The approach of the pre-ECTS publishing meeting is beginning to cause quite a bit of excitement. Barely three months after E3 with its all-night sessions, and the whole thing is beginning all over again. Preparing a new demo with, if possible, lots of new features which we spent our time programming like lunatics all summer instead of taking a vacation like everybody else.
Pity the poor programmer Е
The week was marked by many long meetings on the subject of the Game Play. Along with Herve (our producer) and Philip, we've been reworking things in order to see where we could increase coherence and effectiveness. We're also trying to give a console feeling to the game i.e. a maximum of fun, while still keeping it simple and pleasant to use.
Keeping things simple is the most difficult thing of all.
I'm particularly satisfied with the modifications we've made. The adventure Game Play has greatly improved and basic changes, like the save system, will really help the game along. The system we had initially planned for the game proved to be incompatible with Sony specifications for PlayStation.
The saves were a real monkey puzzle: how to find a system that would enable us to keep the idea of linear time in a parallel universe (therefore no going back), function just as well in the adventure, the shoot and combat, be adaptable, original, easily understandable and integrated into the scenario, while still being compatible with Virtual Reincarnation?
It's an important point. Many games have failed because of an unsuitable save system. Players are generally particularly protective and don't like innovation.
The solution we found seems to me to respond to all these constraints. The feedback from the first testers will tell us whether we made the right choice.
Although my days have been devoted to reflection (and preparing for the next publishing meeting with Eidos), my nights have been dedicated to Tony, our chief animation man (for business reasons, of course). We set up a new animation bank for the Feet/Fists combat.
The new technique developed by Tony works particularly well. It allows us to have combos on almost all combinations of keys and without any frame jumps in the animation.
The timing of animations is one of the most important elements in a combat game. By studying other combat games we were able to establish some very strict rules for the ratios between preparing a blow, its outgoing pathway, its impact and its return.
Managing impact animation is equally important, and that's putting it mildly. Our system enables us to assign any impact animation to any blow. The timing of the impact is also of vital importance.
After nearly a year of tests and all night sessions with Tony, we have acquired some fundamental ideas about what constitutes a good combat game. Now we feel ready to put these ideas into practice in the new animation banks we'll be preparing over the weeks to come.
In the programming department, the size of the programming team (10) made it essential to have a second person helping Fabien, our Main Programmer, to manage the team. So Francois took over the job of Lead Programmer in charge of the Omikron shoot sequences. He will be working with Olivier and Antoine.
The first result of this joint effort is an impressive and ambitious specifications sheet for enemy behavior in the Shoot. Up until now they had only a very basic intelligence which enabled them to follow the player, to attack from the front or try to attack from the rear. More complex behavior is now being prepared.
Olivier and Francois have already integrated the fact that they can try to avoid the player's shots by rolling sideways.
Christophe has programmed new management of the auto-aiming (automatic aiming) system. Enriched by his experience with morphing on PlayStation, he suggested a new solution that he is currently integrating with Tony, and which promises to be visually impressive.
Sophie, our IAM scripter, and Nathalie, our RAM scripter, are getting on like a house on fire. The fact that women were appointed to these positions which require great rigor is no accident: they are far more organized and rigorous than the men. It's hard to admit, but it's true...
Be here next week for further adventures.
Autor: David Cage
Source: Quantic Dream
11/01/1999 Eidos Interactive ships Omikron: The Nomad Soul
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