Q: Can you introduce TTM to our readers?
A: Most certainly.... "an adventure game... like you haven't seen in a while!" made so that as many people as possible can play it, thanks to the Internet!
Q: Is the game free to play?
A: Yes, the game is completely free: we wanted to pay homage to a genre that we loved very much in "our youth"!
Q: What are the minimum requirements for playing the game?
A: Any machine with more than 1 GHz is more than enough to play decently! (Add a good 30% to the specs if you're playing with a Mac).
Q: What is the main game objective?
A: Step 1: find plans! Step 2: save world! Step 3: get out of my house!
OK, seriously, you've got to save the world from the invasion of a group of evil aliens. How original, uh? Well, it always works!
Q: How many people worked on it and how much time did you invest in the project?
A: The game was devised by 5 people. For different reasons it was actually produced by 3 people. Eventually we received the help of many testers, and for the English version we acquired another effective member who adapted and completely translated the game.
Anyway, at the end, the ending credits are veeeeery long!
Q: Can you tell us a bit more about the people who worked on it and their backgrounds?
A: One thing we probably never mentioned is that we’ve all been friends for a long time: we didn't form the team just to create the game.
You can find detailed profiles on our site at this URL
Q: What are the games that inspired you the most for this project?
A: Mostly... ALL the LucasArts adventures! Especially Day of the Tentacle.
We also got inspiration from (and also quoted) some other important adventures of the 80s-90s.
Q: An adventure game requires a lot of work in developing the plot, the environments, the dialogues etc... Can you briefly describe how did you work on this?
A: We met at each member's house writing down all the ideas we had in mind, trying to combine them together so they could work. And if they didn't work, we restarted from scratch.
In this way we built the entire gaming scenario, placing parts and fixing the interaction possibilities. Maybe that's not the right way to do it, but we were full of wine and we thought so. And it worked!
Q: Can you tell us about the main characters in the game?
A: It's the usual casual hero who finds himself in a situation bigger than himself. He's got to save a world built around the stereotype of the wacky character just like in the old adventure games. Also, since each writer put his personality into the protagonist, he's a bit schizophrenic. Things got even worse with the English version, where another personality was added!
Q: We are curious about the game engine, how does it work? How does it handle the game story, the objectives etc...?
A: The engine that operates the game has been written from scratch for a very simple reason: no matter how powerful and flexible the traditional engines are, they forced us to think according to their own schemes and presented more or less annoying "limitations".
By choosing to build an engine just for this game we overcame these problems, allowing a development centered on our needs and which enabled us to reach the desired results.
The development started on Flash 6 and it evolved until Flash 8.
In addition, we developed some external tools (in the good old vbscript) to generate .as files to include and compile information about rooms, objects and characters.
Q: Tell us a little about the graphics. How did you produce them? Was everything done in Flash?
A: 90% of the graphics were made directly in Flash. The remaining 10% were made with Freehand, Photoshop (and others) because in the beginning we weren't very certain about the results we wanted to obtain, and also we had to get some experience with the brush tool of Flash.
Q: How did you manage game assets? Did you externalize them? If so, how?
We decided, instead of outsourcing like every modern firm, to do EVERYTHING by ourselves: it took us more time, but we think it was worth it.
Q: An adventure game probably requires also a lot of testing. Did you go through various test phases?
A: We went through many test phases. The first phase consisted of publishing a small private demo in 2004, which covered part 1 of the game, and helped us understand if the game mechanics (interface, structure, puzzles) worked, and if the game was liked.
The second phase was a deep and accurate beta testing of the game during the last production passes, to get rid of blocking bugs or errors which escaped us.
In the end, an additional testing phase was done to see if the English localization was correct, since the translator (whose mother tongue is Italian) had to go through tens of thousands of lines of dialogs.
Q: What were the main difficulties that you had to overcome during the development?
A: The main problem was to find the necessary time to work on it: between family, job and other duties and responsibilities, it was hard to find enough time slots to develop the game.
We decided to meet each other at least once in a week to organize the work, and then everyone did all he could to contribute to the project.
Q: Flash games are constantly getting more complex as the Flash Player technology evolves. Do you use any additional softwares for managing the project? (editors, versioning, debugging tools etc...)
A: No! We were born with "printf" and we are still big fans of the good old "trace".
Q: Now for the "If only I knew..." question. Is there anything that you wished you had known before, during the development?
A: Definitively "cacheAsBitmap"!
Before the new rendering engine of Flash 8 was introduced, all the rooms were broken into pieces, converted in PNG and then rebuilt again to optimize the performance, but then the files weighed too much. Fortunately for us (we could say that Flash 8 was made just for us!) the new rendering engine allowed us to keep all the files as vector pictures, keeping the low weight of the files but with the same performance of the raster version.
Q: Can you suggest a few resources for those interested in learning more about how to develop an adventure game?
A: We think that the first resource to follow is Ron Gilbert's article Why adventure games suck. In addition, we will be releasing the source codes of our game when we have cleaned them up a bit. Our biggest advice, though, is: Use AGS!
Q: Can you give our readers a few hints or tips for playing TTM?
A: No way! It took us 3 years to make this game, and you can spend at least one day to play it!
Anyway, there are already many solutions on the internet.
Q: Future plans? Are you thinking about new game related projects? Can you unveil something?
A: Not now... and besides, it would be quite hard to find the time to do it...but you never know!