Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Current status/What does pre-production mean?

As have been stated, AvsB is currently in the stage of pre-production. But what does this mean? Or to parafrase a question recieved due to our profile at stating '10% done' - "How can you work on the mod before the game is out?".

First off, the number of 10% isn't accurate, but ModDB only allowes multiples of ten to be selected (a drop-down box). But entering 0% would indicate we haven't done anything, and that is far from true.

Pre-production essentially means one starts to plan the development-phase and everything around it.

First thing one has to do before a large project is to get a basic 'design document' going. It might only start out focusing on the idea, the unique feature or whatever you are aiming for. However, especially if you are a group of designers, this will quickly be extended to grasp the whole upcomming game - and more often then not a whole lot more. It's usually better to come up with more features, items, ideas you have to cut then not enough...especially at an early stage to avoid being stuck in 'have to make up the last thing we though would be so easy once the game started taking shape'-trap. As it usually end up sucking anyway...or you end up stealing something directly from a competitor. Yes DICE, I'm looking at you...

So...first thing I did, next to us having two nights of brainstorming over the original idea [that we now have extended upon and reduced to a feature of many], was to start writing down what should be included. And since this mod is about infantry-combat the first thing one has to do is list what the players will get to play I started listing guns. And projectiles. And materials. And formulas to calculate drift, drop, penetration, damage-reduction, deviation and fragmentation...

This was the summer of 2006 (yes, we decided to start in time, besides by that time people still thought ET:Quake Wars might be released around the time of the QuakeCon-event) and we have continued on from then with the documentation, albeight at a somewhat slower speed then during those first months. A sideeffect of knowing that we cannot get the hands on the engine for many more months. =)

We are now confident that the release-date is starting to close in of ET:QW. No, not this month, nor next...but close enough into the future that posting job-ads has a point. Especially concept artists, to convey the design document to the modelers, written ideas for the mappers and so on. Things are starting to pick up speed again and you can expect more updates more frequently now.

Oh, and did I tell you we started prototyping using the D3-SDK already? Well, more about that some other time...


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