I apologize for the delayed update. I had hoped that there would be more info to share after a slight delay but unfortunately that is not the case - so I will be sharing a lot more concept art and behind the scenes images. We have a developer's meeting this weekend so there should be more juicy tidbits in the next update. In the meantime, here we go!
CONCEPT ART - "The Snowpeak Village"
This level is an important moment in the story of Anathema and is a real turning point in the narrative. This is an early concept art and doesn't reflect all of the ideas we now have for this level. The plans for this level are to implement a heavily vertical element - think the Waterfalls stage in Contra, but with horizontal elements also. As you progress through the level you will encounter windmills that introduce some new elements to the platforming. The player will be faced against strong gusts of wind that shift directions, either helping the player move faster and jump farther, or slowing their speed and shortening their jumps. Elevators will also be a major player in this level. We're really excited about the climax of this level as it will tremendously shake things up and introduce a really cool mechanic to the boss fight - we hope you will think the same thing when you play it.
CONCEPT ART - "Pyromancer"
This enemy will be found in the earlier part of the game and is actually a concept art that I revised this week from an earlier version. The Pyromancer is planned to be an intermediate enemy that gives the player a run for their money with a variety of attacks and is just a handful of AI-IQ away from a miniboss. She may not be a miniboss, but players should still feel the burn. Heh. Bad pun? ...okay
LEVEL DESIGN CONCEPT - "The Forest"
Something that I thought some of you may find interesting is the part where a level is actually designed, or "blocked out" as we refer to it internally. Here is a preliminary sketch that "blocks out" the progression of Stage 2 - "The Forest". Since this is mostly for the people interested in the level design part, this is all made in Clip Studio Paint EX, formerly known as Manga Studio by Smith Micro Software. (I really love the workflow with my Surface Pro.)
If you've played the demo, you will see there are some slight differences between the concept and the demo version. The first noticeable difference is there are no spikes in the first couple of pits, as we decided we wanted this to be more of how the player learns the patterns of the Dryads since they can be really difficult in the treetops, and the second pit is for a hidden subweapon.
The rest is mostly the same, except there is no longer a bridge after the second elevator, which is now replaced with the ruins area that also marks the checkpoint in the demo. The bridge was just simply too flat and wasn't interesting at all. The third and fourth elevators were removed entirely and replaced with more treetop jumping. This area is a loving little nod to Eruga's Forest in the NES version of Rygar. (Amazing game btw, one of my personal favorites by Tecmo.)
Lastly, the final piece of the layout was changed a bit and it leads to the boss of this area. All in all, the blueprint was followed pretty closely, but as you actually implement the concept to gameplay, some things just feel like they need a change.
ORIGINAL MOCKUP TO GAME VERSION - "The Graveyard"
As some of you know, this project has went through a ton of changes since its original conception in October 2014. We've learned a lot of new tricks along the way and keep finding ways to improve as we go along - which is great, but unfortunately, it slows down the development process. Luckily we're not on a strict deadline so we can make this game the best we possibly can with the resources available to us.
This image is what basically started it all. We had a few character concept arts, a few ideas and a general vision for the narrative. Some of the best games out there tend to start in a Graveyard (Ghosts 'n Goblins anyone?) so that was the initial vision here. Here is the initial concept from the first version of Anathema all the way to what it is today.
As you can see, this has came a very long way over the course of development. We feel that as time goes on, we do make the most of the time we're dedicating to development and improving as much as we can along the way. Being just a three-man team (currently, hoping for more soon) it makes things challenging to achieve our exact vision so we have to find ways to get it as close as possible within our available resources.
As mentioned above we have a developer's meeting this weekend. We will be discussing much in the way of the story, cutscenes and anything else we haven't previously finalized. Concept arts are getting closer and closer to finished and the script is getting close to its finishing point also. At which point we can gather everything and put the final touches on them and have the script editing taken care of so we can get with our cast to knock that out. Having everything planned out like this is going to make the development of the rest of the game much faster. In hindsight, I really wish we had taken this time to plan at first instead of along the way but we were eager to get things going and wanted to dive right in. Lesson learned. They say the main three rules of real-estate is "location, location, location". Well, the three rules of game development are actually "plan, plan, plan".
Thank you all for reading and following. If you would like to help contribute to the project, please share with your friends and help spread the word! We really appreciate you all and hope you stick with us for the rest of the ride!
See you in April!