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Andreas Hermanspann kindly took the time to answer a few questions for this month's interview.
Q: How many people are working at Antaris?
A: Just me actually. First of all, I am not team-compatible. I find it hard to coordinate and delegate. I prefer working alone. Due to my real job with very irregular working hours I can never tell in advance when I will have some spare time to work on a game. I can't even promise to meet deadlines. I worked in some teams for other peoples' projects but most of them ended up in nothing somehow. Apart from that, I am easily offended and tend to behave like a little child in these cases which can be quite annoying sometimes.
Q: I am told that your game has huge playable levels. Can you tell us the size (in quants) of the average level?
A: I don't know what a quant is, but yes, they are pretty large. I am providing a screenshot from WED that will show the size of the levels.
Q: What’s the advantage of creating levels out of smaller, glued wmb parts when compared with regular, block-based levels of the same size?
A: I think I adapted this from a 3DGS manual. It said that placing precompiled wmb entities in a level would save processor speed as these entities were already calculated. I guess that is the reason. I tried it and it seems to work; my levels mainly consist of wmb-modules. This allows me to build much bigger indoor or outdoor levels with much more portals. Yet I have to limit the visibility by putting blocks in the line of sight.
Q: What type of AI are you using for the game? What problems did you encounter with the AI?
A: Currently, I use the template AI with some little tweaks, as I am no good at coding. I hope to find someone who will help me with the AI. I am a level designer and model builder and I always found it hard to learn scripting (though, I am still trying).
Q: If you’d start creating the game, what would you do in a different way?
A: Quite a lot, I guess. First of all, I would start with a design document and not just by building the first level and see how it goes. If you don't have a clear idea of what you want, chances are that you get lost somewhere on the way.. like so many project have done before.
I would have a different attitude towards critics. Criticism might be a good thing. Other people might see mistakes that you don't see. On the other hand, a lot of people came up with wishes I couldn't fulfill. They wanted e.g. five different keyboard controls, an extra ladder or stairs because they didn't want to find out themselves how to get out of a pit etc. This stuff distracted me from building the game and frustrated me so much that I rebuilt the game three times.
Q: Did you get any offer from a publisher yet?
A: No... I don't think it is good enough for a commercial title. I gave up the idea of making the next number one kickass game and I am having more fun now..
Q: Could you tell us the name of your favorite game development tools?
A: 3DGS.. never had the time to try anything else - apart from 3D Gamemaker which I tried once and found it was joke. I like 3DGS because of its simplicity and because of the fun I am having with it.
Q: Please give us a few tips for the beginners.
- Start with a small project... make a little shooter with 4 or 5 levels just to get familiar with the tools.
- Get yourself a design document. Write down everything in a structured way: how should the levels look like, what weapons do you want, which enemies will be in the game. Write a little background story and try to integrate it into the levels by letting the player read or hear messages.
- If you have no idea on how your levels should look like, take a look at some 3d gallery webites, like 3Dchannel, 3dStudio, 3dtotal, etc. There are thousands of websites with 3d artists out there which might inspire you.
- Take a look at game screenshots on the internet. Try to learn from how the experts built levels for top selling games.
- Setting lightmaps diligently to create nice shadow effects, placing sound effects and music and using the right color of light can improve the atmosphere of your level significantly.
Thank you a lot, Andreas.