Thursday, 29 November 2012

Inside a developers mind

Its late, I'm tired. So I thought...I'll share some thoughts about ADR.

Firstly apologies for almost two years of silence on this blog.

If you know the origins of Ashura: Dark Reign, your probably familiar with the fact that I never wanted to do this project in the first place. I was new to the Unreal Modding scene at the time and my skills was, well...not to be at the standard one might actually think who could undertake a role and then taking on many roles through the development process.

I did not even imagine or expect the reception ADR has a massed since the project officially started to take shape from March 2006. Winning Mod awards on websites such as ModDb, getting international recognition in videogame magazines in Germany and UK. (Possibly more that I don't even know about.)

There has been many times when I have given up working on the game like some of the other past members.

ADR is very ambitious. It has an awesome story line. I can put working on the game off for months due to lack of creative inspiration. Sometimes I want to quit. I say "Okay. if such amount of work isn't done. I give up."

And yet....when that time come around, I have this great amount of inspiration and things start coming together. I'm sure this game has a cursed. Either that or the Devil has his hand in this.
I say this because when the team finally decided on the plot and name, the forum post number was '666'.

No joke.

When I talk to some members, we kinda joke about this.

As I mentioned before about myself lacking the skills, the time I have spent on ADR hasn't always been about ADR. Due to the development process and lack of key members with required skills I have had to study new software and techniques to pull things together. 3D modeling, and animation mainly.

The wooden stiff animation of the UT2004 tech demo....yea..that was my work.
You can see how inexperienced I was then. Thankfully my animations are a lot better now and usually have secondary movement applied to them.

In the last few years I took on some programming, thanks to guidance of Javier 'Xaklse' Osset.
ADR's programming genius who really brought this game to life, and gave the Sonic community a new toy to play with. The Sonic GDK. The base code to Ashura: Dark Reign.

With Javiers help I gained an insight into the mechanics of Unrealscript.
I'm not code God like he is, but I have managed to create additional fuctionality to alter the GDK to support new features such as Grinding, pulleys. Bringing various used items in the offical games into Ashura Dark Reign.

My Skills in level design was how should I say...too expressive.
I used to populate levels with so much eye candy that it looked too realistic.

Realism is kind of bad for Sonic.
Look at Sonic'06 as an example, then look at Sonic Unleashed and Generations.

With Sonic you got to think about time, speed, multiple routes, player attraction, and most importantly... scale.

Everything has scale right? well with Sonic. you have tomultiply that due to the speed in which he runs at. and that can be frustrating.

Sonic has always been a cartoon character since his conception on paper.
So thus the world should have a slight cartoon feel to it.

In recent months I have gone wioth the old K.I.S.S (Keep.It.Simple.Stupid) technique
Surprisingly. it works

Designing Sonic levels is not an easy adventure. I would prefer creating a level for Halo, Half life, or Doom, than for Sonic.

Time for me to sleep.