We’re excited to have Sumo Digital on Inside Unreal this week! The team behind the Spy-on-The-Wall adventure game Spyder talks about their journey from day zero to the weeks after launch. Learn more about the mobile Apple Arcade game, as well as how the team overcame difficult challenges during its production—including the experience of launching a game from home.
Thursday, May 7 @ 2:00PM ET - Countdown
Nic Cusworth, Lead Game Designer, Sumo Digital - @niccusworth](https://twitter.com/niccusworth)
Brendan Burns, Lead Programmer, Sumo Digital
Chris Downey, Art Manager, Sumo Digital
Mick Hirst, Lead Environment Artist, Sumo Digital
Victor Brodin - Community Manager - @victor1erp](http://twitter.com/victor1erp)
Nic Cusworth, Lead Game Designer
Q: Did you ever consider exploring different characters e.g. a dragonfly
We didn’t. It was always a robot spider, even from the Game Jam.
Q: Were you ever reluctant to create weird spaces, because you could run the risk of confusing
I think we started out creating some pretty weird spaces! Thankfully, we learnt a lot from them about what didn’t work for the game. It was important to the Art team that the environments had a level of realism to them, even though it’s stylized and you’re seeing it from a different perspective. That grounding of reality, I feel, helped stop players getting lost or confused by where they were in the world .
Q: How did you approach introducing the player to the game mechanics, any handholding or learning by doing?
It was really important to us that we didn’t have a forced tutorial at the beginning of the game. There are a couple of very basic tutorial pop-ups at the start of the first mission, but after that it’s more about pacing the introduction of game mechanics and teaching in context.
Q: How difficult was it to get the camera work correctly?
Besides the IK for the legs, the camera was one of the hardest problems to solve in the game. Originally the camera just tracked to Agent 8 always being on the floor. As a result it felt more like the world was rotating around Agent 8, instead of Agent 8 climbing around the world. When we switched to a camera that maintained ‘world up’ as a vector, the whole feel of the game changed for the better. But building the camera this way meant we had to add a lot of collision
volumes and hand craft different cameras to deal with a variety of different situations. There was about six solid months of development and tweaking to get it right!
Q: The idea of the Spyder jumping, got scrapped very early on. you guys think that decision was made because the mechanic wouldn’t fit the game, or rather the world could not support it?
We found that jumping spiders really freaked people out! We did experiment putting it back in as an ability, but we were well into developing the levels and there wasn’t really a need for it. Also, Agent 8 has a Web Grapple ability that allows him to cross gaps. This felt a lot more natural to us, having the ability as a gadget instead of a physical action.
Chris Downey, Art Manager
Q: How many people made the spider character?
There were a few people involved with the creation of Agent 8. First of all, the Art Director and a concept artist worked together to come up with his design. We then had a character artist who modeled and textured Agent 8, who worked on this for about 4 weeks. The same artist also separately made Agent 8’s gadgets. When this was done the character was rigged by a technical
animator, then finally Agent 8 was animated to give all the personality. There was 1 animator on the
team for the entire development process, but we also had a second animator on the project to help out, who also did some of the agent 8 animations. So, in total, 6 people were involved from an art perspective in creating Agent 8. However, there were also coders who were responsible for helping implement many other aspects of the main character.
Q: *Did the animators have to do anything different to animate the character on all the surfaces?
Yes they did. While there was some automation of agent 8s movement through the IK system, the animators also created locomotion sets for standard and slippery surfaces. Each of these sets would contain all the movement directions for the character, but also some idle animations too.