Friday, 30 April 2010

Kotaku Talk Radio

Last Wednesday I was on the Kotaku Talk Radio along with three fellow Ruffian designers, Steve Ianetta, Dean Smith and Graham Wright. It was great fun, and I feel we may have at last put to rest the bone of contention that is transforming cars and the lack of female agents – both of which I believe are non issues, but people get can become attached to features no matter how big or small – I for one haven’t enjoyed Halo multiplayer since the removal of health/health packs post Halo: Combat Evolved.

Co op funYou can download the podcast over at iTunes or directly here.

For those who want further explanation for the elephant in the room, please read on.

Transforming cars were a feature that I had personally forgotten about until the mid point of Crackdown 2’s development. You have to understand, most of my work has been below the ground around freak lairs - cars are not plentiful in these locations, although you can bring them with you…

There were multiple reasons to drop morphing cars, one of those was memory. Contrary to common forum dweller belief, when one crams as many features as we have into the game, you begin to discover that a console’s power is finite. There is a set amount of memory to use and we had already allocated it with our many other game features (which players can and will take advantage of when we release this July). That’s not to say this ends up bad for the player – not in the slightest. In the first Crackdown, as you levelled up your driving skill you were provided upgrades to the Agency vehicles, the most fun/important of which was the Agency SUV which allowed Agents to drive/bounce up vertical surfaces (provided they were handy enough behind the wheel). This ability was not granted until the player had maxed out their driving level, which is something very few people achieved (based upon achievement statistics and Microsoft user tests). Now we are providing all vehicles fully maxed out from the get-go. As soon as a vehicle is in your possession, you are able to use it to it’s full abilities. Enjoy.

Chopper simRemember, this time we have a helicopter.

It’s fucking awesome.

Next up, female agents.

In the early stages of development these were planned (it’s true, I’ve seen concept art) but as with the other elephant in the room they were dropped due to technical limitations; memory required for an entire batch of animations to match the male character, the texture sets, the character model, the head models… this would have impacted other areas of the game, where we were crafting a bigger, better and more badass experience.

Say hello to my little friendAlso, Ruffian Games is a fucking sausage fest.

So there.

I hope that clears up some of the issues remaining from the podcast. I think it went really well, though the following events did not go without hiccup, in the hysteria following I got rather inebriated and smashed my iPhone screen - £146. Ouch.

If anyone knows of a reliable cover/protector for iPhones, please let me know in the comments below – I don’t want to be replacing any more screens in a hurry.

Oh and thanks to Brian Crecente and Stephen Totilo for having us on.