Archive | August 2012

Day 16: A First Level Design

Today was time to start putting things together. I put all the elements we’d made so far into the Tiled map editor so that D could place them where he wanted.

We talked about some of the rules that would be important, things like:

  • Waterfall and lava falls couldn’t start or stop in mid-air.
  • Water must go out to each side until it hits a wall.
  • The cave should not have any gaps in its sides or bottom where you can fall out.
  • You can’t jump very far, so places to walk have to be near each other.

And I showed D how to use the tool (it is frighteningly simple, it took him 30 seconds to master it). Then he just went for it.

So, here’s the structure of D’s first level (no enemies or collectables in yet).

You can see this is the ‘designers’ view, rather than the way the player will see it. BG stands for background, anything with C is the cave wall, W is water, WF is a waterfall, and LF is a lava fall. The player starts at the green button, and the person you’re rescuing is at the red cross.

Cool, eh?

So we’ll add the enemies tomorrow, and then see about doing level two.

Day 15: Foleying Around

So today’s job was to find sound effects for all the things on our list.

I remembered having downloaded a cute little tool for the mac to make random sound effects in an 8-bit retro game style. The program was cfxr, and it proved to be a huge boon.

D sat and played with it for half-an-hour. As you play, it keeps track of all your attempts so far, so it was easy for him to show me the effects he loved, and we soon had all the list crossed off.

It isn’t so easy to upload sound effects here, so you’ll have to wait for the final reveal (I know, I know). But they are quite fun. Though some of them, I confess, I wouldn’t have guessed if I hadn’t been told!

So sprites, done, sound, done. Onto level design!

Day 14: Sound Effects Wanted

Today we did the first half of our sound effects job. We went through the game and decided when there might be a sound to play. And then we’d have a list of sound effects we’d need to find or make.

The list was:

  • When picking up a fossil or gold
  • When a frog jumps
  • When the bat flaps
  • When the fish bites
  • When flies are near
  • When you fall into water
  • When you pick up the flies
  • When you feed the fish or a frog
  • When you lose a life
  • When you jump
  • When you reach the person you are rescuing
  • When you fall a long way

Rather more than I hoped we’d need, but still, D was insistent.

So now we just to find or create them.

Day 13: Music Maestro Please

Today we went hunting for music. Making game music is a bit of an art, and while we could have used the tools we have to do it, I felt it might be a summer project of its own (maybe a Christmas project, to make music?), so instead we hit up Kevin MacLeod’s site of royalty free game music, and D went through to pick one.

Originally he decided rock was the way to go, the heavier the better. But none of the pieces seemed to suggest caves. So we had a talk about what the caves should be like “Spooky” was the consensus. From there it was relatively simple to find the perfect piece.

It is called Aftermath (second song at that page).

Very spooky, very cool. Next stop sound effects.

Day 12: An Artistic Milestone

We’ve reached an important milestone today: we’ve finished our first batch of art. All the non-environmental art, except the player character (which we’re waiting for the visit of some cousins to do 😉 ).

So we can start to put the game together now, using some placeholder background art, and see how it runs. Which in turn means I need to do my bit of programming to make it happen.

These are the last two bits of art for now. The collectible fossil and the gold nuggets. Again these took two days to create (so actually we’re on Day 14 or 15, really). I made some suggestions for the gold color scheme, but D overrode me, the shiny effect didn’t please him. He said they should be yellowy-orange (duly done) and should look as if they are sparkly (rather than shiny). Good call, we had a look how to suggest that, and decided that the cross shaped highlights were the way to go. He hadn’t drawn these by hand (they came from the ‘star’ tool in the graphics package), but he placed them ‘in a line’ to get this result.

Very cool.

So we have a wall full of ticks now. I think we’ll probably find some music or sound next, as I’ve been promising we could do that for a week or so. Then its on to making some levels!

Day 11: Bad Fish

We’re rapidly advancing on the end of the graphics push. Two days this week we spent creating and digitizing the fish.

D drew his fish quite differently to mine this time, and managed to make it more like a Pirahna, and less shark-like. I like his version better.

This beastie will appear in the game travelling in both directions. It also has a green happy version without teeth which, like the green frogs, will appear when you feed it flies.

Doing a bit of art like this has settled into a two-day job. One to research and draw the art on paper, and another to scan, trace, color and animate the final thing.

We’re almost done for the art we need to before we can start putting things together. Last job: fossils and gold.

Day 10: Field Trip

D and Mum, with his gradparents, went on a field trip to a local cave system today, while I was at work. Some highlights.

We have maps in the game too.