Friday, January 29, 2010

Weekend Puzzle 39

Woo hoo weekends! Here's the puzzle to close out this Friday.

- Puzzle 39 -

One hundred and eighteen tiny lands,
span the area where this game stands.

Thirty eight parishes, one and all,
reduced once, by a short general.

Petrified wood holds it all in place,
building on piles in too close a space.

The damage of flood threatens today,
Guess where quick, ere it washes away.


Good luck to everyone! Cya next week. ^.^

- Novel -

Thursday, January 28, 2010

En Route

With all the hubbub around the Cover Contest, we've been thinking about packaging a lot... in particular, TOT. No, I don't have any concepts to show you just yet, sorry. :(
I would like to jaw a bit about an early aspect of the process, choosing a color.

For each game we pick a color to help reinforce thematic or artistic elements of the game. You'll notice that all of our other titles have borders that reflect one of these two items. What I'd like to know is what color you conjure when you think about Trail of the Twister.

Considering what you already know; (spoilers ahead) [ Oklahoma setting, tornadoes, sabotage... ] what color would you suggest for the game?

I'm thinking maybe a dark red; good compliment to a sunlit landscape (which are plentiful in the game's locale) plus you could tie in a nice passion/anger theme to compliment a motive for the crime. Send me your ideas, I'd love to hear them.

- Novel -

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Meeting Us

If you came to visit right now, you might think all we do is have meetings. And you'd be mostly right. Somewhere in this great machine we have amazing people designing characters that actually live and breathe in Nancy's world, or developing new puzzles for a Nancy-caliber intellect (AKA "you.") For a few of us, this means we get to observe on the fringes and compliment their work by shouting out requests.

Marketing can have a tremendous impact on design from the sidelines, nudging the "brain-trust" with a slight wave and a loud voice. How? Well, one tried and true method we love is, to ask what you like and figure out how to make it a reality! We have many discussions on how to improve content and gameplay, and much of it spurs from commentary and critiques that you give us. This week has been deeply steeped in this kind of activity.

- "Marketing Approved, Paternally Recommended" -

- Novel -

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Aussies are Awesome

If you think today is just another day, you’re only half right. I’d be remiss in my duties if I didn’t point out a rather grand celebration happening on the Southern Hemisphere.

Today is Australia Day! People all over are celebrating the beginnings of nationhood in the land “Down Under!” For a land with such diversity and culture, it’s no wonder so many of us are enamored with its beauty. You can be certain we’ve had more than our fair share of requests for an Australian ND mystery. (Terror in the Outback, anyone?) And trust me when I say we’re fans ourselves. ^.~

If you’ve had a hankerin’ to learn more about the island nation, today is a great day to check it out.

Whether your celebrating or not, be sure to make today a good one!

- Novel -

Monday, January 25, 2010

Solving A Monday

Monday rides again. We're back in the working world, heading steadily towards a future full of sleuthing possibilities, in games and stories alike. I hope everyone is getting on well. This week is brimming with potential, and we'll just have to see what I can unleash. ^.^

I'll start off light by congratulating the puzzle-players. It looks like you all solved the weekend puzzle in record time! Here's a quick explanation:

- Puzzle 38 Answer -

10: 010100 001111 010100
1000: 24 17 24
10000: 14 0F 14

We've given you three options to determining the solution (this way you could check your answer.)

For the first one, "10" you need to use [ binary - to determine what the numbers equal. ] You can convert the numbers shown to [ 20, 15, 20 ] which can be translated to [ TOT ]

For the second possibility, "1000" you must use [ octal notation to convert the numbers. ] You'll end up with the same three, [ 20, 15, 20 or TOT ]

The last selection, "10000" uses [ hexadecimal. ] Translate the characters once again into [ 20, 15, 20 ] and you'll have solved all three.

[ TOT ] can also be expressed as [ Trail of the Twister ]


Kudos to everyone! I'm out. ^.~

- Novel -

Friday, January 22, 2010

Puzzle Thirty-Eight

I hope your Friday has been spiffy. Here's the weekly puzzle to keep you on your game!

- Puzzle #38 -

10: 010100 001111 010100

1000: 24 17 24
10000: 14 0F 14


Good luck and have a great weekend!

- Novel -

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What to do...

I hate to say it, but the week has been pretty... bland... We've been doing lots of research this month, trying to determine what kinds of things we want to try and accomplish this year. I imagine the D2P blog has hinted at it a bit.

We're working hard to come up with the best content for you all to enjoy! It can be a challenge trying to figure out what we really want to do to improve our games, and if we can actually do it. Every department has to face this challenge. Whether it's creating new features (like the cell phone camera in WAC) or adding more character animations, we've got to plan it all out ahead of time to make sure we can fit it in without stopping any of the things you all enjoy. It's a delicate balance, but in the end, it all pays off. ;)

As for yesterday's question, it certainly looks like thin mints are in the lead. I suppose that's to be expected. Now if only they made some sort of KoKo Kringle product...

Congratulations on solving the puzzle #37! You can see how it's done below. We'll have another great puzzle tomorrow, so be sure to come back then!

- Answer to Puzzle #37 -

'Next to att--, th-s syste- he-- s----ar va-ue.'

You need to figure out which Nancy Drew game this is referring to. To start you need to determine [ the missing letters using a little guess work. ] Eventually you can break down the possible answers to [ Next to attic, this system held similar value. ]

This gives us another clue to solving the puzzle, [ Attic ] is a [ numbering ] system that has roots similar to that of [ Roman numerals. ]

If you paid close attention you'll notice that [ all of the letters removed were roman numerals. ]

Lastly you can see that [ two numerals were left in the original message, X and V. ] Add them together and you get [15, and the 15th game was... ]

[ The Creature of Kapu Cave ]


- Novel -

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cookies, what else is there?

Thank goodness for Wednesday! There was a small invitation on the counter today and soon we'll be in cookie bliss. Cookies and making games, there's nothing better. Don't let anyone fool you, they go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Quick quiz though: What's the HI favorite Girl Scout brand of cookie? (here's a hint)

Have you got a favorite?

Yup, we've got two unrestrained passions here at the HQ; baked goods and Nancy Drew. ^.~

BTW, we're putting out a newsletter today, check it out!

Puzzle 37 is still unsolved, but very very close to being done.

- Hint Puzzle 37 -

It's not about what is missing, it's about what isn't.


- Novel (el) -

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Nothing and notes on #37

I overheard the art department talking about outtakes this morning. Sounds like they're putting some excellent goodies into TOT. To be frank, I'm a huge fan of outtakes. Yep, I'm that guy that stays in his seat after the movie is over just to see if there's a little extra. Often, they're in that weird space between humor and professionalism that life tends to bend towards anyway. I just have to appreciate that! :P But enough about my tastes, what about you?

Are there any outtake sequences from ND that you think are wonderful?

-- Hint for #37 --

If you notice what isn't there and why, then you'll see what I left hidden in plain sight.


Keep on movin' and groovin'!

- Novel -

Monday, January 18, 2010

Working Titles

Welcome back to the week. We had a thought-filled weekend, some in office, some in home. I noticed some great discussions on the Message boards. I love the lively chatter. Also there's been a great deal of entries for the Cover redesign contest along with many, many questions. I'll keep answering the questions if you all keep up the good work, so far they're awesome!

I started today running down lists of probable ND23 titles. The big question I always face is, 'do we throw caution to the wind and leap at a new formula, or do we stick with the same ol' thing?' If you look at the line of titles in the past, The Creature of Kapu Cave, The Phantom of Venice, Secret of the Scarlet Hand, you can see a similar kind of skeleton in their design. While I'm all for new and innovating, the tried and true method isn't always a bad thing. In fact one of my favorite titles is Ransom of the Seven Ships. And to think I always thought titling would be an easy job.

As a news bump, I just wanted to let everyone know we'll be releasing a newsletter this week, so keep your eyes peeled.

The puzzlers seem to be doing well. I'm going to give you all another day to mull things over before posting a hint on puzzle 37. But I will post the spoiler to 36, check it out below.

-Puzzle 36 Solution -

the Earthward Rife Ethos knew Faraway Sometime Lint Tot before Goaded Wheel Unlit.

This puzzle is solved using [ anagrams ] They are broken into [ 3 parts. ] The lower case words are indicators that [ they are already correct, and that an anagram appears between them ]

First: [ Earthward Rife Ethos = hardware store thief ]
Second: [ Faraway Sometime Lint Tot = it was only a matter of time ]
Third: [ Goaded Wheel Unlit = he would get nailed ]

Put them all together and you get:
[ The hardware store thief knew it was only a matter of time before he would get nailed. ]


There's something entrancing in short mini-mysteries, particularly with puns. Congrats to those who stuck with it. Good luck on 37!

- Novel -

P.S. Thanks for bearing with, on all the Contest questions. I'm thinking perhaps I should do a secondary FAQ blog post. :P

Friday, January 15, 2010

Weekend Puzzle 37

Today was very, very busy. But I did manage to track down a new puzzle even if it is slightly promotional. But hey, aren't most of them? :P Good luck

-- Puzzle 37 --

What game am I?

'Next to att--, th-s syste- he-- s----ar va-ue.'


Congrats to those who solved Puzzle 36. I didn't think you'd grab it by Friday, kudos! I'll spoil the solution next week. See ya Monday!

- Novel -

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Goal Tending

We've been working today to help create more content updates for you all. That means more consistency with D2P blog posts, newsletters, and downloadables on the website. You'll be able to set you watch by the site (logistically speaking.) I'm hoping that we can add a few new things too, like dev blogs and bonus game content. But who knows, it's still early in the year and our heads are in the clouds. You can expect good things though.

I see there's been quite a hubbub on the contest. Hopefully I've been able to answer questions in a timely manner. I've already seen a few covers come in to the mail box (digitally) and I'm eagerly awaiting the next few visual morsels. You all never cease to amaze me, keep up the good work.

As for the puzzle, I can't help but want to keep you on the right track. So I'll let you see this:

-Puzzle 36 Hint -

The (H_) (S_) (_F) Knew (_T) (W_) (O_) (A) (M_) (_F) (T_) (Before) (_E) (W_) (G_) (_D)


Tomorrow is the finish line, I'll see ya there.

- Novel -

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Delayed Photos

I've been so spaced that I forgot to post some pictures I took last week. I think now is as good a time as any. These are from the TOT recording session I went to on Thursday. It was quite the experience, and I remember the original Amateur Sleuth, Brandon, getting to hang out for a session as well. But this time, all the vocal actors were from HI! We had designer Cathy, producer Robert, and even programmers Alex and James, stop by and lend a hand at some voice overs. I don't think I'm allowed to spoil anything just yet, but I'm sure you'll soon be tuning in.

- The audio master at work -

- "Check one... Check... Check..."

There's been only slight movement on Puzzle 36. So I figure I'll give you this little bit: The sole post on the MB is the best place to start. Perhaps that'll inspire the answer to come stepping out. ^.^


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

ND Cameo Contest

Would you like your picture to appear in a Nancy Drew game?

Redesign the cover of your favorite Nancy Drew PC game and you'll be entered in a contest for a chance to have your picture placed in the next game, Trail of the Twister! Simply choose one of our PC titles and create a brand new cover image for it. Once you've completed your cover, email it to along with your name, phone number, and permission to post your entry online, with the subject line "Nancy Drew Cover Redesign." Submissions will be accepted until February 5th. We'll choose one winner by February 8th to appear in Nancy Drew #22, as well as five runners-up who will receive a PC game of their choice.

The rules are listed below:

You may only submit one entry.

You may only choose one of our currently released 21 PC games or two Dossier series games.

Any work you submit must be created/assembled by you.

You may use any materials at your disposal to create the cover; paint, crayons, photos, etc. the limit is your imagination!

All entries must be received by February 5th, 2010.

Good Luck to everyone!

- Her Interactive Team -

The Real Deal

We'll be posting some contest details later today, but first I wanted to drop a post about something discussed in the office today; Characters.

We've had a myriad of suspects in our 10 years of making ND games, some more memorable than others. With such a huge variety, we'll often begin a short "kitchen meeting" (AKA a water-cooler debate) about some of the qualities that make some characters more likable than others. It would seem many of our personal favorites (Sonny Joon, Professor Hotchkiss, Eustacia Andropov) are all quirky and eccentric characters. While they are interesting to listen to and interact with, I can't help but feel sorry for all those other wonderful characters that often get overlooked. You know; the necessary elements that help build a good story and encompass great characterization. Joseph Hughes, Donal Delany, Tino Balducci, just to name a few. Sometimes I can totally see their "life after the case." Adding characters that are believable, ones that you can like, or even champion is great... especially if you fall for the villain! :P

Is there a suspect you're a total fan of?

Anyway, just thought I'd share some of the office chatter. Send me a line if you've got the time, I'd like to hear your thoughts. See ya in a few.

- Novel -

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sights on the Future

We've decided to return to Monday, as is the usual chronological ritual. The outlook is good to boot. In starting, I'd like to throw out a little bit of news.

We're going to be running a contest pretty soon here (probably later this week.) No specifics just yet, but you can expect the requirements to contain, at the least, creativity and a Nancy Drew tie-in. I looked back at a lot of the comments you all made about contests, so hopefully we'll create something everyone can enjoy. :)

If you're wondering what else is in store, I can say that we had a meeting on Friday about the plot of ND23! It's crazy to think about it since we're all still swamped in with TOT, but boy does it sound exciting. This year is gonna be a big one, I can't wait!


Friday, January 8, 2010

Puzzle 36

Friday! And that means the return of the puzzle! I figure we'll start off light this year. (For our sake more than yours) :P

-- Puzzle 36 --

the Earthward Rife Ethos knew Faraway Sometime Lint Tot before Goaded Wheel Unlit.


Enjoy the weekend and we'll see you next time.

- Novel -

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Learning, Voicing, maybe... Rejoicing?

I watched a presentation today about engaging students. It talked about utilizing cellphones and the web to create informative and fun projects that teach. How crazy would it be to do a "pop quiz" on your cellphone, texting the answers to your teacher? It got me thinking though how much I enjoy the small things that we're able to deliver in our games. For instance, after working on and playing The Phantom of Venice I'm now able to say quite a few phrases in Italian, as well as knowing some history on the city itself! (more of a tangential learning experience, but still.)

Has there been anything in our games that you've become interested in discovering more about?

There's going to be a bit of voice recording done for TOT today. I've luckily been invited to join in. Though I shudder to think of hearing my own shrill tones amidst the controlled vocal acting of the other participants. Still it'll be a fun experience, I'll try to get some photos. ^.~

Tomorrow's puzzle time, don't miss out!

- Novel -

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Constructive Jams

The mid-week always presents challenges... though not necessarily expected ones. Today there's been a great deal of circling (of the "pacing" variety) around work. It's interesting to see so many different problem solving methods; some impatient, some "completely zen." Whatever the approach, still we work on, through the thick and thin.

- The innocent reminder of Wednesdays -

I hope your Wednesday has been filled with less than the usual hurdles. ^.^

- Novel -

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

With Honors

I hate to brag, but I think that we can make a small exception. It would seem our very own President, Megan, was named as one of the top 10 most influential women in video games in the past decade! Now that's a pretty fancy title and we're pleased as punch that her accomplishments were recognized. [ Click here to read the article ]

Hmmm... I wonder if there's a good goal we can aspire to in 2010? Ya know, besides being the best purveyor of Nancy Drew adventures this side of the Mississippi... and well... maybe the other side too.

Thanks for writing in about your favorite mysteries. I enjoy exploring your varied thoughts on the subject. ^.^

- Novel -

Monday, January 4, 2010

Returning New

Welcome back everyone! I hope you all are enjoying the new year. The office is back up and running. Everyone has returned and begun clearing the cobwebs off of their desks. ^.~ It's back to production on the ND universe.

We've begun the year with meetings -.- That's how it always goes, discussing the daring adventures of Ms. Drew and where we might take her during this annual trip around the sun. How about we start off in much the same manner. Often times we ask you where you'd like to see Nancy Drew solve her next case but I think there's another excellent question we discuss here in the office that I don't usually bring up...

What's your favorite kind of case to solve?

Is it haunted mysteries, filled with scares and masked marauders? Or perhaps kidnappings and ransoms, with the criminal element keeping the suspense high by hiding in plain site. If I had to guess, I'm going to say that historical mysteries rank very highly on many of your lists, an exhilarating treasure hunt that explores the unsolved secrets of the world would be any detective's dream. But hey, I could be wrong. Whatever your taste, I'd love to hear about it. ^.^

So far we've had a good start to the new decade, I'm excited to see how it plays out. Till then!

- Novel -