Wednesday, December 23, 2009

College semester finished!

I was horribly busy recently, but its all over now!
Heres some of the things that hogged all of my time these past few weeks:

First, a 1-minute pixel art video:

This video took about 5 days of work. Its silly but fun, I like the result a lot.

Also, in our flash course we had to make two flash microgames. The games were to be handled by an external shell that would randomly play em. Because the external shell handles them, there arn't any play controls on the games themselves so just hit refresh when you want to try again.

first game is called DISASTER. Spin around the screen with your mouse to avoid the projectiles, and click to shoot the monsters eyes. you can play it here:

In the second game, you have to fill a watering pail with water, and then water some walking plants in the bottom of the screen. You can play it here:

You can try out the final project with all of the student's games including my own here: though its all in french, and some of the games can be a little confusing even when you understand the language....And quite frankly a lot of the games are a little poorly made! Its understandable though, there was a lot of work to do this semester and not everyone was particularly interested to invest a lot of time in this one project.

Lastly I spent quite a bit of time working on a php website. The assignment was to make a website where you can register and then upload pictures. You can check the website there:
Though it might go offline soon, its just temporarily hosted on my college's server for the purpose of the assignment. I couldn't really finish it on time but it had pretty much all required features.

Monday, November 23, 2009

New vidya, and some other stuff

Here is a lil cover for Phlogiston Game Music vol. 1

I posted this before but heres the new part,the drawing process video!
I thought I had lost the footage at one point so I didn't record the last half of the work, but most of it is there really, all that's missing is some tweaking on the character and the smoke from the missiles.

And I remind you of where you can get the album, here.

Ive done some more work on Recession, but its slowing down because of college stuff. But said college stuff is pretty cool: I have to make two games in AS3 and a deviantArt-like website with some PHP. The two AS3 games are for a collaborative project where all students make two small 10-second games, that are then all put together in some sort of warioware-like supergame where the player plows through an endless series of microgames to raise his overall score. One of my two games is a 10-second bullet hell where you fight a procedurally generated monster. In the second game, you have to water some weird walking plant monsters with a watering pail using your mouse.
The PHP website's concept is basically a deviantArt site that is specialized in sketching, doodles and pencils. I made the visual concept for it, a very dirty, sketchy-looking interface:

There is a toolbar on top that is missing in this screenshot. The idea right now is to have the sketchy background change entirely depending on the site section you are in.

Also I'm working on an AS3 game with Bisse, who recently came back from his mysterious radio silence. Welcome back, Bisse! It'll visually look a lot like some bastard child of Gyruss and Abadox, two awesome NES games that I played to death as a kid...

Most of the work on my personal game project "Recession" lately has been about the intro sequence. It will resemble the intro sequence of Day of the Tentacle in how it is made:

That is, a series of partly-animated slides. On most frames, the only animated part is some lip syncing, and in some others its a more elaborate movement. I guess I didn't really need an example to illustrate this but heh, I love that game...

I wont animate them yet, I'll start by outlining the base images, and then get to work on finishing the game gameplay-wise. I'll do the big animation work much later on, it will probably be the last thing I do on the project actually. So if I end up losing interest ill still have a usable, non-animated sequence as a bit of narrative. The intro sequence is all sketched and two of the base slides are done right now. Ill show some of them later, for now ill get to work on one of those AS3 games I need to get done.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Another album with cover by moi!

The J. Arthur Keenes Band released a new album, called Pamplemousse.

I made the cover art. Its looking juicy.
Get the album here:

See the drawing process in this youtube vidyah here:

I still have like two other album covers on the way, one is almost done too.

Also I made a few more things for the Tigsource Assemblée competition:

Monday, October 26, 2009

New album by Phlogiston out

Phlogiston put out a game music compilation album, its great! I made the cover. You can get the album here:

I am working on three other album covers right now, I'll post em here as soon as theyre done. I recorded the drawing process for some of them.

Also I've been doing some things for the TIGsource Assemblée competition. Heres a lil blast

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New portfolio is out

I have almost finished my portfolio site. Its a college project, basically we got to show off so we can get a good internship somewhere. Its not entirely done: I have some things to add on the animated background still, and also I want to translate the whole thing in french, as most companies around here are mostly francophone. I put it up to replace my old site hub here:
Also I think the site might have issues with chrome! There's an odd white rectangle that appears on the lower left. It disappears as soon as the window is resized. Ive no clue where that comes from. Also the gallery seems to load very slowly in chrome too.

Ill also put a resume there later this week.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Finally picked up Recession again!

I haven't worked on Recession in months. But last week I picked it back up again and boy did I work! I placed all of the bosses in the game(except one that isn't finished yet, cant go in much detail about it, endgame stuff) , finished equipment and treasures, made a saving and loading script, fixed the map display, replaced the pause menu with a more useful one (where you can check your collected items, equip weapon parts...) and took care of many, many little bugs there and there.

There is still a lot left to take care of, but I took care of lots of annoying elements. This game is getting done! Finally!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cowboys and crabs are two very cool concepts

Ive been spending some time sprucing up old projects! One of them is Crab Cowboy, that game I originally made for a Poppenkast compo. Making it longer, look better and play better. Heres a few screenshots of what I got right now after about two days of polishing:

Planned are 5 levels, 7 enemies and 5 bosses. So far I got all levels made, but only 3 of them are populated with baddies and only one is really finished, the village. I could finish dat thang within a week if I wasn't so horribly lazy. Need to refresh your memory about the original Crab Cowboy game made for the competition? Scroll down to the games section and pick it up. It was neat enough.

Other than that, very little is new, I got some college work, might be working on the visuals of a pretty neat XNL game with the XXIst Century Digital Boy software guys soon too. Also I've been compiling a lot of my past work to build a portfolio of sorts ill make in Flash. Probably something really lively full of animation and wacky shit, to sell my mad animating skills!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Vector illustration.

New pic! Another issue cover for my College's student newspaper, Le MotDit. This time its in vector art.

How will spiderman get out of this one!? Let's find out...

Thursday, September 3, 2009


It goes krackrboom!! Blammo!
Thats an old sprite of mine that I found in an old folder. I added a bunch of frames there and there to wrap it up and here it is:

Its all blooey! Might recycle it in a game sometime...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Vidyah's up check de vidyah

Vi-dee-ooo! Finally got around putting this together.
Its got a kickass background song by "Sloche"(an obscure 70's Quebecer band) called "J'Un Oeil".

Got a new computer today, took me a while to configure the whole thing up until I could transfer the raw movie files from my old machine, edit them together as one video, render the thing, connect to the web and upload it. Heh.
Got a new compy to get rid of the overheating problems I had. I'm thinking they were due to my AMD processor getting old.

On the flipside it means ill prolly record more now that I got a better machine that doesn't show signs of internal hemorrhage as soon as I do more than 2 things at once on it. And now that I got something stronger I might just end up doing some 3d modelling, that would be rad.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sweet vectors

I tried Illustrator's CS4 version (amongst other things) for the first time yesterday at college, and I just had to draw something.
So here's Pepito! The protagonist of Recessions' final version:

Here's his actual sprite for comparison:

Still working on the final battle. Its shaping up pretty well. Its looking raddd.
I hope ill finish it soon so I can work on less spoilery stuff that I can talk about in more detail.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Art got done

Did some more art! I added some colors to the characters in the cover image I posted on my last entry:

I began to put together the video recording of the process, Maybe I'll upload it tomorrow.

I also made a series of images for the same issue, in a sort of recruitment article. Each vignette represents a particular position in the journal's team. You can try to guess what each of them refer to. Id list them but I don't know what some of them are called in English and don't particularly feel like checking them out for now.

I did not record the drawing process on that one because of the overheating problems I mentioned in my last post, it was just too much hassle to take breaks to let it cool off at every 5 minutes.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Work on recession and college stuff

College has started again, which might slow down work on recession a little! But my schedule leaves me a lot of free time. I spent a lot of time this weekend on College newspaper-related work, like the cover image that I finished today:

It was fun enough to work on. I recorded the job with camstudio, I'll probably put it together as a video on youtube later this week. For now I got more stuff to finish for the paper. Working on this big picture up there made me realize how awkward I still am with a tablet. I couldn't keep a steady hand and it took a ridiculous amount of time to get clean lines and curves. The result is really messy, but you probably can't notice much with that shrunk down version (the real one is 5 times that size at full resolution)
Also my computer's overheating problems really showed when I was working on this. The combination of recording with CamStudio and drawing with the tablet (with pressure sensitivity etc) made my core temperature skyrocket. It reached 86 degrees at one point, and my core's maximum temperature is supposed to be 70. I took frequent breaks to let it cool off. I probably won't record tablet drawings again for some time, it's too much hassle to stop every 5 minutes.

Aside from that, I did some more work on Recession, the details of which I still cant really talk about in great detail, its all final battle and endgame stuff. I must have spent about 6 days so far on that. Especially for the visual side, its a very long job, and its still far from over. A lot of animation to deal with and very large sprites to produce. It is sort of frustrating to know most players might never get to see all of that work if the game ends up being too hard. It is also frustrating to know that I can't really showcase that kind of spoiler art, even though its the most impressive looking work of the whole project, by a wide margin! There is some of it I can show though, like this minor enemy that appears during the boss fight. Its shown here at 4X:

After that's done, I'll work on getting a fully playable but visually unpolished version as soon as possible so technical problems can be found early. The to-do list for the "fully playable" milestone:
-Finish the obscure endgame stuff (what im on right now)
-Place the new boss battles in the maze (for a big part of summer I scripted fun boss fights, tested them, but I never put them in their context)
-Build the saving system (didn't even start to work on this, not even sure how saving will work exactly yet)
-Rebuild an area of the maze that doesn't work (the factory. Not that youd know what I'm talking about, but its the factory.)
-Rebuild or populate some rooms that are boring
-Make up some system to deal with dialogues, and then place the main ones in the game. (the other secondary dialogues will be for later)
-Put up some temporary interfaces for the pause menu, game options, etc.
-Build the shop interface, just a functional one for now
-Finish the basic map display
-Probably forgot something on that list.

At this point the game should be fully playable from beginning to end, so ill put it out for testing to friends and on The Poppenkast and to others who'd like to help out.
Then I'll do a very long job of polishing the hell out of the visuals, mostly by adding unique scenery elements to certain rooms. Then I'll draw and implement the basic story of the game which is just told through a few storyboards at the beginning and end. Then I'll finally replace the temporary interfaces (like the pause menu) with the final prettier ones, and that should be it.

Absolutely no clue as to when that will all be done, though. Hopefully soon?

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.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Found an old game! Y'guys can play it!

I found an oooold game I made a long time ago, Sluggy's adventure (the first one)
I finished that about 5 years ago back in early 2004. It's the very first game I ever made, it introduced me to pixel art. The art really sucks, but heh it always does at first right?
I made the visuals and the game, and Erave made most of the music (I composed the main theme and he did everything else I think)

Some of the art was taken from other sources though. Like that terrible cloud background was part of a texture pack I think, and also there is an explosion effect that I took from the web. Some sound effects I got from sfx websites, and most I made by recording my voice and speeding up the result 3X.

Download Sluggy's Adventure 1

Also its FULL of bugs and problems. like, the backgrounds scroll based on your directional movement rather than from the movement of the view which looks really awkward. Collisions are based strictly on your vertical speed, so if you bump an enemy's noggin while going upwards it will count as getting killed. Etc.
And some levels reaally suck
And its frustratingly difficult because I had made it on a slower machine back then, so a consistent lag throughout the game made it easier for me when I tested it. As a result there's some very tight timing-based obstacles in there, and some levels are just ridiculous. The bosses on the other hand are really easy, I made them sort of as an afterthought, thinking hey my game has no bosses thats terrible *makes something worse than having no bosses at all*
Except the final boss is a tad better, he has a two-action pattern instead of repeating the same single attack over and over.

But hey it was my first project ever (not counting my early rpgmaker years, but I never finished anything with that anyways), and it wasn't easy to find! I didn't have the game anymore because it was on an old broken up machine, and most of the sites that hosted a copy of the game are either down or the link didn't work anymore. Most of these sites linked to the original download page at but this one is down as well since the site was redesigned. But luckily, a mysterious benefactor (that I will simply refer to as "Lucifer") still had a copy on his computer, which he gave me in exchange for my immortal soul and an exclusive sneak-peek preview of my upcoming game Recession.

Speaking of which, Recession is coming really soon! Just as the real Recession is dying down, too. I've been working on it NON-STOP for a big part of summer. Its gonna be an epic game, I'm putting a lot of effort in the visuals especially. I am thinking it might be finished by the end of the summer, depending on how many problems I encounter and, to a greater degree, my attention span. I have been working on this for something like 5 months now!

One last thing, I had made another game right after Sluggy's Adventure, a sequel interestingly named Sluggy's Adventure 2. I never finished it because I lost the source code while working on it, but it still had 20-something levels. I was trying to be fancier with my pixel art there, and it did look a little better already, though it is still very ugly by my standards today. I will put that game up in a next post.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Western compo entry 1

Hey woudya lookatdat its a game for a poppenkast competition!

It doesn't have any audio however, but the game is swell nonetheless. Get it there:

Its a platformer! Play dis shit!
A jumps
S shoots
D reloads
left and right move
up and down move the pincers position from up and down

When the pincers are low you can aim better with the gun, when the pincers are high you can move faster and jump further.
Your crab nature keeps you from being able to turn around and shoot back... you can only aim forward...towards the setting sun...
Get to the end of the level and shoot down that boss guy! Try to finish with 10000 points for a bonus game mode!
I asked Untitled to whip up some music to make the game less boring audio wise but I didn't hear back from him since, maybe he's busy.

The game was made in around 2:30, for a 2 hour competition. I went over the limit a little....ah well, it was fun to work on.
I worked a bit more on the game since, but I'll only upload the updated version once the voting on the competition is done, which should start around july 1st.

I made another entry for the same competition teaming up with Bisse (I drew he programmed), I will put it up on the blog tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

wow a new blog post

Hey its been a while since I wrote there

Ive been working on lots of stuff but I've been especially busy with college.

The biggest thing I'm working on right now is a game I initially made as a poppenkast 4-hour competition entry, called Recession. The competition's theme was money. You can get the competition version of my entry here : DOWNLOAD RECESSION v.0.21
The looping track heard througout the game is by Chef Boyardee.
The game is pretty simple: You control a little guy who runs around and collects cash. Any action in the game costs money except walking: jumping, shooting, getting hit all cost cash. SO cash is a both your ammo, your life and your stamina. There is an exchange rate that is applied to all revenues and expenses, and the exchange rate drops as time passes, so in other words, the longer you play, the more expensive everything becomes, and treasures are worth less.

That game was made in around 5 hours, I made it in early April. It was cool enough but I felt that a lot of things could improve on it, that I could play with that money concept way further. After the game was ready for the competition I decided to keep working on it, and now we are more than one month later and the game has grown - a lot. I am hoping I will finish the real, final version of the game this month, as college work stops hogging all of my time. Now there's exciting boss battles, much more exploration, more atmosphere, more music, more secrets, weapons, cooler visuals, its all there! Its a lot of fun to work on, too.

In other news

Today I made my first big photo manipulation work. I'm sure that people experienced in photo manips wont find this any impressive but I'm pretty happy with it (click to see in full size, its pretty big):

This is for a college work, where we received a fictional contract to build a website for the upcoming movie of The Hobbit. Its a team effort, and I am the team's art director-ish guy. This is the source image I used. I used it without permission, whoops...
First I took out the guy with a brush, and replaced him with a wood texture in the opening to act as a closed door, added hinges, a door knob-ish thing in the middle and rivets, used a lattice texture found on the web for the windows, added a shadow cast on the door (which instantly added a LOT of realism, its insane the impact this one shadow had on the whole thing), then I added a dark atmosphere using an edited clouds render with a color burn blending mode, added plant silhouettes on the foreground, added flowers and vines, edited the shadow on the door to include shadows of the hanging vine, added a logo of the film I found with google images and edited to fit the colors of my image, and done! It took around 4 hours in all. I think I'm growing to like photo manipulation a lot, so I'll do more in the future. I'll try using strictly photos of my own or open-license free images too for stuff I want to put in my portfolio, just grabbing whatever I find on google images feels a little cheap to me. It didn't matter for that particular college work though.

I did a bunch of other things for college, like a website for Stéphane Turgeon, a francophone rock band.

I worked on this with two other students. I took care of the visuals and the CSS, and the others mostly worked on the MEDIA section (it is empty in this version however).

and also a 3d modeling work of an art studio of sorts, turned into a Quicktime VR that is then connected to all of the other students' 3d rooms. You can access my own 3d room here. From it you can also travel around the network and see the other students' works. I wish I had more time to finish my own, it feels a little empty and some of the textures are wonky. I will eventually get a better, faster computer so I can practice 3d modeling at home, my current machine is too slow for it. I'm beginning to like working in 3d some more but its frustrating to only be able to do it at college, and it slows my learning curve by a lot I'm sure.
We had another, similar project for a video course where the same concept had to be used with photos rather than 3d renders: we had to take many panoramic photos of a place of our choice, then modify the photos somehow and turn them into a Quicktime VR. Mine can be seen here. I took photos of our student newspaper redaction room, and added monsters sitting there. It was fun but took a little too long! I also included a friend Marc-André Trépannier in one of the photos, playing a ukulele. I drew a freaky little monster riding him.
We also had to include short videos in our rooms that would start when the visitor clicks a certain object (mine is a little drawing on one of the room's billboards). Making these videos automatically load a new Quicktime VR file by adding something called an HREFtrack on the video was a real pain in the ass, it usually just didn't work for dozens of stupid, obscure technical reasons.

In another course called "Présentation multimedia" that focuses on nonstandard communications between users and computers (like with heat sensors on input and lasers or motors for output instead of the usual keyboard and screen), we are working on a game!

(that's a mockup though, not a screenshot of the actual thing)
Its a side scrolling shooter where one player uses the arrow keys to move a little ship through a dangerous tunnel, and the other player uses a microphone to influence the level's generation. It's lots of fun to work on, we should finish it soon enough (maybe tomorrow actually).

One final project I'm working on for college is a video clip for a Canadian artist who's name eludes me right now. We recorded him singing his song over a green screen from multiple angles, and next week we will put the clips together and throw in a little animation and have some fun with it. I might put it on youtube when its done who knows.

That's it for now yo, cheers.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Aaannnd more stuff again

More stuff since last time!

I participated in a weekly pixel joint challenge again, it had been a while since I did that. I didnt win or anything but I like how my image turned out nonetheless.
Its basically a little troupe of clown fishes (none of which are actually clown fishes heh... how...ironic...)

I also drew a very colorful image for a contest at my college, to decide what would next years' agenda cover look like. This is what I came up with:
Its basically some ridiculous cartoony character taking a lil stroll in fucked-up-land. All of these flowers sure took a while to draw, but in the end the details in them make a pretty cool effect I think. The image being very cartoon-like and colorful, I'm not sure it will be picked at all, they are probably looking for something more boring. Heh, ah well, it was fun to draw anyways....

Last in the round-up is some college work for my "Arts numériques 2d-3d" course, where we had to mix 3 different media in a 15-40 seconds animation that showcased lip sync. Here is the video:
It was fun to do and I learned quite a bit about XSI (the program we use in the course) in the process. My brother did the voice acting sunday, I made the lip sync animations monday within a couple of hours, and I finished the film with the audio effects earlier today, just in time to do the final render and deliver it on a dvd in class.
The 3d scenery and character animation were made last saturday and the filming was done first, about a week ago, with some help from our student TV crew.
Originally it was going to be a bit longer and have more of an ending but I didn't have time to film the missing parts and had to do last minute changes. Too bad!

In other news I also had some freelance work for Electronic Arts Mobile, but I'm not allowed to go into any details.

We have resumed work on Super Banana Nababa recently, that's rad. Were doing more planning now instead of pretty much making it all up as we go. I aught to make more games, I didn't do anything in a while. I will probably participate in this week's poppenkast activity, 4 hours to make a money-themed game. That should de-rust mah game-makin' arm.... Ill do somethin' rad...

Friday, February 6, 2009

More Schtuff

Long time no see. Again.
College taking up some space now, with big projects in every other course, but I still have time to work on some of my own stuff on weekends. Here's the latest new shit:

In that video I first draw the thing and then animate it, its the first time I recorded my animation process....
Thats a flying hippocampus-shrimp-dragonfly monster, fully animated. Its for a new game project of mine where I'll try using all of the unused ressources I made for past projects. Basically its an exploration-oriented platformer, like metroid or castlevania, with a visual style that seems to be somewhere between the NES and SNES, though without really following the restrictions of neither.

Heres a video of an explosion, its for the same project:

Basically, the games' story is that two aliens crash on a strange unknown planet and have to find a way to either repair their ship or find some replacement. The game's main idea is to give it many endings that change how long you spend on the planet, and that the longer you spend on the planet, the stranger and creepier the game gets. For instance, if you finish the game with its earliest ending, the story will have just been about two aliens crashing on a planet and then leaving. Nothing strange, nothing weird, they just come and go. But if you stay just a bit longer, as you gain access to deeper parts of the maze, enemies get more freaky, the game gets a eerier atmosphere and the story unfolds slowly into something pretty ghoulish.

The game also has a few gimmicks I'm working on building up into decent gameplay mechanics: the games' maze is split into many areas with their own visual characteristics and atmospheres, and each of these areas are in a power circuit, and placing power cells in an area powers it up, which significantly changes it around, like doors open, machines turn on, lights turn on, some monsters disappear or change their behavior, some new monsters pop up. So it gives areas two very different perspectives: Areas that are powered down are dangerous and creepy: Your vision range is more limited in them, weapon recharge and healing stations do not work and enemies use the dark to their advantage, staying out of your vision range and suddenly swooping in. Powered-up areas are more combat-oriented: weapon recharge stations work, enemies are all visible and attack on sight.

I'm doing a lot of work on that project, and more importantly I wrote a design document for it instead of just making up shit as I go along. I always stayed away from that approach before, thinking it wasn't really useful to spend hours and hours on a design doc if the project is a lone wolf project anyways. I thought design docs were only useful to make sure all team members always have a clear idea of what the project is as a whole and can just refer to it when they have questions instead of asking the game's designer. But now that I made one, I see even a lone wolf will benefit a lot from that kind of planning.

First, it sets the project in stone psychologically: its written down, its all done, it separates the design and the integration processes clearly, so you don't end up adding new features or changing ideas while you are actually making the thing, and it makes sure that before you even begin programming anything, you already have a clear idea of what you will need later, you know exactly all of the features you will need to implement on the player characters' object for instance.
It also makes a schedule, and you no longer have these "okaaay... whats next now, where the hell was I?" moments, even after a long break from working on the project.

Does it mean I'll ever finish this game? Id like to think YES but heh you know what its like amirite! Well I've been on this one for months now and I still have interest in it, that's probably a good sign. I asked two great chiptune artists for help on the game's music, Untitled and Phlogiston.

And now for something completely different, here's a picture I drew for my colleges' student newspaper, the front cover:

I might or might not make another update soon, with like more game art or sketches or who knows maybe DUCKS

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

wowie sbeen a while

heyyy I haven't updated this in a while! Here's what happened since the last time. I was busy with college so I didn't do much for a while and then things started picking up again.

I drew the cover of this chiptunes album here, a compilation of multiple artists by crunchyCo:
get the album itself here:
its pretty cool stuff. My favorite tracks are the first two and the last.

Made a new gameplay video of Super Banana Nababa, game I started to help out on in october, along with Bisse, Phlogiston and Im9today.
It shows me beating the shit out of the first boss Voodoo mask at Normal difficulty level without getting hit once! He is way more challenging at NIGHTMARE difficulty however, with more attacks that deal more damage and are harder to avoid.
Heres the vid, enjoy.

On related news, the results of the IGF competition are out, and Super Banana Nababa was not selected as a finalist. Ah well, there's always next year! Meanwhile we might finish it and pimp it up enough to snatch up a nomination next time.

Right now though I'm working on an entirely different project, a still unnamed exploration-based platformer in a sci fi theme with a slightly creepy atmosphere, yet with a cartoony feel with the characters. The protagonist is a firefly-like alien (not the show, the insect). Its a lot of work but I think I could finish it almost entirely during January if I don't get stupidly lazy. So far the game is roughly planned out, movement and basic things work, most of the work that's left is in designing the levels and polishing it out. Right now im programming an inventory screen and a map display.

I also have some commission work I need to deal with, but for now I'm taking a little break on things I consider "work", after that hectic college semester it feels good to work on stuff that doesn't have money attached to it for a little while.