Developers Speak Out: Jazz and Faust
A long time ago, in Russia far, far away in 1998, a talented animator Alexey Nikanorov wrote a beautiful fairy tale about thrilling adventures of two characters that had slightly strange names – Jazz and Faust. These adventures were taking place in a marvelous world that mixed up Ancient East, and African motifs… A story-line was written, great amount of sketches drawn, trial animation made…
Two years passed, and in June 2000 we made a decision to make an adventure cartoon “Jazz and Faust” based on this script. We took adventures of Jazz and Faust as a basis to game story line that contained many fascinating riddles, intriguing plot and good humor. At the same time the idea was born to create two games in one: there are two main characters in the game, and they are looking at the world they live in with two completely different pairs of eyes. Thus the story of the search for cursed treasure lost somewhere in the City of the Dead in the middle of Red Sands country came out.
A few words about the main characters of the game: Jazz is a smuggler seeking for adventures, he is ready to rush to any mindless adventure as soon as he hears clink of golden coins. For him the game starts in the prison of the port city Er-Elp where he is being kept for gin smuggling. Faust is a dreamy and romantic captain of the sailing ship, he gets involved in dangerous whirlpool solely for the sake of a beautiful woman whom he saw just once. Faust starts the game in the same city Er-Elp where he brought a mysterious stranger.
Jazz and Faust run into each other during the game, help each other in various difficult situations gradually moving towards a rather unusual end.
On the initial stage of making the game a decision was made to use a technique of pre-rendered animated backgrounds and fully 3D characters and objects as it helps artists to fulfill their ideas in full. Our programmers were making the engine that combined complex graphic effects (real-time shadows from the characters, parts systems, volumetric fog, hot air effect) and striking low system requirements (P II- 233, 32 MB RAM) – it helped to take in a wide range of users.
It was decided to make no special instruments for work with models of characters and objects. Our programmers made special software to link to 3D Studio MAX software that made work of animators and modelers much easier. The whole process of creation and animation of characters was taking place in 3D Studio MAX environment with further export to the engine. This decision saved a lot of time both of programmers and modelers who didn’t have to make any special environment for work with 3D models and of modelers and animators who didn’t spend their time on mastering new environment and worked in familiar surrounding.
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