Thursday, April 30, 2009

Being Busy

Oh, the busy work week!

- Novel -

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Best Treasure Ever

So this showed up in our kitchen today...

Now I know what you're thinking, "What's so great about a chocolate cookbook? Well, beyond the obvious, of course..." Upon opening the book one can read the following lines:

"There are even some brain-teasing puzzles to do while you munch on your homemade chocolate treats."

What better to discover in a office full of chocoholic designers than a recipe book that also contains puzzles! Talk about a serious find! I managed to capture the below image before the book mysteriously disappeared, not to anyone's surprise. (Though I imagine it'll find itself back in our company library soon enough.)

A rebus about chocolate; I've got one word to describe it: "Sweet!"

- Novel -

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Trailing? or Prevailing?

Summer is steadily approaching, which invariably means new releases are close enough to touch at this point. But that unfortunately has the adverse effect of creating very tight deadlines. This May you'll see the release of Nancy Drew Dossier: Lights, Camera, Curses! in stores, and a bit later on, the 20th game in our Nancy Drew PC Adventure Series; Ransom of the Seven Ships. It is an exciting time, and the office is aflutter.

Currently the marketing department is working hard to make sure the Dossier release goes smoothly. They're also handling the revisions of some excellent box art (definitely awesome looking!) for RAN. In addition, I've gotten to see, first-hand, some of the scenes they're putting together for a short trailer of RAN.

This 30-sec trailer is going to show off some of the new environments, as well as introducing you to some of the people you'll get to meet! I know with the D2P blog, and the AS blog, you all probably know the story front and back, but I'm certain you'll be surprised when you see the finished work. My insider sources tell me the new trailer should be up soon, I'll give you the heads up when I learn more. Till then, stay sunny!

- Novel (stet) -

Monday, April 27, 2009

Answer to Puzzle #9

Alright sleuths, here's the answer to the weekend puzzle. I've got to say I very much enjoyed the plethora of names you all came up with, but only one name was correct for this puzzle. (Highlight between the brackets to see the answers.)


1. I married a famous poet and wrote a monstrously famous book. Who am I?
[ Mary Shelly ]

2. Listen to my name and what do you hear?
[ Listening to a shell, you hear the ocean ]

3. How many are there?
[ 5 Oceans (Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, Southern) ]

4. X * 3 - 6 = ?
[ 5 * 3 - 6 = 9 ]

5. What letter is this?
[ I is the 9th letter of the alphabet ]

6. Key (syn.)
[ A synonym for a piano key that starts with I is "Ivory" ]

So the Answer is: "The Ivory Room"


So what exactly is in this room? Well hopefully we'll find out soon. Good job to everyone!

- Novel -

Friday, April 24, 2009

Weekend Puzzle #9

Alright puzzle players, here's this week's puzzle. This one isn't as taxing as the previous one, but we're sure you'll enjoy it just the same. Thanks to Mari for this submission:


Each clue helps you with the next question.

1. I married a famous poet and wrote a monstrously famous book. Who am I?

2. Listen to my name and what do you hear?

3. How many are there?

4. X * 3 - 6 = ?

5. What letter is this?

6. Key (syn.)

And that will give you a hint for a RED environment. "The ??? Room"


Good luck and have a great weekend!

-Novel(le?) -

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Puzzle Boxes

Riddles and puzzles always amaze me. Sometimes simple ideas can turn into the most complex objects.

The object above is a Rubik's Cube. You may or may not be familiar with these toys, but they've got quite a bit of notoriety about them. They're a standard for "brain-teasers" and can be found in a variety of shops these days. I recently read that there are billions of possible positions for the cubes faces to be in, yet they can all be solved in less than 40 moves! That's pretty incredible. I wonder if its original designer, Erno Rubik, would ever have imagined the popularity of this simple, yet confounding toy.

So how many people in our office do you think know how to solve it?

-Novel (unsolved)-

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Daily Dose of Earth

Today is Earth Day!
The annual celebration of our planet is always interesting. People gather to plant trees, run marathons, work charities, it's wonderful! So around the office, we've been attempting to honor the Earth in our own way.

As a company of 50+ employees, you can bet we make our fair share of garbage, particularly with all of the copying, faxing, and general memos sent about. I'd like to think that today many of us made active choices to help protect our natural resources.

I'd like to point out a few things that some of the departments have done today. Our cheerful art staff has been working without the lights off. Administration is stepping up its recycling efforts. Marketing has suggested that people buy games digitally to conserve packaging. The Sales team even sent out reports as emails today. Overall, I'm glad we were able to do even just a little bit to help out.

What did all of you do for Earth Day?

- Novel (Re:) -

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Boxing Ring

So I think maybe sometime ago I spoke of packaging that I was working on. I'm quite pleased to announce that we've managed to complete it. I have to say though, I certainly didn't do the artwork, we have fantastic graphic artists to help us. Mainly I helped with proofing the writing and deciding certain aspects of the layout. Packaging is quite the lengthy and complicated process and I was glad that my input was considered.

This is the interior of the box. You can find the front cover on the Dare to Play Blog.

As you can see we intended to release the Casual series; Nancy Drew Dossier in CD form. Everyone has been asking for a non-digital version of this game, and the team was more than happy to make it a reality! It'll be released sometime May, you can read more about it at the HI blog, linked above.

I'll post a bit more on this process later, definitely with some cool accompanying photos! Till tomorrow...

-Novel (parted)-

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Answer to Puzzle #8

You know, I can't express how excited I am that you all solved this puzzle. I'd have to say it was one of the toughest ones we've ever had the chance to design. I think that everyone did such a great job helping each other out and brainstorming all the crazy possibilities. Congrats!

For those of you who haven't yet seen the answer, you can highlight the text below to view it.

-- --

So who is the mysterious speaker, and what does her rant have to do with Dossier 2? Well, some of that just may be revealed in future puzzles. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Stay sunny!


Friday, April 17, 2009

Weekend Puzzle # 8 (revisited)

Well, seeing as the puzzle #8 is still ongoing, I'll let you all keep working on it. Designer Mari has stopped by to provide everyone with a hint to help wrap this riddle up!


You’re all very, very close! Here’s your next hint: It’s not a "Krolmeister" blog entry you’re looking for. Good luck!


Thanks for the hint Mari! (coincidence is a silly thing, no?) I think this little push should send you all in the right direction. Good luck sleuths!

- Novel ni-hint -

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Work Continues!

This week has been moving by rather quickly, but it would seem our marketing department has found the time to post the Ransom of the Seven Ships teaser trailer. You can check it out by clicking the link below!

From what I hear, there should also be a newsletter coming out soon with more information on RAN. All the teams are buzzing with activity these days, so I'm going to have to steal one for an interview soon ~.<

I see that the puzzle is still progressing, as I've been keeping a lot of tabs on it. I have to say, not to spoil anything, but I've heard someone dancing right around a good idea. So I'm sure you'll have it completed soon! Thanks for all the hard work you've put in.


-Novel ital.-

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Ongoing Adventures of Puzzle #8

You all keep working so diligently, I'm stunned! Kudos!

So I thought I would pass along another hint from Mari:


Great job! You’ve found part 2


– the date isn’t all you need, though. Think homophone.”


I hope the tip helps, keep at it! ~.^


HI Snapshot #9

Recognize this?

Sometimes inspiration is waiting right in front of your eyes! :P

I know everyone is working hard on the puzzle, but I thought I'd take a little break to post a picture from the office. I'll be dropping another hint later today. Enjoy


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

More on the Weekend Puzzle #8

Hi all,

Designer Mari
wanted me to give you all another little push in the right direction:

“You know you need to replace ‘SurveyTweet’ with something, and you’re right it has to do with a certain Twitter entry. It’s not in the tweet’s text itself, but information about it – you’ll need a homograph of a particular fruit.“

Good luck!


Monday, April 13, 2009

Weekend Puzzle #8 (Answer or Hint?)

Well... I have to say that I'm pretty impressed with how far you all have gotten. I wasn't able to get anywhere close to what you all have discovered. So I think, given the great deal of requests, I'm going to give everyone more time. I will however be providing you all with a hint. I'm going to try to put it in some sort of spoiler text, just in case you don't want it. Anywho... good luck sleuths, you're doing great!


48871119991437468372284831266183671178783989338114865 is:
(highlight below to see it)'SurveyTweet'.html

Friday, April 10, 2009

Weekend Puzzle #8

As per the earlier post, we've made this one extremely difficult. I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens come Monday. ^.~




Good Luck!


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Travel Tips?

I've often thought about all the awesome locations we get to travel to as Nancy Drew. And after reading some of the message board, I'd have to say it is a pretty hot topic.

Nancy has solved cases in France, England, and Italy just to name a few. And sure, she's seen her fair share of crime this side of the Atlantic, but where else would we like to see her? I've seen posts for China, Australia, and more. It would seem the more exotic the better!

I think that's one of the things I most enjoy in these mysteries though is the history, the culture. I think the team does a great job giving us plenty to think about in these settings. We learn about a culture, its history and language, and sometimes even the customs and local legends. It's like an interactive encyclopedia.

We eagerly allow ourselves to be whisked away to another lands. It's a pleasant experience to spend a few hours in our favorite heroine's shoes. I don't know if I could deal with many of the things Nancy faces on a daily basis; dastardly villains, dangerous traps, it's all quite alarming. But maybe that's what makes it such an experience. We borrow her courage and charge headlong into adventure. From scary castles to shadowy graveyards, with Nancy at my side, I'll gladly visit them all, and maybe, I'll learn a little something along the way.

Now where to next?


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Coming up Roses

I figure not every post has to be about games, so today I just wanted to share with you some of the lovely flowers beginning to bloom outside our office. We've been having a spot of nice weather and so I was quite excited to see these trees opening up this week.

I hope you enjoy the spring!

-Novel (un-wintered)-

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Voice in the Crowd

So I'm pretty sure Amateur Sleuth broached this subject at one point, but I'm always thrilled to see these things in progress. Today we had quite a few individuals come by the office, "Why?" you ask. Well, to try out their voices for some of our characters.

We've all heard the end product; that lilting dialogue that we do so enjoy. But today, I got to see the office in action, recording and directing a great deal of talented people in order to find just the right voice.

I've got to say, I think we're in very capable hands. The game's designer and writer were on hand to oversee the selection process, and trust me when I say that they know their stuff. I don't want to spoil anything so I won't go into much more detail, but you're definitely going to enjoy our future games!

Chatter at ya soon!

-Novel (silence)-

Monday, April 6, 2009

Answer to Puzzle #7

Hope everyone had fun this weekend! Here's the answer for all those who waited.


The puzzle was solved by removing pieces from the squares to create letters. Some symbols may represent multiple letters, but the solution that we came up with was:

"I netted the thief but found no loot: Innocent!"


Everyone has been doing exceedingly well at these, so we're going to try extra hard to stump you this week. Stay tuned!


Friday, April 3, 2009

Weekend Puzzle #7

I really like today's puzzle. I'm much more of a visual thinker so it was definitely my speed. Enjoy!



Good luck and have a great weekend!

-Novel (x)-

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Being Environmentally Conscious

So I've a great post today! I had one of the artists for the Dossier series tell me about the process they use to create environments for the game. I've got to give a big Thank-You to master-artist Cody for taking the time to help write this post. Check it out below!

I’m here to talk a little about how we go about creating the environment paintings for the Dossier games. It is a collaborative process requiring the efforts of many people.

First of all, our designers come up with the idea for the environment and what they want to happen while Nancy is there. Then, the art director works with an artist to create an initial drawing of the scene. We call this drawing the layout. Here is an example of a small bit of an environment from our next game in layout form:

Once the layout drawing is complete, it is passed along to the background artist. Their first task is to figure out the basic color scheme and lighting of the environment. At this stage the artist keeps the painting very loose and works quickly to get an idea for the feel of the environment. We call this stage the color comp.

After the art director approves the basic color scheme and lighting, it is time to move on to creating the painting in finer detail. The artist lays in the basic colors for all the objects in the scene, adhering to the color scheme decided upon in the color comp.

The final stage is where we really push the lighting and add texture. For this scene, this was the stage where the rug was given a pattern and the wood grain for the wall panels was painted in. All objects must be rendered to appear as if they are lit by the light source. This is where the “mood” of the scene really comes to life. At this stage the art director makes final suggestions and all the last minute tweaks are implemented. The environment is now complete and ready to be transformed into an interactive scene by the programmers!

And that's it, we're on to the next environment. Keep in mind however that this process can take several weeks just to complete one environment. It's quite the task, but as you can see, the finished product is well worth the effort.

Thanks a bunch for the information! After all that hard work, it's no wonder the games come out looking so stunning.

Till next time.

-Novel [return=true]

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

No Foolin'

I'm back today, and was quite ready to play the prankster on this, the first of the month. However. After various edits of my "Fools' Post," I thought that it would be much more humorous of me to instead reward you with an honest blog with never-before-seen content. (Does this count as pranking my editors?)

Yesterday my very gracious substitute posted a picture of an island far to the west of the U.S. and for those of you who guessed, that place is Hawaii, a location visited by Nancy in Creature of Kapu Cave.

So in honor of the above statements, I thought I would make a post about something of a similar boast, an image from the eastern coast. This one you may not know yet. But rest assured, you'll recognize it soon enough.

Enjoy! and Happy April Fools' Day!

- Novel, Opening -