Making of Absolute Blue

Absolute Blue is a typical horizontal Shoot'em'Up-Game. Anybody who is crazy about games like Apydia, Katakis, Pulstar or R-Type knows what this 2D-Shooter is all about. At the beginning the project looked quite different. Emmanuel and I originally wanted to create a mixture between Space Taxi and R-Type. The player should transport people between various ports, but the way between these ports would be very much like in traditional shooters like R-Type. Sounds great, doesn't it?

Well, alhtough it sound very innovative the first prototype showed us that it doesn't make that much fun, so Emmanuel and I decided to change the direction toward the classical horizontal shooter genre.

Anyway, some elements of the original game found it's way into the final game. For example the ports, that are now checkpoints and energy refill points. Or for example the change of the scrolling direction in Level 6. So there are at least a few elements that will give the whole shooter genre a slightly new twist.

Problems and solutions

When the game was nearly finished in April 2005, Absolute Blue consisted of around 60'000 lines of code. I typed it night by night and while drinking one cup of coffee after the other I implemented new enemies, I was on the search for bugs and optimized the source a thousand times. As the first saving, loading and graphic routines were ready I started with an level editor tool. The editor caused some problems as development continued.

The editor we used to build and design the levels were programmed in only a few days. But when we decided to change the direction from a Space Taxi-Game to a R-Type game I decided not to code the editor from scratch, but to use as much as possible from the already finished editor to minimize development time. But there were so much changes, mainly in the structure of the level data, that after all it would have been faster to completely start a new editor. But that's the way it goes all the time: You live, You learn as they say.

Anyway, as I'm a big shoot'em'up fan myself, most of the time during development I had a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it to work on a shooter game.

Diversity of species

Emmanuel, Art Director of Absolute Blue, has explained some of the development steps involved creating the artwork.

"As always at first I started with some loose scribbles. Jochen told me he wanted some very disgusting and slimy creature for the first Boss and it should be as big as the whole screen. After I had finished some scribbles I got an idea on how it could look and I worked on a more detailed coloured sketch or mood.

Usually, when I have done that I wait one or two days to let it sink in and get some distance to my work but at this special enemy I was very sure to be on the right track and so I modelled it the same day in Lightwave."

The final cut

"After finishing the animation of the enemy I'm loading each frame into my paint package and put in some details and do further adjustments.

When Jochen received the animations from me, he has to define the properties of this enemy, tell the enemy how he is interacting with the game environment, how strong he is and when he has to shoot the player.