Early stages

Today, I want to show some bits from the early stages of making a game that you probably never saw unless you either make games yourself or have close friends who do. Because at this stage, it looks like crap. ;) When I talk to friends who have never been involved in a coding project, the reactions are usually that the whole process seems a bit like magic. Sometimes, it is.. ^^ But there are also the early sketches and more or less successful attempts, as well as the lovely placeholder graphics sometimes referred in a derogatory way to as “coder graphics”. ;)

So, here’s a taste of this charming art style!

This is a quick sketch of what a level in the game will look like. I decided to go for a front-and-above perspective to give a clear view of what’s going on while having a bit more depth than pure top-down. The outer walls have been folded out to give a better sense of the setting.
I browsed screenshots from old RPGs from the 16-bit era and realized that the perspectives are pretty damn weird, but as a player you accept them, and they work pretty well.

And now, the first official screenshot from Hotel Blood & Breakfast! Behold its beauty!

Yep, this is what it looks like when you’re playing the game at the moment. While *some* magic is involved on the way to a finished game, there are also some dirty steps in between. ;)
This one shows what a level looks like after being loaded from a file like this one:

tiles
ababababab
bababababa
aaaabbbbab
aaabbbbbba
aabbbbbbab


objects
-A------A-
AA------A-
--------A-
--AAA---A-
----------

This way, I can easily build new levels using simple text files without writing any new code. A primitive but rather convenient editor.

I hope you’re more excited than ever to learn more about the game and see how it proceeds. ^_~

Website launched!

Finally, the website is ready and launched! No more “coming soon”. ;) Check it out at http://www.superamazing.se/!

The game is moving forward, under the working title of Hotel Blood & Breakfast. (Wouldn’t you wanna give it a visit? Of course you would! That’s what the main character thought too and came to regret..) I wouldn’t go as far as calling the player character a “hero” because you’ll mostly be running from your enemies rather than fighting. The closest you’ll come to fighting is in the final stage where you’ll get to defeat the big boss of this lovely venue. You won’t get to kill him though, cause honestly, I like the antagonist alot more than the protagonist.
Oh, and I’ve got to see some samples from my prospective graphics artist and I loved them! In fact, I loved the sketches so much that I’m willing to let go of more of the graphics making if he has the time and will to take on more! Really looking forward to getting my hands on something I can try in-game too.. ^^ I’ve been working on the basic engine, so I should be able to deliver a desktop version to him that he can play around with before too long. That’s one of the magic things with using libGDX for developing. You can switch between launching a desktop java application and an Android application with just the changing of a few lines of code. (Or more conveniently, link your main code to 2 different small launcher projects.)

Finally, I want to announce that my app What’s Up Wallpaper has had some improvement to its picture-finding methods and should now find more varied and more wallpaper-friendly pictures. :) Please send me feedback if you tried it!
I’ve also added support for Danish after getting my first Danish customer! \o/

Thank you for reading! Please leave a comment. :)

Springtime, gametime!

So.. time to get ready for this spring! :)
My first app was just the start. I wanted to make something that I could finish and publish to get a first taste of coding for Android and see how publishing (and hopefully promoting) your stuff works.
I realize that publishing your app or game is just the start of it. Now I’ve gotta make people see that it’s out there too! And, of course, keep supporting it based on user feedback. :) I’ve come to love the app myself, and I’m not gonna just forget about it. ^^

But it’s also time to plan for this spring. As mentioned in an earlier post, I’m attending a 1-year education that’s focused on making a project happen – from planning to running/managing to evaluation. The education ends in May this year, so my plan is to have a first version of a game ready and published by then. As always when I plan something, the goals tend to get rather grand.. ;) But I’ve tried my best this time to find a balance between wanting to do everything and not wanting to lose 4 months of sleep! (We’ll see how that works out though.. *haha*) At least I’ve been wise enough to add priority levels in my plan, with some goals of what I pretty much *must* finish at certain dates, but with lower prio stuff put into the plan that I can cut if I need a buffer.
I talked to a classmate of mine about this problem, and she confessed to have a bit of the same thing. You want some super amazing goal to keep yourself motivated, but you also don’t want to put yourself off by having a time plan that will inevitably fail at day one. It’s a fine line to walk.

I’ll let you know more about the game in future posts and show some screenies when I’ve come as far as that. :)
Right now, I’m getting the basic stuff started, starting on the game engine, creating a storyboard, and figuring out the format for my levels. I’ve been looking around for a nice graphics engine to use instead of being stubborn and doing everything from scratch, and found a nice project called libGDX which I think looks promising! The community for it seems nice and friendly too. :)

Lastly, I’m very happy that I think I’ve found a potential graphics artist!
The style will probably be a bit like old SNES RPGs – cute and fat little things. I’ll do at least *some* part of it myself because I just can’t resist the temptation, but my timeplan will be alot more realistic with some help. And I totally suck at making backgrounds, so that’s something I’m especially hoping to get some pro-help on!
Hopefully we’ll find a way to make it work for both of us. ^^ If we do, I’ll give you some sneak-peeks of some of his previous arty stuff!

Thanks for reading, and please leave a comment! :)