Payback 2 Logo

The End of the Beginning

/ 2 October 2012


Welcome to the third Payback 2 Dev Diary. This time we'll be talking about the game's intro, the new menu system and the changes that were made for the iPhone 5 version.


The initial concept for the game's introduction was to feature a big battle frozen in time with the camera sweeping elegantly through it, slowly revealing more as it did so. Achieving this took longer than originally expected, and involved writing our own custom tone mapping and 2d animation software.

Another key element is the music - we chose Mozart's Lacrimosa as we felt its epic scale and dark themes fitted the mood we were aiming for in the intro. It was chosen relatively early in the process so we were able to carefully synchronise the music and animation so they really gelled.

In the end, the animation took two months to create and an additional month to render. However, we are very pleased with the end result, a frame of which you can see in this screenshot.

New Menu System

The main design goal with the game's menu system was simplicity - it should be immediately obvious how to use it, and be attractive without being gimmicky.

The approach we decided on was to have a hierarchical structure where all the parent menus are visible and all the screens are drawn in perspective so you can see them going off into the distance - see this screenshot. This not only looks better than a flat structure but it also allows the player to jump to any of the parent menus by simply tapping them.

We also added an AI battle in the background (blurred and darkened, of course) to not only make the title screen more entertaining but also to serve as a subtle tutorial on how to play the game.

iPhone 5 Changes

We were lucky enough to get an iPhone 5 on launch day so we could properly implement and test support for the larger screen (unlike some developers who apparently submitted to Apple before they had actual hardware to test with).

We ended up making various subtle tweaks to make the most of the 4 inch display, such as reformatting the intro animation, tweaking the position of the on-screen buttons and adjusting the scale of the menus. You can see the first screenshots of the iPhone 5 version on the right.

The extra delay caused by waiting for actual iPhone 5 hardware also allowed us to add an alternative control method for all versions of the game - touch-only vehicle controls - which we hope will please those crazy people who don't like tilt steering. :)

The End of the Beginning

The game has now been approved by Apple and comes out on 4 October (set your alarms!). [Update: The game is out now - get it here.]

Making this game has been an epic journey, I'm looking forward to seeing what you guys think of it. I'll be playing online regularly, so I hope to meet you all in battle soon!

James Daniels
(PS: Please don't forget to join our mailing list!)

Next >>

More media >>