Friday, November 30, 2012

Weekend Puzzle #176 + Video!

Happy Friday!

Today we posted our interview with Designer Cathy! Check it out!

Also, if I speak any longer, I might give away a big spoiler. So I will stop talking now and just let you solve this weekend puzzle for your own knowledge....
(Click on the picture for a larger view).

~Little Jackalope~

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tesla is Everywhere!

I'm not sure how I lived my life never knowing who Nikola Tesla was until our designer started researching him for The Deadly Device a while back. Yes, I admit I had never heard of him before then. >.< Now he just seems to be everywhere! Our Director of Marketing was recently on a trip and snapped this photo:

Voila! Nikola Tesla is mentioned here! It's like a scavenger hunt success! Also, not too long ago I came by a car named after him. It looked pretty cool!

Where have you found a Tesla reference?
~Little Jackalope~

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blowing Stuff Up

Ok, how many of us can admit that we often need those "Second Chances" during a mystery? The particular Second Chances I want to mention are those moments when our life is on the line...unless we simply avoid these dangerous circumstances, we we can't since we are drawn to danger...and if Nancy doesn't solve the puzzle correctly...KUHBLAM! Time for a Second Chance. >.<

Some examples include organizing the elements in the underground secret location of The Haunting of Castle Malloy. You know, the one where you maneuver the mechanical arm/grip and drop the elements into the appropriate places? Also, in Curse of Blackmoor Manor, where down in the tunnels you need to enter the correct alchemy recipe/combination...and you enter incorrectly? Kaboom. Enough said.

We have a newer "kaboom" moment in The Deadly Device, when you mix the wrong amount of chemicals together, the glass bottle explodes. (I don't know about you, but I find this destructively fun!) We have a Nancy Drew Moment graphic for these moments and memories....

Yeah. Exactly. XD
~Little Jackalope~

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fan Mail and Office Happenings

The Sales and Marketing department just finished a few big sales, launched the new merchandise and is now gearing up for big December fun. "Artist's Row" is working on fixing puzzle art, adding new textures, modeling characters (and have already begun animations!). Production is working on some builds, planning out music and sounds, and writing dialogue for secondary characters, like phone friends. We are getting deeper into winter, and with that comes more fun things to do and talk about in between game launches.

Have you played The Deadly Device? Or are you waiting anxiously for Christmas morning? Or both!

Today we received some fan mail, and since I have a love for doodling, I had to share with you Anissa's art and very colorfully-decorated envelope. I tell ya, it is fun receiving something so colorful! It's like candy... (^_^) Thanks Annisa!


Head's up! New Tuesday poll to the right!
~Little Jackalope~

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday 2012

Thanksgiving break is now over, and so we return to the Her Interactive office for another week of working on our next game. (Yay!) Did you get enough to eat? How about enough rest? I started playing The Final Scene again, but got distracted imagining what Nancy's thoughts were when certain characters said certain things....and then I started doodling these in a computer program...

Looking at the weekly poll to the right, it looks like many of you detectives already own all of the Nancy Drew games, and had no need to wake up super early, put on your slippers, turn on your computers and focus your sleepy eyes on....buying games online. XD Yep! Black Friday has past (and I hope none of you gutsy holiday shoppers got trampled on, in or out of the retail stores!). A few team mates here (myself included with my family) each went out on shopping excursions for the fun of it that morning. We knew how to play it safe and avoid the crazy crowds.

Cyber Monday is here! It's the day where everyone hops online to find the best deals and sales. We too, are having a sale (have you heard this bit of news?). If you order any digital download game by the end of today (sorry, this offer does not include The Deadly Device), using promo code CYBER12 at checkout, you get 50% off the price. I asked a certain character his opinion on buying online and he said it's "the wave of the future!" (Just for fun, name that character!).

This, in my personal opinion, is a smashing good deal, because the games are between $5-$10 each. o.O This special offer won't last! It's only good for today. "Here today, gone tomorrow!" Did another character say that line? I forget...

~Little Jackalope~

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! We will be out of the office and will return on Monday, November 26th. We hope you have a great Thanksgiving break, eat plenty of good food and enjoy some time well spent with your family and friends. I know I sure will...and I also plan on re-playing (and finishing) a Nancy Drew game with all this time I have over the weekend. XD

Don't forget! This Friday is our big special on boxed games; free shipping USPS in the US!

Also, be prepared to go shopping online for the digital games you are missing from your mystery collection this upcoming Cyber Monday:

I must be really busy with secret things here in the office, or else, why would I forget a birthday!? Shame on me. We hope you had a good one, Alex! (And hope you enjoy yours Brooklyn!)

No weekend puzzle this week! My advice: sit back and enjoy one of your favorite Nancy Drew games for the hundredth time! For those of you who are traveling, have a safe trip! And Happy Thanksgiving from us to you! See you Monday!

~Little Jackalope~

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving and Posters!

Today at the Her Interactive office, we had a company potluck for Thanksgiving. Everyone brought some wonderful food (I made sure to try every single dish) and it was all amazing! I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and has lots of fun going shopping in those crazy stores super early in the morning. (~.^)

Some of the food we shared:

Hey! We have new merchandise in our store! (And I do believe I mentioned this already..) But I wanted to point one particular item out to you:

See this poster in The Deadly Device from in the lounge?

Well, it's now available for purchase! (And since I'm such a nerd, I went ahead and ordered one for myself... >.<) I will have to show you when it gets here!

~Little Jackalope~

Monday, November 19, 2012

1,000th Blog Post!

Not that any one's counting *ehem* but this is the Amateur Sleuth Blog's 1,000th blog post! Whoo-hoo! This post will then draw attention to every element of what makes the blog is what it is: Doodling, sales, announcements, fan birthdays, puzzles, insider knowledge, vague hints about the future and what we are up to, contests, and cookies. I'm sure there are many other little things, but these are the big ones.

1. Doodling my excitement: (and this involves coloring crayons...)

 2.  Don't forget! This Friday is Black Friday! For one day only you can get free shipping when you order using promo code THANKS12, and on Cyber Monday (Nov. 26th) you can get 50% off your digital game purchase (excluding DED) using promo code CYBER12. You can learn more about these sales here.

3. Announcement: New merchandise!

4. Fan birthdays: One of our readers: Max's 13th birthday was over this last weekend!

5. Puzzles: the solution to this weekend's puzzle:

1. An Office Aid for Mystery Cruises in Miami = [Sonny Joon held this job, as listed on his resume in The Captive Curse]
2. Vervets require a little guidance. [Sonny's guide to the Vervet monkeys in Ransom of the Seven Ships]
3. The Hurricane came this way. [Sonny Joon was nicknamed "Hurricane Sonny by Henrick in Secret of the Scarlet Hand]
4. Set your sights on the Cathedral in the Clouds. [A play on words referencing Sonny Joon's "Temple in the Sky" game idea].
5. Notes in the air passage really count before you suffocate. [If you count the notes and rearrange their order from in the air ducts in The Deadly Device, they spell...well, I'm not going to spoil it for you...].
6. What's written on the wall in the passage between a wardrobe and a clothes rack. [In The Final Scene, when you walk through the connecting passageway between the dressing rooms, you may see the words "Snake Wuz Here" painted on the gray wall.]

If you connect all of the references, you may conclude that I am thinking of this phrase: [Sonny Joon Wuz Here]. One of my favorite phrases! (And characters!)

6. Insider Knowledge: The artist here who played the voice of Niko is currently working on a very spooky environment, which involves some subtle lighting and spooky shadows. Just so you know! ;)

7. Vague hints about the future: We are taste-testing something with sugar. And I will admit to trying all of the flavors in helping to narrow down the best ones. (~.^)

8. We still have a contest going on over on our Facebook page! Check it out and enter before tomorrow!

9. And now I shall go and find a cookie to celebrate....

~Little Jackalope~

Friday, November 16, 2012

Weekend Puzzle #175

Hey howdy hey! Happy Friday! Today was a rather busy day for us, but I'm going to save the announcement for Monday's post. In the meantime, if you explore around our site, you might be able to learn what this is. ;)

Instead of a puzzle this weekend, how about a little trivia? I want to see how well you'll do with this different style...and how well you remember these little things...

What phrase am I thinking about? Find the answer for these below to figure it out:

1. An Office Aid for Mystery Cruises in Miami.
2. Vervets require a little guidance.
3. The Hurricane came this way.
4. Set your sights on the Cathedral in the Clouds.
5. Notes in the air passage really count before you suffocate.
6. What's written on the wall in the passage between a wardrobe and a clothes rack.

I'm guessing for many of you, this is a piece of cake, but good luck sleuths!


Stay tuned for all the excitement next week!
~Little Jackalope~ 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Otters! And secrets...

Yesterday our Designer, Lead Tester, and Stuart our CEO went outside to catch a quick glimpse of the wildlife here. Check it out! Stuart was able to grab a snapshot of this otter!! So cute!

We have a few great things planned ahead, such as an interview video, another video a few weeks away, and tomorrow's....things. We are rather busy preparing for these...things.

But if you want in on another contest, this weekend is the Facebook Caption Contest featuring one of our visiting fans, Miriam! What is she thinking in the picture? Post your best caption to the photo on our Facebook page for a chance to win this tote bag featuring the cover art from The Captive Curse! Contest ends at midnight, Monday, November 19th!

~Little Jackalope~

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Countdown to Big Sales!

This is a super early post about our upcoming big sales this month. (I just had to tell you!)

First off, we will be having a big sale on Black Friday (November 23rd) where you can get any physical game with free shipping (USPS in the USA), which would be good timing for Christmas, especially for those sleuths who like to have the boxes to add to their collection. Or you can just order it for yourself! Use promo code THANKS12 on that day for the free shipping to apply. For more information on shipping, click here.
Also, on Cyber Monday, November 26th, we will have a sale on all of the digital versions of our games (excludes The Deadly Device). If you use promo code CYBER12 on that day, you will get 50% off of your game purchase! (And that is perhaps the best deal ever!)

So plan ahead! If you are missing some games, pick your sale date and mark it on your calendar, because these will only happen on one day each! I think I like exclamation marks! Can you tell?! XD

P.S. -- Twitter Quote contest is happening today!
~Little Jackalope~

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Programmer Navigation

Here's something you don't see everyday! I was fortunate enough to hover over the desk of our Lead Tester back in May this year to get a look at what she was up to. This, my friends, is a map. (^_^) She was checking to see if all of the scene views (as listed by numbers) matched up in the right locations. Each arrow represents a viewpoint for the player, not necessarily the ability to move forward, but the different angles you get to look (perspectives) at with each step you take in The Deadly Device.

Behind the scenes here, we have "scene numbers" for us to refer to and especially for connecting the dots, so to speak. You don't want to click to go forward towards the elevator and suddenly show up in Niko's office! So our Lead Tester checks to make sure our game navigation is correctly matching up with the logic. Can you identify these areas based on the shape and navigation view? Answer is at the bottom of this post, below my name.

Head's up! New poll on the right -- >


~Little Jackalope~
Map answer: [downstairs halls, the K on the left leads to the lab, the K on the bottom right is right before Niko's Office.]

Monday, November 12, 2012

Cupcakes From a Fan

Today one of our fans, Miriam, got to visit and learn more about how we rock and roll here at Her Interactive. She got to tour and visit with several team members to learn a little from each department, as part of her school requirement to graduate. She immediately became friends with everyone in the office when she brought in something chocolaty: CUPCAKES!!!

But not just any cupcakes! These were inspired by...can you guess? The three pies in Secret of the Old Clock! Using candy as the "fruit", she even included miniature "pies" on top of several...reference to the different sized pies you had to organize in the game. They were amazing. Simply amazing. I <3 them.

As for the weekend puzzle, if you are familiar with ciphers, you might recognize this one as the [Playfair cipher], a rather tricky one if you are doing it by hand. Once you use the keyword to create your alphabet grid (omitting the Q), you pair up the letters in the puzzle accordingly and find this answer: [New Merchandise] which is what is it is. Yay! New stuff!

~Little Jackalope~

Friday, November 9, 2012

Weekend Puzzle #174

Hey howdy hey! Happy Friday! It's starting to get chilly here in Washington, we had frost this morning leading up to a bright sunny, fall day. It's really pretty, perhaps I'll take some pictures to share.

I found some old pictures (from May of this year) that I took specifically for a time like this: sharing behind-the-scenes information and pictures on the making of The Deadly Device! For those of you who have played the game, can you tell what puzzle I got to try out in its early concept stage? (Yes, we use actual toys such as legos in the design process...) XD

Weekend puzzle! We have some announcements for next week, but here you get an early peek at what this will be:

Keyword: Clue, and no Q about it!
Puzzle: mayjusabhtbjyg

Stay sleuthy!
~Little Jackalope~

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Modeling an Environement

Today we posted an interview with one of our fantastic 3D artists, Lyndon, on the Dare to Play blog. Check it out here!

It's really fun to put a name to a specific part of a game and get to know more about who helped make the environments in each mystery. Lyndon helped create the main lab and the photolithography lab in The Deadly Device. Check out the early modeling phase compared to the end result where it is textured. (Another artist creates the textures to wrap the models).

~The etcher in the photolithography lab: early art and finished art~

I promise to continue interviewing the rest of the team here, (yes, this means everyone!) In fact, I just filmed an interview today with another worker. ;) Stay tuned!

~Little Jackalope~

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Top Secret Meetings (ND#28 Name Spoiler!)

It has come to the time where the design team has roughed-out the full story and play-through of Ghost of Thornton Hall, and we have begun our top-secret game walkthrough meetings for it!

Ok, since the game is still a work in progress, we are still early in the animations, script, puzzles, and just about everything else, but since the story/play design has been mapped out (yet is still subject to alteration and change), we are giving it a try.

I got to be the first player!! (^_^) I was super excited to volunteer to "play" the game verbally, while our writer and designer narrate and guide the course of the game. It sounds kind of silly to say we verbally play the game, so I'll try to explain it better:

The design team and members from each department sit in our main conference room with their notebooks and pens. (Each member from the department is ready to answer game/art/puzzle/logic questions to help everyone understand how the game will look and work, as well as provide opinions for potential changes.) The designer describes the beginning of the game and then asks what I would like to do next, and provides a rough map. I then say something like "I want to explore Niko's office. What do I see?" Designer: "There is a desk, a mechanical pigeon, some bookshelves and a candy dispenser." Me: "Let's get some candy from the dispenser!" Designer: "It's locked!" And when I encounter a character, our writer provides the information, their dialogue and what I, as Nancy, can ask. Hmm.... I wonder if I could persuade him to reply in different voices...

Here is an example map that we got to look at for The Deadly Device walkthrough (note: I blurred out a few areas for those of you who have not finished the game yet):

It's really fun, and I have to take lots of real notes so that I know what I did and still need to do, as well as what's in my inventory.

Twitter Quote Contest today! This week's prize is a digital guide to Trail of the Twister, and I do think the quote you need to guess is an easy one. No worries on providing a last name. ;)
~Little Jackalope~

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fan Love...and Eggs

Our fans make me laugh sometimes! (^_^) And they are all so very creative, smart and witty, as I can see on our social media sites, message boards and through our contests. Sienna wrote this encouraging note to me and I had to post it because...well...we already had one of her wishes planned out!

"Dear Little Jackalope, 
You have been doing such an awesome job on the Amateur Sleuth blog! I enjoy reading all of your posts. I loved watching Phoenix make all of her videos, so I was glad when you decided to start making them as well! I thought that it would be really neat if you did more interviews with some of the other employees at HeR Interactive. You could even have someone interview you! Thanks for taking the time to read this! 


Yep, we will continue with employee interviews. There will be another Dare to Play Blog one this Thursday, and next week we plan on a returning Dare to Play Blog employee interview, but in video format this time. Hmm...who do you suppose it will be?

Check this out! This egg was designed by Venessa, a blog reader:

It's Tuesday! New poll to your right -->
~Little Jackalope~

Monday, November 5, 2012

Candy Bears, Ryan and Mason

I had to eat some fruity gummy treats today because my mind was on The Deadly Device...particularly last week's puzzle answer and how I get to explain it today.

To solve the weekend puzzle, you will need to watch the official trailer here. Pause at each of the times listed in the puzzle, and count the number of letters you see on the screen from left to right, top to bottom. If you collect all of the correct letters, you'll get [I less than three them] which is a quote said by Ryan Kilpatrick concerning her colorful candy gummy bears.

We have this image in our Merchandise Store for you to put on a t-shirt, or pillowcase, or mouse pad or whatever you choose! Or if you don't like the quote, there is also the candy bear group. :)

New wallpaper available! You can put Mason Quinto on your desktop as the wallpaper if you so choose. Or you can put Ryan up as your background since she is really fun...and loves gummy bears!
~Little Jackalope~

Friday, November 2, 2012

Yesterday's Winners and Today's Puzzle #173

If you have seen our home page or our Facebook page, this will be old news to you. Still, I would like to acknowledge and congratulate the winners of the Pumpkin Carving Contest and the Adventure Matters contest, hooray!!

These are our winners for the pumpkin contest below, the entire office voted on all of the entries to narrow it down to the top three, which we then passed onto our Facebook fans to vote on their favorite. (We uploaded all the entries to an album on Facebook after the contest ended, for all to see how creative you were.) Here are the results:

And of course, Courtnee, our Adventure Matters winner, has selected her location choice for ND#30! Nancy is going to New Zealand! (And this list that she chose from is currently top-secret from our design team, we are likely not going to reveal the other choices Courtnee had since there are more secrets we would like to work on before revealing any other location). *Gasp*! We haven't even mentioned ND#29! There, I mentioned it. It's important enough to mention. Maybe I should stop talking or else I will give away TOO many secrets... (>_<)

On to the weekend puzzle! This week's puzzle is simply for fun, there is no need to submit your answer, so enjoy!

Hint: Featured video

0:08 = 4
1:38 = 17
0:01 = 1
0:33 = 8
0:54 = 12
1:41 = 5
0:46 = 11
0:12 = 2
0:01 = 7
0:33 = 4
0:08 = 1
1:38 = 7
0:12 = 8
0:56 = 4
0:08 = 6
1:38 = 11
1:41 = 4
0:33 = 26

Have a fantastic weekend!
~Little Jackalope~

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Behind the Scenes of Halloween (Part 2)

As continuation to the last post, I shall share the spoiling of all the secrets and behind-the-scenes fun facts with you about the making of the Amateur Sleuth Blog: Halloween Snooping video on our YouTube channel... I should complete this list before moving on to new blog topics, like the secrets of The Deadly Device and hints at the next game.

12. At 2:43 of the video, Stuart's door is actually unlocked.
13. I used a real hairpin to attempt unlocking the door, but it was in fact too big for the hole.
14. The unlocking sound was a real unlocking sound of the door I recorded separately.
15. The creaking door opening was the real sound of that door. (It really does creak in a spooky way!)
16. From 2:59 - 3:02, Jayme (our artist who also held open the last door) also swung open Stuart's door while I recorded.
17. Iggy at 3:07 was one of our in-office life-sized stuffed animals. And yes, that was me making him move from behind the chair. ;) We got him during the making of Legend of the Crystal Skull.
18. It was me turning off an on the light at 3:19
19. At 3:55, the drawing of the creepy tree was done by request. Thanks Tim!
20. The Easter Egg at 4:10 was my glass egg given to me by Megan, our president.
21. At 4:26, the spooky person in the back was Nik, our writer whom you saw earlier leave down the hall and turn out the lights.
22. Nik, our writer holds the camera from 4:28 - 4:46.
23. At 4:47, this is the same Nancy poster found earlier in Megan's office by the white board.
24. At 4:58, this is our designer's desk. By request, she actually wrote "Confidential" on the file folder and filled the inside with real notes and sketches from the next game. I was sooo close to showing them to you!
25. From 5:06 - 5:18, this is Josh, one of our artists. He is the original voice of Niko, whom you hear in the audio diaries in The Deadly Device! What's even cooler, is that Josh sort of looks like the much-younger version of Niko! (I was glad to have this character "come to life" for this video!)
26. In real life, Josh is the quietest walker in the office. We had to re-record him stomping to get the footsteps loud enough.
27. From 5:01 - 5:05 and 5:09 - 5:21, Jayme is holding the camera.
28. Fun fact: Jayme voiced the message recording machine at the end of The Deadly Device.

Whew! That is a lot of fun facts!
Hope you had a great, safe Halloween! I sure did! ;)
~Little Jackalope~