Strange Magic Escape
This game started out as a whim. I had impulsively looked up an old friend whom I had not seen in many years, and found an article he had written about "escape the room" puzzles, where he names Tesshi-e as one of his favorite developers. I looked up Tesshi-e, and spent the next few hours hooked into escape games when I should have been working. I was inspired. I decided to make an escape-the-room game myself.
Initially I was going to build the game using photographs, and use 3D models for anything I didn't have in the real world (as it turned out I did the reverse: the whole room was done in Maya except for the ship, which is a photograph of a model my dad built). I gave myself two months to get the game done in my free time.
But as my 3D modeling skills improved, as I figured out how to get the lighting more to my liking, as I thought of more sophisticated ways to code the puzzles, it was like the game wanted to be a higher quality product.
Eventually I gave myself a deadline to "release" the game. I had some friends and family play-test it, made some modifications based on that feedback, agonized over trying to please everybody, and worried about whether I could get away with not providing the player with instructions.
One day I was working on my resume, and in the experience section I was putting in a bullet about the game. I wanted to be able to say something quantifiable about it like, "scored X stars on [such-and-such dot com]."
I found Jay Is Games and asked them to review Strange Magic Escape. They did! I waited to see what kind of rating I would get.
About 12 hours after the review was posted, the traffic to my game exceeded my web host's monthly bandwidth allowance and brought down the site. Thankfully I had given Jay Is Games permission to host the game, so it was still available to play there.
I moved my game files to a distribution service because I couldn't keep them on my host's server. To offset the cost of this I was advised to put ads in the page. This requires my having sufficient "content" in the page for the crawler to be able to determine what it is about. So while I prefer things uncluttered, I need to compromise here.
The distribution service costs exceeded what these ads were making, so I had to shut that down.
I would love to continue to make escape games. I've enjoyed this project more than any I've ever done, and the feedback has been encouraging. I hope to find a way to do it full time.
Thank you for your visit!
Strange Magic Escape is a Flash point-and-click graphic adventure in the escape room genre, created by freelance interactive developer Eric Vaughan. The tools he used were Autodesk Maya, Adobe Creative Suite apps (including Photoshop, After Effects, Illustrator, Audition), PTGui, Flash, and others. The game was coded in ActionScript 3.0. It includes an immersive virtual 3D environment with logical puzzles, music, sound effects, and even an Easter egg. Some of the models, such as the neon tetra, were purchased from TurboSquid (there's a fun keyword, huh?). The game pays homage to some classic games such as Myst and Adventure. "Get Lamp," aside from being a reference to Will Crowther's Colossal Cave Adventure or MIT/Infocom's Zork, is the title of a real documentary about interactive fiction, and the Get Lamp art was used with permission from the filmmaker. OK, hopefully we have enough Content to make the crawler happy.