FluffyLogic Producer Ana Kronschnabl has shared part two today in their ongoing Eat Them! PlayStation 3 developer diary series.
To quote: So where are we? Well we have obviously done a fair amount of the game, since we demoed it at E3. Prior to this point we had spent a lot of time getting the basic structures of the game in place.
We use Sony's 3D engine PhyreEngine as the basis - it's a great engine and it gives us the important nuts and bolts of a game system, which frees us up to focus on making special graphical effects and gameplay.
One of these is the cartoon -shader effect which we have spent a fair amount of time developing and refining. We are using it to create the game's distinctive visual style. This was a time consuming process that involved our main graphics programmer and a couple of artists working together, trying to get the art tools into the PlayStation 3 and looking good.
The basic system takes the 3D models of the landscape and the monsters and draws a black line around them, as if they are flat on the page like a comic drawing. What makes it a complex process is that it's not a flat drawing, it's a 3D world that moves constantly, so our graphics tools have to draw this look on the fly.
Thankfully, we've managed to get this just as we wanted it - it's got a great comic style, but still keeps a sense of 3D movement, it's fun looking, but still powerful enough to render out the action we want to happen. We've also been busy building editors that allow designers to add and tweak things like monster body-parts and missions.
In Eat Them! the player can build their own monster, so each pair of legs, the torso, head, backpack, left arm and right arm are created as separate objects, each with their own stats, graphics and sound effects (if needed).
It's much better from a development point of view if the designers can add and edit this sort of information without needing to get a programmer involved each time. We don't like to let them out of their cages too much as it's hard work getting them back in by nightfall.
That, and it also frees up their time to work on other stuff.
So here's the first thing we'd like a bit of feedback on: Race Missions. We wanted to have race missions where you (and your fellow monster/s, if 2 player or more...) have to race around the city going from check-point to check-point.
It's like the Tour De France but without the bikes and with big monsters. Is this best done where you need to be skilful in avoiding damaging the city (in contrast to the rest of the game) so speed and control - or should this be done in conjunction with doing lots of damage to the city? (so about being fast and messy)? What do you think?
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