Projects, Updates and Flying Sheep!
Dr. Fastbro Issue #15
by, 10-22-2010 at 09:44 PM (538 Views)
The sort of stuff you'd expect from an Intro...
Horray! We're back! After a 4 month(ish) hiatus, I've finally got round relaunching the blog! And this time round there is even more great stuff than before! Expect old favourites such as 'Fastbro's Pick' and 'Creator of the Week' (Though the latter is getting a name change for reasons I'll soon get into...) and new features such as 'The Making of...'. So sit back, relax and enjoy!
In this Issue...
-An epic assortment of levels!
-We have a chat with SketchNZ!
-A behind the scenes look at The Right Stuffing!
My pick of the recently published levels...
I'm sorry to say, that if you thought I was going to cover the 4 months worth of levels I missed well, er... LOOK A PIGEON!
Crisis in Camelot by SalieriAAX
Aah, Salieri... With his wacky machines and historical hijinks, you really can't go wrong with one of his levels, and especially this one! Salieri creates a unique multi-path adventure where you have 3 different quests to persue! Does life get any sweeter?
Ruins of a Treasure God by XenonHMW
Do you looove addictively platforming? Do you looove insane bubble chains? No? Well go away! Oh sorry, you said yes? Well then play this level! It's a must play!
MEET THE CREATOR
I talk to one of the Community's best creators...
Ah, SketchNZ... So many great levels... From Water Works to Rock and Gems, SketchNZ is a truely fantastic creator. So decided to have a chat with him about... uh, stuff.
So Sketch, how did you first get into LBP?
Well it was my brother who found LBP PSP somewhere on the internet and he showed me knowing I love creating and customizing in games, but it was months away from being released so my brother and I waited for age's talking about what we could create and checking the PS store every day for a trailer or a demo. Finally after month's of trailer watching and demo playing it was in stores, but it was just before Christmas and mum told us to put it on our Christmas lists, So we waited another month or so and then we got it for Christmas, Thanks Mum! (wow I didn't know there was such a big story behind that)
What is your favorite level you've made and why?
Hmm its hard to say... I am really proud of my first official level published Water Works because it got such great feedback when I expected people to think it sucked, and when it got VelcroJonze's level of the week, LBL level of the week and a LBPC Spotlight I was quite surprised and super happy about it, it was also on the Featured Levels Page, I also think Rocks And Gems could be my favorite because that is the first level I have had on the front page of Highest rated and it has been Spotlighted. I like all my levels for different reasons I don't think I can pick just one.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from the Creators on the PSP side of LBP and there great levels they make, also playing PS1 games helps a lot when I have creators block.
What other games are you into other than LBP?
Oddworld Games are all awesome games and I'm into those kind of puzzle games with great stories. Speaking of puzzle games I am a huge fan of the Professor Layton Puzzle games for the Nintendo DS and well anything to do with customizing + multiplayer is my sort of game really.
Any hints on any upcoming levels?
Well most of you know I am in the 12 Days Before Christmas Project and I am doing a level in that series. But I'm also working on an all metal future type level.
THE MAKING OF... THE RIGHT STUFFING
How the professionals do it...
ZOMG! New feature alert! Basically I talk about one of the Community's most popular levels to it's Creator. This week I'll be talking about the classic, The Right Stuffing to it's creator Taffey. Let's get on with the interview shall we?
Where did your inspiration come from when making the level?
My inspiration for The Right Stuffing came from the movie The Right Stuff, which is based on the book of the same name by Tom Wolfe. If you haven't seen this movie, you truly owe it to yourself to see it. It's over 3 hours long but worth every hilarious and fascinating moment.
Anyway, The Right Stuff has been a favorite of mine for years, and it wasn't long after I got my hands on LBP PS3 that I thought it would be a good idea to make a level based around it. The play on words with "stuffing" came to mind while driving to work in November 2008, and from that point on I just knew I had to make the level a reality. At the time however I had no clue how to do that.
Did the level work out as originally planned, or were you forced to change/remove sections?
Plan, what's that? Ok, so before I answer that let me give you little more backstory. I began playing around with concepts as one of the very first things I ever did in LBP PS3 create mode. I quickly realized that there were many things I didn't know how to pull off, so instead I shifted focus and worked on a level based on the movie Tron that ended up being my first creation. I worked on The Right Stuffing a bit more, got annoyed with it, and created my next level. Then a bit more on Stuffing, then another level. And so forth and so on until I had published 5 levels and still had nothing to show for my work on Stuffing.
Did it work out as originally planned? No. This is partially because I had no plan, and also because nothing came out how I liked when I did plan it. I have a whole graveyard of stuff on my PS3 that never worked out. There's a really annoying centrifuge, a motion sickness simulator (that unfortunately actually makes you motion sick), a zero-gravity test machine (my favorite), variable-buoyancy instrumentation packs, moon buggies, and more. I even have an intro that I built that explains how Sackboy finds himself in the Space Corps training facility in the first place. If anybody out there with a PS3 is interested in taking a walk through my Hall of Shame I'd be happy to conduct tours.
What you're really asking, however, is: Did The Right Stuffing turn out how I planned on the PSP? In fact yes, it did. After a solid year of experimenting and failing utterly, I had a pretty good idea of what would work and what wouldn't. I had always wanted to do a level that consisted of a series of minigames, and I had wanted to do a funny level for a while too - I had never tried either. There were many sections that I had to leave out due to thermometer restrictions, such as rocket testing and carrying instrumentation packs around on the moon, but all of these sections appear in Apollo 13.5. As for Stuffing, I was convinced people would hate the constant deaths as well as my lame attempts at humor, so really I just built the level for my own amusement. So yes, it did turn almost exactly out how I planned... except for the whole people liking it part.
How did manage to pull off the rocket launch?
Ah, well that's an idea that was swimming around in my head for a long time. I never thought it looked all that impressive on the PS3 but it turned out pretty well on the PSP. I do actually still get a lot of questions about this section and I'm happy to explain how it all works.
The walkway is just a layer-switching trick. The first part of the walkway has a thick layer of clear glass on in the front, forcing Sackboy to the back layer. Partway down the walkway the thick glass is replaced with thin glass on the front layer, and the thin layer blue background moves to the center thin layer. Sackboy is now behind all the scenery, allowing me to add the illusion of having the walkway disappear into the distance. Sackboy drops into the command module hidden behind the rocket, and the sequence begins.
The rocket and the command module are on separate pistons set to different speeds, which allowed me to do the "camera panning" effect as the rocket launches. The rocket itself is made of several sections stuck together with bits of dissolve material. The dissolve is triggered at different points in the launch by magnetic keys stuck on the background, and the sections drop away. Getting the timing of the camera panning and the stage separations took forever!
When you reach the top of the launch, the middle thin layer of material is yanked away by a very long piston set to 0.1 seconds, so you never see it move. This reveals the command module (that you've been inside the whole time) and presto, you're in space.
If you could go back and change something in the level what would it be?
I really don't like how black gas looks once the command module is revealed. I ran into some issues very late in the create process and that was the best solution I could come up with, but if I could go back I would definitely change that to solid material. I also don't like the goofy "space door" that closes underneath the command module. Why the heck didn't I just use an emitter?? *facepalm* I'd also very much like to fix the revealing of the Space Corps ID card, which was broken a couple of patches ago. If you watch JKthree's video on YouTube you'll see how it's actually supposed to work - currently it's just hanging there in the room when you walk in, partially spoiling my little joke of making the player think they are going to be killed again.
Overall, how long did the level take to make?
It took me somewhere around 60 hours to complete, plus or minus 10 hours. I spent a good solid couple of weeks of free time doing not much else besides creating. A lot of that time was spent getting used to the PSP's create mode, losing work due to crashes, and otherwise figuring out how to avoid bugs. Just before I was about to publish the level, my profile corrupted. The bug was relatively unknown at that point and so I didn't have a recent backup - only a backup I made after completing the story mode. I spent one very tense day convinced that I had lost all of my work. I tried everything I could think of to restore my data and nothing worked, and I was really, really close to just deleting the whole thing and starting over. I had a brainstorm at the very last moment and miraculously managed to recover the level. As I was typing up my "corrupt level thread" how-to on the recover process, the hard drive in my laptop died - I absolutely kid you not. I had to end up using my wife's computer as a lifeboat to re-backup my PSP. The gods were not smiling on me that day but somehow I still managed to get the level published.
And that's the story of my level. Thanks for listening, be sure to back up your data, and go watch The Right Stuff.
DLC, Contests and much, much more!
Man, there's been A LOT of epic news while the blog has been on hiatus. First off, Kindred. I'm not really aloud to spill any details but it look AWESOME so far! You guys are going to L-O-V-E it! Secondly, The 12 Days of Christmas project. Cheezbo has done an excellent job of organizing the project and it's coming along smoothly. With creators such as Night Angel, VelcroJonze, Coxy224 and BlueBulletBill, how could it go wrong? On the basis of recent news, there hasn't been much lately and there's been a noticable drought of DLC... Though I'm sure we can count on Cambridge to whip out some Halloween DLC next week surely?
*Throws common sense out the window*
Written by the always excellent BlueBulletBill!
Well, welcome back everyone. I'm so sorry we were out this long. Me and Fastbro had to heal up. What, you didn't hear? We got jumped by NINJA BEARS! Scary stuff.
We're all better now though. The bills, however, were insane! We had to sell DementedChimpanzee Poo's PSN pass to pay for it. I'm sure nothing bad will come of that.
And... now for something completely... well, random.
A final quote to round up the Issue...
This week I'd like to share the shocking moment that Jeff went... Ghetto.
Originally Posted by jeffcu28
So I hope you guys have enjoyed reading this as much as I've enjoyed making it. Feedback is really appriciated! (The Official Topic is here!) Now I'd like to thank a few people...
BlueBulletBill - For writing Randomness!
SketchNZ & Taffey - For allowing me to
Jeffcu28 - For coming up with the "Dr. Fastbro" name!
The PSP Community - For being so awesome!