Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Flaming Zombie Rats

Copyright 2001 Microsoft Corporation

This is another of the early visual prototype screens produced by Gary Hanna and his awesome team in the Fall of 2001.

People have sometimes asked why our version of the French Quarter was so twisty and bendy when the city of New Orleans was originally laid out using straight Cartesian principles. That's mostly a question of art direction, but I'm convinced that part of this has to do with the city itself. It just feels bendy. After a few Hurricanes, everything does. Even Descartes would have a hard time finding his hotel.

Ah, flaming zombie rats. We hardly knew ye. These were probably my favorite concept among the first generation of monsters we created for Voodoo Vince. They sort of floated around the French Quarter moaning and farting little fireballs. They were eventually cut and replaced with the Bomber Beetles. They were charming, in a bizarre sort of way, but were too lackluster and sad once we saw them in action.

Another part of the game that saw numerous changes was the combat system. The first approach we tried can be seen in the way Vince is attacking the hapless FZR. At one point we tried a system where all combat was carried out by Vince harming himself. Each time he stabbed, beat or burned himself a jolt of magical stuff would create the appropriate reaction in the enemies.

It had potential but there were some intrinsic problems, most of which had to do with Vince feeling too isolated from the monsters. I'll get into that whole story in a later post.


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