Greetings Detectives,

 

We are happy to introduce you to our Creative Director of Hidden Shadows: Cara. Here’s your chance you catch an exclusive interview with our talented team member and get great insights into the game.  Read on!

 

What do you think was one of the biggest challenges faced during the evolution of the game?

 One of the challenges was convincing people that our player base would be interested in a game with such mature content. There was some worry that women would not want to play a game about murder – but over and over, our players told us they were dying for that kind of content (no pun intended). These women (myself included) love crime novels, True Blood, horror movies, and of course the mature hidden object market overwhelmingly leans towards crime themes and darker supernatural stories.

Any favorite ideas you batted around?

Well the supernatural element is one of the things I’m most excited about, and really set the tone for a lot of the game. Some of my favorite ideas will not come to fruition until Season 3 or 4, so I can’t give too much away. The things that still give me goosebumps have to do with how thestory unfolds. There are things we put into very early scenes in the game that
won’t be explained until later cases – and when players go back and realize that “oh my gosh, it was there in that scene all along,” I think it’s going to be a really fun moment. I can’t wait for players to find out what’s REALLY going on in Gracetown.

What’s the most important aspect of game design?

I think first and foremost, you need to know whom you’re designing for. There are many core principles of game design, of course, but to me it all starts with knowing the audience. We keep images and descriptions of our potential fans up on the wall, to remind us that we’re making a game for them, not necessarily for ourselves. The player is in our mind whenever we make design decisions.

Who is your favorite author?

 Ooo,that’s a tough one. I love to read, it’s my favorite pastime aside from games. My favorite genres are crime, thrillers, or horror (surprise surprise). I think I’ve read everything Michael Connelly has written. I love John Sandford, Stephen King, Lee Child. Lately I’ve been on a Swedish crime kick, reading a lot of Jo Nesbo and Jussi Adler-Olsen. I prefer series of books that center around a strong character; that’s one reason that Hidden Shadows was created in Seasons, like a television show. Each Season uses a series of murders to reveal a larger storyline and give players another piece of the (sometimes twisted!) puzzle.

How are hidden object scenes designed and created?

 So much goes into this process – it takes a team of very talented designers and artists, which we are lucky to have! In Hidden Shadows, each case is a murder mystery – so the scenes have to visually tell that story. But back to the process – once we know the story and general idea for the locations, a description and reference images are provided to the artists. They go through several steps – sketches, color comps, lighting, details– to get the scene just right. Then objects are added; we create a list of objects that are specific to that scene, the murder case, and the overarching story. Some scenes also have to contain characters – suspects or informants that the player will interact with. Every step of the way, designers and artists are reviewing the scene and improving it. Then we put it into the game and play it, and make any adjustments from there. We want objects to be challenging but not unfair – it’s a balance.

How important is the story in Hidden Shadows?

Well I already mentioned that I’m a big reader – I’m a sucker for story. So Hidden Shadows definitely has a lot of story woven through every part of the game. Every case, every season solves some mysteries, but opens up others, and following the story will help players with certain parts of the game. All that said, we were very careful to design the game so that story doesn’t stand in the way of fun gameplay. We know our players want to play hidden object scenes, solve puzzles, and close cases – they can do all of that whether they want to pore over every journal entry or not.

source: http://hiddenshadowsgame.wordpress.com