Planet KKND 2
The definitive KKND 2 Krossfire site

KKND 2: Krossfire Development Diary

Page 3

Click to Enlarge DesertIt'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 races—for 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 units—such as the Death Hippo and the Pteranodon—are 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 saw—I think they're really imaginatively thought out. These little guys careened across the screen like they were alive—that's half a dozen frames per animation—that's a lot of precise detail work, especially on the really tiny guys—it's a pixel by pixel slog.

The sprites for all three races are easily distinguishable, not only because they are color-coded—blue for Survivors, red for Evolved and yellow for the Series 9—but 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 distinguishable—the 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 units—the 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.

Click to Enlarge Survivor Buildings

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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