On Going Dark

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On Going Dark

Hello everyone! Long time no see. So the last blog post I wrote was on the 13th of November, over eight months ago. There have been a few changes to happen at Anvil Drop since then, and I wanted to go over some of those things here.

So, where to start?

I guess with the team. Bad news first. Unfortunately, Cass, Alex, and Aaron have decided to leave the project to pursue other things. I don’t want to get into the details, but I do want to say that nothing bad happened. We’re still all close, and I wish them all luck with anything they decide to do in the future. Anyway, the good news. We have a whole bunch of new people!

Over the last few months, Paul, Jeff and I have been trying to build a team that can build the game that’s in our heads. And, as of now, we’re pretty close. We’ve found a bunch of really talented, really hungry, folks that are as excited to see Anomaly 1729 come to life as we are. I encourage everyone to check out their profiles on our About page.

That’s the new name of the game by the way, Anomaly 1729. Wow, it has been a long time. I know it’s a bit of a mouthful, but it’s very important to the story and overall themes of the game.

And there have been a lot of other major changes to the game. So let’s get into that, why we’ve been away for so long.

After we finished the IGF build, we stepped back and looked at the game as whole, looking at the gameplan, what experience we were trying to deliver, and what we were trying to say with the gameplay. And we didn’t really like what we found. Everything about the experience was very basic and underdeveloped, and we had put so much emphasis on the world rotation that the mechanic itself quickly became boring after 4-6 levels. I’d like to go into the design details in another blog, but we basically came to the conclusion that we needed some core redesigns.

And everything was on the table for change, except the rotation mechanic. That had to stay, but it didn’t have to stay the same.

So we went through the whole process of redesigning the core experience, redesigning the gameplay progression, and writing a new story. We added a lot of new mechanics that are both fun on their own but also work well together, and most importantly compliment the world rotation mechanic. Of course all of that is still evolving, but I really like where we’ve landed, and I’m really excited to share a lot of the new game’s design in the future.

It was also about this time that a lot of people were getting into the Unreal Engine 4 beta. There were a few aspects that were really appealing to us, most notably the new lighting, materials, and attachment systems. Attachments are just a way to stick one game object to another, which can come in handy when you’re rotating a bunch of objects. But, to be honest, it was mostly that UE4 was the new and shiny. After watching demos and talking with people from Epic and the beta, we thought it was a good time to transition because of how much was being redesigned anyway. It was a little rocky at first, but I couldn’t be happier with engine switch.

Apart from all the new bells and whistles, it’s just such a nice working environment. Which, again, I’ll go into more detail in the future.

So that’s why we’ve been dark for so long. We had some new tools and techniques to learn, a team to build, and an experience to flesh out. But…we’re back! And here to stay. You’ll certainly be hearing a lot more from me. There’s so much of the new game that I want to share, from the new systems to the level design to the art and the story and music, there’s so much awesome stuff to blog about.

Thanks for reading,
Donald