Why Atlantzone ?
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Why Atlantzone ?

The idea of creating an adventure game started in August 2002. At the beginning, just a text sent to a couple of AAC friends by email. The main idea in that text was to create an adventure game we would love to play, with lots of puzzles, some mystery and a great story. No matter their technical skills, everybody who was interested in that "adventure" could come and help.

The main challenge we faced was that we could only work together by email. Actually, some of us live in Canada, some others in Belgium and the rest in France !!! No way to meet each other. That's why we sometimes had to face little problems. Thanks a lot to smileys, which helped us a lot in many situations!

If you really want to know all about the project history, you will find below the archives (news, former web site), for memory and archeologists.

Initial text - August 2002 Project Archives

Objective: design and implement an adventure game, within the Atlantis Amerzone et Cie group. The goal is not commercial, of course.It is to create a dynamic project for the club members who will choose to get involved.

Human resources: the idea is to rely on the knowledge, the experience, the variety, the availabilty and motivation of the members of the Atlantis Amerzone et Cie club. We are definitely "gifted" or endowed with interesting competences, all of us, in various fields, be they technical, artistic, managerial (whew), etc. Everyone (I really mean everyone) can contribute: drawings, pictures, texts, exchanges of ideas. scenario, re-reading, testing. Considering the group dynamics, why not try together (those who are interested, of course) to create an adventure game, the sort of game we'd like to see and play. Since we're spread across Europe and Canada (am I forgetting anyone?), we could even operate on a "2x8" basis! :-D

Technical resources: we all have at least one computer and one Internet connexion, right? So we're all able to do certain tasks, such as word processing, graphic acquisition and image editing, typesetting, pure unadulterated programming, and many other things besides. We also have already a group on Yahoo. And thanks to Manu, we now have a private Forum dedicated to the Atlantzone Project.

Technical medium: It could be a classic CDROM, a "packaged" game. Or it could be Internet based, making it accessible from everywhere. Or it could be something else altogether (to be defined). My initial thought on this is: a web-based game has many advantages:

- the corresponding technique (HTML) is more accessible than straight programming languages,
- many creation tools exist already, that don't require expert knwowledge,
- storing and distributing data is relatively easy (ftp site),
- testing becomes easy to do (all it requires is a connection),
- there are only few hardware configuration issues.
- the product can run (in principle...) immediately on all platforms : PC windows / linux, MAC OS,
- no need to have a hyper-machine: just a simple web browser, and that's it!

Time resources, timing: "we must set a limit in time to the Project, that's the best way to get to the end of it". It may sound trite, but it's true. My rough estimate is one year. It's better not to commit ourselves to more than that, since we all have outside "constraints" too.

How can you participate? It's simple. If you feel motivated by the Project, and if you can give it some of your spare time, just email me at acces@atlantzone.fr.st. Explain your motivation in a few words (not as if this was to apply for a real job :-) ) and the time you are willing to spend (an estimate, no more: someting like 1 to 2 hours/month, or 35 hours/week.) This will enable me to make a first estimate of our resources and strengths. I will then give you the address to access the AtlantZone Forum.

As a conclusion: keep in mind that this Project has no megalomaniac goals. Its major objective is simply to strengthen the links among the Atlantis Amerzone et Cie group, in a warm and friendly manner. The Project is open to all members, and you don't need to have a Ph.D. in Computer Science to be allowed to participate. All people of good will are welcome.




7 August 2002 - Start of the Project. As soon as the announcement went out on the forum, 5 people were already volunteering. Just the first day! If we keep on like this, Bill Gates had better watch out!

12 August 2002 - Webpage is being redesigned Game. On this page there are now several links to illustrated technical subjects under discussion: music and sound effects, navigation from a picture, etc...

15 August 2002 - A new Forum, a brand new distribution list! Atlantzone is not stinting itself!. A consequence of its success, the Project has had to invest in additional space. Thanks to Manu for his help. The team is growing and growing. At latest census, we were 11 Atlantzone boys and girls.:-D

22 August 2002 - Scenarios are in gestation period . Here we are! After several days of complete madness, tossing ideas about scenarios all over the place, we have decided it was time to stop, and concentrate on 6 or 7 major concepts. Now comes the time for refining ideas...

30 August 2002 - Logo Competition. A game Project without a logo is like a pretty girl without a... So we've called for ideas to create a swell logo for our web zone. Apart from that, we've held heated discussions about the music (a composer has just joined us, yessiree) and about the game interface. Staffing is stagnating, 12 currently... but the holiday season is almost over ;-)

1 September 2002 - Online music. Boys and girls, the Project is accelerating. Here's some good stuff : extracts from Edouard's CD . I think we've found a treasure. And now Isys is moving into gear, and giving us a few drafts for characters. Wow... Beautiful...

13 September 2002 - Putting the work teams in place . Here we are now in the structuration phase, creating 3 work groups for the following themes: scenario, sub-plots, technique. The forum has evolved accordingly, and we now have a real worktool.

23 September 2002 - Building a prototype. To validate the technical options, we are beginning to build a prototype (reduced version of the game) incorporating the final game interface and the various possible types of actions: manipulation of items, dialogues, navigation.

1 October 2002 - The prototype is completed! Since yesterday it's available online for review and criticism. Any criticism... Enjoy yourselves. Any resemblance with existing persons etc... :-D

10 October 2002 - Full speed ahead on voice recordings. Now that we've written the initial dialogues, everyone makes trial recordings. It still requires some tuning here and there, but it looks as though we'll be able to do our own sound tracks using our current equipment. Very encouraging for what is to follow . Some samples here.

15 October 2002 - Reference documents for script writing. After a few mind-bashing sessions, here are our reference documents, fresh from the press. We have tried them out on the introduction script. Indispensable tools. ;-) Apart from that, an excellent new invention which will enable us to create puzzles of the type where you have to reconstitute a letter.

21 October 2002 - The script outline is done ! This is an important milestone in the Project. From now on, We have a fair idea of what the story and game will look like. Many thanks, Madame Caro.

28 October 2002 - The game develoment has started . The introduction is under way, some continuities can be tested, but not all of it is functional yet. At last, real pictures of the game! In passing, and with a little bit of anticipation, Happy Birthday to Meg and Isys :-)

13 November 2002 - Casting. Now that we have identified the characters, we must find voices for them. We are sending calls for volunteers in Atlantzone (members, partners, friends, etc...). Apart from this, the team has taken a rest during the All Saints Holidays, after a few mad weeks... :-)

18 November 2002 - Saving games! Following some pressing requests (I will name no names :-), the game saving functionality is now operational. It should definitely make the testing team's life easier...

26 November 2002 - Sister Anne, can you see anything coming? What? The latest script for the Canches intro? The definitive choice for the characters' voices? The ending credits? No... it's just that tomorrow is her birthday :-) !!!

29 November 2002 - Music Maestro! Ah, this rascal Edouard has done it again. No way to keep him down. He's offering us again new compositions!And they're not half bad, I can tell you. And so that we can enjoy them to the full, the technical guys have set up a great menu so that we can adjust the respective volumes for music, sound effects and dialogues.

16 January 2003 - Burps. Well, yes, it's always hard to recover from year-end festivities. This one-month break did us a lot of good, especialy after a very intensive November. Our first chat session, planned for the 15th, has been postponed to the 22nd because the Boss broke his PC :-P

17 February 2003 - Change your tires :-) We are slowly emerging from winter, during which there were a few changes made in the team. So we had to re-organise and re-motivate. We are changing direction for the Atlantzone characters. a casting has been launched to find "real life"actors, instead of 3D models. Babou and Sophie are now involved in scripting, while Caro will do the graphics.

26 February 2003 - Happy Birthday to the AAC Club. After all, without it, Atlantzone wouldn't be with us today. Many thanks to Manu, then, and may AAC live forever.

20 March 2003 - It's War... In spite of this, Atlantzone progresses at a good pace, with a chat every two weeks. The site has been updated a bit. The Safe Puzzle at Canches' is now functional. Moreover, we have launched a reflection process about the use of Edouard's musical compositions.

14 Avril 2003 - The Construction Site. Madre mia, what a turmoil! We felt a sudden urge... and we have reviewed and modified all the pictures, and their framing, from the beginning of the game. About 10 days of heavy work, but today, it's finished! And we've also modified the Introduction. Now it's time to get to work on Chapter I.

19 June 2003 - Some News. I was so busy elsewhere that I forgot to give some update on progress. Since April, we've been working on Chapter I..., which was completed mid-June! Great! We're now working on Chapter II: the script is practically finished, we're halfway through with the graphics, and I'm about to start the programming. Note that now we have Séraphin's voice, hurray.

30 June 2003 - It's Summertime. And it's going to be a HOT summer :-) Now that we've finished the graphics for Chapter II, programming comes in a rush. We've reached our cruising speed, and it seems that we can produce a chapter every six weeks. If we can keep up with that, we should be close to completion in November. ;-)

3 Aout 2003 - End of Holidays. After a few weeks of rest, it's time to get back to work :-) Now that Chapter II is completed, we're happily launching ourselves into Chapter III: the script is almost done. Graphics are under way. An Offline version has just been created. It will enable those with a slow Internet connection to play the game on their PC without being connected.

11 August 2003 - Dragonlouve's Birthday. Happy Birthday to the team's junior member.. You're a big girl now! :-) I hope you have a lovely day.

3 September 2003 - Chapter III is functional!!! . It's been online since last Sunday, but we've added some improvements since. We must now do the editing for the sound recordings. Caro has distributed a first view of the graphics for Chapter IV: the studio and the appartment.

6 September 2003 - Dialogues for Chapter II are available . All of a sudden, it feels like we're reaching the end. Only two more sections to do, and the game will be over...

13 October 2003 - Chapter IV is online: ready to test . No vocal version yet, the dialogues are still being recorded. Babou and Caro are in deep reflection about the epilogue.