So… almost a year after the release of The First Encounter, on February 5th, 2002 (though some shops in the UK started selling the game two weeks earlier!), we released Serious Sam: The Second Encounter worldwide. We worked even harder on that one, as TFE was received with such critical acclaim that we didn’t want to disappoint our fans, so the sequel had to be even better than the original.
Naturally, in order to fill shoes that big, we had to bring more people on board. The first two to join the party and increase our number to a hearty dozen were Ivan Mika and Nikola Mosettig. Ivan was hired as a level designer, while Nikola ended up in the programming department, though he wanted to be a designer as well… Fifteen years later, and they are both still with us, we just can’t get rid of them (and Nikola is still not a level designer) 🙂
Here is what they have to say:
“The first level I built was inspired by Teotihuacan, an ancient Mesoamerican city located in a huge flat valley. I was so excited that I was given a chance to work on it, that I just worked and worked and worked on it, day and night until it ended up being so big, we had to split it into three levels in the end (which was exactly 1/4 of the full game)! It also contained some experiments I did with jump pads and gravity that turned out to be some of the most memorable experiences in the game (and probably the most difficult and hated ones).”
Ivan Mika, Level designer for TSE (today: Level design lead)
“During the development of TSE, we had some issues with framerate, mostly in our newly built particle system. I managed to single-handedly DOUBLE our framerate just by deleting a duplicate line of code that was making everything render twice (which I introduced into code in the first place)!”
Nikola Mosettig, Content programmer (today: CIO)
By the end of the development cycle, we had to make decisions regarding retail box. Our publisher sent us box cover art, and boy, we had so much to say. Turned out we were short on time and most of our remarks ended up in “can’t be done now” category.
Sometime in that period, we managed to rent a much bigger office, where we had so much space that we didn’t know what to do with it, but we knew we liked it! So we brought even more people aboard, to prepare working on XBOX edition that will include both TFE and TSE. But that is another story…
Here are few pics and concept art from that era, hope you’ll enjoy them