Monday, January 31, 2011

Life is a puzzle, and full of many little puzzles!

I've heard some people in the office have been testing early game builds, which is exciting. (This is when much of the art is finished and it is then put together like a puzzle, then we see if it works). It is a motivation to imagine every task of ours as a challenging puzzle, it makes the more tedious jobs more fun. Sometimes an art project is a timed puzzle, documenting is like creating a story, and file management is like sorting the books in Danger on Deception Island. This might sound silly, but that's how I sometimes perceive my tasks on my to-do list.

Speaking of puzzles, our lead tester mentioned my putting up an image of our office puzzle, found in the kitchen. It is going to be a 3D castle, but we are a long ways from it becoming... not flat. Here's a quick peek of the entrance. As you cannot tell, there is nothing much more completed than this part:
You super sleuths solved that weekend puzzle zippy fast! Guess we'll conjur up something weirder or harder for you next time.

Ta-ta for now,
~Little Jackalope~

Friday, January 28, 2011

Weekend Puzzle


It looks like Jackalope has been keeping you very up-to-date on all the office antics. It has been a pretty crazy year already, and we've got a lot more coming up! Hopefully you saw the newsletter and are now honing your mobile sleuth knowledge. We'll be releasing more awesome content for the Mobile Mysteries series soon. All secrets revealed, all veils lifted. So to speak. :P

But now it's time for one more mystery, the Weekend Puzzle!

- Weekend Puzzle -


Hint: It's all backwards


Good luck to everyone, we'll see you next week!

- Novel -

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The clues are in the details.

I'm having quite a wonderful day so far, except for the part about Novel being out. :( He will be back tomorrow, though. :)
Our Game Production Manager is such a trooper what with that broken leg of hers! She's here working with a smile on her face, although in a bit of pain. She is pretty much awesome!

All the workers here at Her are totally awesome; I was given a little tutorial on an art trick on my computer by one of our super artists, which was so much fun! I love learning new tricks from the pros!

While on one of my projects, I was studying a few game covers (again!) and thought how intriguing the designs are! Take a close look at a few of them and you'll notice tiny details such as the reflection in the water of the Yurei (ghost girl) on the cover of Shadow at the Water's Edge, or the number 13 scattered all over Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon. I particularly like the small eye-catching ones like the lit window on the house in the image on The Secret of Shadow Ranch, or the treasure chest on the cover of Ransom of the Seven Ships.

Did you see the January newsletter? It's up with a slightly-new design, but the fun part is the content: finally more info on Nancy Drew: Mobile Mysteries Shadow Ranch! Whoo-hoo!! I'm excited.

Stay on your toes!
~Little Jackalope~

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Attractive images and half-solved puzzles.

It is a beautiful, mellow day today where we can sit back in our chairs and quietly work on...whatever it is we do. (Magic, some might say). I myself am working on a new design that will be for drawing people's attention to older and current games. I hope it will be clean and catchy enough. What images interest you in a new game? Big, small, detailed, scarry, pretty, a cute cowboy...? For me, it's a perfect balance of one large image, surrounded by smaller images with detail, all in color sync. Yep, I think that's attractive.

I've decided to give you a half-solution to the mysterious puzzle #83.
The puzzle part is this: Dpd cm kp sfrasqcgovo
The numbers refer to the three different ciphers used in previous puzzles. Puzzle number 56 was a Playfair cipher, puzzle number 61 is a Vigenere cipher, and puzzle number 43 is a Railfence cipher. "Hut" is the keyword needed for the Playfair cipher, and "Hike" is the keyword needed for the Railfence. Let's see what you can do with this, savvy detectives!

Don't spoil a beautiful, opportune day! Carpe diem!
~Little Jackalope~

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Commotion and puzzle relaxation.

There sure has been commotion all day today! Our printer was getting fixed this morning, people coming in and out of meetings, our Game Production Manager has a broken leg yet paid us a visit, the end of the month is coming and a few of us are scrambling to finish writing our plans and get what tasks we have left done... *Stop for air*. It sure is exciting, though! Thank goodness for fun 3D puzzles to relax with during lunch break. It's kind of a race to get it done for a meeting tomorrow. It would make a lovely addition to our discussions. Maybe I'll post a picture of it when it is finished.

Gotta hop back to some designs! I may just post the solution to puzzle #83 tomorrow; hopefully someone can solve it before then? *Wink.

~Little Jackalope~

Monday, January 24, 2011

Game perception: scariness!

I am guilty of snooping for info on the upcoming game, (unfortunately I can't share much with you) and looking through some semi-finished art for an environment got me thinking about how we perceive the games.

My current thoughts are what makes the games scary. Personally, I find the music and sound effects the most influential in the scariness of a game. The occasional squeak of a hanging sign or falling rock or swishing leaf makes me feel like I'm not alone. Dark spaces with spooky lights is another biggie, and of course, the monster animations and "boo!" moments are always an awesome touch. Does anyone else feel jumpy and jittery when Nancy is going through restricted areas or snooping in the dark? I love the feeling that I could get caught at any moment! How about thunderstorms and rain showers like in the intro to Message in a Haunted Mansion or the entirety of Legend of the Crystal Skull? Do you think the weather is a big enough factor to add to the scariness of the atmosphere?

This was something I found interesting, and depending on what you like in a game can mean a world of difference to how scary you think this next one will be!

Ooh, don't forget to check out the new wallpaper from The Secret of Shadow Ranch that's up, and be sure to try to solve and enter into the "Missing iPad" contest that we've got going on!

Congrats to you sharp sleuths who solved last week's puzzle! For those of you who are curious, here's the solve:
Keyword: Clue

1. Give each letter in the word “Clue” a number according to alphabetic order between itself. C=1, E=2, L=3, U=4.

2. Place the sets of letters (in puzzle) in columns

3. Arrange those columns in the order “Clue” is. Example: SKR which is in the third column belongs under "L" because "L" is the third in alphabetic order in “Clue”.

4. Read the message columns left to right.
("X" is not counted in the read. "X" does not mean anything.)

A Spooky Farm.

~Little Jackalope~

Friday, January 21, 2011

Weekend Puzzle

Hey Everyone!

I hope you've all had a wonderful week. We've got a lot of new content to tease out, particularly surrounding the "mobile" launch. I'm sure Jackalope will keep you "up on the up" regarding all our upcoming releases. In the meantime, enjoy the latest weekly puzzle!

- Weekend Puzzle -


Keyword: Clue
step 1. stand tall
step 2. Use the key for order
step 3. Read it out - less one


Good luck sleuths! See ya soon.

- Novel -

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Beautiful environments, beautiful colors.

Exploring new game environments for the first time is so much fun! I got to take a peek at a room and several mini-puzzles yesterday inside one of the games we are working on, and I must say, it is a very beautiful environment and the puzzles are so much fun! I'm super excited for the upcoming game...I may snoop around to find find more tidbits.

Today I'm taking a look at our website and the game box designs for an art project. Each game has a color theme to it, and the different colors on each box makes for a nice balance with all of them sitting on my shelf. Is there a color we are missing? I was thinking yellow earlier, but we did that with Lights! Camera! Curses! and Resorting to Danger. After all, many of the Nancy Drew books are yellow.

Another hint for last weekend's puzzle: Grid the alphabet, then number the letters.

Hip hop!
~Little Jackalope~

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Check. Check. Che--Wait! Where'd that come from?

I'm feeling quite productive today. I checked off three things on my task list and hope to have four more done today. Of course, I did get totally distracted in my work when I stumbled upon a piece of art that I hardly recognized! See here:Can you identify which game this was from? I realized that there are several more inventory items that were collected in the games that often we don't notice. These mysterious items are the victims of Nancy-takes-then-gives-right-back events. We earn them, but immediately following is the part when we have to pass it along to another character or place. I personally like collecting a ton of stuff in the games, instead of losing my inventory. I suppose losing some for a purpose makes us sometimes feel accomplished, like putting a puzzle piece into the wall in order to solve it.

Suppose a hint for last weekend's puzzle would be helpful, yeah? The 4x7 refers to a grid.

Ta-ta for now!
~Little Jackalope~

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Office life: Can't reach the snacks

Deciding it was time for a snack (wish we actually had Koko Kringles) I entered the kitchen and opened a cupboard. The last few bags of chips were on the top shelf, and naturally, I couldn't reach it. Thinking like Nancy, I had to choose one of the following options:
1. Get up on the counter (and hope I don't get caught)
2. Find something long to use to knock the chips off
3. Give up
4. Ask for help

Luckily our designer walked in before I chose #2, so I asked her for help. Yes, the workers here at Her Interactive are awesome! Sometimes they even surprise us with hot drinks. That was a nice treat this morning. I wonder what Nancy's favorite morning drink is?

You sleuths are reeeeally close to solving the weekend puzzle (and #83) by the way.

Gotta get back to some art documenting. That art better have not moved since I last looked at it...
~Little Jackalope~

Monday, January 17, 2011

Adding to the website.

After reading a dozen or more emails, I learned that there are a few things that could be added to our website. One fun project has me listening to music and re-sizing screenshots. Hopefully it will turn out nicely and not crash on me. Here's a picture hint:Other than that, it's Monday and schedules are getting arranged and re-arranged according to our task lists. Besides the part where I smelled something burning in the kitchen, and noticed that someone else had raided the unopened juice box case, it's been a mellow, quiet day. Maybe someone will stir up some mayhem later...just for talk.
Looks like you sleuths are busy hacking away at last weekend's puzzle...I don't think you need a hint just yet. You are on the right trail!

Hopping back to work,
~Little Jackalope~

Friday, January 14, 2011

Weekend Puzzle

Hello, hello sleuths!

It looks like my partner-in-crime (Jackalope) has been filling you all in quite well with all the hubbub in the office. I've been demoted to just passing along the weekend puzzle. T.T

We'll, when you're busy, you're busy, I guess. On to the fun!

- Weekend Puzzle -


Hints: 4x7 a=t-b n=l-r


Good luck, puzzle-players. I know you can do it. ^.~

We've got some awesome stuff coming up, so be sure to come by next week. Keep it mysterious, y'all!

- Novel -

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Second Chances and learning.

After making a mistake yesterday, I got to clean it all up today. Learning new software is quite a challenge, but one of the best ways to learn is through those mistakes. Now is a good time for a real-life "Second Chance" button, or maybe hitting Ctrl+Z a few times, but like Nancy, we've got to trudge through the tough times and not let anything stop us.

Lately I've been learning more about our new game launch of the Nancy Drew Mobile Mysteries: Shadow Ranch onto the iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, and I think it is so cool! Books have never become more alive to me until now. The art is coming along very nicely and the stories are new, that's all I can say for now. I particularly like the logo:
Puzzle #83 still needs to cracked! Here's an added note about it: the letters are the actual puzzle, use previous puzzle types to solve it.

Keep it Real:)
~Little Jackalope~

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Slow but Interesting...

It's a little quiet in the office today, probably because of the slush and snow scared people from coming in, or perhaps they are all here just being super quiet. I decided to walk around to see if they had anything interesting going on. Those artists are sure crunching through a lot of art! I walked by and saw an awesome project someone was working on...I couldn't figure out what it was for...or even what it was, but it was awesome! The process is interesting here, when one department is slow and easy-going, another is rushing to get their projects done, but later they switch. As for me, I've got some tedious work right now, but that's okay because the slow work makes the fun stuff all the more fun!

Here's something fun: there's a new contest that started yesterday! Check it out on the Dare to Play blog and tell us who Nancy's best detective partner would be!

You sleuths are thinking hard on puzzle #83, I've noticed. How about another hint to speed things up? You're looking for three different ciphers to solve this one.

Hop to it!
~Little Jackalope~

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Creative thinking and its creations.

Oh how I love meetings! We just finished brainstorming some nouns, adjectives and verbs in Nancy Drew language. We absolutely love being creative, and coming up with new thoughts and ideas. Creative thinking first takes a little research to figure out what is needed, then brainstorming ideas, and finally it's about putting it all together. I am excited for this process in creating new things for this year.

This is me trying to be creative on the computer (or trying to steal some of Sonny Joon's work...)
By the way, you guys solved last week's puzzle super fast! Guess we'll have to trip you up a bit next time *schemes*.

Here's a big hint for puzzle #83 from weeks past:
The numbers are three different references and the "Hut" and "Hike" are clues for those.

Ta-ta for now!
~Little Jackalope~

Monday, January 10, 2011

Phone Charms and Katakana

I was reading some great quotes from the Shadow at the Water's Edge script. There are some funny lines in there! Here's one of my favorite conversations between Rentaro and Nancy:
Nancy: "Something weird happened...when I looked in the mirror I didn't see my reflection."
Rentaro: "Aha!"
Nancy: "You know what happened?"
Rentaro: "You're a vampire. Seriously though, that's pretty messed up. Maybe you need to get a little rest."

There were a few things I learned from this game as well. Take a look at this:
A real-live phone charm from Japan! I've had it for a year because I didn't know what it was and I couldn't read the katakana characters on the wrapper until now. As Yumi would say, "It's a phone charm! You can't not have one." Discovering new things like this at the office is always fun.

Peace Out!
~Little Jackalope~

Friday, January 7, 2011

1st Puzzle of 2011

It looks like we've got our first official Weekend puzzle of 2011! In an interesting turn of events, we're introducing a new puzzle-meister to the mix. She's starting you off with a lite faire; something to get the ball rolling so to speak. Without further ado:

- Weekend Puzzle -


Hint: It's inside out


Good luck sleuths and we'll see you next week!

- Novel -

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sending presents to lucky fans.

I got to pack and mail some puzzles to some lucky contest winners today (super awesome). I hope they enjoy them as much as I enjoyed boxing myself into my cubicle (which looked like I was building a fort). Behold! The wall of winners:
Now that they are gone :( I get to snoop through some archives to find images of horses and ghosts for a Nancy Drew art project. That's always fun! Be sure to keep a lookout this month on the home page for some cool extras to add to your computer.

Peace out!
~Little Jackalope~

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Task list: Check!

Ah, Wednesdays! In the heart of the week, we still create to-do lists. Here's mine:

~Make sure art is in the right place
~Use that art to create something awesome
~Read through old scripts
~Make a spreadsheet
~Send an email or two
~Eat a cookie

Unfortunately all I can check off is that last one. If only my task list looked like Nancy's from in the games. It would be cool if it was on my computer screen so when I try checking off something I will hear Nancy's voice saying "That's done!" or "Can't check that off yet!" and I would feel so accomplished.

Nancy has a smart phone, I wonder what sort of organizing abilities we could add to it in the future...if she even needs it what with her handy task list. Phones seem to do a lot these days, but in a fictional world, they could do even more. Hmm...*scheming*.

Ta-ta for now!
~Little Jackalope~

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Those little things we love...

I've been doing some searching for old art while listening to some familiar game music. It got me thinking about some of the cool extras that are found in a few of the games, particularly the "sounds". Not the game music, but the music and advertisements in the games such as the radio in The Secret of Shadow Ranch, or the radio in Trail of the Twister (this one's extra funny I think). The one I almost forgot about was in Secret of the Old Clock. Remember "Creepy Corner"? I found the picture of that vinyl record and just now remembered what was on it... a clue to the mystery. I love this style of hiding clues! I wonder if there will be any more audio fun added in a future game. (I know there are a few more in several other games. Have you heard them all?)I should begin a list of bonus and fun stuff like this to add to our Easter egg wish list. Who knows, maybe someone will leave a secret message or Easter egg clue in a future game this year. Time to brainstorm!

Puzzle #83 is getting closer to being solved (poor puzzle, it's been weeks). Someone in particular is almost on the nose!

~Little Jackalope~

Monday, January 3, 2011

We're back and ready to rock!

Hey all, do you have a great holiday break? Hopefully you received a new game to play, winter breaks are perfect times to spend on a good mystery (I also played a game or two). I sure enjoyed a little rest, but now I'm excited to be back and among the action here in the office. (I was suspicious when I came to my desk to find my computer monitor turned 30 degrees off its original angle and a soda can next to my keyboard. No worries, we don't have villains here, just sneaky culprits.)

It's a new year filled with new ideas and new projects to add to last year's unfinished to-do list. There will sure to be more contests and fun things coming up! As I walked by a room I overheard some familiar western music...hmm...sounds like an awesome project they have going on. Speaking of westerns, have you seen the title banner on the website page for the first Nancy Drew Mobile Mysteries game? There's an extra horse, and it's a pretty one! Ooh, I'm excited! I may do some snooping around to find a larger image. Until then, whoa! I just heard a whinny! What a distraction, as I was saying;

Stay sharp!
~Little Jackalope~