PAX Countdown, Day 13 – Drink Events and Animation Offsets

This is the first PAX Countdown post. I am going to try to do a brief post on our progress daily, or thereabouts. I meant to post this in the morning, but then more animation stuff blew up and we had to figure out a workaround.  Whee!!!

I leave for PAX West/Prime/Seattle on August 27th. Today, when I writing this, it’s the 14th. Well, actually, it’s 2:41am on the 15th, but let’s call it the 14th, shall we? That means we have 13 days to go, and a lot of work to do between now and then. I’m going to try to blog (quickly) each day with a status update, and maybe a picture or video of the sometimes inane stuff that one has to do when making video games.

The Goal(s)

Our goal for PAX this year is to have the new High-rise level in the game and working with all new fancy artwork, and have all 10 of the new art characters working in the map. Plus, we want to have the entire UI players see when they sit down at the booth to be new and fancy. Basically, I’ve shown the game at PAX for four years now (!), and I’m very lucky that people still line up to play it, but every year it’s been Beginner vs Beginner Ballroom with the old art.  The game has changed a ton over that time, but mostly for experienced players, and so this year I want people who stop by the booth to see a completely new game, and a taste of what the game will look like when it’s finished, some time before the sun expands to engulf the Earth.

Another Goal?

I have an optional secondary goal which I’m still evaluating and haven’t made a decision on yet, which is whether to sell copies of SpyParty at the booth.  I have some cool ideas about how to do this, but it’s a lot of extra work, and I’m nervous about taking on that burden when we’re already swamped. I’ll post more about this in the next few days as I make the decision.  Print deadlines mean I need to make the call by Monday.

This Is My Life For The Next Two Weeks

Right now, we’ve got all the new animations working on the new characters in Maya, but hooking them up in the game means finding all the tiny little things that can go wrong.  There are hundreds of animations already, and small things that need adjusting on a lot of them, and this is before tuning and playtesting them.



  1. Coderro says:

    I find it really interesting that you are making a new-art map for 10 characters specifically rather than just creating a palette swap of each new-art model so that you can fill out any size of map with them. You probably have it right though, since showing a build with palette swaps could give people the wrong idea, and might affect the gameplay in bad ways too because of players possibly confusing the two versions of a character.

    • Toboshi says:

      I remember him saying once that he had experimented with palette swaps, but because of how unique the characters are (each have custom animations and whatnot) it feels disrespectful of them to use palette swaps.  I admit it would seem a bit odd to have 2 papa-dangers walking around. =)

    • checker says:

      Yeah, actually before last PAX, when we did the first 5, we made texture swaps of them to get 10 or 15 characters, and it just looked really wrong.  I was surprised, I expected it to work, but the increased fidelity of the characters, and the fact that they have more personality (at least visually) made the texture swaps look super cheap and out-of-place.  It was an interesting lesson in how visual fidelity scales.  The old-art characters are all texture swaps of each other and nobody minds, including me. Weird!

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