Reflection on Tone

Hello again, internet!  It’s been a long time since my last update – I’ve had a long period of just keeping my head down and plugging away, but I’m going to try to be more disciplined in publicizing the game from here on in.

While progress is much slower than I would like, and I’m taking much longer to move forward than I had anticipated, I can at least take solace in the fact that it is still progress.  And more importantly, I’ve gotten to a very interesting point in the game where all of the things that are set up and developed at the earlier parts of the game begin to come together.  Essentially, all of the moments in the game that I anticipated and looked forward to creating are now being realized, and it’s a pretty nice feeling.

A mysterious disappearance on the ship? I’m sure it doesn’t mean anything.

Out of the five main chapters in the game, the first three are close to finished.  I’ve always considered the third chapter to be the largest, so I guess I’m past the hump.  The fourth chapter will probably be done (relatively) quickly, and then I will begin working on the game’s conclusion – which will be very hard to estimate how long it takes since the game’s story branches out rather extremely at that point.

Since I’ve reached a point in the game where its overall tone is really taking shape, it feels appropriate at this point to talk a bit about what kind of tone that is exactly.

Looking back at the original “Why Am I Dead”, the thing I love most about it, and which I stand by most, was its combination of flippant humor and grim story.  A lot of the dialogue was really low comedy, I think, that reveled in vulgarity for its own sake and aimed at getting a quick laugh.  At the same time, the setting was an extremely drab and lonely hotel filled with people who are either vain, cruel, idiotic, or pathetic in some other way.  The story is supposed to end with a bit of a gut punch, and leave you with a bad taste in your mouth.   It’s hard to articulate why, but this absurd combination of humor and pitifulness really appealed to me and I hope that the game delivered it.

“Why Am I Dead At Sea” has a similar love for dark humor, but with the key difference that it is much more contemplative.  The characters are not meant merely to be laughed at, but also to be understood and empathized with.  They each have a back-story which can be revealed over the course of the game, which is more often than not tragic in some sense.  And while the last game was more whimsical and I didn’t try to communicate with it, I’ve made a serious attempt to express my own way of looking at the world in this game.  In fact, my biggest fear is that I’ve gotten too ambitious with the themes I’m bringing up, and that my writing skills aren’t good enough to deal with them.

Sometimes characters will talk about heavier subjects…

I don’t mean to portray the game as some kind of navel-gazing “2deep4u” experience.  The themes that the game brings up are not ends to themselves; they are also complements to the drama of the main story line.  And the game will certainly work in opposites of light and dark like its predecessor; infinitely more so.  I don’t want to give too much away, but the game exercises a hearty amount of misdirection…in multiple senses.

…but sometimes they won’t.

Stem to Stern #1: Narrative/Gameplay Structure

I had originally planned on opening up my series of more informative posts with a big post on AI, but since I’ve been mostly doing dialogue and cinematic writing, I’ve been inspired to make a post about the game’s overall structure instead.

StoryScreen1

Let’s start by describing the game in the simplest and most basic way possible.  The gameplay involves me throwing a huge amount of writing and text at the player, and having them search for the important bits of information in there.  Unlike other adventure/mystery games, there aren’t many puzzles or problems that if you can’t solve, you’re stuck.  In WAID you always had access to everything you need.  If you felt up to it, you could always brute-force through the challenges of the game by triggering every single dialogue and dialogue branch.

The challenge is to find the hints I’ve scattered in order to figure out which character interactions will get you on the right track.  Of course, the non-vital dialogues are both an obstacle in that they obscure what you need, as well as a bonus in that they can flesh out the story and give further insight to the characters.

Let’s take a look at the structure of the previous “Why Am I Dead”.  There is a wide body of what I refer to as ambient dialogue: the sum of dialogue which obscures the way forward.  There are also smaller pieces of story dialogue which are actually needed to trigger the ending of the game.  The way the game was structured, it could take you hours to finish it, or two minutes.

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How does this structure look for a longer game, though?  I would certainly like “Why Am I Dead At Sea” to last longer than that, whether “that” is two minutes or two hours.  So how do we make that happen?

There were two challenges that I saw going into this project.  Firstly, it seemed to me that a longer/larger game would run into the problem of overwhelming the player with far too much ambient dialogue far too quickly.  As it was, the original WAID wasn’t extremely navigable and could bring the player down time-consuming dead-ends.  Some people enjoyed this, but some did not!

And secondly, for a larger story I would want time to pass as the plot moves forward – that is, things would have to be a bit more sequential in order to make sure there was some plot.  In the previous WAID nothing happens without player input except at the beginning and end, which was fine…but in this game that severely limits the kind of story I can tell!

So I decided I wanted to taper the beginning of the game, bringing the player into the ambient dialogue slowly.  I also wanted to cut up certain parts of the game into self-contained ‘chapters’, in which there was only one entrance and one exit, so that some modicum of stage-setting could be done.  The resulting structure for Why Am I Dead At Sea looks like this:

ImageThis is accomplished, admittedly with some awkwardness, by restraining who you can possess and where you can go at the beginning of the game.  For the first two major parts of the game there is a substantial amount of optional dialogue accessible, but not so much that the player is drowning in it.  Objectives are hopefully much more clear.  As each new character becomes available to possess, however, the amount of ambient dialogue also increases.

This also allows for that oldest of design tropes seen so often in LoZ dungeons – if there’s a new character you just unlocked, you can be confident you will have to use them pretty soon.  I wasn’t allowed to guide the player in this way before!

StoryScreen3

And just as importantly, having certain choke-points for the story allows me to do things such as have small periods of time pass, or move characters move around, and so on.  This isn’t trivial.  A weird thing about the last game was that, to preserve an interesting pace, characters had to spill their guts to each other very quickly, without knowing anything about each other!  It was possible to suspend disbelief, but definitely felt off.  This time around I want dialogue to feel more organic, which means at least the illusion of some time passing.

So that is, in a nutshell, the layout of the game.

We’re ready for Beta testing! Right on time!

Why Now?

Except, extremely not right on time.  Although game development is always subject to delay (especially by indies), I think this large a time gap between when I said I was “just around the corner” for a demo, and today, still warrants some explanation.

A great deal of it is simply perfectionism – the constant feeling that the game isn’t ready for minor reasons that would certainly not disqualify it from play testing.  This is aided by the fact that while I think of my goals in a linear way, I am often not able to accomplish them in that way.  After working on a certain aspect of the game for so long, I begin to shut down and have to work on something else to maintain my sanity.  Generally I’ll make a check-list with my main objectives at the top, but with lots of smaller issues that I’d like to get done at some point on the bottom.  When I need a break, I tackle the smaller goals in whatever order I feel like.  So while a main development goal may not appear so far away, this is a bit deceptive.

I also can’t ignore that my transition to China and my new job has slowed me down.  Even though in the long run I think it will help my discipline and motivation to see the game through, it has in the short term taken a lot of my time and energy to get used to!

What Now?

Back to matters at hand, I will now be taking applications for beta testers.  For the first time, (some) people will be able to play Why Am I Dead At Sea, and I’ll be able to receive vital feedback whilst developing.  If you would like to help me and receive early access to the game, please fill out the following (short!) application and email it to pmcgrath@peltastdesign.com :  Beta tester application

Of course, I know that as a tester you are providing me a valuable service, for free!  Although hopefully early access to the game is some recompense in itself, beta testers will also have the following incentives:

– Free copy of the game when it is released, along with whatever key codes are relevant, based on how it is distributed (this is an obvious one)

– Recognition: All testers who contribute will be shown in the credits (also pretty obvious).  Those who contribute substantially more will get extra recognition.

– I would also like to have monthly best-bug-find competitions, the payoff for which could possibly involve leveraging my art assets/scripting to give the tester a little memento in the form of a screenshot/GIF made with the game engine (the contents of which being up to the tester).

 

At the moment, the version that testers can play will take them through the game’s introduction and first chapter (of which there will be five).  It isn’t a huge amount of content to explore as of yet and mainly serves to introduce the player to the story and the patterns/concepts of the game, but is almost entirely content complete!  And of course, later chapters will follow.

At this point, development will overwhelmingly mean writing dialogue and cinematics, as well as responding to bugs and player feedback.  As a result, updates will probably be sparse in new shiny art or features.  So, I’ll be taking the time to go into greater detail at some features I’ve brought up before, how they are implemented, et cetera.

Family and Firecrackers

Although I’m overdue for an update on WAIDAS and have some exciting things to share on that front, it would be a shame if I didn’t even acknowledge some of the things that have happened while I was away from the keyboard.  Today seems like a fitting day to write about that, since I have dedicated it a mental health day.

So, about a month and a half ago I moved from northeast America to the city of Xi’an in central China.  On the weekends I teach English, and during the week I develop my game.  It’s a wonderful situation in that the teaching fully supports me, yet gives me more than enough freedom to pour my sweat and tears into WAIDAS.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been in China, or in Xi’an even; I studied abroad here for about five months.  So while it took some time to get used to my new job, my location inspires just as much sense of nostalgia as it does homesickness.

Then, on October 1st, I took a road trip with a Chinese couple that I’m good friends with to the southern province of Hunan.  It was the time around National Day, which is seems to be a combination of the American holidays July 4 and Thanksgiving: lots of fireworks, and lots of family reunions.  So we drove to the husband’s childhood home in the sprawling metropolis of Shuangfeng, Hunan.

Sprawling metropolis
Sprawling metropolis

After a 15 hour drive, we arrived at his house around 10PM.  As we pulled up, I heard a noise which in most other contexts I would have assumed was my imminent death; but in this case, it was the sound of a full wheel of firecrackers being set off a meter from the car.  I then got to meet the husband’s family, nearly all of whom spoke a deep Shuangfeng dialect, rendering my three years of Mandarin studies near useless.  That was by far the biggest shame of the trip, since I would have loved to have actual conversations with these people; instead, it was a challenge to even understand single-word commands.

The front of the farmhouse
The front of the farmhouse

This was a farm-house through and through.  On the opposite side of the small dirt road were wheat fields; chickens scavenged around, and in, the house; pigs resided in a sort of stable that was attached to the rest of the house.  Generally anything we ate was killed within a twenty yard radius of the house.  And eat we did, for if rural Chinese people are anything, they are hospitable.  Perhaps most of the conversation I had with the family involved them telling me to eat — and me replying that I was!

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While the husband may have come from here, he spent enough time outside of it and in the city to speak much more standard Chinese.  Much of his family and friends, however, have stayed here since birth — I got to meet cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces and classmates of his, most of whom I think have been in Shuangfeng for, well, ever.  This certainly left an impression on me, and not just for the obvious reason that I’ve come far away from home — but also because my family immigrated to America (on both maternal and paternal sides) not so long ago, and is in comparison very stretched and scattered, with faint geographical affiliations.  In contrast, the husband called this the land of 楚国, a state that existed more than two thousand years ago.

Image2None of that is to imply that this is somehow a pure land before or without time, of course!  While the house that we stayed at was more rural, it actually is a bit outside of Shuangfeng proper.  The center of Shuangfeng, while referred to by Chinese people as still a part of the countryside, could pass as a small city in Pennsylvania.  I noticed several relatives wearing clothes with English letters on them, which is the stylish thing to do.  The husband has two nieces, both of whom have been studying English.  And one moment that stuck out to me happened when we were trap fishing in a small lake, and a modern Chinese song played faintly from a country home in the distance.  The wife, for whom this was her second time staying in Shuangfeng, began humming along absent-mindedly.  The show that I’ve seen advertised on the side-wall of my apartment elevator (小爸爸) could be observed on the TV sets of several houses I visited while I was there.

While I didn’t see any particularly famous sights, I don’t really care too much about those.  It’s the mundane things that are more interesting and meaningful, because it’s the mundane things that make the world.

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The time spent vacationing and travelling certainly bit into development time.  I arrived back in Xi’an on  the evening of October 7, so I was gone for about a week.  But it’s experiences like these that enrich, well, everything — not excluding game design.  There is a strain of advice that I’ve heard bouncing around in the independent community which cautions against locking yourself away in order to crunch out your game.  And this is advice I’d echo any day, as much as I have to isolate myself at times to get work done.  Because every aspect of the game I’m working on which I like most about it, which allows me some amount of optimism in its prospects, and which keeps me convinced that I have to finish it and release it, is something that I gained from a time that I wasn’t expecting to gain anything from.

The Grind

There’s been a grab bag of progress since the last update.

1. Character AI / Behavior

Perhaps the most substantial accomplishment has been what I can only hope is the final slaying of multiple bugs in character AI and behavior — getting characters to move around the ship on their own, handle transitions between areas elegantly, and react to obstacles (including the player).  I definitely anticipated that this feature would cause me some trouble, but I have to say that this has been extraordinarily tedious to implement.  It has become something I dread working on by this point and definitely sucks on my energy to work on the project.

And I’m sure there are still several bugs that will only show themselves after play-testing.  Hooray!

One feature that I lump into “character AI” is something I haven’t shown yet: the ability to have characters follow you around, caterpillar-style!  This will be used at a couple points in the game when the plot demands it.

As with last time, click on the image to see a GIF of this!

Getting the follower to work correctly was quite tricky.  The normal pathfinding for characters moving on their own was too clunky and not responsive enough to follow the player around closely.   So, I had to write a simpler sort of AI that beelines towards the point the player was in about 30 frames ago.  However, this can be exploited by the player as well to get the follower stuck on obstacles, in which case the follower will walk in place for eternity.

Each approach had its faults, so I created a hybrid of these two behaviors.  The follower now uses the simpler behavior until it finds itself stuck on an obstacle, at which point it shifts to the more complicated path-finding behavior in order to get around the obstacle.  As soon as it reaches the player, it then shifts back to the simpler behavior.  You can see this in action in the GIF when I get the follower stuck on a wall-corner, and she moves around it after about a half-second pause.

At some point I think I’d like to make a huge post about all of the small idiosyncrasies, bugs, hangups and annoyances of character behavior.  It would be cathartic.

2. 100% More Kitty!

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this on my blog yet.  There is in fact another possessable character, up until now never spoken of!  Who could it be!?

Click to see a catwalk GIF!

Yes, you get to possess a cat.  It may not be the most useful for getting other characters to open up about their dark and troubled histories, given that it can only say “meow” or “hiss”.  But, it makes up for that by being the most agile and lithe of your potential hosts.  Observe:

Click for GIF!

The cat has the ability to jump, a feat that no human in the game seems capable of (or at least interested in).  And combined with its small size, this allows the cat to go through crawl spaces and open up new areas that you couldn’t access with your human hosts.

3. The Introduction

One of the final things standing in my way for a complete demo is a proper introduction that pushes the game off.  This was something I could have pushed back; I could have released a demo without it.  However, I’ve heard that feedback is a bit of a finite resource, and I’d really like my first ‘wave’ of feedback to include the introduction to the game.

In the previous “Why Am I Dead”, you are simply thrown into the game.  Instructions are given as black text on the ground, and you are given a short conversation that explains the premise of the game.  This time around, the introduction will still be short and sweet, but much more involved.  This is partially because of a difference in premise — the last time around, you start hovering over your fresh corpse.  Combined with the title, it really spoke for itself.  In this game, things aren’t quite as simple, and it really warrants the extra effort to explain things.

A little peek at the introduction outlining the protagonist’s end.

This meant creating original art for the introduction and scripting things to get the timing just right.  It’s been pretty easy to implement, but surprisingly time-consuming.

I know I’ve taken way longer to get to a closed demo than I had predicted, but I really am getting close now.  I promise!  For real this time!

Really Piling it on Here

Hello from Xi’an, China!  Things have been a bit hectic; I’m just getting over jet-lag now, and I start teaching English classes tomorrow.

Lots of new stuff to adjust to.  New country, new apartment, new school, new students (lots of them).  It might be a while before I get comfortable with all of it!  So, what better a time than now to make clear my goal to submit Why Am I Dead At Sea to IGF 2014?

The deadline is October 19, which gives me about a month and a half to get my current build to competition-readiness.  That really isn’t much time at all!  But more importantly, this gives me a solid deadline and a great reason to get back into full-time development.  To be honest, even though I completely failed to reach my goal of submitting to Indiecade, that was by far the most productive time for me.  I never really was able to match that pace afterwards.  And now that I’m in China and teaching English and all that crazy and awesome stuff, it’s more important than ever that I have a clear goal that I’m working towards.  It would be very easy to lose sight of development in the midst of everything else, and I am determined not to let that happen!

Most of the work left is writing and polishing.  Prioritization is going to be key here — there are lots of side-features that I’d like to implement but which are by all means optional.  If I want to even have a chance at submitting my game I’ll have to be much better at leaving that stuff to finish later.

So….here goes!

One More State-side Update

Sadly this past month hasn’t been as productive as I might have liked.  The main culprit is probably the fact that tomorrow I’ll be flying to the other side of the planet, where I’ll be spending the next year.  Aside from the time I’ve had to spend preparing for the trip, it’s a bit hard for me to focus on development with something like that looming over me!  I guess you could say the move has stolen the game’s thunder for the time being.

For the next week or so I’m guessing I’ll be swamped with getting situated.  After the initial craziness though, I’m hoping that I will actually be more productive overall with Why Am I Dead At Sea than I have been this summer.  Though I’ll have less potential waking hours to contribute to the project, I think that my day job will keep me from burning out and will force me to value my development time more.  When all of my day-to-day structure is self-imposed, it is so much harder to stay on task!

With all that said, there has still been a good deal of progress that I can share, so let’s get into that!  Note:  Every picture is linked to a GIF that shows the same thing but with animation.  If you want to see the animation, just click on the picture!

1. Scenery Layering

One thing I did since my last blog update was rewrite a lot of my collision detection code, mainly because it was legacy code from the first “Why Am I Dead” that was needlessly complicated and honestly just done very badly.  To make my life easier in adding other stuff to the game, I decided to just bite the bullet and tear it all out.

One thing that I then proceeded to do with the help of an improved collision detection system was to include support for layered props.  Previously, only characters could be layered to give an illusion of depth, while props were completely static and could not be moved in front of or behind, but simply around.  Now, they operate in the same way:

So that’s neat.

2.  ‘Spectral’ Effects and Unlocks

I’ve known that I wanted to have a different visual style in the game for the ghostly/supernatural things that happen in the game — something that seems to be separate from the pixel art of the rest of the game.  After flirting with particle effects, I decided on a…motif of sorts, involving relatively simple vector art combined with lots of different animation effects.

The screenshot below, actually, is a pretty bad example of that, but it also demonstrates one of the big applications that this motif will be seen in.

This is still really rough, but gets the idea across.  So…what are we looking at here?

Currently the ghost is using an ability to sense what things it can interact with.  As you might guess, green means that it can, and red that it can’t.

In most cases, both characters and new areas must be unlocked before the ghost can successfully enter them.  In the case of possessing characters, you generally have to be able to understand the motives of that character before you can steer them.  And in the case of different areas, you need to have explored the place behind a door before you can ghost-magic your way through it.  This means that you have to possess someone who has access to that area before you have the ability to visit it as a ghost.

This may strike some as rather un-ghostly; generally ghosts can pass through anything, without question!  However, you will very quickly be able to unlock most areas and will spend the majority of the game floating through everything.  This is simply a way to give some more structure to the early parts of the games, and allow for a few surprises.

3. Mind-reading

You have yet another ability in your ghostly arsenal: mind-reading!  This can be done on anyone at any time, and satisfies two functions:

– Additional, optional background and development for those who are interested in seeking it out

– Hints and cues for those who are stuck

It’s as simple as going next to a character while in ghost form and hitting a button.  You will then be brought to a screen that generally has an animated pattern in the style that I outlined before.  On top of that, the thoughts of the character fade in and out.

Each character will obviously have different text that corresponds to what’s going on in their heads at that time in the story (and it will change over the course of the game).  But more importantly, each character’s mind-reading-screen will have radically different animations and visual effects that correspond to their personality and emotional state.

Given how eccentric some of the characters are, I’m going to have a lot of fun with it.

 

Well, that’s it for now.  The next update that I make will be from the city of Xi’an!

Anchors Aweigh

Quite a bit to cover this time.

New title.  I’ve decided to change the name of “Why Am I Dead 2” to “Why Am I Dead At Sea”.  It’s not a huge change, but a lot of thought was put into it.  I came to this decision primarily because this project really isn’t a direct sequel in many ways, and I wanted the title to reflect this.  In addition my hope is that this game will be able to reach a much wider audience than its predecessor did, and I don’t want anyone to think they will need to play another game to understand it.  It really is a project that I hope will stand on its own…so tacking on a number at the end didn’t seem to fit!

Though I feel it’s a bit on the wordy side, I went through innumerable potential titles and could find nothing else that more accurately described the spirit of this project than “Why Am I Dead At Sea”.

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Beta testing.  Though development time has exceeded even my wider estimates, I can happily say that I will soon be ready for closed beta testing / play-testing.

Given that the weakest area of my last project was the amount of bugs it had on launch, this is something I’m taking very seriously.  The last time, the only play-testing that my game had was from fellow developers on FGL.com, a website for other free browser-based games.  This was a big mistake!  While I’m eternally grateful to everyone there who helped me out, I should have really used it in conjunction with other sources, as I didn’t get enough feedback on the game to smooth everything out.

For instance, the reason there were game-breaking bugs at the end of the game is very simple: out of all the people who played my game before it was released, I think only one person who gave me feedback actually reached the end!  And then when the game was launched and I was scrambling to push out new fixed versions, I didn’t have anyone but myself test those, either…so they sometimes ended up creating new bugs.  It was a mess!

This time I’m going to be much more proactive in getting feedback, gathering a wider pool of testers, and putting the game through play-testing longer.  My plan is currently to find volunteers who would be interested in the type of game I’m making, and offering incentives for their help (obviously a place in the credits being one of them, but ideally other things as well).

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Marketing.  Around the same time that I start beta-testing, I will have enough assets to feel comfortable in making a serious effort to publicize my game.  This will mean a teaser trailer, a website launch, a Greenlight page, and loads of other stuff.

My plan for publicizing the game is a two-parter, since I feel the game is in a bit of a grey area.  It has a lot of elements that I think would appeal to a smaller, but more dedicated audience — which means that the sooner I start talking about my game, the more likely I am to reach that audience.  But my game will also be very cheap and on the smaller side — which says to me that most people will only give it their attention once, and if it isn’t available then, they won’t pursue it later.

So my compromise is to release everything I can to publicize the game as early as I feel comfortable, with the sole exception of a free demo, which I will reserve for the day that the completed game launches.

There’s still a lot of work to be done, but I’m definitely reaching an exciting stage now where the game is taking shape.  Hopefully by my next post I’ll be able to show a teaser and the game’s dedicated website.

Menus and Screenshots for WAID2

Happy Fourth of July for any state-side readers!

Progress on Why Am I Dead II could be fairly characterized as slow but steady.  After giving up the ghost (ha) on the Indiecade deadline, I have to find something else to latch onto so that I can push myself harder.

But that’s not to say that I’ve slacked off!  I decided to take a break from art and return to programming.  Much like how pulling a thread can unravel an entire garment, a small change to how I displayed things on screen turned into a pretty thorough upheaval of the whole game engine.  It was a long time coming, since a lot of the original code was 1) written a year ago and 2) written with a much smaller project in mind.

The benefit of all that work is invisible, but present.  The code is just overall a lot better and less stupid.  It’s still pretty stupid in some places, but a lot less so.  And that’s always good.

I then returned to the initial reason I made the change that started all of that, which was menus!  I wanted overlapping flexible menus, and now I have them.  This will be used for the starting menu and the pause menu, and will be responsible for loading your game and changing your game options.

A rough version of the screen housing your Save files.

The biggest challenge for this was mostly getting the controls to work for both the mouse and keyboard smoothly and intuitively.

I was then able to return to working on the game art feeling a bit refreshed.  I’ve now expanded the scenery assets to a point where I’d rather not even list them, as it’d take up too much space!  I’ve also filled in the majority of the game maps, to the point where the end is in sight.  You can probably infer this, but there is a lot more space, and a lot more scenery, and a lot more everything in this game than the last.  A big reason this is taking longer than I estimated is what I guess could be called art creep, wherein I compulsively add this or that art asset on the fly to fill things in more.

So, for the first time, I’d like to share completed mockups of the game in action.  But as tradition goes, let’s start by revisiting screenshots of the original game:

And now the new — keeping in mind of course that this is a tiny fraction of the completed environment/scenery from the game!

The Pixels Never End

As usual, the work on WAID continues.  Just to get this out of the way, I’m finally pronouncing dead my goal of submitting late to Indiecade.   As much as it pains me to sit on my work as time goes by, I still just don’t feel comfortable sending out what I have.  Mainly, I wasn’t able to get as far in development as I was hoping.  I guess it didn’t help that I now know I won’t be in the country when Indiecade is going on, so any benefits that submitting a game confers for conference attenders are void.  And considering the scale of the game and my development schedule, by the time I actually get feedback from the jury I’ll probably be in the final stages of development, if not finished.  But I’m glad I at least set that goal, as it definitely helped push me along and sped things up!

I’ve got the characters and the tilesets — now I just have to fill out all the scenery/props for the game.  After animating all of the characters, I can’t adequately express how pleasing it is to create a sprite and be able to just move on, without having to create 25+ slightly different copies of it.  If it looks good, that’s it.   Next one.

It’s also a bit nice to return to some objects that I had done for the first game and put a slightly different spin on it.  With the simplistic style I’m using, it can only improve so much, but I’ll take any sign of progress!

I’ll stick to the pattern of showing my assets from the previous game and this upcoming one, side by side.  But I haven’t actually finished the scenery for WAID2 yet; what I have here is still less than half of what I plan to make.  However, it’s already more than the crap that I scribbled out last time around.

WAID1:

ClassicProps

WAID2:

PropsI’ve been working on some other art assets, but this is the only stuff fit for posting at the moment.