Translator: Exodus Tales Editor: Exodus Tales
Translated by Coldtaco
Edited by Aelryinth
After a good nights rest, Chen Mo grabbed some breakfast and performed the usual brushing and washing while waiting for his mental peak. When he was at his most awake, he used the Memory Playback Potion and started looking through his forgotten memories.
His memory of the game was murky, as Plants vs Zombies was released a while ago. Chen Mo was diligent when going through his memory, as any of it could contain important details about the game, which could affect the quality of his clone.
The effects of the Potion settled in quickly, and Chen Mo returned to his memories from many years ago.
The first memories were the shapes of the plants: dragon-like peashooter, a certain-singer-whose-last-name-is-Gao-looking squash, the potato mine with the joystick on its head, the sunflower with the mysterious smile, the walnut with its eyes open like light bulbs…
1After that were the various types of zombies: normal zombie, conehead zombie, pole-vaulting zombie, buckethead zombie, football zombie, dancing zombie…
1There were also the different zones, such as the front lawn, night, pool, and so on.
1As his memories cleared up, Chen Mo grabbed his drawing tablet and started making some sketches of the plants and zombies, paying particular attention to details and features in order to best recreate them.
Afterwards, Chen Mo started to recall the flow of the game.
When the game was started, the words that Crazy Dave said, from planting the first plants, beating the first zombie, to unlocking levels, unlocking new plants, beating the boss…
Chen Mo was making notes as he remembered, taking notes of everything noteworthy in detail for every level, such as the levels where plants were unlocked, and the levels where special modes were unlocked.
After that was the numbers.
The time between shots of a peashooter, the damage increase that torchwood provided, the movement speed reduction of the wintermelon, the health amounts of the various zombies…
1These numbers might seem insignificant, but they could affect the entire structure of the game. As Chen Mos coding abilities were limited, he could only resort to silly methods like this.
Four hours passed in a blink of an eye.
Chen Mo let out a sign of relief, as the past four hours he had been extremely focused. As he relaxed, he could feel his body catching up.
1However, it wasnt time to rest. He used whatever still remained in his memory to fill out numbers he mightve missed, as he was afraid to miss out on any detail.
Memories of humans faded over time. The Memory Playback Potion could only guarantee free access to memories for four hours. Once it was over, the memories would slowly fade away.
After working two more hours, Chen Mo let out a deep breath, taking a sip of water while slouching in the chair.
The desktop had a design document filled with thousands of lines of the details for the game. There was also a sketches folder filled with everything: sketches of plants, zombies, scenes, even the layout of the UI.
The Memory Playback Potion was used by Chen Mo, right down to the last drop!
“Man, that was exhausting.” Chen Mo wiped the sweat off his forehead. He was about to break after staying highly focused for six hours.
But why did he put himself in such a difficult place Because there was only one Potion! If there were two bottles, he couldve done it with ease, one today and one tomorrow. He wouldnt have to worry so much if he had eight whole hours to write down every single detail of the game.
But Chen Mo knew that he had to make money and pay bills!
Chen Mo walked around, ate some snacks and a few pieces of chocolate, made a cup of coffee, and took a small break before going back to work.
Next up was to refine the design document, finalize some of the design details, and put it into the design document. The details might seem excessive, but had a great effect on the experience of the game, so Chen Mo didnt overlook any of it.
Sorting through the documents took Chen Mo another week.
After a week, the design document of the game was basically finalized. The details were also refined. The rules, layout, and the design of the plants and zombies were all finished.
Chen Mo then entered the rules into the video game engine. It would then automatically generate a video game project, which Chen Mo could then modify.
Generating the project took one to three days time. The more rules there were, the more time it would take.
Chen Mo wanted to use this time to finalize all the calculations in the game.
Some basic attributes of the plants included damage, health, range, attack frequency, attack area, ready time (activation time after being placed down), cooldown (after placing down the plant), cost, damage to the environment, and more.
Chen Mo wanted to list every attribute for every single plant and zombie, while constantly verifying it.
The numbers he had written down before were hugely helpful. The numbers between different plants and zombies could be cross-verified, making it much easier.
The number-crunching was completed in two days. As Chen Mo had huge lists of numbers in the details for reference, it wouldnt be too different from the original from his previous life.
Next up was to test and adjust!
During this time, the Illusion Game Engine had generated the project, which Chen Mo temporarily named PVZ. This was only a placeholder, a new and better name would have to be decided when the game was released.
2Chen Mo checked out some of the rules and mechanics after opening up the project. There wasnt much to do other than patching up some errors in the ruleset and some logical errors.
Afterwards, Chen Mo entered the various numbers into the Game Engine, along with the various artwork of the plants and zombies. With that, a simple working demo was produced.
As of now, there wasnt a tutorial or any levels.
Chen Mo initialized a scene and planted some peashooters, with a normal zombie at the other end.
Pop, pop, pop…
Under the relentless attacks of the peashooter, the zombie fell.
The tempo was alright. Chen Mo proceeded to test out a couple other zombies and plants, which had no problem. Other than adjusting a few numbers that didnt feel quite right, everything else was OK.
Afterwards Chen Mo worked on the zones and level design.
Making the level flow was a highly technical part of level design. It needed to stimulate the player, not overwhelm the player.
Chen Mo had taken down a bunch of details on the layout of each level. The approximate numbers of zombies per level and when the plants were unlocked were all recorded, which made it a lot easier.
In five days time Chen Mo fully developed the different zones and the flow of the levels, along with the tutorial. It seemed the adventure mode of Plants vs Zombies had been successfully recreated by Chen Mo.
T/L Note:  raws used dragon mother, which could refer to daenerys, which would be a bit weird.-