donderdag 18 november 2010

Fixing Potholes

As the week draws to a close certain events return like a vicious cycle. The ending of the workweek at Xform is usually the sign that some sort of Alpha, Beta or Gold Master Candidate (GMC) milestone for one of our games needs to be finished. This milestone is then delivered to one of our customers for their approval and (depending on the type of milestone) to receive comments on playability and design from them.

In the Alpha version you get real happy that there’s something there to begin with. The process of planning and brainstorming on the game design document finally gets expressed visually in a playable game.

By the time you reach the Beta version more elements come into play and there’s a lot more to think about. As the only dedicated artist, lots of requests land on my plate for assets that need to be enhanced beyond the lower grade visuals that might be in the game up until that point. For this version you want the game to look a lot closer to final, but it should be clear that there’s still a lot of tweaking to do in order to have the game ready for launch.

Once you get to the point of the GMC, you’ll be fixing potholes everywhere. It’s a lot less about getting the game to work and a lot more about getting the game to work perfectly. The analogy works very well because of our racing game heritage, but is of course, also very true for our differently themed games. There can literally be bits and pieces missing in the scenery that might only come up when someone falls through them while playing. It’s a process of fixing and filling the world with believable textures and I’m afraid I have to get right back to work in order to do that. On top of all the work today we’ll be leaving earlier today for the Dutch Game Awards, so I’ll have to make it count!

-- Matt

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