Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Positive Reinforcement in Video Games

I was watching Tara Long's video of Rayman: Legends and she brought up how much she enjoyed the amount of positive reinforcement that the game gave you.  I've only played the previous game in the series, but I definitely get what she's saying.  There is so much visible flair and distinct audio queues trigger with every successful movement.

It made me really start thinking how I might want to represent the "positive" moments in my game and not just the negative ones.  We think a lot about the flashes and blood splatter that happens when you attack something, but I think there is something to be said about the quick pat on the back that happens when you do something correctly.

I'd like to explore this graphically and maybe make a few tests.  Hopefully I can post something in the next few days.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Z-Depth Trickery and Splat

Haven't posted in the last few days and wanted to share my latest changes.  So here goes: All civilians not enter an "injured" state if they fall longer than 2 seconds.  I probably could have use some kind of event system to figure out the distance, but I already had a variable counting down the time that each NPC is falling.  I figured that would be the quickest solution.  And what do you know, it actually worked.  

The next step is to figure out at what height I want a player to die on impact.  More importantly, I haven't quite figured out a way to graphically represent that.  I don't really want to go full out gore and use any blood.  At the moment, I'm leaning towards a puff of smoke with some kind of icon appearing to represent a lost civilian.  Tombstone? Skull? A big "-1"?  I have no idea.  I think I'll work on the smoke first.  Maybe it will come to me then.  

As far as the Z-depth trickery in the title: I noticed that I was running into some layering inconsistencies and had to make some corrections.  The NPC's are always walking in front of the player (closer to the camera).  This was fine until one of the NPC's wa on a roof top and then the player would be flying behind them (see image.  After moving some things around, I placed both NPC's and the Player on the same layer. When the player is in "platforming" mode, he is at the bottom layer.  If he's flying, he's on the top of the layer.  Any NPC that's being carried is moved to a separate layer on top of the previous layer to preserve the look of the NPC being attached to the player.

*As I type this, I'm realizing that when I have multiple NPC's around and the player is Platforming, this won't work.  I will have to add an extra condition making the player move to the top of his layer when he is carrying something.  Shouldn't be too hard in Construct 2.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Little Help?

Thought I would jump into Construct 2 last night and fiddle around with my game.  I decided it was high time for my NPC's to start getting hurt.  So I decided that if they fall a certain distance, they should break their legs and not be able to walk.  I already have a timer that starts every time they start falling, so that worked out well.  At the moment, if they land after falling for at least 3 seconds, they get injured.  Very soon I will add a condition that if they are dropped from way higher, they will die on impact.  I just need to figure out a not gruesome way of doing that.

This system, as it is, works fine. It's just a little buggy.  The animation just doesn't transition the way I would like.  I might have to rig an animation inbetween to smooth it out.  Maybe something that lets them land on their ass first.  Decisions decisions.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

More Plugging Away in Manga Studio 5

I'm still really liking the program while not being sure how much I like this drawing.  I need to continue to work on it.  Probably wouldn't kill me to jump into some serious tutorial action and learn the in's and out's.  But for now, I'm just having fun playing.  And of course, the first thing I draw in any program is a Ninja Turtle.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Quick Manga Studio Test

Just a quick post today.  The house is in total dissaray as we remodel the bathroom and basement.  I've only had a few free moments, but in those moments, I purchased Manga Studio.  I fellow member of the drink and draw showed it to me and I've quickly fallen in love.  I don't have all of the features down yet, but I can easily see it being my "go to" art program.  Mostly for the inking.  It just has a way of smoothing out my lines that I really like.  I'll probably do something more finished in the program this week.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

More Hero Sketches

Ever since I locked down the player's proportions, drawing him has been much easier.  Of course, drawing him in profile is problematic.  Hence, my lack of attacks.  I'm been looking at sprite sheets from other games and getting ideas of how to do it.  That's still a ways off though.  

I have Drink and Draw tonight and am going to try and create the bottom floor of my building tiles.  Maybe a few variations if i'm lucky.  I haven't exactly figured out how cut them up yet (or if i'll even cut them at all).  Hopefully I'll get that ironed out tonight.  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Building Tiles

Screenshot of tiles in game.

Well I finally got some tiles up and running in the game.  I have a little problem with seams showing up next to where I have tiles.  I think I saw a fix on the forums and will have to track that down.  Its a pretty good feeling to see it running in the game.  I brainstormed some roof top items on break today.  I'm hoping it will add some variety to the buildings.  Fingers crossed. 

Layout view of the tiles shoved together.  Exciting, I know.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Still Working On Building Tiles

Work in Progress of Building Tiles
Still plugging away at my Building Sprites.  The current plan is to develop a 3 by 3 grid that I can repeat the non-corner portions of.  I did a little more work to this last night and I'm pretty happy with it so far.  I work at full resolution and then shrink it down for use in the game.  It gave the whole think a monochromatic tint that wasn't in the original.  So I guess I'll have to go in and mask off sections and adjust the colors.  My biggest fear is that the tiles won't repeat seamlessly after the art is "pixelized".  

I'm probably going to have to go in and create some other elements too to mix everything up.  I can already imagine those repeated windows bumming me out once they are in the level.  I think a few variations placed on top of the tiles should fix that though.  More to come soon! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Throw It!

I don't think I've mentioned it before, but I've long thought about having throwable objects in the game.  My main concern is that I want the object to have some weight to it.  Ideally, the object would arc towards the ground and then slow to a stop once it hits the ground.  I think that I might be able to use the bullet behavior, but the object rotates.  Well, that and not knowing how to make it slow down.  Maybe I can set its movement angle to 90 degrees once it collides with the ground and gradually decrease the speed until it stops.  Hmmmm.  That might work.  Need some tests in Construct 2.

*Correction: I actually opened my eyes and saw the "set angle" option in the bullet behavior.  I suck.

Friday, August 9, 2013

New Tile Sets On The Way!

I sat down last night and finally stared figuring out new tile sets for buildings.  Its not nearly as difficult as I thought.  Like most things, have the trouble is just sitting down and starting.  At the moment, I have the center base sprite built.  I'll be using that as repeated tiles for the building windows.  Now I'm working on the corners which will be used to frame the windows.  I'll post pictures of the tiles when I'm finished.  Each tile was only about 5kb which seems manageable.  I'll have more soon.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Gesture Thumbnails and Easter Eggs

Just a few gesture thumbnails today.  I always thought it would be fun to have some easter eggs or interactable environment things in the game.  I've been planning out my building tiles and windows.  It got me thinking about how to add some variety to them to mix things up.  A cat or pie cooling on the window sill could be fun.  And maybe you can lift them up.  Just ideas for now, but perhaps something more. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Player Proportions Finalized

This is kind of gross to admit, but I never had a locked down proportion for my character.  The idea was to always make him stocky with a thick frame and slightly shorter legs.  If you look at some of the first drawings, those 2 details were taken to the extreme.

I've been drawing his body at 4 heads tall with the half way mark being at his belt line for quite some time.  Where I had trouble was was the length of his arms and legs.  I'm happy with the above chart and will be turning that into a full blow model sheet in the near future (probably).  I've been itching to get Manga Studio.  Maybe now would be a good time.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Bunch of Concept Sketches

I decided to post up some sketches from the last few days and share my thought process behind them. 

The above image is me working out how to design new buildings for the game.  I have the above image gridded off so I know how to slice up my art.  My thinking is that all of the squares, except for the corners, need to be repeated as tiled backgrounds.  That way I can save on memory usage and have the flexibility to resize my buildings as I like.

The above image is me working out the animation a player will go through the moment he is caught.  My thought is to have one animation that goes from the flying downward position to the regular carrying position.  I figure that I can save space (and animations) by just starting the animation a few frames in depending on which position they are flying in when they make the catch.

Just a quick sketch for fun.  Thought it would be cool to maybe have a turning animation.

I'm still thinking that I would like the player to have some control over any nearby civilians.  Playing with some ideas for ordering them to run in a certain direction.