Thursday, September 06, 2007


As some of you know, I was not involved in Twisted Metal:Black 2 while it was originally in production. I was tied up on God Of War at the time and could only watch from afar as Sweet Tooth and the boyz (yes, I'm kidding with the 'z') had another go. But for reasons to be revealed in the upcomming TM Doc, TM:BLACK 2 was canned and for a while, those levels just sat around, collecting virtual dust.

Well now we're bringing some of the coolest levels back to life and putting them on the port of TM:HEAD ON in a bonus game we're calling TWISTED METAL:LOST. Lost will have a handful of the levels (prob. 5) from the cancelled TMB2. And these lost levels are what I've been working on the last few weeks. Take a look:

So I sit here in San Diego- as well as the days I'm out in Utah- and we try to figure out how to get these levels to play great, especially in multiplayer. I send my little photoshopped images with my chicken scratch all over them out to the magic makers in Utah and then sit anxiously, waiting for a new built to go up on the network to see if I've guessed right in the changes I've asked for ...and they are all guesses, believe me! Sometimes we get lucky and it plays great...other times it's crap and we go back to the drawing board.

See those big red bars? Those are just placeholder- obviously- barriers thrown in to test out what reconfigurations of the maps could feel like. Sometimes they are just adding a little path to streamline things a bit...other times tossing up some of those giant walls changes how the level plays entirely.

NOTE: Lots of the art in these images is placeholder, like the ground texture which- clearly- is not finished. But you guys can handle some REAL behind the scenes stuff, right? Vs. the bullshit 'behind the scenes' stuff game co's usually toss out...this is the real deal, bitch! This is what game production actually looks like! Ahem....anyway....Just FYI :)

But if the game was so far along when it was canned, wasn't the play already established for these levels? Well, before the original game was canned, the levels were really just nice looking levels with cool ideas but not a whole lot of gameplay love given to them. So now we find ourselves mixing maps together, chopping out entire sections, and adding entire areas of gameplay to make them work. It's actually a really fun design exercise: instead of starting from scratch you're given a bunch of left over parts and pieces and asked to make it fun! And it really is a ton of fun doing it. It's great to see a level take shape before your eyes, to see one or two adjustments make the difference between crap and fun. I'm having a ball and really looking forward to player reactions to these new battlegrounds.

We're also trying to lock our logo down for the new venture. It's tough because on one hand we plan on doing these hard core Sony titles for hardcore and medium core gamers. And that seems to demand a specific kind of logo. But on the OTHER hand we plan on doing casual titles for more mainstream players...and THAT seems to demand a totally different kind of logo. I've been obsessing looking at game boxes from companies like Komami and Capcom where they put out casual and hardcore games. I wanted to see if the logos they chose could travel between game styles... and you know, you don't even think about it. It just kind of is and eventually, you just don't even think about it. Komani has Silent Hill and MGS but the same little red and white Komani logo also graces the cover of DDR. So it kind of doesn't matter.

And I know that...intellectually I get it: the logo matters only if the products matter. But when you own part of the damn company, suddenly it DOES matter....the trick is to be aware that it really only matters to you and some of the team and that gamers- end of the day- will only care about the logo if the products they get from you are amazing. So maybe that's my way of telling myself to stop obesssing about it, pick a fucking logo, and get back to working on the stuff that matters! Thanks Blog! I appreciate it! And cheaper than a therapist too!

Ok, heading to work (which means going to get a bagel and then coming right back here to my office to focus on Twisted Metal)...hope things are going well for all ya'll out there! Shit man, fall is coming! I'm so jazzed! Halloween stuff is already up at Rite Aid and I can sense the shift in the great man! So ready for fall! Ok, see ya!