You play as Detective Chuck Jones (no relation to the animator of the same name), a rough and tumble LA cop in the year 1976. While involved in a high-speed chase you have a car accident and are heavily wounded. To avoid death you are cryogenically frozen, many years in the future you are unfrozen and must track down and apprehend a dangerous criminal in a strange time by flying around the galaxy in your rocket powered El Camino, meeting interesting characters, solving puzzles and listening to a Funky 1970s soundtrack. Chuck Jones: Space Cop of the Future is styled after classic DOS adventure games, and even runs on DOS.
This article was originally posted on my blog where you can find many more like it.
Today let's talk about style, specifically when you make a game that so obviously takes inspiration from classics in the genre which have their own strong aesthetic, how do you make sure it stays unique? Well, I decided that creating a strange mashup of things that I enjoy in an attempt to create a new style might be a good idea. The result is what I call "Retro Hi-Fi Sci-Fi". Allow me to explain what that is:
When I first decided to make CJ: SCotF, I knew I wanted to make an adventure game and I knew I wanted to make it for DOS, but that was pretty much it. The first idea that I had was a sort of fractured fairy tale thing about a spoiled noble kid named Roland who gets robbed and has to make his way in a fantasy world. So I started programming and I got a lot done on graphics routines, scripting and path finding. The engine was starting to come together, but the story eluded me. But then, somehow I had an idea, just an image of a guy with a ridiculous mustache flying through space in a rocket powered El Camino. So I thought maybe I should make a game about that guy after I finish this fantasy game. That's when I drew this picture:
Despite the limitations of my drawing ability (the perspective is more than a little wonky), it was this drawing of an orange '70 El Camino SS with rocket boosters that convinced me to forget about the fantasy idea and roll with this crazy space game. Soon after, the pieces started falling in place, I came up with a story about a space detective.
The core of the Retro Hi-Fi Sci-Fi style is the fusion of 70s nostalgia through a 90s video game lens with classic Sci-Fi elements. I've tried to apply this to every aspect of the game, from the graphics to the music, to the story and characters. For example spacey Herbie Hancock tunes played on a Sega Genesis, blasting through the 8-track player of your muscle car would be supremely Retro Hi-Fi Sci-Fi. While I don't have Herbie Hancock I'll try my best.
A Marantz Stereo receiver, a great example of 70s Hi-Fi design. Simultaneously high tech and Classic
To apply this to character writing, its about making characters feel like they just walked out of a 70s cop movie, yet completely at home in a space station with walls finished like the front of a Marantz stereo receiver.
Walking into an inter-planetary discotheque complete with aliens
So I hope you can understand the idea of Retro Hi-Fi Sci-Fi; its a sorta Retro-Retro-Futuristic design and it ideally permeates everything. Well that's the idea, we shall see how well I've applied it!
Please let me know if you have any comments or questions, I'll see you next month!
A little article about development tools and homemade beer.
genuine 240p 256 color pixel art, I've talked a little bit about this in the past but I think it deserves a dedicated article.
Yes, I know I'm a little late but it seems that's just how I roll. Some time ago we completed 2017, the first full year of development on Chuck Jones...
Check out my new blog, its chocked of technical information for those who are brave enough.
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