Saturday, August 15, 2009

Art! Arty Shmart!

I decided I really should update this log more often with whatever I do everyday. Every time I think about doing that I promptly forget about it a day or two later.
Well here is one thing I finished today, an album cover for C-Jeff from
C-Jeff asked me to make something neat from this photo . I started out with just doing a color reduction, not really thinking about spending hours on making a whole pixel art piece from it but just make it look good, as I was already pretty busy with my own projects, but then as I cleaned up the result it went on and on, aanddd....

I ended up practically redrawing the whole image and spending more than a day on it, yayy. The longest part was probably to make out what the electrical pylon structure was supposed to be like. On the photo, its just a mess of black lines and the actual perspective is very hard to discern. Its not too hard for the lower levels of the iron bars, but as you get higher it turns into an absolute mess of black. I sort of half-ignored the model for the topmost part of the structure as a result. There are many bars missing and probably a few that are "connected" wrong but the result is fine looking. I'm not sure yet whether ill upload this on pixel joint yet.It does end up as pretty much a trace as far as the pose and big metal structure goes, but on the other hand there's much more work to this one than just tracing the model image.

On other news, RECESSION (the game):
Maybe some regular updates on how my big current project Recession is doing would be interesting. Except right now, the details of what I am working on is a lot of end-game spoiler stuff, so I guess its a terrible time to start doing this! Meanwhile I'll yap about what the game is currently like and what the game is shaping up to be and what is left to work on etc.

The game, as I explained a few times before in other entries, is closely tied to the theme of money. Originally it was a short and simple game made in a couple of hours for a poppenkast competition with money as a theme. It was a simple non-linear platformer with money and enemies spread about. In the game, almost any action except walking costs you money: Shooting, jumping, getting hit, using bombs, double-jumping. If your money gets below 0, you die. Note that in the newer version, instead of dying right away, you have a limited time to refund your debt (with interest) before dying. The game being much bigger required a much more forgiving way of dealing with debt!

The two main numbers to keep track of in the game is your current money (which serves as ammo, life and stamina all at once), and your money's exchange value, called RATE.

The RATE starts at 1.50, and that number multiplies any amount of money you gain. So the higher your rate, the more money you get. But the rate also DIVIDES any money you lose, so the lower your rate, the more you lose. The rate value goes down as you play the game, so as time passes, you get less money from treasures and everything becomes more expensive. The goal of that first game was to figure out where the best treasures are, and then figure out the shortest path possible to them, and then try to get to that big jackpot with a RATE that is still very high, while trying to keep jumping and shooting to a minimum. That early version of the game is available to download here, just scroll down to the games list below the blog entries.

The game was neat and I decided to make a bigger one with the same system. The bigger game was pretty much built over the smaller one, expanding on the maze and adding more paths and areas. I have been working on this new version since the beginning of summer now, and I think it could be done for September. A lot of the game is finished, but there is still significant things left to work out. Some things like saving and loading the game aren't made yet (it wasn't needed in the original game as it was beatable in just minutes), as well as many interfaces, dialogues still use placeholder message boxes, the game's mini map isn't made either. There is also some work left on finishing some of the paths of the maze. All of the boss battles except the final one are finished (and there are a lot of them too).

The biggest chunk of work left is going to be on the polishing of the game's visuals in general. Most of the game's rooms are almost featureless as far as visuals go. They don't look ugly and have tiles and all, but very few rooms stand out as nice-looking, or as having unique features. This is not a big problem for games in general I think, but I sort of want to go all out as far as art goes and add character to the maze's visuals, for instance by adding background elements that are unique to a room, like say a big statue or animated machinery or computers or a giant sleeping monster. This visual polish is probably the most time consuming task left on the project. I will also have to draw images for the game's introduction and ending.