Q&A

EDGE - - THE MAKING OF... - Thomas Happ De­sign, pro­gram­ming, graph­ics, au­dio

What kind of im­pact did the in­tro­duc­tion of the glitch me­chanic have on level de­sign?

Well, it made a big dif­fer­ence when it came to con­sid­er­ing the width of ev­ery wall…

Was it among the big­gest chal­lenges?

Ac­tu­ally, even be­fore you get to the glitch­ing, the big­gest [task] is mak­ing sure every­thing you want the player to reach can be reached. In game de­sign terms, the way I went about that was to assign ev­ery abil­ity a num­ber, and on my game de­sign map I would write down the num­ber of the item you needed to get past each part, be­cause it was just so com­pli­cated to have to keep track of it all. I didn’t want play­ers to in­ad­ver­tently get some later item or get stuck in some su­per-hard area with­out first get­ting the eas­ier item you needed to reach it. That was def­i­nitely not easy. Mul­ti­ple times I had to go back and change every­thing be­cause I didn’t have all the abil­i­ties pro­grammed at the out­set. And things like dis­tances be­tween tiles all had to be fac­tored in there. I’d be man­u­ally count­ing them, say­ing, “OK, when I draw this plat­form it has to be at least 11 tiles higher than the other one, oth­er­wise it’s go­ing to break this other abil­ity.” That kind of thing.

Some en­e­mies have their own glitch form, one of which is a fa­mil­iar re­verse-L shape. Is that a kind of homage to the fa­mous glitch Poké­mon, Miss­ingNo?

Yeah. I for­get ex­actly how it works but if you cap­ture Miss­ingNo, then the sixth item in your in­ven­tory gets mul­ti­plied by 128. I hadn’t played Poké­mon, but there was a sim­i­lar thing in Fi­nal Fan­tasy VI [the sketch bug], where you’d maybe get 255 Atma weapons or some­thing in your in­ven­tory. And I just re­ally liked that idea. Ax­iom Verge doesn’t have con­sum­able items, so I was just try­ing to think of ideas that would stoke peo­ple’s mem­o­ries, or give play­ers a new ex­pe­ri­ence.

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