2011 will see Anime 3D SFX hard at work as we’re still developing the Antistar sequels and the JME conversion, to say nothing about future plans (why, we’re busy enough doing what we do and doing it now).
While Antistar: Rising rallied hard fans, they are often prompt to note that they belong to an enlightened minority. Ay, a good game’s a good gift, so we decided to share Antistar with a wider audience, the 31st of December 2010 and the 1st of January 2011.
Heuristically (if ever coincidentally), connoisseur iPhone review site iFanzine listed Antistar in it’s 2010 roundup. A select club where our heroine in pajamas coexists with Spiderman, Marblenauts and Lara Croft.
Devil’s in the details still
So what are we working on? Well… lots of technical stuff is going through. Notably, evil stuff muxing user experience and artwork. For example, I never wanted to make the ground flat and square, although it could *simplify* walking around and path-finding. So instead I wrote methods for path-finding on meshes, and following contours, so the controls will feel nicer and we actually gain artistic freedom, instead of stepping back.
Another example is the blue kitten. Players (beta testers even) noted that the blue kitten doesn’t follow the player everywhere. It isn’t necessary to have the kitten around beyond chapter 3, but it’s nice. So because I don’t want the kitten to teleport auto-magically, I implemented path-finding to defeat moving platforms too.
I wasn’t all satisfied with our custom 3D engine, or the game framework for all that matters. I thought all this lacked flexibility, and it turns out that the design of this game demands flexibility – no wonder considering this title is meant to push our codebase forward, versus relying on existing functionality.
Quite a bit of work is going into avoidance / simple attack behavior too. And yes, again, all of this could be extremely simplified. But I don’t really want to do that. Why then, do these “small features” really add gameplay, isn’t it just a little bit of un-necessary polish?
Don’t think so. First, I already explained that artwork gets tied easily to draconian constraints regarding the shape of the terrain. But there’s something that’s a lot more important going on here. If a game world doesn’t implement minimally robust physical and geometric constraints, there won’t be a way that this game world can develop rich system dynamics grounded into physicality. Truly, from this angle it doesn’t matter just now, or for the coming update.
Well, just the beginning, is what it is.
With a fine brush
While a couple of pros are blessing the main character with their fairy hands, working on modeling and animation, I actually started redesigning and re-creating parts of the environment. I have a lot more flexibility on this side since I implemented the level editor. For now, I find the added element of freedom almost threatening. But somehow I’m getting fond of what used to be ‘just a design for a game’ and I feel willing to spend time ‘doing it over again’. I don’t want this to be just a bunch of platforms, move on and forget. So I guess even Klinnburg will look somewhat different in the next release. Later parts of the story will give us chance to unravel more of it’s mysteries too.
Stepping stones in the myst
Controlling a storyline doesn’t necessarily mean knowing everything in advance. I know fairly well what’s meant to happen in Antistar, up to Chapter XVI and beyond(!). I know it so well that I might change my mind about it. The same goes for game-play. It’s so easy to sketch ideas and settle on a plan, only to find out that we don’t like it anymore.
So I guess the next Antistar release, however overdue, will be a surprise for our players… …and for us.