I finally got a chance to play Super Puzzle Fighter II HD Remix on Partner Net yesterday. Partner Net is where X Arcade Games are put to test before releasing them for real. I have to say that the visual quality blew me away. This is surprising because I had actually done a lot of the art management and art prototyping; figuring out the various convoluted aspect ratio conversions from the original sprites and exploring directions for the shape, transparency, and lighting of the gems and the inner effects of the crash gems. I left Backbone before anything other than proxy had found its way in-game, but this is clearly a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. I haven’t asked anyone if they ended up using pre-rendered or realtime 3D gem assets, but the lighting pass looks better than any of the test runs that had been done while I was there and the explosion effects look really really good; way better than any of the still screen shots on the net and way better than any prototypes I had seen before leaving. Also, I love the radial win/loose effect, kudos to whoever is responsible for that!
This game holds a special place in my heart because it is the last game that everyone from my previous tight-knit team worked on together: Sirlin, Bocci, Eric E, Chad P, MK, and technically even my wife Yuki. Speaking of diaspora, Bocci is off helping to produce Golden Axe at Secret Level and Yuki is working for herself to connect japanese developers with people from other countries: congratulations to both of you!
Sirlin, who is still at Backbone, has made a post about Ballencing Puzzle Fighter on his blog. Check it out!