‘Turbo! Pack’ Development Diary 7: ‘Sub Standard’ – Jon Torrens, Designer
Ah, the Submarine. We don’t have water in LittleBigPlanet PSP, so the submarine was going to be a very different challenge to the other vehicles, because it has to have an almost neutral buoyancy. Let’s put it this way, it took a lot of trial and error. The submarine is naturally buoyant, and sinks by emitting a metal block in its base.
Something I hadn’t realised is that all the gadgets have their own weight. Now, this only comes into play when you’re creating something that requires an exact amount of buoyancy to counter balance Sackboy’s weight. And sure enough, once I’d got the sub ‘floating’ just right, I needed to add the rockets, and they each had their own little mass which I had to allow for. Also, they have to be at the same height as the centre of gravity, so as not to rotate the submarine when they’re firing.
Another problem I had was that if Sackboy dies while in the submarine near the start, the submarine’s new version can’t be emitted because the old one’s in the way. Solution: when Sackboy’s absent (dying removes him from the level momentarily), metal blocks are emitted inside the submarine to make it nice and heavy.
Useful Submarine facts:
- The control platform only rises when there is a blue magnetic key near the conning tower.
- The submarine hatch opens when Sackboy is near it. If Sackboy is on the control platform when it’s in its lowered position, he’s far enough away for it to close.
Try making your own submarine, with some torpedo launchers and more powerful rockets.
Next, it was the tank; probably the most fun you can have that doesn’t involve cake (we like cake). Unless you’re blowing up a cake with a tank, I suppose.
Anyway, we needed a rolling machine of awesome destructive power, and all was going well until we realised two things:
- Our impact shockbombs are a bit big to put on a tank missile, and are very powerful (they can push objects around a lot when they go off).
- Caterpillar tracks are ridiculously intensive on the game’s physics and can affect the game’s frame rate. It’s not that they can’t be done, but we want to fill our levels with lovely stuff, and they just weren’t important enough.
So we decided to do the following:
- Invent microbombs! These puppies pack the same lethal punch as the impact shockbomb – they’ll kill Sackboy or any unprotected creature brain within range – but they won’t push objects around at all. They’re small, red and we love them. Ka-boom!
- Forget about caterpillar tracks.
We really enjoy that moment when you bring the tank’s gun turret down to bear on a helpless character/creature. Complete the ‘Sub Standard’ level to get the tank and the submarine. To get all the blue toy soldiers, you’ll need to ace the level and collect all the prize bubbles.
A submarine and a tank – great work. What’s next on the list? Something that makes bridges? We’ll look at how we got on with that next time.
‘Turbo! Pack’ Development Diary 8: ‘Sub Standard’ – Jason Evans, Lead Artist
Whist our previous levels take place on shelves and tabletops, we now begin to venture into the unknown realms of the carpet and the vehicles (and characters) enter a new, military-based style. Did we hear someone say “toy soldiers”? Hooah!
But first, the submarine. Does anyone smell something fishy? Alas, as you may have noticed, we don’t have water – but we think we’ve done a pretty awesome job of creating an aquatic environment. We’ve made a couple of materials specifically for the purpose, including a cool purple Coral and some funky neon Pink Gravel – you’ll find these under the “Stone” category in your Popit.
To create a sense of depth, fade stickers are particularly useful. We put them on top of the new water plant stickers that we’ve made, to create the illusion that they are far away in the murky depths. The submarine itself works very well considering the difficulties that the design team faced, and again we’re providing you with all its separate components so that you can build your own version…or weird mutated version. We wanted it to look like a well-loved bath toy that had been used so much that the plastic had a rough, limescaley texture, so it’s quite unique. Out of all the vehicles that we’ve made so far it really stands out because it looks so fun and playful.
The tank was kind of the basis for all our military vehicles, and the style we aimed for here was that of durable toys that were good and solid. The design team had done a really great job building the basic vehicle, so all that was needed was to add a little colour and detail to the overall shape. Since unfortunately we couldn’t use caterpillar tracks (they do work though – try it!), we’ve gone for nice chunky wheels that we’re sure you can find loads of uses for. Add to that some really bold shapes, an awesome camouflage metal material, and some bright yellow highlights and you Sir have a very fine looking tank!
Now where would we be if we couldn’t blow anything up with our lovely tank, hmm? Very sad Sackpeople indeed. Impact explosives won’t physically blow material up and leave a hole, and using dissolve everywhere can look kind of ugly because well, it’s only ever going to look green and stickered. But we’ll let you into a little secret – it’s amazing what you can do with an unprotected brain and an emitter! Add some linear and angular velocity to your emitted fragments for a proper explosion effect, and don’t forget to add some stickers to the blast hole to make it look nice and charred.
We’re not sure what you’d choose to blow up if you had an army of tanks, but personally we went for dolls houses. Don’t try this at home kids.