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development (part 5 of 6)

[January 2004] We now had a clear idea of what our core game would be built upon, but we also had a distinct lack of levels. Only one level was playable in any way. Introversion Software held a series of disaster meetings to try to plan how to proceed, and the result was called XTreme1. The basic idea was to bang out a complete version of the game, with all levels blocked out, in less than a month. We pulled together all the ideas we'd had for the plot and designed 10 game levels, and set to work building them at extremely rough quality. The aim was simply to build the framework of the game, and then improve upon that framework until time ran out. These screenshots are from the Xtreme version of the Mine level, with the basic functionality of the level already working and playable.

[April 2004] All in all the Xtreme version of the game did a fantastic job of pulling everything together...for the first time we had a game with connected levels that could be played from start to finish. Unfortunately, as you can see from the screenshots, we had no monsters. These had been left out as we couldn't see the point in simply flooding every level with the basic Virus monster. So we again held some catastrophe meetings and designed some new monster types that would populate the world. These shots show the early screen-tests of the Centipede and the Spider monster.

[April 2004] By now we were on a roll, with a much clearer idea of what the final game would look like. We'd finally settled on a name for the game : Darwinia, and a plot about an invading Virus and an evolving species under threat of extinction. The Laser Troopers had been renamed to Darwinians and their code improved steadily until they behaved much more like individuals, fleeing from danger and wailing in pain.

[The GlobalWorld] During all this time we had a lot of trouble coming up with a "campaign map" that would connect each of the locations together into one complete world. We eventually hit upon the idea of building the world inside a giant sphere (which we probably nicked from Star Trek), but that took some doing and underwent many different iterations. These screenshots show the development of the global world view during mid 2004. It's interesting to note that a lot of the story of the final game came out of seemingly random decisions made around this time.

Continue to Part 6 of 6


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