Joachim Ford
29.12.2023

Io's Mission: The Bits That Nobody Notices

Hello everyone! This article talks about some of the pointless details I added to the game Io's Mission. I've only picked the best ones, so it's not too long. The subjects are listed in no particular order.

DETAIL 01

For some reason, I decided it was very important to make sure the crabs (the ones in the beach level) walked properly. Did you notice that they moved up and down slightly as the crawled along the sand?

The difference is only a few pixels in the real game. I've scaled the crab up a bit so you can see this "walking up and down" more clearly, but I've also put a normal one next to it so you can see the comparison. Note that in its normal state, the vertical movement is unnoticable. Unless you have very good eyes.

DETAIL 02

Another pointless detail is the scanlines. If you want a technical definition for them, go and look it up, but for the sake of simplicity, scanlines are just horizontal transparent bars stretching from one side of the screen to the other. Did you notice them? You probably did.

The part I don't expect you to have noticed was the fact that these "scanlines" change strength in different parts of the screen. In the image below, I've exaggerated these weights 100x to help you see them better.
Pointless, if you ak me. However, we must also remember that - as my father used to say - "it's all in the details." The invisible weights on these scanlines are certainly crucial to the gameplay of Io's Mission. I can't imagine what it would look like without them.

DETAIL 03

A whole week was spent on the crocodiles. The first day was taken up with deciding on the main colours and shapes, another two days were taken up with getting the movement right (like sinking and attacking).

In the remaining four days I created the legs and the tail. Trouble is, you hardly EVER see either of those things in the real game. Perhaps an occasional flick from the swamp, or the legs are revealed for an instant when he jumps, but aside from that these parts are practically invisible.
Important note: for those who have exceptionally good eyes you actually will be able to see the whole crocodile during the game. The swamp is set to only 96% opacity, so you can see through in theory. I can't, by the way.

THE SMALLER DETAILS

I could go on for ages if I wanted to. Did you notice that Io breathed? Or that, when he transitioned, he used a bezier movement instead of linear? Did you notice that the grass and seaweed swayed in the breeze? Or did you even notice that the water was very, very, slightly transparent? Did you notice the lights flashed on the machines? Or that Drillo's friend was constantly walking?

I've officially spent far too much time on pointless details. Does it really add anything to Io's Mission? That's up to you. But for now I'm tired of writing articles and making games.

See you next time!
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