Breezy: A Valley Without Wind 2 Alpha Footage

By Jim Rossignol on December 14th, 2012 at 8:00 pm.


Back in the mists of October we mentioned that procedurally-generated platform-adventure A Valley Without Wind would be getting a sequel, and that it would be free to people who purchased the original game. Now Arcen have begun to reveal a little of what they’ve been working on for that important follow-up, and you can see that below. There are glimpses of many of the things that make this a fresh take on the concept, rather than a rehash, include the isometric world map, which should give a little more context to the world you are exploring. It’s still pretty early, but there’s a lot of commentary in there to make it clear what’s going on (or not, given some of the audio issues.)

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35 Comments »

  1. Strangeblades says:

    I haven’t even seen the video but already I feel something bubbling up. It might be the whoo-hoo monster. Let’s listen…

    “Whoo-hoo!”

    Yup. I was right.

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  2. CMaster says:

    Whenever I see AVWW stuff, I always feel sad.
    I loved the original concepts, but the game that was eventually produced held no interest for me whatsoever. Arcen have so much power to do great stuff (see AI War with expansions – core game was solid but it grew to be great). That they spend so much time on something I almost like but end up loathing just makes me sad.

    • MuscleHorse says:

      Absolutely the same. I was so genuinely excited for the original… and then it turned into a side scrolling platformer. This video does nothing to reignite the flames I’m afraid.

      • Premium User Badge JiminyJickers says:

        I agree. The original idea had me excited, but the sidescrolling one just didn’t do it for me. I tried the demo and wanted to like it but it just didn’t click. This just looks the same, I thought they may go back to the original idea, but sadly no.

    • CMaster says:

      Hmm, Shattered Haven sounds like it could be good though. And very like whatever was meant to be the “next” Arcen game after Tidalis, before that became AVWW instead (which the end result is crazily different to the original AVWW concept)

  3. Zeno says:

    It’s less ugly but still ugly. I’d even prefer the dreadfully overused 8-bit style to this – at least then it wouldn’t be so jarring to see their stilted animations.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      While it pains me to say so, I sort of agree about the stilted animations. I recognize this animation technique (articulated sprites, basically cut-out puppets) has become increasingly common as an efficient way to produce a large amount of animation, but the result in AVWW2 has been, er, inconsistent in places. The art style does look cohesive, and the monsters and characters stand out from the background, which is a good start. I’d say in general the art looks quite good – there are just some rough spots.

      That said, I do think at least some of the art is still WIP, so perhaps we’ll see changes through alpha and beta. Little things like touch-up to a house here or nudging a walk cycle there could go a long way to adding that last level of polish.

    • Muzman says:

      Less ugly doesn’t do it justice. This is several orders of magnitude more artistically coherent than the first game.

      • CMaster says:

        Yeah, compared with this there’s a huge improvement.

        That said, it still ranks as one of the uglier games I’ve ever paid any attention to.

    • zeroskill says:

      8-bit was even more overused in the late eighties then it is nowadays. You would have hated it back then.

  4. Strangeblades says:

    C`mon guys. This is Alpha footage. It`s gonna change a lot between now and Version 1.0.

    • LegendaryTeeth says:

      Like maybe by switching to first person perspective this time?

    • Soup says:

      Didn’t he say they’re switching to beta next week?

      • Brise Bonbons says:

        yes, Beta is supposed to happen pretty soon – but they’ve said that art assets are still coming in from the Studio and much of the art in game right now is placeholder.

        IIRC they wanted to get the game playable ASAP, with more art and map slices being added throughout beta.

  5. misterT0AST says:

    There already was a map to “give context” in the first game. It was top-down, not isometric.
    …It looks like it will have all the pros and all the cons of the old AVWW.
    The multiplayer and the execution will be flawless, the graphics will be mediocre (and the animation quality will be completely neglected), the world huge, mysterious and messy, and it still seems like they haven’t figured out how to implement a sense of progression.

    I know, I know, it’s alpha, and I’m jumping to a lot of conclusions, but it honestly looks like a version of AVWW where they improved everything that was already acceptable and just abandoned everything that was sub par.

    I guess they will “think of it later” when it comes to animations, character progression, atmospheric feedback.
    But I think they should have STARTED having the improvement of those aspects in mind.

    The original game underwent so many drastic changes late in development, I don’t want the same to happen to this.
    Draw the big picture first. And if it’s already drawn, I’m afraid this “skeleton” looks too much like the one of the first AVWW.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      The map in the old game was really just a fancy way to choose what level you wanted to explore, whereas in AVWW2 the map gives context by being more directly tied into the strategic layer of the game, as illustrated in the video.

      Player progress has been heavily redesigned, with a class-based system and upgrade tokens to collect. Honestly I’m not 100% clear on how all of that works, but I know they’ve done a lot of up front design regarding that aspect of the game, which has been covered on their blog and the forums.

      I have my concerns about AVWW2 as well, but some of your complaints seem a little unfounded. I do agree that the art is still rough, however AVWW’s engine has always supported easy art modification, IIRC. Shouldn’t be too hard to continue polishing that.

  6. GameCat says:

    A Valley Without Wind was officialy the only one game that I disliked because of bad, bad, bad graphics.

  7. Moonshine Fox says:

    Initial comments from alpha testers is positive. Especially encouraging are the ones that either hated or got bored instantly with AVWW1 seem to really like AVWW2.

    I already own AVWW1, so I’m going to try it regardless, since I get it for free, but it seems to be genuinely different, so far.

  8. pakoito says:

    We need Monlyneux’s tears on this one, because we don’t believe that much :/

  9. wodin says:

    When you look at the quality of The Cave animations then there is no excuse for this..it still looks like something from the eighties..

    • KDR_11k says:

      Wasn’t The Cave funded with around 3 million dollars? I believe the art budget for this is around ten thousand dollars.

      • flowsnake says:

        Are you thinking of Double Fine Adventure (a completely different game that was kickstarted for around that amount)?

  10. Jupiah says:

    My biggest problem with the first game (aside from the terrible, terrible graphics) was the randomly generated levels. They looked and felt like they were obviously randomly generated. Tons of long pitfalls and huge open areas that were impossible traverse without using magic floating platforms that you carried around by the dozen, twisting mazes with tons of frustrating dead ends and dozens of doors and looping paths, lots of bizarre floating platforms, etc. They really need to work on their random level generating algorithms until the levels feel more natural. Hopefully the remake will be much better in this regard, though that alpha footage doesn’t get my hopes up.

    Weird as the comparison might be, I think they could learn something from another game I’ve recently been playing, Spelunky. That game has randomly generated dungeons also but they feel much more natural. You’re given bombs and ropes to help get around them but you are rarely required to use them to reach the exit, and if you want to explore you’ll usually find something worth the effort (if you aren’t killed, the game’s brutal). And except on the dark levels I could always find the exit without too much trouble even if I didn’t have a compass to point the way because the levels generally flow in a way that naturally leads you there.

    • c4sc4 says:

      The levels aren’t exactly randomly generated. It uses a “slices” system where small slices are created by hand and then they are randomly strung together to make a level.

  11. Slinkyboy says:

    That game should be like “Rebuild 2″ from Newgrounds

    Rebuild 2 GOTY.

  12. Skydancer says:

    Feels a bit more like Shadow of the Beast – which is a VERY good thing for me

  13. BurningPet says:

    A very very small nitpick that comes across instantly to any graphic designer is something in the logo: why write “valley 2″ in big, designed letter and then in the sub line “a valley without wind 2″, there are two “valley” and two “2″.

    Yeah, again, very very small nitpicking and easily fixed.

    • Kiytan says:

      glad I’m not the only person who noticed that.

      I enjoyed the concept of the first game, and generally found the platforming to be fairly good, but the graphics really got to me after a while, especially the animations.

      If they can fix all the flaws in this, it could be a really fun game

  14. Tuco says:

    Ugly like few other games in the universe?
    Yep, that’s A Valley Without Wind’s proper sequel.

  15. Azradesh says:

    Still a side scroller, sigh. All they had to do was make the game isometric, I have no interest in side scrollers of any type, you just don’t get the same sense of exploration.

  16. dE says:

    I can’t help it – but everytime I see that concept art, it seems like a dinosaur adjusting his headfin while saying “Shut it! I am FabULOus”. Which makes me smile.

    Now concerning A Valley Without Wind 2, it’s kinda sad. I love ArcenGames. Great people (should check their forums, they’re postermaterial for open communication and community interaction), superb ideas and a willingness to try odd things in games.
    But when it comes to AVWW I feel like they’ve got stuck on an idea they probably should let go for now. I feel like I can see what kind of game they want to make and yes, it’s one of those superb ideas they have, but I also feel like they can’t really pull it off with their current ressources and ability. Which makes it sad to see they’ve reworked the big AVWW Update into a sequel. Are there really going to be that many people interested in it?
    Those that might be interested, already get it free as a thank you for buying the first game. The brand doesn’t seem too strong either. So I really don’t see a huge market for the investment they’ve made in this. I absolutely appreciate it, after all for me its basically a free sequel – but question its logic.

    And last but not least, I really hope those animations are the result of the Alpha. I really do. Here’s to hope, that they will pull it off and get some revenue in return.

  17. JonasKyratzes says:

    I think they’re trying to take this in the right direction. The first game didn’t quite work for me, but now they seem to be putting in a lot of the elements that the first one was missing.

    Giving the sequel away for free to those who bought AVWW1 is certainly very, very classy.

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