - named "Costaguana" - reaches the Pandora, Ellen and Norbert (the ship's resident synthetic, or android) decide to split. 
Ellen then takes the shuttle to board the Pandora, while Norbert stays behind at the Costaguana. They plan on staying in contact.
 

What happens next? You will find out by playing the game and making decisions.

 

Controls:

 

General navigation:

Disc = moves protagonist around. Moving near/over objects will pick them up, or initiate interactions.

Action buttons = fire gun

Action buttons will also accelerate dialog scrolling.

 

Inventory screen:

Keypad 4 = opens inventory screen

Action button = exits

 

Answering Yes/No questions:

Those questions will be shown at the bottom of the screen.

Disc = makes selection

Action button = commits

 

Operating terminals:

To open a terminal, approach it with your character.

Once the terminal is open:

Keypad 1,2,3,4 = selects option from the menu

Action buttons = accelerate text scrolling

 

Screen elements

 

image.png.dcdc20576aabbf3590f79d905d4d002f.png     image.png.42f4e52035b0fa71d715f627e738fe31.png  

 

image.png.da160e43d40f694cf91c578144db1ed1.png             image.png.ec46bbfdd4d39fa00d7cdaf48ff34e17.png    

 

 

Tips:

 

- Read everything carefully. Critical information is buried inside terminals and dialog.

- Take the time to investigate each room. Some rooms contain interactive elements like buttons, terminals, etc.  Approaching those elements will trigger actions.

- Examine bodies on the floor. Some may carry important items.

- Watch your ammo. Sometimes it is better not to engage. Also keep in mind certain "things" can make your bullets count more...

- Careful with your choices. Going here or going there first? Sometimes it does make a difference.

- Make a map and take notes if needed. 

- Don't plan on finishing it on your first try... and once you do finish it, try playing it again a little differently.

 

Enjoy the game!

 

Team Pandora

 

Edited by cmadruga
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I was thinking about that other mock-up the other day, asking myself if there was something more to it. Now I know.

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"4 disk sides"?  I assume that means two 2-sided disks.  Otherwise what kind of media did it use?

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24 minutes ago, Zendocon said:

"4 disk sides"?  I assume that means two 2-sided disks.  Otherwise what kind of media did it use?

 

2 double sided 5 1/4"

Quite impressing for a C64 game.

 

IMG_9858.thumb.jpeg.52769fb4f91288779e8efa8880df6799.jpeg

 

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@IntymikeI've been trying to get my hands on an original for a while now. Did you buy it back in the day, or later?

It's in great shape it seems.

Edited by cmadruga

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22 minutes ago, cmadruga said:

@IntymikeI've been trying to get my hands on an original for a while now. Did you buy it back in the day, or later?

It's in great shape it seems.

 

I got it a few months ago from my best friend when he sorted out the stuff from his teenage time.

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11 minutes ago, Intymike said:

 

I got it a few months ago from my best friend when he sorted out the stuff from his teenage time.

That friend is indeed the best! 🙂

 

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If I may make a suggestion, it looks like the hand-controller handler could use a bit of damping.  The idea being that the controller provides some initial resistance to movement, so as to smooth out the player movement and not forcing him to "tap lightly" at various points in order to align the sprite properly on the screen.

 

The game looks great so far.  The visual style reminds me of the early Space Quest games, with their beautiful use of EGA graphics.  However, it does look like you have to make constant micro-adjustments to the cursor control in order to position it where you want it.  That could be annoying and frustrating to the player; damping should help with that.

 

     -dZ.

Edited by DZ-Jay
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Black_Tiger is hard at work on additional graphics. 

Artrag is making tremendous progress on encoding and compression.

I love working with these guys!

I've been serving coffee and mopping the floors, someone has to do it.

And also putting a new dialog system in place that will connect with "interaction triggers" encoded in each room. Right now the dialog just shows up as the player enters each room.

 

 

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It's looking good so far.  Here are a few suggestions, mostly on cosmetic stuff.  These are very minor details; but in my opinion, they are the sort of cues that turn a "pretty cool game" into an "classic". ;)

  • The dialog boxes go out to fast and it makes it hard to follow, especially when you are not sure if another one is coming right after.  It increases the player's stress without much payback.  Ideally, they would be vertically centered on the screen, allowing the player's eyes to hover at roughly the same height each time.
  • Would it be possible to have the pop-up windows grow downwards instead of upwards?  Because they come one after the other in rapid succession, it forces my eyes to re-focus at different rows each time, making it again hard to keep up.  Ideally,
  • Perhaps a personal choice, but I wouldn't use expletives like "Crap" in the dialog.  Personally, I would use something more subdued, like "Oh no!" or even "What??"  It makes it more family friendly.  It also makes it feel more "retro," since such language would never pass muster back in the day; and encountering it in a game can jar you out of that immersion.

 

That's it for now.  It looks like it's going to be a fun game.  I never played the original, but it looks very much like my kind of game. :)

 

     -dZ.

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Thanks for the inputs!

 

In that test, I'm still treating each message as a stand alone popup. I was going to put logic to support consecutive messages next, without redrawing the window.

The time between each message is indeed too fast, that is a place holder for now.

 

I never thought that having windows grow downwards could make it easier on the eyes. I will chew on that.

 

On the expletive, it was an interesting comment.

I guess I'm not thinking about this game as family oriented. Even though I never really spelled that out.

 

Quite the opposite, there will be some grisly scenes and I've been thinking about moral choices.

To be honest, I don't know if there is any interest for this kind of game on the Inty.

Either way, myself, Justin and Arturo are energized by going in this direction so why waste the momentum? ;-)

Edited by cmadruga
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25 minutes ago, cmadruga said:

Thanks for the inputs!

 

It's my pleasure. :)

 

25 minutes ago, cmadruga said:

In that test, I'm still treating each message as a stand alone popup. I was going to put logic to support consecutive messages next, without redrawing the window.

The time between each message is indeed too fast, that is a place holder for now.

 

Understood.

 

25 minutes ago, cmadruga said:

I never thought that having windows grow downwards could make it easier on the eyes. I will chew on that.

 

Yes.  Imagine you are reading a book and every page starts at a different row.  In my opinion, the biggest issue with growing upwards is that your eyes do not have time to figure out the point of focus until after the entire window is composed and the text is already starting to show.  (Remember, the player will need to read from the top-left corner of the text box.)

 

This delay could be avoided by giving an indication to the brain on where the text will actually start.  By growing the box downwards, the player can start focusing his eyes straight away while the box grows.

 

Personally, I think these are subtle cues that most games miss, but they tend to be important in many user-focus disciplines, such as graphic and industrial design; so why not in games as well?

 

25 minutes ago, cmadruga said:

On the expletive, it was an interesting comment.

I guess I'm not thinking about this game as family oriented. Even though I never really spelled that out.

 

LOL!  Sorry, it's not really a matter of being family oriented -- it's more to do with the style of games from the era.  A game that uses modern graphic language is most definitely not something that could have been released back in the 1980s.  So, if you are trying to reproduce the "feel" of the time, why not embrace it entirely?

 

That said, this is not really a problem.  I just found it a bit jarring.  Especially since "Crap!" is not even a particularly common expletive from the 1980s. ;)
 

25 minutes ago, cmadruga said:

Quite the opposite, there will be some grisly scenes and I've been thinking about moral choices.

To be honest, I don't know if there is any interest for this kind of game on the Inty.

Either way, myself, Justin and Arturo are energized by going in this direction so why waste the momentum? ;-)

 

Well, I am interested by this game.  So far, it looks very much like the type of game I would play.

 

Just bear in mind that writing dialog for games, like for movies or TV shows, is a skill and a discipline, so unless you have such experience, be prepared to have others challenge your writing style.  (And I do not mean me, since I am also very much not a dialog writer!)

 

     -dZ.

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16 minutes ago, Steve Jones said:

I actually like the music, which is rare in video games, usually I find it annoying and turn it down or off.

That's Nyuundere once again doing a great job!

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7 hours ago, cmadruga said:

Posted WIP rom at first message. Activate ECS to hear the title song.

Everything is preliminary!

 

Please be kind ;-)

 

 

I really like that music on the title screen. :)

 

I tried clicking start and get the first screen with a cursor, but moving the cursor sort of crashes it or causes it to get stuck.  I did not know what to expect from this first ROM, so I wasn't sure if I should have been able to do anything else. :)

 

UPDATE:  Never mind.  It seems that if I move the cursor too high or too low, the game sort of get stuck.  I was able to go into the door and enter the elevator on the next screen.

 

      -dZ.

Edited by DZ-Jay
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Just uploaded an updated file fixing a few issues. 

Thanks to Artrag for catching those.

Edited by cmadruga

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Looking good, although I wonder if there is more that could be done by aligning the graphics better to card boundaries, in order to remove some of the weird colour "bleed" across them.  Is there a new build ROM to try?

 

    -dZ.

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