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Preview: A Work in Progress
By: 1ce | Published: September 2, 2007 22:00 pm | RPG Maker


Today's demo is "A Work In Progress", by Dragonproductions. I went in not knowing a thing about the game, and walked out with....well, mixed feelings.

A Work In Progress is a RPG/Comedy hybrid, focusing on it's off the wall humor while giving people a balanced role playing experince. It sounds like a recipe for failure, right? Actually, A Work In Progress manages to be a great example of the best of both worlds. It's not perfect by any means, but there's enough content and laughs to warrant a playthrough. This title was co-produced by fellows Steve McLay and Fred Tortonesi (AKA Dragonproductions). I sat down with Fred and chatted face-to-face over IM, and chatted with Steve over e-mail. This is what they had to say...1ce: Thanks for being here you two. You OK?

Fred: I'm ok, I am just glad we get a chance to be in the first printed mag since I always wanted to see my name in a mag, and in a good way.

1ce: So, who are you and what is your role?<br><br>

Fred: Fred Tortonesi. I do the programming, dialogue of some of the npcs, some of the dungeon designs, and co write the games dialgue.

Steve: My name is Stephen McLay and I am the main writer for Spazz and Dick in the game, I also help with plot developement.

1ce: 2. Is this your first RPG, or have you made previous games?

Fred: I have made 1 successful rpg, Leisure Suit Larry 8, and I'm gonna finish Nightmares after i get my game and my friends game done.</br><br>
Steve: Believe it or not, this is my first time with RPG Maker! The way the game has turned out, I thought that would be way too obvious!

1ce: So where did the idea for "A Work in Progress" start? It sounds like something a drunk person would come up with.

Fred: Well it started out with an idea of survival horror idea, and I discussed it with my friend, and it went from horror to comedy, which was a good direction to go since serious is not really me. We don't drink so the craziness is just us being us. I think he made the biggest inpact on changing the direction.

1ce: We're talking about Steve McLay, the co-producer correct?

Fred: Yes, I don't think I would have been able to tackle such a big project if I went solo, so everything is 50-50.

1ce: Speaking of titles, is "A Work in Progress" the actual, final name of this game?

Fred: Yeah it is the final name of our project. It is a cliche being one character Dick Lexia is in the process of writing a novel.</br><br>
Steve: It is, and always has been, the final title, though it is more like an inside joke also.

1ce: Were there any big inspirations that helped you along with the project?

Fred: I would have to say comedy movies, weird al, frank zappa, and remote control rpg on

Steve: I guess our life experiences were the inspiration for the game, as it is a culmination of everything we grew up on, from t.v. to radio, and so forth.

1ce: So, what was the easiest thing about making AWIP? Likewise, what was the hardest?

Fred: Easiest part is the fact that being Dick Lexia is a horrible writer. It gives us slack to just go crazy and let things happen as we think things out. The hardest is coming up with a new direction for the character. I mean for the longest time we couldn't find out where Spazz should go next after the playtest ended until just recently.

Steve: That's both the easiest and hardest question to answer, see it's the same answer! The script, or I should say lack-there-of!

1ce: Where is Spazz's direction, anyway? The demo is a bit of a cliffhanger!

Fred: : I guess people will just have to play on to find out, as our game direction sometimes we don't even know, but I will tell you one thing: He is not in a safe place. But alot of slapstick will be involved.

Steve: If you figure out Spazz's direction and inspiration, could you please e-mail me?? I am just dying to figure that out.

1ce: Speaking of length, how long is this game and how many memory cards will we need?

Steve: That is a question I really can't answer, we don't really have an exact plan for when it is going to end, though we hope it's soon!

Fred: Well we plan on just trying to keep 2 cards for the system and data, and whatever memory cards for sprites. Then once chapter 1 is over, the players can scrap the data and just install part 2 instead of messing with "oops I deleted saved data", or dealing with figuring out what items the players will have available. That and give it a comic book feel, like TO BE CONTINUED, but yet closure.

1ce: You mentioned chapters, could you elaborate?

Steve: Well, you see, it was supposed to all be one game with different genre's and everything being like different levels and all, but we soon found out that the first one was taking too long and taking so much memory we thought it was best to split it up and release each different genre as a seperate game, like a really big chapter of a book.

1ce: So, what's YOUR favorite part of the game?

Steve: I'd have to say the whole beginning, all the way up to the first town, I thought it just fit what our vision for the game was supposed to be.

Fred: It would a tie between the no name town,rope trouble scene,and dick lexia cutscenes. Not to change the subject, but you have a favorite scene?

1ce: Well, let's see....I loved it when the lady fell onto the priest, then Spazz gets all religious

Fred: : That's Steve McLay's idea.

1ce: Haha, love that part. So, back on track, were there any obstacles/difficulties making AWIP?

Fred: The distance between and my friend since he moved. It is much harder to work on which is why getting feedback now is a plus since hes coming down in October so we can hopefully finish chater 1.

Steve: A very HUGE one! Yes, we both got really stuck with what was supposed to happen next after where the demo ended, which is part of the reason the game has taken so long. We just couldn't figure out how we were supposed to keep Spazz going and moving forward in the plot.

1ce: So, should I sue? Yes or No?

Fred: If you mean in the game choice....I would say yes, as another funnier scene takes place,but were tightning up the dialogue in october to fit better.

Steve: Yes, simply said, sueing will start a whole new scene that would not have been seen if you didn't sue. But we're still working something out with it, it just doesn't match up right, so maybe the real answer is "Not until we fix it".

1ce: I found out (the hard way) that AWIP is as much an RPG as it is a comedy. Any reasons for this?

Fred: We wanted a healthy mix, but as we're getting further we will have fewer battles, then when players feel secure baddies come out of nowhere. Though comedy is more important than the battles, which is why we opted for visual monsters over the random every two to three steps.

Steve: I've always enjoyed RPG's so I still wanted to make one, but we wanted it to be so different than any other RPG could ever be.

1ce: Do you have any other future productions we should know about?

Fred: Collaboration, or by myself? Collaboration, who knows! By myself, Leisure Suit Larry 9, and Nightmares.

Steve: I am currently in the process of hatching out a complete ideal for another game. "Till Death Do Us Part" is all I can give out right now, because nothing has been put on paper yet.

1ce: So, any final comments?

Fred: We hope that other players give our game a shot once it's finally done and any bugs that are found are fixed, and they laugh their butts off.

Steve: I do want to stress that this game has no plot or reason, so really don't expect one, but please do play it anyways. I think you will like it, that is, if you don't end up in a mental institution first!

A Work In Progress is a whacked out adventure. It's style is pretty out there, but it makes for some really good laughs. The landscapes and really something, and the custom artwork is pretty good! You can tell AWIP is made by experinced hands, and it really shows. The balanced battle system is pretty awesome.

While the humor of the game is it's strongest point, the text is one of it's weakest. While the creators often show their creative talent, there are many spelling errors, spaces and general bad spelling all over the place, (and I'm not talking about the beginning). You can sometimes get lost, but it's a small issue. And sometimes, the humor punch lines miss entirely.

Despite it's flaws, A Work In Progress could turn out to be a very great title. With some fine tuned polish and a spellchecker, A Work In Progress could be the game everyone talks about.

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