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Skip Navigation LinksPlayHard > In English > Zeno Clash [Developers' Diaries #1]

Название: Zeno Clash
Разработчик: ACE Team
Зарубежный издатель: ACE Team
Издатель в России: Новый Диск
Официальный сайт игры: перейти
Системные требования:
P4-3.0, 1 GB RAM, 128 MB 3D Card
P4-3.0, 1 GB RAM, 128 MB 3D Card
MultiPlayer: нет
Жанр: Action, First Person Shooter
Игра вышла: 21.04.2009
Рейтинг: 7.5

Keeping our promise, we're bringing you the Diaries from the creators of the upcoming game Zeno Clash. The developers are working really hard every day without holidays to deliver this innovative and entertaining project on time. Month after month Carlos Bordeu (one of the founders, co-lead designer and artist from ACE Team) will tell us how the creative process has been going. The first part covers all the events taken place at the studio in February-May of the year 2008. Be the one to know and see some cool pictures below!


February, 2008. During February we launched the official Zeno Clash website with the first teaser video. Even though it may seem as a simple task, things like these consumed a lot more time than we predicted and we even had a few bumps in the road with the website launch. We had a lot of problems with the hosting and many people weren’t capable of accessing the website properly, which wasn’t very good if we were making our online debut. The hosting problems were eventualy fixed, but it caused us a lot of headaches.

This month was also an important period in the development of Zeno Clash since it was mainly dedicated to polish and close a single playable demo level of the game. This playable demo was a pre-alpha build that we sent to our Russian publisher Noviy Disk. The game has progressed a lot since then. Working on a single level for a longer period allowed us to reach a good level of polishment. The backside was leaving the rest of the game unattended for some time, which altered our schedule a bit.

In terms of the full game there was a lot of mixed up development on all fronts. For instance, we worked a lot on improving the lighting of our characters using “back-lights” or “rim-lights”. It was important to have good lighting for our dynamic characters and we wanted them to be lit by 3-point-lighting (main light + secondary light + rim light). The rim light was complicated since it is basically a light that always stays behind your character to contrast him/her from the background (this is commonly used in both films and 3D-art). Our first experiment was trying to link a spotlight to the player’s camera view and render it behind the characters. This worked strangely and had several issues, since we had to mask the light so it only affected characters. It also had glitches when the player moved or looked in certain angles. It also didn’t look very well in specific environments. We eventually changed to a shader version brought in by the later builds of the Source engine. The very first screens of Zeno Clash used the old rim-light technique and the most obvious one is the bar environment.

The big fat guy lighted by our old spotlight technique

March, 2008. At the beginning of March we gathered to determine the tasks required to perform a first pass of overall polishment for a period of three months. We created short weekly goals that would allow us to progress on every level during this time.

The development of Zeno Clash has been a bit different than other projects we have worked on previously because instead of planning the game level-by-level until completion, we have been working on the game as a whole in “layered” passes during short weekly sessions. The advantage of working on the game as a whole is that the game receives a more leveled attention to detail. The first levels we work on should look as good as the last ones because we have been working on everything since very early. Our goal is to have a preliminary state of the complete game early on and not rush the final pieces near the end of our schedule. Obviously you can’t have a high level of polishment from the start, because if you are working on short iterations of all the levels you don’t have enough time to have them in their best quality.

Usually in chronological development (where you do levels one by one until completion) you tend to have more time for the first ones because deadlines are further away and you’re not in crunch time at the beginning. It can get complicated because if you don’t finish the early levels on time you end up eating development time of the later levels. Maybe this is a reason why many games have much better first levels than final ones (this and also because most of the times the first levels sell the game).

The disadvantage of layered passes (our method), is that everything is constantly in a state of work-in-progress and it makes things much harder when you need to gather promotional material or media such as screenshots or videos. You have much less material that can be considered polished. A good example of this is Oxameter’s screenshot. This screenshot was released with an environment that was missing the final pass of lighting (projected shadows and ambient occlusion).

The difference of how it looked when we displayed it and how it looks now

April, 2008. During April we had our first testing session with players who had never seen the game. The testing sessions proved to be very useful and influenced some design changes on the combat mechanics that are currently present in the game. Zeno Clash has its own unique gameplay and part of the fun will be to learn the combat mechanics of the game. Despite the glitches and the design issues we encountered during testing all the players enjoyed the gameplay, so it seems we are on a good track. Getting the learning curve and difficulty balanced is and will continue to be a crucial part of the combat mechanics.

Our first testing session

May, 2008. May was the last month of our first pass of polishing on all levels. This doesn’t mean that the game was already playable from start to end. The game was still in a pre-alpha state, with a lot of holes in terms of gameplay and progression, but one could already get a feel of how every level would play. Having a “canvas” to work on for every level has enabled us to be constantly busy, looking for creative solutions using the existing tools. This allows us to make faster decisions, not having to cope with rigid & incremental planning methods. 

That’s a recap of previous months. We’ll be updating the diaries in the later on and giving more info on the progress of Zeno Clash. Stay tuned!

Carlos Bordeu, ACE Team 

24.06.2008 10:33, Unicorn


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База игр: перейти
Новости: 05.02.2010 Названа точная дата выхода Zeno Clash: Ultimate Edition
05.10.2009 ACE Team готовит ультиматум
25.06.2009 ACE Team роет яму для поклонников Zeno Clash
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26.05.2008 Анонс (RU): Zeno Clash
29.08.2007 Анонс: Zeno Clash
Анонсы: Zeno Clash
Обзоры: Zeno Clash
Интервью: Zeno Clash. Интервью с Карлосом Бордо
Интервью с Карлосом Бордо, ACE Team
Читы: Zeno Clash
Прохождения: Zeno Clash
Тренеры: Zeno Clash [+4]
Zeno Clash [+6, update #4]
Zeno Clash [+6, update #1]
Zeno Clash [+6]
Ролики: Zeno Clash: Ultimate Edition [X360-trailer, 1:03, mp4, 640x352]
Zeno Clash: Ultimate Edition ["Rush Mode", 1:08, mov, HD 720p]
Zeno Clash: Ultimate Edition [GDC 2010 trailer, 1:41, mov, HD 720p]
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Zeno Clash Ultimate Edition ["New attacks", 1:06, mov, HD 720p]
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Zeno Clash [Dev Diary #1, 1:59, mov, 720x480]
Zeno Clash [gameplay, 1:47, mov, 1280x800]
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Демо-версии: Zeno Clash
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