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[devlog] Hydra's Mouth

A topic by Infel created Jan 02, 2016 Views: 1,362 Replies: 57
Viewing posts 1 to 32
(Edited 26 times) (+3)

Previously known as 'A Game About A Bird'!!

table of updates:

click to be taken to the post with the applicable update

day 1 - beginnings of a sprite, a run cycle, and a map layout. discussions of grappling mechanic.
day 1.2 - a sketch of the ripped bird
day 1.3 - gifs of the grapply scarf struggle
day 1.4 - i should go to sleep but oh my god i made the grapply scarf work
day 2 - i made some tiles
day 2.2 - refined the grapply mechanics, goal update, EDIT: the grapply displays properly!!!
day 3 - level design, a lil
day 4 - more level design, layer shennanigans
day 4.2 - layer shennanigans work!!
day 4.3 - title page sketch
day 4.4 - hidden caves?!?
day 5 - infel has insomnia and drew a face by accident
day 5.2 - the first npcs, title screen wip
day 6 - soon, the level will be complete
day 6.2 - title screen complete!
day 6.3 - wandering npcs
day 6.4 - dialogue!


Hydra's Mouth is a game about a simple one-armed bird, Helvetica. They are perfectly ok with being plain. Never taking off their beloved scarf, Helvetica has been content to go about their life in routine.

Until they wake up somewhere completely unrecognizable, without their safety scarf.

Anyone who goes to sleep safe in their nest one night, only to wake up naked and afraid inside a strange tree in a strange place is sure to panic, and Helvetica does. Being whisked away is not plain, and does not make for a simple life! They find themselves in a forest that always seems to be locked in nighttime, however an ethereal glow from the sky and clusters of 'stars' provide enough light for Helvetica to be able to see and find their way around. The environment is not shy of growing its own light sources either!

Some of the locals Helvetica meets (who scare them quite a bit) refer to this place as 'The Hydra's Mouth'... Helvetica assumes it's because of the strange topography. They hope.

Hydra's Mouth is going to be a platformer, where you play as Helvetica trying to traverse their way back home, or wondering if there's even a home to return to!

I hope to make it a simple version of a larger, more fleshed out version that I will create in the future. I have been thinking about this game for a while. This is going to be my very first game ever! So I am trying to keep things simple. However, since I am a visual artist, I would love for this to be a visually striking game. Once the gameplay is there, I intend to focus my energy into creating a lush world that people will be excited to explore.

The game will feature my personal characters, people who meet Helvetica on the way. Whether they're helpful or not is up for debate, but Helvetica is pretty intimidated by all of them!


i plan to create everything myself. it will be in pixels. here's my baby placeholder for helvetica, featuring their old design! they were meant to be vaguely corvid, but while experimenting, i found a finch look suited them very well!

and here's the current sprite for helvetica!


to commit at minimum two hours a day, daily, over the course of the jam until reasonably complete prototype exists
to learn my way around Construct 2
design the level
design a bunch of pretty art assets!
get Helvetica home!

Okay, real quick: Scrolling down for the full-body picture (Which is super nice by the way), my immediate thought was 'huh, i wonder if this bird is going to have abs'. I don't know why I thought this? Do birds have abs? But I found it amusing.

Anyways, this game looks like it has really nice worldbuilding and atmosphere so far? It makes me think about like... being content with being lonely. The visual art is really nice, and Helvetica looking at these stars that are so much more than him makes a striking sort of Isolation! I don't know if that's what you're going for, but it's cool! I look forward a lot to seeing the other characters too, and how they play into the story.

Also, the light sources are cool! Have you considered putting that into gameplay at all, like puzzle or difficulty wise? It might be a cool effect.

I look forward to seeing more of this!

oh, birds have abs B) anthro birds do. ripped birds. there's going to be a Sort Of ripped bird, but i think his sprite will be too small to see them.

i think that plays a lot into it!! for me, the game is a little less about telling a good story and a little more about creating the helplessness that might accompany a lot of things-- mental illness, physical disability, and just plain helplessness in the face of new things. but through all of these things, also being able to explore and enjoy things as well!!

i may include light as a gameplay element, but maybe not for gamejam!! i have a secret game mechanic i wanna see if i can make work before i try to pile more and more game mechanics in... trying to keep it simple, though i want to be complex ;v ;


I can't wait to see this bird that's Ripped. I want to make immaculate fanart of them.

Also I love!!! Games about stuff like mental disability and etc. I've had lots of ups and downs with mental heatlh. I'm able-bodied, but I have several friends who are physically disabled, and while obviously I don't know what its like, it's obvious that it's rough. Games are a really good medium for portraying that kind of experience, I think? Just in how they're inherently interactive and about putting yourself in a story. It's a good message to have for a game, and I'm excited to see it.

And honestly, that's the toughest part of projects like this. There's SO MUCH you want to do but you got to keep it realistic. However, as you get the basics down you'll become more and more powerful and soon have something super cool. A powerful game!!!!

YESS good... i hope he gets great fanart.

yeah!! helvetica's armlessness is inspired by a really good friend of mine, who portrays xirself as a one armed gryphon, and they are missing their arm in real life. stuff to reference mental illness will be drawing from myself, and many of the characters who i want to include are personifications of this.

i just want to make something that's enjoyable, and since i often feel bad about my ability to write a story, i wanted to make it very visual.


this looks really cool! cant wait for more ripped birds

i drew a messy concept of the ripped bird npc. i think i'll definitely make it a goal to get him implemented.

he's a miscellanious corvid, and needs a nap.


ripped bird is my favourite


I really like your character design and I love your color choices!!

The idea of a light based mechanic is pretty cool, but I think this game is gonna be really pretty and pleasant regardless of specific mechanics. You've got a really solid mood and concept and I look forward to seeing how it goes!


aaa your concept art and character design is so lovely!! i can't wait to see how the concept sketches interpret to your assets + final game art! the way you describe the world gives me such a vivid feel for it... i look forward to seeing more of this!

Some day 1 stuff:

Started on Helvetica's sprite. Having trouble with the legs. Never realized fitting birds legs (which i love to draw) in sprite form was so hard. have to make a unique sprite for both facings since helvetica is missing an arm-- mirroring just wont do.

Started on a run cycle for helvetica's sprite. 8 frames seems to be giving me a lot of trouble. I might refine a 4 frame run cycle and work on 8 frames later.

began hashing out a layout and experimenting with what i can do-- brown tiles are regular ground. green are fall-through. orange are the kind you can jump up through and stand on. im hoping to figure out a way to put walkable ground on a layer behind the fall through tunnel you see there, to create sort of a loop around... fall down, climb up to the left, map continues on to the right.

my main goal for the end of tonight is to get a special mechanic working-- i want helvetica's scarf to be utilizable as a grappling hook. so far i've got the grappling hook implemented... im just having a hard time getting it to display and grapple properly.


i love the grappling hook idea, good luck with implementing it


thats a really neat idea!

I love the character's design! Good luck with your game!

not having a lot of luck with this grapply hook-- i've got it, but every time i make it, i break it somewhere else. soon?! i'm gonna get this working because i'd really like to incoportate hookshotting into the gameplay

anyway, have some gifs of my struggles

the writhing mass of 'scarf'

helvetica is having a really hard time

while checking why my grapply hook wasnt working, i discovered i'd dissociated helvetica's hitbox from their body. after this i combined their sprite and hitbox-- i'm hoping this wont cause issues later.


the last gif is the version of the grapply hook i have now. i cant figure out why it launches them into the void and it interacts really poorly with their sprite ;___;


i can relate so much to all these!! sometimes i surprise myself when trying to make something work on construct 2 like something so unexpected happens and i have no clue why lol

i'm glad to hear you got it work tho!

this program is just a mystery... i have been struggling to figure out why the rope wont display propely when it doesnt differentiate at all from my references?? like i've referenced three or four different grapply hooks made by other people and this rope problem has been consistent across all of them :I


[shrieks] it works!! it's a bit clunky but im just happy it works. i spent all day on it

now if only i could figure out why the rope displays weird LOL


That looks so cool! I can't wait to play it!


Oooo congrats on getting it to work! It looks really good :>



whoa nice job on the grappling hook! i can't wait to see how you apply this.


i'm looking forward to updates :>


spent some time making tiles!! i've never made a tileset before...

these dont perfectly represent the aesthetic im going for, but huge tilesets take a lot of time, so hopefully i can make even a fraction of the assets im envisioning ;w ;

Submitted (Edited 1 time)

THE COLORS! I realy love the purple/green pallete!

purple/green doesn't get the love it deserves.


im going for a very cool theme, the sky will be much darker than this. i wanted my ground tiles to reflect that by being heavy in the purples and blues. i think the colors i used for the rocks here will appear brown to the eye when placed on a darker sky.


oooooh with a dark sky! Now I really can't wait to see it. dark/low light conditions lend themselves so well to fun color pallets.

Jam HostSubmitted

ahhhh this tileset looks so goooodddd yesss....

(Edited 2 times) (+1)

In my quest to figure out why my scarf grapply doesn't display right (like... seriously it works on everything else ;__;) i've refined the grappling mechanic some more!! it plays a little smoother, and you get a double jump in the air after grappling! the double jump only refreshes if you touch ground afterward.

here's a low frame gif example... it doesnt show very well but it's there, i promise.

honestly, my goal now is to get the grappling to display properly so i can spend the rest of the jam making pretty assets and designing a world that will be fun to explore.



i fooled myself for 8 hours into thinking that i'd changed the origin image point for the grapple line, when i actually hadn't ;____;


DUDE that grapply hook is so cool! congrats on makin' it work!





this is looking SO good, i'm so excited for you !!! the sprite work is beautifullllll.

honestly, the grapply was the hardest thing to implement. B) if i can implement some dialogue and cutscenes, as well as like one instance of looting a powerup, i can dedicate all my time to level and sprite design.

so the sprite work will be even more beautiful!!! (thank you so much :'D)

HostSubmitted (Edited 1 time)

whoa very cool! that grapply hook looked a little tricky to figure out--i always get a little messed up too on origin and pivot points sometimes theyre diff and sometimes theyre the same and then constraints sometimes and it's just so ??? anyway cool stuff i can't wait to see this even more fleshed out!!


this grapply hook relies on construct 2's physics engine. i could not, for the life of me, get a non-physics based grapply to work. there arent actually any pivot points, though i'd love to have them. instead, when the 'hook' collides with a solid surface, the player character is forced toward the point the hook is at. the player doesnt have a lot of control while they're being pulled like this, which is why i added the ability to doublejump while in the air after grappling. i think it's creating some really fun gameplay elements, though. i just gotta get good at level design!! i'm trying pretty hard right now to design a level that really compliments this gameplay.

(Edited 1 time) (+2)

day 3 i havent worked much, but i did some level design today!! here are some gifs of stuff :D


that double grapple looks like it'll be fun to try

double grapple seems to be the limit, so i'll see if i can bring out its full potential!!


day 4:

level design and layer shennanigans!! my layer shennaigans are /almost/ working. ive designed my level to where you are made to head up the left side and continue on to the right, which requires so layer funtimes to pass through blocks. there are a few kinks i need to work out.

a small preview of level stuff

i'd like my final goal for the day to be getting the layer nonsense to work. once i do, i'd like to implement dialogue and npcs. after that, all i have to do if finish designing the level and i can commit my time to visual assets.


yesss layers are pretty helpful for dialogue + gui stuff and they make a lot of sense actually! also wow your level design is looking really solid O: !!

thanks!! that's a relief to hear. i dont have enough experience in platforming level design to create something challenging, so i am just trying to make stuff that plays to my mechanics' strength.

(Edited 1 time)

sort of update: i gamed for several hours since i have an obligation to an mmo guild :p

after much yelling @ construct 2, i got my layer shennanigans to work. honestly not sure how. but they did. woohoo!!
(they're a bit buggy, you want to avoid shimmying around inside the collission box for the objects that detect the layer switching)


A title page sketch!?

I wonder why it's called Hydra's Mouth...


literally spams updates

what's this?? is this??





AAAA this looks so cool


WHOA this hidden cave business is awesome!!


insomnia... im still awake. i'll start counting this as day 5 anyway.

i made a face by accident


It's... Almost smashing. (I'm so sorry. Also, I've been digging your game in secret sense day one! I hope you get some sleep~)

(Edited 1 time)

holy shit it really is almost smashing

thank you so much!! it's really flaterring so many people are excited ;__;

(Edited 2 times) (+3)

wheezes @ my insomnia my entire body hurts but i cant sleep, so i must game

i made the first npc!! theyre pewfies, created by my sister. :3c im gonna make a variety of them, this one is her self-insert!


i also totally revamped my title screen sketch from earlier!

i feel like ripe butts and my sleep schedule is hecked now

the level is almost complete!! not pictured: hidden caves!! ;o

once the level is complete, i will need to start testing cutscenes and dialogue, so im on track to spend all next week doing artistic assets!

Submitted (Edited 1 time)

This is looking great! I'm gonna miss roller skatin' Helvetica when you add her walk cycle XD

Title screen done!! I will add buttons and stuff to it at a later date. It probably wont be a gif-compressed in the game either, since i will make it using sprites instead of putting the gif in.


this is such a sweet title screen dang good job!! it has a lot of movement and the subtle animation gives it some life too.

wandering npcs are a go!! once i implement dialogue, i free from having to add new mechanics.

Dialogue get!!

on to finishing my level design and then making assets :D