Changes in development process, AI and curiosities
Hello again Kickstarters! Some of you must be angry with us because we didn't make an update since quite a long, so apologies for not showing signs of life in the last months. We’ve been busy solving lots of problems and implementing new gameplay mechanics, resulting on an enormous bunch of time we didn't count on, so we set ourselves in crunch mode in order to solve these issues before proceeding further in the development.
From the start we are committed to be honest with all of you and mention the bumps in the road that appear during the making of Paradise Lost, so you can understand the choices that we have to make.
One of those hard decisions was the need to change and port all our current graphics into a new pixel art program. The amount of animated elements from the game had been growing exponentially and the other design tool gave us a lot of problems in matter of stability, lack of tools and exportation of the sprite sheets. Surely you will think “why didn't you realize before?”, but at that moment we didn't think about the complexity of the current animations and the problems that appear. We required easiest processes to work in traditional animation, allowing us to do simple tasks as copy multiple layers at the time from one document to another or allow the use of onion skin to have a quick preview of the nearest frames in order to make smoother movements. In addition, we have realized that making a pixel game for different resolutions results in a bad resampling of some graphics, as a result of the imported sprite sheets. Right now we solved that problem but caused us to re-export all the game animations and objects from the older program.
New tools for a better game
The new program that we use to port the game's graphics is Aseprite, a great pixel editor focused in the development of professional design and animation. It's full of useful stuff like retro palettes, filters, different export options and a timeline bar that allows to have a clear view of the different animation layers. It also includes an option called RotSprite that rotates the images using an special algorithm to maintain its original aspect.
One last thing that makes Aseprite a remarkable choice is that it keeps updated with new content. Its creator, David Capello, gives constant feedback on his Devblog and Twitter, taking notes from the people in order to add more stuff in future versions. He also gives direct feed to little studios like us, adding new features into periodical branch dev versions. We only have good words for this wonderful tool that makes our workflow easier.
If you want to give it a shot you can try it here.
Making smarter enemies
Another thing that kept us busy is the implementation of new movements and reactions for the standard enemies. As we progressed into the game we realized that it was relatively easy to dodge the guards, as they only had three poses of aim and a close range melee attack. We are now implementing a new and complex system that allows enemies to locate Subject W in any position in front of them. This required to add new positions of point and shoot, all hand made drawn (forced rotations look very seedy) and also implement key poses that link with other states in order to obtain realistic and smooth animations.
Investing in R&D
We've also added more variety of scientific equipment for the facility. We took references from authentic machines used in laboratories such as prototype printers, centrifuges, laminar flow cabinets and other chemical equipment. These are some of the hundreds of machines and stuff that you will see throughout the game. Hope you love the attention to details as much as we do.
And this are some of the things that we've been doing lately. Besides the bunch of extra work and the problems that appeared on the way we are striving to make Paradise Lost a damn great adventure. Thanks so much for give us your trust and your encouragement ;)