development info - Game Design Documents

These are some of the development insights and documents shared with the community by Twinsanity developer J Mac

AgentLab User Guide

AgentLab is the underlying technology for object behaviours and scripting in the game, we now have the User Guide for the program made to create scripts.

J Mac: "That document is last modified on Feb 6th 2003, so there was about another year of new features added to AgentLab after that which the document won't describe.
I also think there might be a few features mentioned in the document which were removed and not used.
One key feature that was added near the end was the ability for an 'agent' to run two behaviours in parallel, so you could have a 'thinking' behaviour and a 'doing' behaviour running at the same time. The ant enemies heavily used this feature.
AgentLab was all the work of one programmer, Ian Moir, who now works at Playground Games I think.
It predated the Traveller's Tales Oxford studio, he was working on it when the studio was still a company called "Virtual State". I think AgentLab might have been one of the key reasons why Jon Burton decided to buy the studio and turn it into TTO. It was quite ahead of its time!
I think there were plans to be able to sell the AgentLab technology to other companies but no-one had any time for such follies once the crunch kicked in and we had to finish the game!
It was originally intended that AgentLab would be used by non-technical people, so the manual was important. We quickly realised that you had to be a programmer to get anything good out of it."

"The final "game map" from the design"

"The final list of intended levels"

"An earlier plan for the game structure"

"Another version of the world map complete with comments from our Vivendi Universal producer Caroline Trujillo"

"Here's the design for how Coco Bandicoot would work as a controllable character.
Note that this never went any further than this design document! (although we had a character model)"

Windmill Level

J Mac: Yeah there was this level I made in 2 or 3 days to prove a point, called the "Windmill Level".
I was getting pissed off at how long everything was taking, and that the game was unduly focused towards the "story" rather than the gameplay.
So I made a brand new level using the art assets from the earth hub, where crash started on the beach and climbed up all sorts of walkways and obstacles to get to a windmill on the top of a hill.
The level was fully playable and was maybe about two third complete art wise.
It was decided that it couldn't go in the game because it didn't fit the 'story'.
Which pretty much proved my point.
In the end one of the artists reused the windmill idea in the bit of level near the farmer bit with the worms.
My 'Windmill level' had all this fun hazards with these spinning bamboo traps that crash had to navigate.
Everyone agreed it was fun to play but it was dropped because of the immovable story (which was just a word document at that point).
Actually, I remember Paul said it could go in if I remade it to take place over the ocean, so it could be then be the "Ocean Commotion" level.
But I couldn't be f****d to redo something that was perfectly fine as it was!

J Mac: Oh wow that looks like my little spinning bamboo poles in the background, I never noticed those before!
Towards the end of the game we didn't really have much need for concept art. Usually the concept artist would go onto the next game but we didn't have anything lined up, so Keith just went bonkers on the art.
That was almost certainly related to retooling the windmill level into ocean commotion, but Keith never spoke to me about it!