Developer Diary #3 – by Soren Hannibal
February 10, 2003
Hi, my name is Soren Hannibal, and I am one of the programmers on Enter The Matrix here at Shiny Entertainment. I am responsible for the character, animation and camera systems, but I also work as general problem-solver in many different areas, so I have a good idea about what is happening with most aspects of the game.
I got the honor to write part of this diary, and over the next couple of months I will share a little bit about what is happening with Enter The Matrix and at Shiny in general.
One of the more interesting things for the development team was focus group testing held at the beginning of January. Twenty-five people who had never seen the game before were allowed to play for about an hour. Focus tests are a great way to highlight problems that we, the developers, might have gotten used to over the last two years, and therefore don’t think about when we play the game.
The focus testing drew our attention to a number of small issues with the controls and the testers provided us with a lot of suggestions, most of which have been implemented. With the testers’ help, the game now feels way better than it did just a month ago. The game’s driving system has been sped up, so it feels faster. The fighting systems were also improved, so now it’s much easier to punch an enemy a couple of times, quickly draw your weapon and shoot, and then kick him when he is on the ground. A target lock control was added, as well as shadow boxing animations. All these things are simple tasks, but they have a great impact on how the game feels.
The game will be in stores in just a couple of months, and things always become very hectic at the end of the game. We have shifted our focus from adding new features and scenarios to debugging, speeding up and double-checking everything. Saxs, the lead programmer, has recently finalized the optimizations to the drawing pipeline on the PS2, and gained a speed boost of up to 50%, so now the game draws the screen 60 times per second 99% of the time, which is the same as GameCube and XBox, and as fast as you can draw anything on a normal TV. The artists are tweaking the lighting and the textures in their levels, and the sound team is busy making sure that all animations have the right sounds and that the music is spot-on for all the levels.
We are really close to having a really cool game. The team spirit is high, and everybody is stoked about the attention the game is getting from the press, and the support we have from Warner Brothers, our parent company Infogrames, and the Wachowski brothers. The end of the game is near, and right now things are looking really good.