Your Games Have Impacted My Life – Henry Wegener

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“I was 9 years old when I played Riddle of the Sphinx at my grandparents’ home for the first time.  My mom even played it as well, and we both enjoyed figuring out the puzzles and helping each other when we were at a ‘dead end.’ I greatly admire your team’s dedication to detail and quality.  It really is amazing what such a small team can do.  Your games have impacted my life.” – Henry Wegener

Thanks For Inspiring Me – AJ

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“I had emailed you once when I was a kid, with my elaborate plans to create an immersive ‘Omega Stone ride’ in my garage. I had purchased props at a yard sale to recreate Gil’s tent from the first game and everything. It was quite ambitious and unrealistic, and I look back on that conversation now as quite embarrassing; but hey, at least 12-year-old AJ had big dreams. Thanks for inspiring me & for all you do.” – AJ

The “Red Bird” rises again…

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While we are finishing up the remaining elements, we thought you’d like to see a striking comparison.

Red Bird Rising…

For those who know the back story, you might remember that Gil’s official institute helicopter is nicknamed Red Bird. In Riddle of the Sphinx: The Awakening™, the Red Bird rises once again!

Here is a comparison between the original helicopter animation and the new Awakening rendering. Notice the new sand, motion blur rotor, highly detailed new Great Pyramid model, new Sphinx model with greater detail than ever before, HD sky… and much more.

Moonstruck Monuments

In The Awakening edition, for the first time ever, you will be able to explore the Giza Plateau and fly Gil’s helicopter in the eerie stillness of an Egyptian night. Experience the Sphinx and Great Pyramid bathed in cool, mystical moonlight.

Star-struck and an A-MAZE-ing amount of progress…

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ROTS Awakening is astonishingly epic in scope – something we continue to be amazed with as we wrap up the remaining environments. This epic-ness is good for you but challenging for the team are working very intensely on getting each area converted, rendered, programmed, and tested.

The good news is we are making substantial progress!

Charlie, head software engineer, has done some impressive work programming the many puzzles as well as refining the new game engine he created. Though we redesigned the Astrological chamber puzzle early on for better continuity and more importantly for greater enjoyability for you, Charlie completed this new puzzle programming and it’s beautiful!

Christian has made substantial progress in programming general navigation and gameplay having to wade through a mountain of renderings. He is also part of the rendering team as well as placing all the fire throughout the game. Karen is very thankful she doesn’t have the fire task this time around 🙂

Marta is almost done with the exclusive Collector’s Edition crate packaging. We added some additional touches to this unique packaging. Can’t wait for you to get this in your hands! Marta also collated the full text of the Bible, which is crucial in gaining access to the Great Pyramid. All of the books have been redesign for the higher resolution and readability on smaller devices.

Jeff and Karen are in the final stages of rendering the remaining converted models, as well as the necessary lighting changes and other enhancements. It’s been a joy for us to see this amazing team bring so much more to the project than the original.

The latest areas to be completed are the Astrological Chamber, Lost Temple area, and Subterranean Labyrinth complex — the last two areas containing a massive amount of virtual real-estate, an insane amount of cameras, critical puzzles, and areas that required the most amount of troubleshooting the conversion process. While some of the areas have been relatively painless, these two have been very challenging. But the result was worth the unrelenting effort! See for yourself…

Star-struck: the Astrological Alcove reimagined

Astrological Alcove scene and puzzle redesigned and relit.
What does this ancient Egyptian lotus wheel hieroglyphic decoder do? You’ll have to play to find out…

Lighting a Labyrinth packed with additional elements, updated maps, and some surprises along the way.

Anubis was believed to guard the underworld as the god of death, mummification, and ushering souls into the afterlife.
Horus, the falcon-headed god, represented not only the supreme protector of Pharaoh, but provider and protector of all.
An ancient Egyptian “water lock” waiting to be decoded.
Sacred Pool under intense guardianship by a detail of six Anubis statues. These horns symbolize protection, immortality, salvation, and the notion of “beginning” by the ancients.

We are all more than ready for ROTS Awakening to be released. Though we have been working as hard as possible and are very close, there remain a few more areas to finish up. Thankfully, ALL areas have been converted from the 20+ year old files, so we see increasing light at the end of this proverbial tunnel.

Thank you for your support and amazing patience. We believe the wait will be worth all the effort our amazing team has put forth!

iOS Mobile Build & UI Sneak Peek…

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As promised, here’s a sneak peek of the current iOS mobile build featuring the new UI and gameplay in a hidden corridor somewhere deep inside the Great Pyramid. The colors are not as rich in the video as they are in person, so we occasionally switch to a full screen video grab to show the richness and detail of what we were seeing during the demo.

NOTE: All gameplay in the recording is actual gameplay from the same build I’m demoing on the phone. Some of the graphics are from an older build —the latest renderings are even more amazing!

What we feel really good about…

First, we love the interactivity of the mobile UI using touch and swipe. Navigation is very fast and gameplay just feels natural.The new menu and settings UI is very easy to access: a swipe up reveals the mini menu with a few taps to drill deeper, if needed. You can see the addition of an in-game camera, a much improved inventory system, and some additions to the settings screen from the original.

Also, we have made great progress on reducing the size of build as well as trimming down  memory requirements, especially for older devices. Desktop builds are not as sensitive, but optimization is helping here, as well.

What still needs work…

In working toward space and memory optimization, the trick is avoiding delays in loading or scene switching. The current build has a slight hesitation when entering a new scene, but we are working on ways to reduce or even eliminate this. As it exists, it is still very minor and the game is enjoyable.

We have also made great strides on reducing the size of the build. While ROTS Awakening will literally be a game of “megalithic proportions” compared to casual games, we believe it will be much smaller than the larger multiGB games even though the ROTS Awakening HD edition has a multitude of high res scenes and full screen animations.

And, of course, we are working hard on fixing the few “scarabs” (aka, bugs) that pop up as we continue with the alpha phase of testing and development.

Early beta access status…

When we have a working beta, those who have pledged the Limited Collector’s Edition will receive a download link for early access! We are working hard to get this to as quickly as possible.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Rediscovering the Jewel of the Nile

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Rediscover the Lost Temple complex…

Perhaps the most breathtaking area to explore in Riddle of the Sphinx is the Lost Temple complex.

The Jewel of the Nile

Compare the old jewel with the new…

Below are newly enhanced scenes compared with the original ROTS Classic scenes. As you can see, with the enhancements in ROTS Awakening, this jewel on the Nile has renewed life!

Outside the Lost Temple (before and after)
Enter the Lost Temple (before and after)
The Lost Temple court (before and after)
Inside the Lost Temple (before and after)
Lost Temple Cliff Statues (before and after)

New jewels to be discovered…

For you seasoned ROTSters, you know that, maybe second to the Sphinx and Great Pyramid, the Lost Temple area has many secrets waiting to be discovered. But now even you experienced ROTS archaeologists will discover new mysteries in this and other areas.

New exploration and mysteries to solve…

So, the big question is, “where are we?”

Well, the game is looking and playing great! To say we are excited about releasing Riddle of the Sphinx: The Awakening is an understatement.

The team is working around the clock to release before Christmas. But this process has not been without some pretty major hurdles and even obstacles, at times, that delayed the release. This area was by far the most challenging and time-consuming, but with the help of Strata and dogged perseverance by the Old World Studios team, we were able to complete this vast ROTS Awakening scene!

And while someday we hope to share the epic journey and untold challenges of resurrecting this epic archaeological adventure,  we think the results have been worth the effort. Let us know what you think of the new scenes.

What can you do while we wrap-up excavating ROTS and crate-up the remaining artifacts?

Please tell others about the ROTS Awakening, share our Kickstarter, and get ready for the largest archaeological event of the millennia!

Thank you for making this possible and for your patience as we take the necessary time to make Riddle of the Sphinx: The Awakening better than before!

Sun, Moon, and Stars!

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Stargazing an Ancient Observatory

Perhaps the most integral area to solving the Riddle of the Sphinx is the Astrological Chamber, in the Great Pyramid.

Here is a look at this newly HD enhanced chamber featuring stunning lighting, new atmospheric effects, and added elements planned in the classic version but never before seen.

Astrological Chamber daytime screenshot.

Stargazers who explore this ancient observatory will discover an enchanting chamber revealing historically, geographically, and astronomically accurate clues.

Less fortunate adventurers have gone before you.

Decoding this information will lead you closer to revealing the Riddle kept under guard by the Great Sphinx for millennia!

Charting Development Progress

All aspects of development are full-time and the team is working all hours to get ROTS released and in the hands of archaeological adventurers (or adventuring archaeologists) everywhere. Those who have played Riddle of the Sphinx know how HUGE this game is. But even to us, the original game designers, the exploratory scope and level of detail is still surprising and, at times, overwhelming.

Exploring the Astrological Chamber

While the conversion process for the original models has been very time-intensive, we continue to make great strides. However, we recently hit a frightening snag in converting the last few models from the original game. Every archive of those particular models either refused to open or opened with severe file corruption. But after much work, thankfully we found a solution, brought in the remaining models in, and are in the process of completing the final assets. We have a few issues we are working on in the largest area, but it is coming along nicely!

We’ve also been optimizing load times, memory management (especially for mobile devices – we were running into limits on some devices), and increasing the speed of our already fast proprietary adventure game engine built on top of Unity. Our adventure game engine should help other games of this genre make it to market, although we won’t be releasing the development engine until after ROTS Awakening is released.

And programming gameplay, exploration navigation, and puzzle integration is also very time-consuming but going very well! We continue to streamline the process as we go.

Eerie exploration and unexpected finds.

But we are most excited to have you experience ROTS exploration with the new engine, especially on mobile. The swipe and tap navigation is very intuitive and fast! It’s been a joy to explore the vastness of the Great Pyramid and its many hidden corridors, and to discover secret chambers on the dev team’s mobile devices. And the desktop version offers even great detail at a higher resolution!

Moonlight observatory

The enhanced graphics, fast engine, new effects, and even enhanced puzzles truly make Riddle of the Sphinx: The Awakening an ancient Egyptian adventure of epic proportions!

Grand(er) Gallery leading to the King’s Chamber

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To give you a glimpse of the added resolution and detail in Riddle of the Sphinx: The Awakening, here’s a scene from the Grand Gallery in the Great Pyramid. This view is looking down toward the opening of the Ascending Passageway.

New HD "Awakening" scene of the Great Pyramid's Grand Gallery
New HD “Awakening” scene of the Great Pyramid’s Grand Gallery

The ancient Egyptians build this as a bit of a mousetrap serving many practical and, in their mind, spiritual functions. Turning around, this walk way leads to the King’s Chamber, believed to have housed Khufu’s (Cheop’s) mummified body. The metal braces on the telescoping stone walls now features more accurately the degradation of those edges as it currently exists.

Compare with the legacy screen shot, below…

Legacy scene from original Riddle of the Sphinx release
Legacy scene from original Riddle of the Sphinx release

The conversion process is humming along nicely but requiring a lot of attention to detail. So we are working around the clock to get you The Awakening and think you’ll appreciate the attention to detail and enhanced gameplay!

More scenes to come…