Hello blog. It’s been awhile since we last spoke. Things have been hectic as usual; we are less than two weeks away from our alpha date. This would definitely qualify as one of the tougher times on the project to date. We have to have everything that is going to be in the game done to about 50-70% completion. Sounds fairly simple, but it is soooo not. The good thing is we are in a better position at this point (in relation to alpha date) that we were on God of War 1…so we got that going for us. But unfortunately that news does little to ease the pain of the long hours. Actually I may be over dramatizing it a bit…the hours are long but not terrible. It is more the amount of time we have been putting in the hours that wears you down. In the end though it will all be better for the game so it is worth it.
We had a nice early night week last week. Everyone got to go home at a decent hour and recharge for this last push to alpha. This really helped, but it also gives you that taste of normalcy, which really makes it hard to go back to the late nights.
SO let’s see…what is the haps. I got everyone’s emails for the demo and I have a running list. Not sure about all the non-US peeps, but I will see what I can do. I am all about sending them, just got to check with the “man” and make sure I can do that. Anyway…new with the game…we are working on a few bosses simultaneously and getting those into tip top shape. The one cool thing about the last few weeks to alpha is that every single day I am seeing something new get in the game in a close to final form. That is truly what keeps me going through all of this.
I have been doing some fight tuning with Nate the last few days, though I haven’t been able to do as much as I would like due to the numerous interruptions for meetings and last minute documentation and such. But we were working on a fight that would take place late in the game yesterday so I started bringing over people to test it out and make sure it wasn’t too hard. After the first few people we started getting a large group of people stopping by and trying the fight out. Now at this stage it is hard to get the exact tuning of a fight since we don’t have the final tuning on the blades, weapons or magic…but right now I am just trying to get the right vibe for each fight. The vibe for this specific fight was to make it hard, but also to engage you enough to want to go back and beat it if you died. Now it was crude, with several annoying little bugs, but in the end I think we achieved that. It was also great to have a group of people, who have been slaving away on this game for the last year and a half, sitting around and laughing and challenging g each other to finish the fight. It is moments like those that say something about the work we are all doing…that even though we should be tired of this game…we are not. I just hope this will translate to all of you as well.
Another cool thing to see was the further implementation of one of the weapons. Eric (Combat guy) had some great ideas for control mapping on the weapon and I finally got to see how other people would use it while they play. I think this new addition will really add a lot to the weapon.
I have been working with Charlie, our Visual development director, on the box art for the game the last few days. I think we have found a really good direction to go in so now he is going to go in and take the thumbnails to a more finished look.
I have also been working with Ariel (Editor and AP) to fine tune our cinematics and trim out all the unnecessary fat. This is hard. Because when you write the script for the story you think you are only putting in what is absolutely necessary to tell the story properly. So going in and trying to find ways to trim the movies down, after having already trimmed them down like 20 times before, is tough. That is the beauty of having an outside opinion of a good editor. They can look at the material that you are so close to and give you an objective opinion on what is really there and what is needed to convey the point. Though she is not totally an outside opinion since she also did some work on the script with me and the other writers…but hey beggars can’t be choosers right?
I met with Jo (level designer) and Michael (Lead Level Designer) about some last minute tweaks to some puzzles in one of our levels. It was good to finally see these puzzles get worked out. We had designed the areas such a long time ago, at a point where we were creatively drained, so there were a few puzzles that we just said “Ahh…we will figure this out later.” In hindsight I realize it was not the best of ideas, but both of them came through in a pinch and put together a couple of pretty cool puzzles. I also got to see Jeremy’s (Level designer) implementation of a puzzle in his level. It is something that Michael pitched to me a week or two ago and it sounded pretty cool, but with these things it is so hard to tell if something is really going to be fun from just a pitch. Finally getting to see it and play it proved that it is going to be fun. We just need to work out a few details about it and then it is ‘in there like swimwear.’
I saw the first rough sculpt of the action figure and it is coming along really nicely. I can’t wait to see the final product…and for all of you to see it as well. I think you will be pretty psyched…if you like that sort of thing. If you don’t, well we have God of War handguns as well…maybe that’s your thing? Or how about our God of War Flamethrowers? The kids seem to love this one.
Well it is Saturday at 9:20am and I got to start getting ready to head into the office.