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Feature: 'Kat Games' Dream Chronicles'

Casual title Dream Chronicles has helped to introduce classic Myst-style adventure gaming to the PC casual market, and in this exclusive Gamasutra postmortem, creator Tartaj explains its genesis.
Casual title Dream Chronicles has helped to introduce classic Myst-style adventure gaming to the PC casual market, and in this exclusive Gamasutra postmortem, creator Tartaj explains its genesis. Even before developing Dream Chronicles' story and prototype, Kat Games had lofty expectations for the title, hoping to innovate existing casual game models and create "the first casual adventure game for everyone": "We also wanted to break the mold in terms of gameplay -- in Dream Chronicles, every scene is different. Introducing casual gamers to the adventure style of gameplay was a core vision of ours. This was a departure from other casual game styles at that point in time, where the setting remained the same but the situations and challenges varied from level to level. In Dream Chronicles, a player's actions directly impact the storyline as she progresses through the game and it is critical that there is a very gradual ramp in difficulty as the game progresses. While I was convinced of, and extremely excited about, the whole game concept, I have to admit it was a little daunting to think of the challenges ahead at this early stage of the project. It wasn't like anything we had done before nor was it like any of the games that typically grace the Top 10 charts in the casual games industry. To make matters worse, there was no data to tell us what the market appetite for a game like this would be. How would we ever bring this to market? With these challenges stacked against us, we really thought our big game idea was simply a pipe dream." In addition to outlining what went right with the project, Tartaj points out the challenges Kat Games met during Dream Chronicles' development, including the team's learning experience from collaborating with multiple teams: "Dream Chronicles was unlike the eight other games that we had made at Kat Games. Where we previously had been able to handle all of the development tasks required to complete a project, we knew from our early brainstorming on Dream Chronicles that one of the major challenges we would face would be appropriately resourcing the project. It was simply more than our four person team would be able to manage. As we hadn't previously needed to rely on external partners to create our games, we initiated conversations with outside teams once we had signed our agreement with PlayFirst. The most direct area of impact to the overall cost and schedule of our game was the art production, where we had a difficult time keeping the project on track from a quality, budget, and schedule perspective. In the end, we "touched up" many of the scenes that were received from our external partner and that required more time than we had originally planned. This wasn't all bad, as we learned a lot about the process of working with external teams and have been able to use the lessons we learned in Dream Chronicles in subsequent projects." You can now read the full feature on our exclusive postmortem of Kat Games' casual adventure title Dream Chronicles (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites).

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