The Average Gamer

Gravity Crash – Developer Q & A Part II

GravityCrash_Tb.jpgHere is the 2nd part of the Q & A with the Gravity Crash developers. Don’t forget to check out Gravity Crash Q & A part I and lots more Gravity Crash info.

Q – Are you hoping to emulate the success of WipEout HD on the PSN? Any plans for expansion packs in the future?

Dave Parsons (DP): We’ve really been too busy to see how well WipEout has done, and I have no idea how many units it’s sold.
We’d love for Gravity Crash to be really successful, but really have no idea how well it will resonate with the user base. We’ve had some very encouraging noises from quite a few people now, but they tend to be in the same age range as ourselves, who all grew up in the 8-bit era, and moved on from there. As for expansion packs, we do hope to be doing some extra stuff in the future. Maybe some new levels, and a few other extras, but we’re not going to commit to anything right now.

Stewart Gilray (SG): To echo what Dave said we want Gravity Crash to do well, only time will tell guess. Again, we’ve had idea for DLC for a while now, but that does depend on whether the sales warrant people wanting more. And also if we want to revisit it.

Q – The CoLD SToRAGE music really suits the game. Who’s brilliant idea was getting him involved?

DP: This was thanks to Stewart. He’s known Tim (Wright) for over twenty years, so got in touch to see if he’d be interested. He was, so we had a meeting with him back in February, and Tim just got on and produced the music, which we’re very happy with.

SG: Tim and I first worked together when I was hired to create the introduction sequence for PowerMonger back in the 16bit days, so yeah 20/21 years. I placed the call, since a) I knew him very well, and b) he’s obviously worked with Sony before on WipEout etc.

Q – Were there any particular technical challenges you faced during development?

DP: There were a number of tricky issues in the early days of development regarding collision, but they were mostly sorted out a long time ago. As always, the TRCs (for those unfamiliar with the term, it’s the checking of platform standards, e.g. the PlayStation button on the controller always working etc) issues can be painful to resolve, but we understand the importance of making sure all games on the platform behave in a consistent manner, so we just had to get on and sort things out, but it’s always a bit fiddly.

Dugan Jackson (DJ): The way we ended up creating the in-game art was quite unusual, although you see all the objects presented in a 2D neon style, they are actually made in 3D. We worked out a system in the end that allowed us to easily create and manage the geometry, as well as smooth export process to let everyone see it working in-game.

SG: One of the challenging things we had to work on was creating a system that allowed us to use the PSN for level sharing. We are the first PSN-only title to do this, and as such there was a fair amount of “invention” we had to do.


Q – Which bit of the game are you most happy with/proud of?

DP: I think it’s probably the basic flight mechanics. When I started making the game (over 3 years ago now), there was a lot of tweaking with thrust / rotation / gravity values, but that has now been fixed for a long time. The very nature of the game means the craft control is crucially important, and I’m pretty pleased with the way it works and feels. I’m also quite pleased with the glow effect we have. It has taken a lot of tweaking and tuning during development, but it’s working pretty well, and the game looks really dull in comparison if it’s turned off.

DJ: I think the editor is pretty amazing, you forget when you are deep in it creating levels, but the tool is really easy for novices to pick up as well as having technical depths for more experienced users – allowing infinite possibilities to creative gamers. I can’t wait to see what people come up with, crazier stuff the better!

SG: If I’m completely honest – the whole thing. The guys have done an astounding job, and they’ve made me exceptionally proud.

Q – Why PSN and not Xbox Live Arcade? What was so attractive about PSN as a platform?

DP: We showed the game to Sony – and they said they were interested almost straight away. I had sent an earlier version to Microsoft some time ago, when it was just myself developing it. They expressed some interest, but wanted online multiplayer, and this was simply not possible on a financial basis (for me to buy the required development kits) or to get all the work done on my own. So, we’re pretty happy we went with Sony – they’ve shown a lot of faith in us getting the job done, and mostly just left us to get on with it.

SG: Sony are incredibly open about working with small independent developers, be it offering development support, or just plain opportunity to work on the Platform. Whereas Microsoft are a tougher nut to crack. We’ve dealt with Microsoft on multiple occasions and to be honest, unless you know the right people there you can’t even get in the door. That alone is enough for me to want to continue our relationship with Sony at this time.

Gravity Crash is released on the 24th Nov 09 on the PlayStation Network.