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Savanna Sam - Flying Giraffe!

A topic by Max Did It created 21 days ago Views: 120 Replies: 3
Viewing posts 1 to 5

This is the first game project I've started after taking a break from making games for several years.

For a while now, I had this idea of a cartoon giraffe flying a comically tiny airplane stuck in my head. At last, I sat down and drew a character design:

Going at a breakneck pace!
I like how "vertical" the design of this character is. It's an unusual silhouette for anything airborne. I liked the character, so I proceeded to create a 3D model based on it:

Now that I have the 3D model, I want to try and make a game with it!

(Very rough) Game Concept

  • I'm thinking of a game where you fly down a linear level, similar to Starfox/Lylat Wars.
  • I'm imagining the game as a twin-stick action game: You control the airplane with one stick and the roll of the plane with the other. Basically, you can do barrel rolls freely and orient the plane the way you want.
  • I'm not sure whether the player themselves can shoot, it might be interesting for the game to be about avoiding obstacles instead, flying through obstacle courses where you need to position and orient yourself correctly to make sure you don't crash into anything.
  • I want to try and make this game a browser based game. I think it would be interesting to see what's possible on that platform.

Let's see how far I'll get with this. Wish me luck!

I’ve been busy to become reaquainted with the animation and rigging system of Blender and have managed to create a working rig for my giraffe pilot!

Savanna Sam character rig inside Blender

With this, I’m now able to create poses and animations that I can use in my game code. So, I can already move around in my game interactively, which is pretty neat:

But not only that, as mentioned in my first post, I want rotating the character to be an important part of the movement. And that already works, too:

I’m especially happy with the little dynamic animations I can already create in the game. I really like the wobble the head of the giraffe does when they stop moving or rotating. It’s a small detail, but it adds a lot in my opinion.

As you can see, there isn’t much else happening in the game yet, but I’m working on that! :-)

Okay, I’m bit for bit adding the parts that are going to make this a game.

For testing purposes, I’m generating random red boxes that the player flys towards. Not very spectacular, but it alread gives the player a reason to move in order to evade the obstacles.

Then, I’ve added the cannon-es library for collision detection. I’m not using any of the physics simulations right now, I only want to know if the giraffe is hitting any obstacles.

And last but not least, I’m using three-nebula to display particles. Currently, they create the star particles when the player is hitting anything.

The green wireframe boxes are the collision shapes, I’m rendering them for debug purposes.

It’s very much a work in progress, but it’s making progress!

(3 edits)

I’m developing the game to run in browsers, to make sure it’s quick and easy to access it. Another step to make sure it reaches a broad audience is to implement control schemes for different platforms.

Controlling Savanna Sam with mouse and keyboard

I expect mouse and keyboard to be the most common control scheme for playing the game. You use the keyboard to control the airplane, while the mouse is used to let our giraffe pilot to roll into the desired direction. I’m using the browser’s pointer lock feature to capture the mouse and then to simulate behaviour similar to an analog stick.

Controlling Savanna Sam on tablet via touch screen

I myself like to sit on my couch and play on my iPad, so it just makes sense to also implement touch controls. I’ve implemented on-screen analog sticks which already work quite nicely. The analog sticks appear wherever the player touches the respective half of the screen, which makes it more comfortable to play the game, since it adjusts to your preferred finger placement.

Controlling Savanna Sam on a smart phone via touch screen

Having touch controls on a tablet means that technically, you can play the game on a phone, as well. I’ll be honest though, I don’t know if I’ll be able to design the game in a way that works well on small screens…

Controlling Savanna Sam via game pad

I was delighted to learn that you can use game pads in browsers! I’ll be honest, I didn’t know that all modern browsers support game pad input, but I’m very happy they do. This means that you’ll have the option of using a game pad when playing the game on your PC.