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[ Devlog ] Odin

A topic by ryam created Jan 09, 2017 Views: 393 Replies: 23
Viewing posts 1 to 12
(Edited 1 time) (+2)

Hi everyone!

I'm really excited to participate in this game jam. This is my first time ever trying to develop a game and create sprites and therefore obviously also my first time participating in a game jam. Right before I stumbled upon this site I've started following some tutorials on GameMaker Studio, so it was at the exact right time and a great coincidence, as the game I was planning to make would have been about a dog anyway!

The game I'm trying to create during these 2 weeks will be about my dog, Odin and is very loosely based on the one time he ran away from us. It will be a simple, minimal platformer in which the player will take on the role of Odin, trying to find his way back to his human parents. On his journey he will occasionally get help from a cat which will guide him through his journey by explaining the controls etc. in a very arrogant and hopefully humorous way. As of now, I do not plan to add any enemies and the player will not be able to lose, I want the focus to be on the experience.

So far I have the basic mechanics done, which involve jumping (+ double jumps), platforms and moving platforms. (thanks to some great tutorials by Shaun Spalding as well as Heartbeast!)

Here is a screenshot:

The background is obviously just a placeholder for now and I definitely have to work more on the player's sprite (and animate it) - which so far has been the hardest part.

I'm really excited about all of this and so far am still very determined to finish this! :)

(Edited 1 time)

Today was mostly spent with trying to figure out where I want to go with the story and some pretty rough level sketches, as well as reading about level design theory.

The plan for tomorrow is to work on the start screen as well as the hint system.

Host

ah good thing you clarified this was only loosely based on real events i was pretty excited about that mansplaining cat. this is looking pretty good so far--can't wait to see this game in motion!

thank you! I'm trying my best to actually finish this and not stop midway which is something I tend to do way too often.

btw, I just played Starbot and am madly in love with it! Such a touching experience.

Host

ahh thanks so much!

(Edited 2 times) (+1)

10.1.

I decided to re-program everything I had so far because I was very messy and needed to get everything organized in order for me to not lose track of everything. So sadly, no real progress today. Aside from a very simple title screen (that actually works and I'm a little proud because I figured it out by myself haha! Don't forget that I'm a complete newbie :P)

And I've tried my hand at making a little gif of the still pretty glitchy controls so far, but for some reason it doesn't look smooth AT ALL (which it actually does when playing):

That's it for today. I plan to work on the hint system tomorrow, as well as on the player sprite, because it very clearly needs more work done and is desperately lacking a real running animation.

(Edited 1 time)

I'm currently working on the idle animation for Odin, this is what I have so far:

Damn, I never thought it would be THIS hard to do some (seemingly) simple pixel sprites. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. And I have absolute no idea how I'm going to do the walking animation haha, but I guess I'll figure it out somehow!

(+3)

I'm ending this day with a nearly finished player sprite (idle, walking and jumping animation included) and the sprite for the cat that still needs a lot of work:

Conclusion for today: I have heavily underestimated how much work it is to create the sprites, but I guess I'm having fun trying to make them as good as it is possible for me. I've always been bad at drawing, so I should've known that this wasn't going to be easy. However, I'm still very much enjoying working on this thing. :)

Tomorrow I want to focus more on the programming side as well as some level design.

Host

art assets can take a long time!! i think for the sake of the jam it can be a good idea to go ahead with placeholder art and come back to refine the art. this is looking really good! i'd love to see gifs of your movement + animations so far!

I definitely want to do that, but the software I downloaded (screenshottogif) somehow can't handle the movement well - is there any other program that you would recommend?

and thank you :)

Host

hmmm actually screen2gif is one of the ones i use the most--i think licecap is another one that i found pretty good, but i couldn't say for sure if it'll have a better capture.

Just tried licecap and it's working way better :) thank you for the suggestion!

Didn't have much time to work on the game today, but I tried to work more on the player's sprite. I think it's slowly getting better, but I'm definitely still struggling a lot. Here is the process I made today in a gif:

Hey Ryam, what kind of tools are you using for the art assets and animating? I don't know about the new GameMaker version, but previous versions didn't have the best built-in tools for sprite work. For animating, using tools with "onion-skinning" is very useful as this lets you see a ghost of the previous frame. In the past, I've used Graphics Gale which I believe is free for most things and will allow you to export sprite sheets (but not export GIFs), but I've also heard some good things about Pyxel Edit which I haven't touched myself yet.

As J said though, using programmer art for game jams is a good idea at times. Personally I flip back and forth between programming and art. When I get stuck trying to "perfect" art assets, I go back to programming, and when I get bogged down with rewriting optimizations, I switch back to art. The most important thing for this is to keep motivation up, so work on what is most interesting to you.

The dog animation definitely looks very nice so far! A minor suggestion would be to have the tail wag back and forth rather than uncurl in the idle animation.

(+1)

Hi Konrad!

Thank you very much for your long answer, I really appreciate it! I'm currently using Photoshop, as I'm most familiar with it (I'm a photographer), but with the recent humble bundle I also got Pyxel Edit and Hexels, so I might give them a try tomorrow. I followed your advice and put the art aside for a day in order to work on the programming of the game.

I actually wanted to have him wag his tail back and forth but couldn't do it haha, I will give it another try tomorrow.

(+1)

I put the art on hold today in order to focus on the game mechanics and have decided how I want the game to start: There will be a row of text boxes the player can read by moving further to the right. I actually really like the idea, because it allows the player to experience the story while playing - I think it may be more exciting than just doing a text intro.

It literally took me hours until that text box really worked, but I still have a few problems:
- I have NO idea, why the border on the left and upper side is bigger than the one on the right and bottom - I've tried all sorts of different values but I can't seem to get it to work. If I won't be able to solve this, I will ditch the border, even though I'm really quite fond of the way it looks.
- The intro happens on one room, so the player actually only sees the first text animated and when he/she reaches the next one, the text is already typed out. If I can't find a way to solve this issue, I will probably have a room for every text box (there's only three, so I think it might not be too bothersome).

Also, I have no idea why the gif plays so fast and doesn't display the "i" in comprehension, because it is definitely there when I play the game.

The plan for tomorrow is to try to find solutions for these problems and start properly designing some levels. I've decided to let the art rest a bit in order to definitely be able to submit a finished game.

The GIF problem may be due to a discrepancy between the game's display rate and the GIF software acquisition rate. Doesn't explain why the "i" doesn't show up though. That one is confusing. Maybe some weird compression problem if the "i" is too thin.

Host(+1)

i really like the text boxes popping up as the player moves! a lot of games use this for level beginnings that need some text. i actually didn't realize the border had different sizing--is it possible there is some rounding occurring with the camera or some sprites that's causing the discrepancy? also i'm really loving how the text typewriter effect looks!

Scaling could definitely be the issue with that. I had that problem when first using gamemaker with windows of arbitrary size (certain rows/columns of pixels can get rounded out). I guess Ryam could double check that the scaling used is a round number and maybe set a fixed standard window size like 640x480 to see if that fixes the border.

Thank you for your help!

I've actually read about the scaling and rounding issue on various other forums, but couldn't really wrap my head around it. This is how I set up the room:

And this is the view:

For the x and y placement of the textbox, I've used the round() function, because I thought that would solve the problem, but it doesn't so far. However, even though this bugs me a lot, I consider this to be a minor cosmetic flaw at the moment and will try to focus on other more important things.

(Edited 1 time)

Yeah definitely a minor issue particularly for a game jam. I suddenly have a feeling that this happened to me when the width and height of my sprites were not multiples of 8, so maybe see if the window you're building is a multiple of 8 pixels?

-Edit- Maybe it was for sprites with odd height/width instead of even. Multiples of 8 may not be the exact problem, but I don't really remember at the moment.

I will definitely look into this tomorrow. I need a computer break now haha!

(+3)

I think I made some pretty good progress so far. The player's sprite, title screen and background are definitely not the finished versions yet, but I'm slowly getting there. Also, at the moment I'm not worried about the display of the collectibles in the upper left corner, because I haven't finished the sprite yet and I don't think it would make sense to worry about the spacing too much at this point.

I couldn't solve the issues I had with the second and third text-boxes text animation, but I will get back to it on another day.

Things I want to fix ASAP: When pressing space to start the game, the player immediately jumps. If I can't find a solution, I will simply use another key to start the game.

Also I've designed three levels I really like today.

Nice! I like the parallaxing background. Regarding the jumping on start, do you have jump attached to "spacebar is currently down" or "spacebar is pressed"? The first will trigger every frame that space is down and the second will only trigger the first frame that it is down. My first guess at seeing this is that you used the first option which may be causing the problem?

The other thing that I can think of is that your dog already exists but hidden when the black screen is up and is interactible when you hit space. Are the black screen and gameplay different rooms or the same room?