The Gumshoe Online community has certainly come a long way since its original release. The developers have continually improved the overall game engine and released increasingly more engaging cases. The Gumshoe Online site now represents a strong Web community as well as offering an entertaining casual adventure gaming experience.
The fifth Gumshoe Online case, The Murky Truth, was recently announced. Iwan Roberts from the Gumshoe Online team has graciously agreed to provide us information about the upcoming case as well as the Gumshoe community in general. Based on the information available, Web detectives could be in for another treat with The Murky Truth.
Adventure Lantern: For the uninitiated, can you tell us a little bit about Gumshoe Online?
Iwan Roberts: Gumshoe Online is a private detective game set in the crime ridden streets of 1930’s America. Players need to uncover clues, interrogate characters and solve mind-bending puzzles before they can crack the case.
We wanted to make deduction a key part of Gumshoe Online’s gameplay; give the player a real sense of satisfaction when they unravel a mystery. In Gumshoe Online, understanding the evidence is just as important as uncovering it.
Unlike other point-and-click adventure games, Gumshoe Online is played over the Internet using a traditional web browser. This probably makes Gumshoe Online the most accessible adventure game available. There are no plug-ins to install or software to download, players simply connect to the website and start solving mysteries
AL: What can you tell us about the Gumshoe Online user community?
Iwan: One of the nicest things about Gumshoe Online is how friendly the game’s user community is. The forum is a great place to go if you’re having difficulty cracking a case or solving a puzzle.
Originally we thought the forum would be just another way to give user support , but our players have really taken to it. There are threads on every aspect of Gumshoe Online. Players discuss the mysteries, help each other out, give us ideas for new cases, and even suggest game features they’d like to see.
If the user community wasn’t so helpful we’d certainly spend a lot more time supporting the game and a lot less time devising new cases.
AL: You recently announced a new case. Can you give us a preview about the story?
Iwan: I don’t want to give too much away but the "The Murky Truth" is a tale of piracy on the high seas. When a cruise liner is ransacked off the coast of Wheaton City, Theodore Nash, the ship’s owner isn’t sure the Police are up to solving the mystery and asks you to lend a hand.
Below is the case blurb from the website that gives a little more information than the press release:
When a luxury liner is the victim of an audacious robbery off the coast of Wheaton City; it's all too easy to make comparisons with the pirates and privateers that hunted Spanish galleons along the same coastline centuries before.
For Theodore Nash, the ship's owner, this act of piracy is much more than history repeating itself; it's a crime that could ruin him and his business.
With the Police investigation all at sea; you're the only person who can unravel the mystery, save Neptune Shipping Corporation and find the "The Murky Truth."
AL: Can players expect new kinds of puzzles in the latest case?
Iwan: This new mystery is packed full of original puzzles with a few familiar brainteasers also making an appearance. Experienced private eyes might be relieved to learn that the dreaded “Lock-pick” puzzle won’t be included in this case.
We’ve also added a number of sub-quests to the new mystery. Sub-quests haven’t really featured in Gumshoe Online but all that’s about to change.
AL: What kind of environments can we expect to explore?
Iwan: The new mystery revolves around events onboard a luxury liner and players will have to scour every inch of this ship to solve the case.
The cruise ship is the largest location we’ve ever built and we based her design on the blueprints of actual 1930’s passenger liners. I hope players appreciate this authenticity when they are wandering around the hundred rooms that make up the ship.
As well as the cruise liner, players will also get the chance to explore the port, new sections of the police station and a couple of office buildings.
AL: Can the players expect a new contest with the release of the case?
Iwan:We hadn’t planned one but that’s a good idea.
AL: The Murky Truth will be the fifth case to be released. Where do you see Gumshoe Online heading next?
Iwan:We’ve always seen Gumshoe Online as a long-term project. We have a number of cases written and waiting to be implemented. After releasing “The Murky Truth” we’ll turn our attention to “Sharks” which is a story of revenge and illegal gambling.
Since Gumshoe Online’s launch we’ve been contacted a few times about using our "webgame" engine to create other titles. There’s nothing definite planned but we’re looking at ways of developing either a “space trading” or “strategy” game.
Adventure Lantern thanks Iwan for taking time out of his busy schedule to provide us detailed information about the latest Gumshoe Online case.
Since its inception, Gumshoe Online had a theme of continuous improvement. The cases show a pattern of evolution as the developers have tried new types of puzzles and expanded on their early work. It should prove interesting to see where Gumshoe Online goes in 2006.