What’s the (power)point? Synchronization.

So, who likes Powerpoint?

  • Microsoft
  • Crazies
  • People who don’t get to speak to a crowd very often

[click for next slide]

Now that we’ve moved to the next slide, you can add another name to your list of Powerpoint fans. Michał Koziński. He’s not crazy. But he IS working on a Powerpoint-powered game, called Synchronization.

Of course, it’s not the first game to be built in a PPT file. Variations of the “Helicopter game”, Snake and other simple titles have been seen before. And Powerpoint is used by school teaches to create simple educational games. But this is – something different.

It’s a sci-fi adventure. Kind of… ‘Gordon Freeman does Myst in the STALKER zone’. Or something like that. The player steps into the shoes of a worker at the Alternative Energy Research Institute, in the year 2032. Strange things have been afoot (and possibly ahand too) and it’s up to you to point, click and solve the mystery.

But it’s not all ‘turn left’, ‘go forward’, ‘examine item’. If you’re after a little bit more ‘action’ in your adventure, Synchronization also includes some mini games “enhance the plot and provide some arcade challenges.”

Intigued, I sent some ASCII characters in the direction of Michał Koziński, and he responded with some different ASCII characters!

J-OMG: Mike, why use Powerpoint as a game engine?

MK: PowerPoint was chosen because of the easiness of use of this tool. It’s very intuitive and you can achieve good results with little effort.

J-OMG: What are the benefits/drawbacks of using PPT for games?

PowerPoint is good at creating simple games like maze games, escape-the-room games, quiz games, and sniping/Guitar Hero games. [Sniping/Guitar Hero? I assume that's a little breakdown in translation... Mind you, I'd love a game where I get to shoot idiot rockstars. I'd pay TRIPLE for the Nickelback DLC... J-OMG] The fact that you can make quality graphics within the program, and then edit it afterward, is very useful. However, for more complicated games, PowerPoint is almost incapable of producing them because of the [numerous] variables involved.

In addition to it’s unusual engine, Synchronization is also built from a ‘smorgasboard’ of graphical sources, ranging from the author’s own photographs (filtered with a dreamlike ‘watercolour’ effect)… to characters and backgrounds from commercial titles like Fallout 3.

No, it’s not another Limbo of the Lost-style case… Michał freely acknowledges the original owners of the content, referring to his game as "fanwork or noncommercial". Of course, this has no legal basis, he’s only relying on the goodwill of the companies involved.

J-OMG: Michał, the photographs remind me a little of Half Life 2. Somewhere in central/eastern Europe?

They were taken in various places aorund my hometown – Warsaw, Poland.

You’ve now got a ‘Flash’ version available of the demo on your site. Are there any differences in playing the PPT version versus the Flash version?

There are almost no differences – besides the environment required for playing the game.

I guess one issue with making an adventure game in Powerpoint, is that you can’t save progress?

Well, there are some tricks – so this can be done with VBA. Unfortunately when converting from ppt to flash, VBA tricks cannot be used.

Finally Michal, do you have a projected release date?

I assume the project will be ready in couple of months but I have “when it will be done” approach.

=========================================

Feel like a walk/point/click on the wild side?

Synchronization is currently playable as a flash demo or downloadable as a powerpoint demo.

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One Response to What’s the (power)point? Synchronization.

  1. gnome says:

    Ah, yes, quite appreciated Synchronization myself and couldn’t help but enjoy the interview. Cheers!

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