One of the more interesting problems we faced during the development of Zero Tolerance Hero was how to clear the screen of the enemies that the player is clearing from the streets.
One non-violent solution was to have the enemies simply jump out of the way. We tried elaborate animations for this approach but the result just looked confusing. We also tried splitting every object into smaller ones and making those fly off the screen. This meant a lot of extra work for every single object in the game and proved also to be problematic gameplay-wise as the player might get hit by the falling pieces.
Finally we came up with the perfect answer: ragdoll physics for the characters combined with everything dissolving into a rain of cubes. This effect was emphasised with comical popping sounds, to keep the rating of the game comfortably within the range of “Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence”. It didn’t hurt that the cubes were also a perfect fit with the pixelated style of the game.
Sami used his magical powers to cook up an amazing script that scans the object geometry and colour palette for the object and then pre-calculates a separate “cubified” version. The disappearing enemy is switched to this cube version on the fly and all those cubes are set flying. Problem solved!