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High Concept: Atramentum is a single-player sidescrolling puzzle platformer in which the player assumes the role of an inky black cat and must traverse a dark, comic-book style world by adding or removing ink from objects.

Built In: Adobe Flash CS 5.5


Development Cycle: January 2011 - April 2011 (4 months)

Core Mechanics: 

  • Traversal 

  • Filling in or removing ink from objects, and using these objects to solve puzzles

  • Catching birds to replenish your ink supply

Team Role: I was both an artist and level designer on this team project, and did most of the art and character animations; designed and constructed the second level; and scripted the inking system.

Postmortem: Atramentum was my first experience working on a team project, and communication was a huge issue. There was a disconnect between team members, and a lot of the time we ended up missing meetings, or having to compile all of our script together last minute. Like many teams, we also struggled with overscoping. It was a very ambitious project, and although we ended up with three good levels, it became clear very early on in production that we would not be able to accomplish everything we wanted to. 

Working on Atramentum familiarized me even more with Adobe Flash, specifically the animation system. It also proved to be both a rewarding and harrowing scripting experience, as my ability to work in ActionScript was put to the test.

If I could take another look at the project, I would be sure to keep up the communication between my team members. The camera system in the game was very well scripted, but poorly implemented. There were a couple of sections in the game where it became difficult to see where you were jumping down to, and these areas needed some more fine-tuning. Additionally, the inking system did not work on diminishing returns. This meant that ink management was not an issue to the player, as they could simply remove all the ink they placed, and the ink-replenishing system of catching crows was rendered moot.

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