Hey there,

Okay, we’re nearly there on the Monsters DLC. What’s in it? There are four new tow-in boards, four new character specific stat types (paddle stamina, wipe-out stamina, spins & duck-dive strength), four new jetskis and jetski riders and one big wave location featuring four different level/ conditions. We’re still trying to figure out how long it’ll be before release, but it’s not that far away. We’ve just spent this week messing around trying to get the code ready to handle the new content. Basically we’ve had to modify the code structure to comply with the Sony specific requirements for DLC and then we had to test it to ensure that the code behaves itself. First, without the DLC content and then after that with the new content included. On top of that we need to upload another patch first, in order to pave the way for the DLC. On the art side we’ve been working on the Monsters skyboxes, the specular light across the water and the cloud dome animations. It’s been a little problematic so far (had PC problems) but overall we’re starting to get closer to the visuals we’re aiming for. After that we need to sort out the cutscene sequence into this location, then the outro podium sequences as well. This involves recording some camera pans, capturing in-game footage, and the editing it all together in After Effects. We’ve captured some of the vision already, so that’s largely done – it’s mainly just the modelling of the podium scene after that. Today, we spent time organising voice actors and the audio scripts for the new jetski riders and their jetski’s that you’ll be able to use. The four new riders are from four different countries – the US, France, Brazil and Australia and the jetskis are faster and more powerful. So once voice acting is complete, then we’ve got to drop the voices in and make sure they don’t cause any heartache on either the memory side or any create new bugs. We’ve also got two great interns with us at the moment – Emma is working on the Japanese location (Nami Surf Park) and she’s wrestling with the crowd sequence there. We’ve ended up using sprites as opposed to models, and so far it’s coming along. We’re still looking a little too PS2 with the crowd at the moment, but we’ll sort that out. The trickiest thing here is figuring out how best to animate large swathes of people without them all looking the same, plus there are natural disadvantages a sprite has when viewing it from certain camera angles. So there’s a bit to work through there still. We are, however quietly pleased with how this location is playing out already. It’s tight, playable and if we can get it right it just might be our most fun location yet. Basically you can lap the stadium end to end on four different waves as you go around and so this is going to work really well for our Catch N Conquer game mode – a pleasant change because usually what happens on paper and then in software can be two different things. Maybe we got a little lucky this time. Finally, Emilie has been working on the loading screens for both the Nami and Supertubes DLC locations and these screens are looking good so far. While all of this has been going on we’ve been slowly chipping away on the port to the new graphics engine in preparation for a move to other platforms when we can. We’ll be back with more news soon, so stay locked!