Work-In-Progress Spotlights
Feburary 23rd, 2009 by Scud

Olaf The Tardy

A project by TheLaughingMule

For a game with a historical grounding it seems odd there has not been many Viking themed scenarios in the works lately in our community, maybe the Norsemen have gotten tired of pillaging and thusly sailed back home to the cold, harsh lands of Scandinavia. If this is the case, it seems there is a new invasion on the horizon, with the new project from TheLaughingMule, "Olaf The Tardy" leading the vanguard and landing on our maiden shores. Active in the community forums, this is her first foray into releasing a full project, after clipping her for a while by submitting entries into the "Continuous Screenshot Competition" she has stepped up to the plate. If her success in the competition is anything to go by, the standard of "Olaf The Tardy" is set to be high and I personally have high hopes for this project; with it mixing humour, history and good scenario design wrapped up into the perfect package of a bite-sized cut-scene.

Though set to be short, at only approximately five minutes long, this is a positive feature of the cut-scene for the action will intense, with the story not being over-long therefore preventing viewers from becoming bored. The short length will also make the scenario easily accessible, even to the people with the shortest attention span. The story like with your usual Viking romp starts obligatory in Scandinavia (Southern Norway to be exact) with the year being 801 A.D. Though Mule has threatened horrible things to my person if I dare spoil the story (as she wishes to keep it a surprise) I am willing to divulge a bit more information, at great risk to my life and property. Through the course of the scenario you follow will Olaf through his (mis)adventures as he goes about the usual business of raping and pillaging; but Mule has managed to make this gory subject mater into a light-hearted comedy with plenty of slap-stick humour to keep the viewer entertained. The story shouldn’t be the only thing to keep you interested; filled with a variety of aesthetically pleasing design tricks, as well as full soundtrack and voice acting, this cut-scene sets out to be both a visual and audio extravaganza.

As always, I managed to ask TheLaughingMule a few questions about her project:

Some might, narrow-mindedly, say that you are not of the typical demographic to be playing and designing with video games. Why are you attracted to video-games, and more specifically designing for AoK?

TLM: Well, I'm not exactly typical of my age and gender, so I suppose my hobbies would appear odd to my contemporaries too. Being retired and living in a little cabin in a tiny village in the mountains without a TV, a person has to make their own entertainment. Since discovering the trial version of AoE 9 years ago we have been hooked on all the Age games. I don't really play other video games, although I have tried a few, the boxes are now gathering dust. The appeal of designing games started back with Rise of Rome, when I made several scenarios for friends to play. I've been fiddling around with the map editor, AI files and learning triggers off and on over the last few years. I recently decided to go "public" with my first real project

The project is solely cut-scene based, how do you plan to keep the player (or should that be viewer) interested, instead of them quitting to do something more "active" and "engaging"?

TM: The project was developed to tell a short funny story, and hopefully the pace of the events and humor will keep the viewer watching to see what will happen next. Also a short "defend the spot" type fight will now be added. I plan to include music to set the mood, and humorous sound effects. I am hoping that by the time the viewer gets to the punch line, they are ready to either hit me over the head for wasting their time, or get into the final battle themselves.

You're doing a fictional story in a factual setting - what will the balance be between accuracy and artistic license?

TLM: Since this scenario is sort of "Loony Toons" meets "AoK", the viewer will be basically watching a cartoon. The historical aspects are solely of my own choosing, since I'm a history buff. Attempting to portray a Viking attack as humor will be taking considerable "artistic license".

As it is only a cut-scene, do you intend for this to be a prologue to a larger project - do you feel you might want to carry on this story in a future projects?

TM: This project started off as something to teach myself triggers and tell a funny joke. It has grown into a complex project that never would have been possible without the help of the AoKH community. I do not see this particular story going beyond this scenario. However I do have plans in the works for future scenarios portraying women in history.

But what would your bi-weekly WiP be without some screenshots? So here they are!