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GCG Feature: 'Student Postmortem: Fate by Numbers'

Four Dutch students, working in a cathedral with a couple of actors and a green screen, created a full motion video game with a film noir style. They look back on what went right and what went wrong in their experience on Fate By Numbers in a <a hr

Jill Duffy, Blogger

November 15, 2007

2 Min Read

Fate by Numbers is a short adventure game with an episodic structure. But more importantly, it's a full motion video project filmed in about 30 days by four creative students at the Dutch Communication and Multimedia Design academy at Avans University. In a new postmortem article on GameCareerGuide.com, student Paul van der Meer shares the process of development for this unconventional game. In this excerpt, van der Meer explains the game's overall production methods and reveals some of the hidden advantages of using these techniques: “We set up our production like a movie company would. We had pre-production where we did our research, wrote the script and game design, contacted our actors, talked with our musician, built the props, found the costumes, and set up the green screen studio. All this had to be done the cheap way, since we only had a shoestring budget of 1,200 euro of our own money. The actual filming took a month, where we captured more than 400 shots. We worked with about a dozen actors, some professional, some amateur, with everyone working for free. … What Went Right 1. Visual style. The decision to use a green screen and actors was a good one. It made our game stand out among all the other 3D-oriented games, and it gave us a hook that we could use to spark interest at school during development and after. It also meant that we could cram a lot of character detail into the screen in each shot. Instead of working solo for months on a 3D character, we got a dozen of people who were actually alive. We chose to use a black-and-white film noir style, which helped us, too, because we could use shadows and didn't have to include a massive amount of detail in the backgrounds or spend time getting the colors just right. And this was necessary since the 3D team consisted of only me. In the final months, we got help from Yi Zhao, an art student who showed an interest in helping out. 2. Studio. Thanks to Michel Gutlich, a teacher at school, we got an old chapel we could use as a private film studio for a month, but we ran into some audio issues. Since a chapel is designed to carry sound, we got a lot of echoes. Still, it was ideally suited to hang up our 100 square-meter handmade green screen. We borrowed an HD consumer camera and lights from school, added construction site lamps and three television monitors, and we had our own studio.” To read the full article about this innovative game, see the postmortem on GameCareerGuide.com.

About the Author(s)

Jill Duffy


Jill Duffy is the departments editor at Game Developer magazine. Contact her at [email protected].

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