MLI demo 2 released!

At last, we’re finally ready to show you progress on My Little Investigations! Although this demo will not advance the plot further than the previous demo (so please don’t complain about that – that’s by design), it contains plenty of runtime improvements, and has a lot more gameplay polish. We’re hard at work on the end of case 1, so rest assured that it’s still coming along strong and that there’s plenty of work we’ve completed that we’re not showing you yet. However, for now, we thought we’d give you a little glimpse at what we’ve been working on in the hopes of keeping interest and excitement high as we finish things up and get the first case ready for playtesting.

First, without further ado you can find the demo here:

http://www.equestriandreamers.com/downloads/

And here’s a list of what’s new in this demo:

Code ported to C++ from Java

The first demo was written in Java, which worked for the purpose for which it was chosen – enabling the game to come to all three major OSes – but there were two major problems that people encountered:

  1. Software rendering was not supported, which meant that players with lower-end graphics cards couldn’t play the game; and
  2. Some pieces of software like WinRAR were associating themselves instead of the Java runtime with JAR files, which made people unable to start the game at all.

To fix both of these issues, we’ve ported the game to C++, and this demo shows the game in that form.

Gameplay mechanics and content

  • Twilight now has the ability to run! To run, double-click (or double-click and hold), and she’ll move much faster than walking.
  • The game now loads each location’s resources on the fly during gameplay, rather than loading everything at the start. This both makes initial loading much faster and cuts down on RAM and VRAM usage.
  • Evidence and profiles are now separated; you can swap between the two by clicking a tab at the top.
  • Cursors and mouse-over text have now been implemented to show who Twilight can talk to, what can be examined in the field, and where Twilight can exit the screen.
  • Pinkie Pie now teaches new players to the game about MLI’s gameplay mechanics! There will be an option to turn her off in the full game, but that hasn’t been implemented yet.
  • A second cutscene in town square has been added.
  • Cutscenes have been improved and now have greater functionality.

Visuals and audio

  • Screen transitions from one area to the next now feature a fade-to-black instead of just instantly swapping screens.
  • Interjections have been added – now, whenever Twilight presents evidence or presses a statement, our version of the objection bubbles appear on screen to accent those moments.
  • All of the lines in the demo have been mastered by X-Trav.
  • Almost all of the audio has now been implemented; there were several missing lines in the last demo.
  • Twilight has a couple of new emotional states since last time.
  • The “suspense” theme has now been updated to better reflect of the mood of the scene it plays in.
  • A fully animated title screen has been implemented.
  • Sound effects have been added to bring town square to life, and hoofstep sounds have been properly synched to animations.

Now that you know what’s up, downloading the game is as simple as before. Just head on over here:

http://www.equestriandreamers.com/downloads/

Please feel free to post feedback on this updated demo on the forums and let us know what you think! The team is gearing up for the final phases of development, so we’re hoping you’ll all continue to remain hyped about case 1. While you wait, we encourage you to help this project out by spreading the word! Our fans’ enthusiasm is and always has been what keeps us motivated to work strong to get this case completed.

That’s all for now! Thanks, all!

35 thoughts on “MLI demo 2 released!

  1. I enjoyed Pinkie Pie in the demo, but I would have to say I felt her relationship with twilight was wrong. It must be remembered that they are friends and it didn’t feel like they were exactly friendly towards each other with some of their comments. Also I don’t think you need Pinkie in all of those situations sometimes it is more fun for the player to learn on their own. In all Pinkie needs to be a little less annoying and Twilight needs to be a little less annoyed, this is my opinion on these changes.

  2. Wow, it looks really polished now. You got me waiting for the Case 1 even more impatiently :D
    Just a few things I’m wondering about (I hope you din’t mind if I do it here instead of the forums):
    - would it be possible to play it in full screen in the future?
    - I guess the save/load buttons are temporary. Are you planning to make a proper pause menu? Also, changing between voice/no voice during play?
    - I think the no voice mode could be more enjoyable if you made it more similar to PW:AA: make the text appear a bit faster and disable skipping (except when repeating the same dialogue), could it be possible?
    - that star-thingy looks really out of place ;)

  3. woah, a new demo!!! and just in time ^^ i’ll test it right away, thanks for everything and keep being awesome!!! lots of hugs and cherrs for everyone ^^

  4. Awesome work! I was so upset after I couldn’t run the first demo on my laptop, but this one works perfectly and I’m very impressed with it: cool visuals, nice music, great voice actors, priceless dialogues… everything is amazing. You really are putting a great effort here ^_^

    I truly hope you finish this project, because it’s among the best fangames I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of them! I can only thank you for being SO COOL! A great brohoof to y’all /)

    By the way, I really think that the “Hold it!” scenes could use a background with “motion lines”, to make them more dynamic and spectacular :P

  5. Another great demo. I liked Pinkie Pie when she says funny comments. I’m STILL looking forward to the completed game. And, I must say, I like the Interrogation music A LOT.

  6. How did you made the main menu? The animation looks like it’s 3D, but I haven’t seen such an awesome drawing style simulated by a computer before.

    • It was first drawn in layers by Rautakoura, our cutscene artist, and was then animated in Flash by WarpOut, our field character artist. And yes, it came out great! :) They did a wonderful job.

  7. Okay, first of all, great demo. It looks very polished, I enjoyed it a lot, and I just love the title screen. :)
    Just a few things:
    1. It might just be me, but in my opinion, Pinkie’s tutorial scenes were beyond annoying. And I say this despite usually liking her in the show. I know you mentioned that one will be able to turn that off in the full game, but still, she’ll probably not only appear in the tutorial, and if she keeps acting like this… *shudder* (not talking about the voice though, that was actually very good)
    2. Menu sounds were too loud compared to voices and music.
    3. A full-screen mode would have been nice.

  8. Well, now this is progress.
    Just one thing, you should make the Pinkie Pie thing a little bit less obvious. I mean, every time she brokes the 4th wall isn’t necessary THAT obvious =/

  9. hey, i played it, its AAAAAWESOOOOOME, the title screen effect totally blew my mind!!! i’ve never seen something like it, its pure awesomeness, and the music for the interrogation is awesome too, i loved it, the animation for the running, is very well made, i mean, in the diagonal ways, i can fell like twilights mane is actually consistent, and that rocks ^^

    i still cant figure out how to finish rarity’s interrogation though XD im kind of lost, but anyways.

    oh yeah!! and the animation when i try to push for some info is awesome!! i cant help but think about phoenix wright XD its like so similar in many ways :P

    so lots of congrats for the improvements!!! and i cant wait for the other cases ^^ oh god this is way too awesome, please, dont end like mlp online ok?? so lots of cheers and hugs for everyone!!!

  10. I just discovered this game yesterday, and I have to say I’m impressed. It’s very professionally done, and the concept intrigues me.
    Pinkie Pie’s tutorial was very helpful, but I teeter back and forth between adoration for the cute things these ponies say, and being annoyed that they never get to the point. Also I was very confused while interrogating Rarity… because I was looking for a place where she was lying, instead of a place where she was innocently mistaken. That might have been my fault, though. I also love the soundtrack.
    I’m looking forward to playing the rest of it.

  11. I absolutely love Demo 2 and I’m glad I was able to install it through the .exe file. It is much more efficient than just extracting the file. So, is the full version gonna be the same and would it be released sometime in 2013 aka next year?

  12. Great to see an update. God damn the game is looking to be great. I look forward to playing the full case in the future. Keep it up Equestrian Dreamers!

  13. Wow! I am just blown right out of hooves! This Demo shows great promise, I’m amazed at how polished this looks, I cannot wait to see the finished game… Actually, I can wait, because obviously patience pays off a lot for games like this, but I’ll be waiting with great eagerness. Great job!

  14. I have been an eager fan of My Little Investigations ever since I saw the first Engine Demo’s, and have been looking forward to this demo for a long time! I was truly blown away by the quality of it and especially the title screen. Many compliments to everyone on the Equestrian Dreamers team – you have done an absolutely magnificent job!
    But even though, there were a couple of things that I found to be slightly lacking of the same quality presented everywhere else in the game.
    The main thing is the Hoofstep sound. It is synched beautifully with the animations, but the sound itself just seems completely out of place. If anything it sounds like a hoof treading in mud, which Ponyville clearly isn’t. I also find it slightly too loud, and I at least would prefer a more subtle sound for the Hoofsteps.
    I also agree upon Tugs’ comment about the relationship between Pinkie Pie and Twilight seeming somewhat off. Being too annoying, breaking the 4th wall too often and Twilight being too annoyed with her made me skip the conversations between them, which is a shame as the voice actress for Pinkie Pie is truly amazing.
    Otherwise I find this demo extremely enjoyable and I very much look forward to the full game.

  15. I love the idea of this game! You guys are Geniuses. The only criticism I could give is when Pinkie runs up, There is a large delay before Twilight jumps. I don’t know what can be done about it, just an idea.

  16. I love the update! I really admire the awesome work you put into this project, and I can’t express how excited I am for the release of case 1! My only complaints so far are similar to the others’: Pinkie’s “walkthroughs” being somewhat annoying, and the hoofsteps that are just too loud–they should be a subtle detail. Perhaps tone down the volume of Pinkie randomness/wall breaking. In any case (pun not intended), I’m looking forward to seeing more of your amazing work in the future! Keep it up, guys!

    • OH and I forgot to mention that the UI update is pretty darn awesome too! I really love the effects on the cursor as you mouse over objects of interest.

  17. This was just a demo, but I think I know who stole True Blue without a doubt. The Diamond Dogs stole True Blue from Rarity, no doubt about it. The shadows in the beginning, their shapes match the Diamond Dogs perfectly, and we all know how much they like gems, because of the episode “A Pony and Dog Show”. I don’t need to investigate this case, it is so obvious. But I will like to play the whole case though, even though I probably know how it is going to end.

    • Well, yes, we’re not exactly trying to hide who did it. This case is like the first case in Ace Attorney Investigations: the intrigue lies not in finding out who did it but in finding out how to nail them with the crime.

        • Well, the full version for My Little Investigations won’t be out for about roughly 3-4 years since that involves 4 complete cases, with each one getting longer and more complex than the last. It really depends on many factors.

          Case 1 though, is nearing completion. We have about 86% of the content ready to be used in Case 1. I already challenged the team to get their content in by the end of the month, so we’ll see how that goes. Polishing, scoring, implementation, and testing should last around 3-4 weeks after all of the content has been received.

          So, I can only give a rough estimate of a release period, which is early 2013. I can confirm that it shall be done before I present the full version of Case 1 at the Grand Galloping Brony Gala on June 29th. Anyways, please continue to be patient and spread the word about the game! We would really appreciate it. ;)

          • ZeusAssassin, you said that you’d be presenting Case 1 to the Grand Galloping Brony Gala and that it would be ready by then. Does this mean that the release of Case 1 will be after you present it there?

  18. When trying to combine the hair with that another thing, it didn’t work. But when you combine the other one first, it works (not saying it because of the spoiler). :D Can you fix that so you don’t get confused why Twilight doesn’t realize it has a logical connection.

    • We will. Right now, we are focused on implementing content into the case and adding necessary gameplay tweaks to further enhance the experience.

      Thanks for the comment. :D

  19. I just wanted to thank the team for their dedication and hard work–you all are incredibly talented! If I had not stumbled on this site months ago (being an Ace Attorney lover), I would not have known the greatness that is MLP. I eagerly await the games release, and wish you all the best in finishing this amazing project! Have you considered releasing the game in episodes? I do not want to sound greedy (as you all are probably under a great deal of stress), but just a suggestion.
    PS: Pinkie’s appearance in Demo 2 was a wonderful touch, as well as hysterical.
    Thanks again, from an excited pegasister

    • We are releasing the game in episodes! As I said before, Case 1 shall be released as soon as it’s ready. We don’t want fans to wait forever for 4 fully playable cases!

      If you are talking about releasing chunks of a case at a time, that’s not in our plans. Cases are meant to be played the whole way through.

      We released the demo so you all can get a taste of what’s to come in the full version. That’ll probably be the only time we release a chunk of a case.

      Anyway, we are flattered that our game has made you fall in love with the show it was inspired from. Thanks again and welcome to the herd!!!

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