Thursday, December 27, 2012


It feels like more and more of what I had been doing using the Torque editor is now being handled by script. This seems to come from me just doing things however I can, then figuring out a better way later. Sometimes due to preference, sometimes due to necessity. There are blocks in Hue that change their appearance when you change colour, and up until now they had been considered "objects" in the game. I put them into place, they had a class, and some scripting changed which sprite was displayed. Now they are tiles, with coordinates set in script, and a sprite set in script. This is a bit of work setting them up for each room, but it's really not much worse than placing hundreds of these things carefully and hoping the editor doesn't crash.

"Hundreds of these things" became the problem. In room 2, there is a HUGE performance hit. This is due to having way more of these blocks than room 1 ever had. Using tiles instead should fix this, but I actually haven't gotten far enough to say for certain yet.

It feels good to learn a more efficient way to do things. I have replaced almost everything in the game at least once now, which is funny to think about. I don't really have much to show for the year I've spent on this game, but I have gained a lot of knowledge and have a strong foundation to work off of now.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Moving on...

After spending months refining my gameplay inside what I've been calling "Room1", work on Room2 has officially begun.

I actually designed the first 7 rooms on paper a long time ago, so I don't have to think too much about puzzles and stuff as I'm building it. Just trusting my past self and making little adjustments here or there. I went through the puzzles themselves over and over again on paper, revising most rooms several times. I'm pretty confident they all make sense.

The core gameplay still isn't actually complete, but for my own sanity's sake I'm moving on. Climbing under things still hasn't been implemented at all in the current prototype. It worked in my old one, but that one had its own problems...

Anyway, here's a screenshot from the first real puzzle in the game. Meant to indicate to the player that they need to make choices and really think about how the colours interact with each other.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Screenshot Saturday

I managed to get a "spawn" system sort of working. I was having trouble with it last night, but after some sleep it seemed to click into place. Time to start adding more rooms to this thing.

Here's a screenshot.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Roughing in animations...

I'm hoping to get rough versions of all the player-character animations in the game very soon, or at least made and ready to drop into the game. I've decided it's counter-productive for me to focus too much time on animation, so as long as I get a decent look/feel I can touch up details later. Here are some of the images I have so far.

Again, these are rough animations/sprites. I'm a fan of the proportions and overall look, but they definitely need some touching up eventually. May go with the whole thick lines thing though... gives the game kind of a cool feel. To be determined.

I've also decided to add a run button, because I want players to be able to slow down and have minute control, but to also be able to speed up if they need momentum for a jump or if they GOTTA GO FAST. Should be easy to implement, hoping to have that in this week.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Finding the right "game feel"

In my mind, the core of any great game is great gameplay. Even outside of the level design, the graphics, the sound, the story, the objectives... a great game just FEELs right. I'm aiming to match that.

But it's not as easy as it might seem.

There are a lot of things to consider, especially with a 2D platformer. Do I want my character to build up momentum and then slide a little bit, like Mario, or to move at a set speed and stop on a dime? Do I want jumps to have a set height or do I want the player to be able to control it? Movement in the air doesn't really make logical sense... should I include it anyway because it feels natural to gamers and adds additional controls? How far should the camera be zoomed in? To what extent should the camera follow the player?

These are all questions I am asking myself and have been asking myself for months. As of right now I have tentative answers, but nothing is set in stone. The character does build up momentum and slide a little bit, but I want it to be more subtle than it is right now. You do control your jump height based on how long you hold down the button, and you can move in the air. The camera is something I am constantly tweaking and it's sometimes surprised just HOW different a game feels with different levels of zoom. I am also constantly touching the movement speed and jump height and how strong gravity is. It's a very delicate balance, and touching one thing often means touching everything else.

Torque 2D has a built in physics engine that is incredibly useful, but can also be a bit limiting. When I want my character to grip the floor more to prevent too much sliding, it also reduces jump height. When I increase the jump height (which is technically a vertical speed variable) it just makes the character jump faster now without actually going as high as I want. All little quirks I will be attempting to work out very soon. I have been working a lot on animation because I do believe that having a fully animated character that looks at least somewhat close to final will help with adjusting the game feel.

Game feel is incredibly important and not to be taken lightly. I have played numerous amateur/indie games where the gameplay feels just a liiiittle off, and it has a notable negative impact on the experience. Game feel is too important to not focus on. I'm also very strongly considering changing the scale of every level I've designed so far to accommodate better game feel. It's that important.

New Rough Animation/ Pencil

I recently downloaded an open source animation program called Pencil. I like it so far, aside from some little quirks with the interface. It has been incredibly useful for roughing out my animation a bit more, and the result of an hour or so of messing with it is this:

Still very early. I still need to touch up the timing a bit (it's a little too consistent, needs to look more natural) and then polish it up with more appealing art but... it's a huge improvement over the way I had been animating before. I was just drawing layers in GIMP and hoping they looked okay when I exported as a GIF.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Side View

Here's a possible pose for my protagonist's walk/run/jog/whatever cycle. I spread my layers out to show some progression. Still not totally happy with the last one (the left leg specifically still looks off to me) but I've pretty much sold myself on this character design. I do need to solidify her proportions, and probably make a model sheet/style guide to be 100% sure I don't screw up. I'll probably use this as the basis for creating a walk animation and see how it turns out.