Hello, world. I just woke up and realized I haven’t played a single game for the past three days. Damn. NOW I’m well and truly worried. Is this how people get old and shrivel up and die?
At any rate, it looks like tons of stuff has been going on. Minecraft is being updated,Indie Game: the Movie is out.. Game Maker Studio is on Steam… says IndieMag, a site I’m revisiting after a long, long time. Once again I find myself curiously at a loss. I think for the remainder of this month I’ll be AFK from my gamedev tools. I have a game idea forming at the back of my mind – two, actually – I’ll have to give then some thought before jumping into development head-first as is my wont. My main problem, just as always, is art.
Art has a very heavy influence on the game I make. Even the best engine in the world won’t do you much good if you can’t present your game properly. As for me, I usually work with middleware and suites like Construct and Game Maker, where you use level editors and such to lay out your gameworld: in these programs. the objects that you lay down are represented by their sprites.
The looks matter, and if your game is a physics-based one, for example, those looks are going to change the gameplay on that particular map. If it doesn’t look like and if the layout doesn’t agree with you, the whole thing is gonna change, consciously or subconciously. You’re gonna be moving around pieces to see what goes best where, and in the process that map design is invariably going to change, and that invariably brings more problems to sort out. Say you’re making a TDS (top-down-shooter) and you decide that wall looks ugly, so you shift it to one side. Suddenly, an enemy on that side has a place to hide behind and reload, whereas a soldier in the middle is exposed.
In my case, the maps change by leaps and bounds, so I do my best to nail the look before I step into stuff. In the Maze, there was this one level that was like a circular spiral. There were creatures in there that would lob missiles at you, which would bounce off the walls and subtly adjust their direction your way with each bounce. If I’d made that thing a square, or some other design (trust me, I do that), the bounce patterns would have been totally different: that level might have ended up being too easy or far too hard. As it is, it’s too hard, but that’s the whole point. If I’d used a narrow sprite for walls I might have decided to make the spiral thinner, and the player would have less room to maneuver in. Fat walls? Large passage? More space and room to dodge.
This way of designing may be strictly my own: I know there are devs who decide on a map layout and bend their art/ sprites to match that layout. For me, it’s a half-and-half. The map invariably ends up looking half like the initial design, and the other half influenced by the map’s looks.
So my first step to make anything is to generate art assets. Static stuff is fine, but I’m bad at animations. Another limitation due to visuals, then: whatever I make, it better have the minimum of sprite-based animations, because I can’t draw worth a damn.
Okay, now I have three ideas. I better go start writing before I forget.