One such feature which is now nearing completion involves Mr Panda 'chatting' about the planet he's about to attempt to land on. This is a deliberate nod to many 'retro' arcade games which use similar techniques to describe the game story, and is also useful for explaining some of the goals of the gameplay.
In our implementation Mr Panda will open and close his mouth, and occasionally blink, as he relays his story. It was a simple but rewarding coding exercise to make his mouth move in combination with the words being displayed, and to make him blink at believable intervals. It would have been easy to just make his movements random, but where's the fun in that, eh? His mouth movement coincides with the distribution of vowels in the text strings, and blinks are based on punctuation - Mimicking something which people unconsciously do too.
Watch this space for more news! And in the meantime enjoy this clip of Mr Panda in action. (Note: The artwork is temporary!)