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Sacrifice Development Update: Episode 1

GameSpy chats with Joby Otero, "Sacrifice" Art Director, hard at work putting the final touches on the 3D RTS.

By - Joby Otero

Things are well for our crew. There is a growing sense about the team of bringing things to a close.

Painters know this sensation well. It's that sense one gets from stepping back from a painting in progress and seeing for the first time a glint of that which he set out to do in the first place. A game developer ought to have many of these minor epiphanies along the way; the occurrence of such things growing in infrequency and diminishing in strength as one approaches the final strokes.

Of course, a game developer can get to the first of these moments only to break down and cry for finding that what they set out to create just isn't fun. We've been lucky to have gotten past that hurdle and found our concept not wanting. Whew, that was lucky!

Now we're just going to have to finish this thing so we can see if the gaming public agrees. Sure, we've had focus tests and those have gone exceptionally well, but they are no substitute for a final release and the public reaction to it.

Anyway, here's is a recap of our BIG headlines from the last few months:

We will have one hero wizard in the single-player campaign. There are many reasons for this. But, the main one is that this will allows us to create a much stronger story around the character. Jon has completed the design, modeling, and texturing of this character--whose name is still forthcoming from our writer James Phinney. Manjit will soon finish the animations for our hero. This is not a hold-up of course; because we already have several wizards modeled and animated that work just fine for placeholder purposes.

All the wizards will be playable in multiplayer battles. There are over a dozen, so that's nothing to sneeze at. The number of single-player missions has been set at 46. All five-environment art sets are now complete, save for a few single-player mission structures (SPMs). This doesn't include the Ethereal Realm, which operates a little differently and isn't a battle-playable art set.

All cast-able creatures, indigenous creatures, wizard, god models, and animations are complete, and now just need clean-up and second pass tweaking (or adjustment for gameplay reasons). This is a big, big milestone.

There are 57 cast-able creatures, 14 wizards, five gods, and 15 indigenous creatures, each modeled and animated with far more detail than one would ever see in the game. All spells are functioning. This is another very big milestone. There are over 50 magic spells and 57 cast-able creature spells.

We've reduced the number of unique creatures that each of the five gods will give to equaling ten per god. This is down from 11.

The reasons are several:

  • 1.) We wanted a little more differentiation between the kinds of creatures each god gives. Now Stratos will have a even more of an air advantage, James even more of a ground advantage and so on...

  • 2.) We changed the mission structure a bit and, since the rewarding of spells in single-player is tied to completion of missions, it made more sense to change the spell list. Of course, we won't be throwing any of that work away. We may release it later as part of an upgrade pack. Its nice to be in a position to pull stuff out to make the game tighter instead of desperately trying to find time to add stuff.

We finally have the Ethereal Realm in. This is the meeting place for all the gods. It's also the realm that the player travels to between each single-player mission. Here the player has a more tranquil setting in which to hear the gods bicker and bargain for his servitude. Although I haven't completed all the art yet, it is functionally there and we can now tie the missions together and see how they flow as a campaign, which is really the last of our huge milestones.

Next: Otero speaks on VO and play testing...

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