After my pretty scathing review of the Train Jam entry, Comic Sands, where I said that the gameplay kinda sucked, it was interesting to see this latest Twitch stream where Media Molecule give us a behind the scenes look as to how the game was made.
The drawn look is created by using the drawing tools to create 2D objects, placed in a 3D area with a camera at the correct angle to get the impression of a cartoon. They used a frame shape in the foreground to recreate the look of a paper comic and moved it with the player character, or recreated it at various points to create an effect that looked like your eyes were moving across the page. It was all very clever, but also simple once you know how. It was clear that a lot of effort was put into the game to get its look. I am still disappointed they chose to make a platformer, and that the game had no real goal, but maybe time was against them.
The parts of the video I found most interesting however, was not the look at the train jam, but the creation of a bounce pad from scratch. It was great to see the different ways you could move a platform to make your character jump to a higher level. I did not realise that we would be creating absolutely everything in this game – I assumed that special effects would be a drag and drop affair. From this video it is clear that we create our own effects – that is awesome but also a little overwhelming.
I am convinced creation is going to be a slow process if we work in isolation. What is exciting though, is the fact that assets are going to be shared, and special effects, sounds, characters, landscapes…everything is going to be available to make levels much faster than if you started from scratch. On the other hand, it should be very satisfying to know you made everything in the level yourself.
I have been moaning on about the fact that they haven’t shown us the logic system, just the artistic tools. This video redresses the balance a bit. The logic looks very comprehensive. I do not think it will be as versatile as a scripted code language, but I don’t think anyone will notice as the amount of variables we can change and the number of tools that are available look insane. This learning curve is going to be huge.
Media Molecule have given themselves a huge undertaking here. It is no surprise to me that it is not ready yet. I do not know how long they had been working on the game by the 2014 E3, but if they have spent 8-10 years on this I would not be surprised. There is so much in this.