We chat with Another World's Creator Eric Chahi about the re-release of the game.1. Another World is a classic title, I'm sure our readers would be interested if you could give us an insight in how you came up with the original design and gameplay idea?
The starting point was the use of polygons to create 2D games after I was inspired by the Dragon's Lair port on the Amiga, which was showing incredible large-scale animation on the screen. That game's graphics weren't polygons, but were compressed bitmaps directly read from the disk - I thought it could be done with polygons since the animation was flat. I wrote some vectorial code and programmed some speed tests. The idea came to use polygons not only for movie like animation but also to use them in the game itself, using sprites composed not of pixels but of an assembly of vectored polygons. This has a major advantage: large, zoomable sprites, stored in a very small amount of memory.
After this initial technical work, I started on the story. I had the idea of a scientist being teleported accidentally to another world, but I had a very imprecise vision about what would happen to this guy in the game. Nevertheless I had a very clear idea of the concept - a game with a movie-like, immersive feeling, combined with the removal of the playerís score and life meter from the screen. All this was to take place in a universe that seemed as if it could actually exist.
The second job was to create a tool that would be able to create this world, a tool where everything from game scripting to drawing polygons was integrated into the same environment. The objective was to not lose time switching between different tools. I wrote it in GFA Basic mixed with the game engine, which was written in assembly language. From this, I was able to create and adjust the game world and test it immediately.
Then I created the introduction, followed by the first part of the game; at this stage I didn't know how it would end. The game had been defined progressively with almost no visibility regarding the next event until I finished the jail section (level). Then I shaped the all story by and large associated with a narrative rhythm. Then the levels have been clearly designed one after another always with the notion of rhythm in mind.2. After such a long time in hiatus we've heard that the game is due a refreshing revamp/remake? Can you elaborate some on the 15th Anniversary Edition of the game and why it's taken up till now to appear on eager gamer's lists?
Well it is not a remake, it is a re-release with extra features but it is the same game, I wanted it to remain respectful of the original release. Another World is my most personal project; itís the one that brought me recognition. This game was the outcome of everything I had learnt since I started to create games. Over time and with the arrival of the internet I realised that people still remembered it and it had a special place in their heart as it has a special place in mine. The 15th anniversary was coming, and I thought that a special edition would be very nice.3. What new technology can we expect to see in terms of game graphics updates?
Backgrounds are now enhanced with hue and shade in higher resolutions. The animations were made of vectorial polygons from the outset, so it seems simple to upgrade it to a higher resolution but it was tricky as polygons were drawn differently on the Amiga, so on todayís computers some polygons looked really weird, which of course we had to fix. The user can set any resolution from 320x200 to any size available on his machine. He will also be able to choose between 16 colours as in the original game and enhanced backgrounds.4. Are there going to be any extra bonus features?
Yes there is an audio CD with music from Jean-FranÁois composed especially for Another World. Also there is a ďmaking ofĒ split into two parts - a video containing a selection of interviews, and separate documentation containing the original design notes and drawings with comments to explain the process of creating the game. 5. What was the original game's most rewarding feature, one that you liked the best?
The rhythm. The way the rhythm is sustained during the entire game brings a strong emotional dimension to it. Also on the pure game design side I like how the laser gunís protective field leads to interesting fights, with different strategies using the power shot, firing distance, grenade etc...6. What did you like least about Another (Out of this) World?
The trial and error game progression.7. Do you think after all this time gamers will appreciate the simple style of the game compared to the more substantial offerings?
The important thing is not the style or the graphics. It is what the player feels; there is really no need for 3D realism to feel something. For that reason I think many gamers today will enjoy the game, but it is true the game was not easy to play, especially for people who are not used to such trial and error gameplay. Thatís why I have smoothed out the gameplay for this release to make the adventure more fluent. Another World is a hard game but it is worth the effort.8. Is this 15th Anniversary Edition of the game powered by a new engine or is it the old engine with a few tweaks?
Itís a new engine. It is not played through an Amiga emulator. But it is of course interpreting the original game data.9. Do you have a favourite character in the game? If so, who or what is it?
Hum... It is not really a character but the relationship between two characters - between the alien friend and Lester. I really like that because itís talking about friendship between two people that donít know each other and that are very different. And we know almost nothing of them - who are they? Why is the alien friend in jail? Through this friendly link we can imagine everything.10. What do you think about the Game Industry today, if you had the power to change just one thing about the Industry, what would it be?
I would suppress all marketing analysis so that industry would be lead by creative conviction and not conservative attitude.games xtreme would like to thank Eric Chahi for taking the time to answer our questions.