KKND 2: Krossfire Development Diary
It's been decided that units for the Survived and Evolved will have altered (or perhaps "evolved") since the original KKND, now 40 years in the past, to suit the background and ideology of the two racesfor example, the Evolved now only use trained creatures and are abandoning mechanical units altogether. So, now they'll have a Bull-Ant Tanker instead of a normal Oil Tanker. And with the inclusion of a HUGE unit for each side, amphibious and aerial units, there are a whole lot of new units to look forward to. I think the concepts of these unitssuch as the Death Hippo and the Pteranodonare pretty cool!
After reading the design concepts for the units, I went and bothered the artists to see how they were going. Well, they were going great guns - not helped, of course, by my endless requests to see more. But I liked what I sawI think they're really imaginatively thought out. These little guys careened across the screen like they were alivethat's half a dozen frames per animationthat's a lot of precise detail work, especially on the really tiny guysit's a pixel by pixel slog.
The sprites for all three races are easily distinguishable, not only because they are color-codedblue for Survivors, red for Evolved and yellow for the Series 9but also because they have a distinctive visual style due, in part I'm sure, to the fact that each race is being created by a different artist. Toby's Series 9 units and buildings tend towards a dark matt metallic color, with an emphasis on tubes and squat cylinders. Jeremy's Evolved art shows the race's reliance on giant ribcages of long-extinct animals to construct their red and ivory dwellings. Dan's Survivor buildings have a bit more shine to them, and tend to shy away from the tubes-and-cylinder look favored by the S9, opting more often for the practicality of flat planes in their structures. The infantry of the different races are easily distinguishablethe Series 9 are robots: sometimes droid-like and sometimes mech-like; the Evolved look more and more like beasts with their snouted faces and odd-colored skin; and the Survivors, well, they still look like humans (and it's a good thing too).
Although there are new units in
both the Survivors' and the Evolved's camp, it's the Series 9 units
that are generating the most interest. They have weird alien-looking
buildings and vehicles and "kill everything that moves"
'tude. And although the infantry-type units do not regenerate like
the veteran units of the Survivors and Evolved (you knew they did
that, right?) they are much tougher than their counterparts in the
other two armies. And they have funny metallic voices.
This week Shane has implemented translucency effects for explosions and some other things. What it means, simply, is that you can now see the terrain or units or whatever beneath the explosion. It's a neat piece of coding, as you have to meld the terrain colors with the animation of the explosion to get this effect. It seems such a little detail, but things like this actually makes a real difference to the look of the game, changing it from a 2D map to a 3D experience! Shadows use this effect as well. Especially cool are the shadows for aerial unitsthe game's perspective means that they appear a great distance from the actual units, emphasizing just how high above the ground the aerial units are flying. Shadows on the water are good too, but it's the way ripples and splashes are generated when amphibious units swish through the water that make these units so cool. These simple effects make a great impact on the realistic look and feel of the game.
They're talking about naming KKND2 "Karavan of Karnage." Oh puleez! Send in the Klowns! Will this naming silliness never end? One day I'll write a treatise "On the Subtitling of Computer Games" but not today.
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