Friday, November 30, 2012

Superhero Game (Build 11-30-12)

Was tinkering some more with the Superhero Game.  With the help of the Scirra Community, I was able to get the lift mechanic added in.  Also, I added some placeholder art for when the Player is flying in different directions.  Next up, I'll probably add in some placeholder images for when the player is flying their fastest.  After that, I need to get one civilian up and working to make sure everything is doing what I want it to.  Luckily, the "Families" feature in Construct 2 is making it easy to set this up for a multitude of NPC's.  I'm just now trying to think about how I'm going to add some variety.  I'd like to do more than just pallete swap, so I might have a base figure that I draw items onto.

Click the link below to go to the newest build of the game.  I'm setting up a static page that I will update with the newest versions as I update.  Its just easier in the event that someone goes to an old post and sees a link to a file that isn't there anymore.

Click Here To Go To The Most Current Build Of The Superhero Game

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dr. Sketchy Cleveland 11-28-12

Feels like forever since I've done any life drawing.  Hell, it feels like forever since I've drawn without a ballpoint pen, not on a legal pad, and not a superhero.  But, ultimately, I think those daily sketches helped me stay loose.  Normally when I would start drawing, I'd need some warm up time to get myself ready to draw anything serious.  With all of the tooling around on the game, I'm getting to a comfortable point with less and less warm up.  Here are some of my life drawing studies from last night.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Superhero Game: Pick it Up

Odd how I'm more silent on the blog when I'm actually doing more work on the game than normal.  Craziness.  Well, I've begun tackling the on of the most important elements of the game, the carrying mechanic.  I was struggling with how to best get the NPC's (Non Player Character) to stick to a specific image point on the animation.  The idea being that I can use a static body and have the NPC and the player's arms on a separate animation that will overlap the body.  Confused? I don't blame you.  Thankfully, I've attached the above picture.

This technique will also be used when lifting other objects.  I will be setting up a different image point in Construct 2 for objects.  The forums over at were a huge help in figuring this out.  Animmaniac figured out how to use UID's to have the NPC's stick to the image point.  I'm looking into them further.  I think in the long run that I can use a similar system for switching out the player's animation when he's holding specific people or items.  Maybe even slow down the player when he has heavier items.  Who knows?

Forum Posts: Pin to Image Point?
Animmaniac's site: PRR-Art

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Gaston vs Jabba The Hutt

Here you can see the preliminary sketches I did for the RBMC's take on Disney vs. Lucas!  See the finished piece here:  Oh What A Guy Is Gaston!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Superhero Game Update 11-18-12

My first building template.  I need to dress it up.
So I've been kind of busy.  I decided to try and throw together some background assets and get away from the yellow-legal-pad BG that I had before.  In doing so, I'm realizing that I'm probably going to need a few template buildings that I can alter and stack to try and limit the amount of work this is going to take.  I'm pretty happy with the base "brick" building that I have.  I think with alternate sign-age, awnings, and other dressing that this type of system will work.  I also put together some clouds, but seeing them in the game, I realized how depressing they look.  I'm probably going to go in and brighten them up.  Also, I added a new default hovering animation.  I have the the week off so I'm hoping to get a good deal of content added in.  Most importantly, the "catch mechanic".

Depressing clouds.  Going to brighten these up.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Video Game Sprites: Is Continuity Important?

So I've been wanting to add in the catch and carry mechanic to the game, and its got me thinking about situations that won't "mirror" correctly.  In case you've stumbled across my blog and are curious about what mirroring is: Basically, you draw your art one time with the character facing one direction.  Then, when the player wants the character to move in the opposite direction, the computer will flip all of the character's art and animation.  It really saves you half the amount of work you'd have to do.  

The only real fallback is that you would want to create characters that look the same no matter what direction they're facing.  You wouldn't want to spell out a word across your chest because when the player went the other way, that word would read backwards.  Street Fighter cleverly played with this on their DJ character.
Right now I'm trying to figure out how to go about having the character carry civilians/criminals and it look right from both directions.  If you're holding a civilian in the classic pose, when you flip the character, it wouldn't make sense (see above).  My question is: do people even care?  I'm probably going to put in that extra effort, but I wonder if anyone would even notice?  
I think I have a system figured out for quickly creating the art needed for both poses.  And, honestly, the legs and cape will be animated so I'm probably not going to animate the carried people (along with the sprites being so small).  So I guess I'll way my options.  Just some food for thought.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tiles and Sketches

Let me just get this out of the way: Making tiles in video games is hard.  What a pain.  After a couple hours of fighting with it, I was able to get a master tile created that I will be able to adjust to create most of the sidewalks I will need for the game.  I got a little cute with the perspective and it made everything challenging. I have a giant picture to serve as the left edge of any sidewalk (where it meets the road) and that will butt up nicely with the repeatable tiles.  It was pretty difficult, but I'm happy to have it out of the way.

Also, I'm working on this round's RBMC theme "Lucas vs Disney".  At the moment I have a very rough sketch of Gaston as Boba Fett.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to lengthen those arms, but I'm pretty happy with the pose so far.  Looking forward to finishing that in the next couple of days.

And finally, I decided to try out the FRAPS program for some gameplay capture based on a fellow developer's suggestion.  You have to work with it a bit to get it to record the desktop, but it works pretty good.  I would have liked to have been able to limit the capture area to the gameplay window, but cropping out the excess screen wasn't too difficult.  Be sure to subscribe to the Youtube channel for more gameplay updates.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Player Sketches 11-12-12

Nothing too exciting today.  Just some poses and thumbnail sketches.  Trying to settle on a leg shape based on a couple of sketches I liked in a previous post.  Hoping to get back on the Buildings tonight.

Monday, November 12, 2012

First Step Towards Backgrounds

The very first steps in creating some backgrounds.  I've got a sky gradient that will sit stagnant in the back and I've created a template for the building and side walk.  Its just a basic block to help me with the perspective.  I started by creating the basic shape in Cinema 4D.  I then created renders of the street level and the building top.  That gave me the basic perspective which I then fudged by flattening out.  It doesn't look great it you are going for something literal, but I'm thinking it will be fine once its zoomed in on.  I've included some work in progress shots below.

At this point, I'm still thinking that I will be creating the buildings as whole pieces, but will try to get away with tiles where I can.  I'm hoping that the large pictures won't eat up too much CPU with my sticking to a 16-bit-ish look and using the Save For Web feature in Photoshop to keep my file sizes down.  We'll have to wait and see.
Here are the two renders created in Cinema 4D to that were used in the Composite.

I then flattened out the front of the building and the sidewalk to create a template that the other  buildings will be drawn from.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Preparing for a Model Sheet

I've put it off long enough.  I need to make a model sheet.  The lack of consistancy in my character's proportions is really bumming me out.  At the same time, I'm starting to get excited about adding some additional animation to him.  I can't be bouncing between different leg shapes and torso sizes.  So I've compiled some of my favorite sketches of him in order to come up with a solid design scheme.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Superhero Game V.0002

I should probably change the ridiculous naming convention, but I really don't know what it should be.  Regardless, I've added some camera transitions between flying and platforming, tweaked some of the speeds and jumping, added a quick lift off when the player starts flying if he is on the ground or falling, and re-positioned the player in the window.

I cannot stress how exciting it is that Construct 2 is letting me achieve the things I had always envisioned in my head.  I really wish I could have spent my time working with it instead of trying to teach myself XNA and C#.  Clearly I wasn't able to wrap my head around coding and this works much better for my simple, artist brain.

Feel free to try it out here: Still Too Early Too Be Showing Superhero Test

Controls:   Arrows to Move, "F" to toggle Flying

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Figuring Out My Flight Poses

So I've already got normal floating around poses kind of figured out, but I wanted to get my poses set for when you are really going fast (IE: holding down the run/speed button).  I keep going back and forth on whether or not to have the fists out forward.  It ultimately boils down to how it looks.  Getting the pose to look right without covering the characters head was proving tricky.  Who knows, I might just have the arms out when he reaches the top speed. 

Also, if I get a chance I may jump into Cinema 4D and model a couple of mock buildings to use as placeholders.  Not because I plan on having CGI buildings, but because I'm pretty annoyed with myself for not having figured out the final perspective on the buildings.  The sketch I'm using now is a little too severe for my tastes and I'd like to try out a few variations before committing.  It might be a good idea to try out Google Sketchup for some quick templates.  Hmmmmm.  So many questions.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Transition Animations

I'm starting to give some thought to transition animations in the game.  Like everything else in the game, my decision to add a cape to my character is is adding a lot of extra work for me.  Luckily, the animation is so small on the screen and everything is moving so fast, that I can probably get away with just a couple of inbetweens for each transition.  I just don't know how many transitions I will need.  As of now, I'd love to have a couple of frames for when you are swiching from from moving left to right while your flying and running.  I'm probably going to also need some for when I'm flying down and and go up.  After I get those done, I'll have a better idea of the kind of things I'll need to flesh out the rest.

Update: A likely solution was provided by Justifun on the forum 

Friday, November 2, 2012

I Need Something To Practice With

So I've been thinking about how to build the system for carrying the different people/civilians/criminals/etc and thought I should make a character to practice with.  I was leaning on making a damsel in distress when it dawned on me that it should be some sort of home made practice dummy.  Plus, it might make for an interesting story point if you used the dummy during a tutorial level.  I would still like to use the Mentor character (pictured below) that I developed below and think this could be a good addition learning process.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Working Out My Poses

Having put together a rough prototype of the movement in the game, I'm starting to think about some of animations I'm going to need.  I have some quick placeholder sketches where I need the jumping and falling, but haven't completely figured out the rest.  Most of the trouble is revolving around transitioning from different cape animations.  At the moment, the character goes from standing still with the cape draped from his back to sticking straight out when he's running.  I need a few transitional frames between to make it look like the cape is catching the wind.  

A few other's to give some thought to:

How far up to have the cape go when falling from jump or dropping out of the sky.
How to compensate for that transition when going from a fall to landing.
How to handle the cape when changing direction.

These extra details are what I'm hoping will set my game apart, but is probably where the more tedious work is going to come from.  I'm starting to think about ways to cut back on the work and maybe include little cheats.  Kind of like figuring out situations where I can reuse assets or take advantage the sprite size.  

I'm hoping the power will be back on by this weekend so I can work on this and implement a timing feature to work in my "float up" idea.  The whole thing was developed and explained to me by fellow indie developer, Bodzio Stawski.  Do yourself a favor and swing by his development blog to see the great stuff he is building in Construct 2: Selection B