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Pixel → Tile → World

Hammering away on code and art

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Pixel art, Indie games, Design 15 January 2013 - - - - - - · 1,088 views
pixel, art, rpg, tile
I've been busy with code, and though I've been making little progress, progress is being made.

Yesterday and today I tossed together some art for my game to give me a break in-between compiles. This week's theme has been rough wooden structures.

(Note: This art, like all the art I reveal on here, is copyrighted by me for use in my own projects, so duhnt ya be steelen' it!)
(Note 2: I reposted this from my broken website, JaminGrey.com | StrangerFlames.com)

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I'm not likely the texturing of the ropes too well, but other than that I'm quite pleased with the result.
There will probably be a gallows in two or three different towns... and depending on your judging decisions as a Guardian, you might get to hang a bandit or two.

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These benches are for exteriors, like town squares or house gardens.

Cross for churches:
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There are a couple churches scattered through the colony, but only one plays any real significance in the plot.
The churches in the game are all Catholic since France was heavily loyal to the Catholic Church during the time period of the game (the game takes place a few years after the reformation, though that doesn't feature in the game).

Wooden outdoor stairs:
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Wooden floor:
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Check out my nicely staggered bonds! That's how floors are supposed to be laid... or at least how I've always laid them, every single time (all one of them) that I did so.

Wooden fence:
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I was too lazy to make the north-south fences for this fence set. =)

Wooden posts:
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Just a couple wooden posts with no particular purpose.

I hope everyone is doing well, and that your projects are progressing better than mine is! Posted Image

Treasure Adventure Game

Posted by , in Indie games 05 June 2012 - - - - - - · 1,518 views
indie, games
Hey all, I'm making (slow) progress on AdventureFar. Won't be able to get the game editor (and thus the first town) done by the 15th as hoped.
I am making progress, but my programming time has been constrained slightly for the past week (but that will return to normal in a few more days).

Anyway, I'm just dropping in to point out this great freeware indie game I found called 'Treasure Adventure Game'. Despite it's very simplistic title, this Open World + Side scrolling + Zelda-esqe feeling game is very very good. The gameplay is fun, and despite all appearances of a cookie-cutter plot, it had several good plot twists and a rather consistent tied-together world.
I highly recommend this game.

Also, while plugging things, I might as well re-plug my friend's daughter's webcomic, Patchwork Magic. Whereas I live in a much-more urban area (Kansas City is really large), they live about three hours out on a farm (that I've probably visited a dozen times since I moved to the midwest). They're originally city-folk also, so it's funny how excited they get about farm-related stuff.

I highly-biasedly recommend this webcomic, seeing that I put the site together for her (*cough* wordpress *cough* I ain't a web developer).
Now if I could only get people to pay me to plug their stuff... :wink:

I'll post a small entry about the editor status in AdventureFar in 10 days or so, with an (new/revised) estimation of how long the editor will take to complete.

World atmosphere in games, measuring and categorizing

Posted by , in Article, Indie games, Design 09 January 2012 - - - - - - · 1,330 views

Three journal posts in three days, after 30 days of silence. I must be on a roll! Except, uh, none of them are about progress on my RPG project. Posted Image

My brother recently observed over the phone that, "...you seem to be a collector of games, rather than a player".
That's a fairly accurate statement. I don't really have the time to play hours and hours of games, but I greatly enjoy acquiring high quality indie games (and some specific innovative mainstream games) when they go on sale cheap enough. (I'm a casual collector, rather than a focused one).
My tastes in games have definitely shifted over the past few years and now my main focus when playing games, is the artistry and beauty of the world in the game. This same focus will be my focus when designing my own games.

It's the atmosphere of the world that I'm looking for, and that is a sum of multiple things.
The order of importance, for me, when creating atmosphere in a game scene or area goes something like this: (diminishing importance)
Music/Sound > Coloration(color pallets)/Art-style > Freedom of movement/Freedom to explore > Architecture style > Fairness of enemies/Non-irritation > Characters involved > Graphical quality > Level layout

I'm probably missing a few other things that should go in there, like background history of the world/area.

Here's some games I enjoy for the world you are immersed in:
(Loosely and lazily rated in terms of atmosphere and world, not rated in overall game quality or enjoyment - Also, obviously it's my personal opinion and people's opinions vary)

- Quest 64 (N64) Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image
- Lost City of Malathedra (PC) Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image
- Machinarium (PC) Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image
- Myst and Riven (PC) Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Imagehttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star_off.png
- Shadowgrounds (PC) http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star_off.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star_off.png
- VVVVV (PC) http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star_off.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star_off.png
- Minecraft (PC) http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star_off.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star_off.png
- Mario 64 (N64) http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star_off.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star_off.png
- Metroid Prime 1 (Wii) http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star_off.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star_off.png
- Halflife 1 (PC) http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star_off.png
- Elderscrolls 3: Morrowind (Xbox or PC) http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star_off.png
- King's Field (Playstation 1) http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.pnghttp://public.gamedev.net//public/style_images/master/star.png

(By the way, I'm greatly looking forward to The Witness - I strongly believe it'll rate at least four stars, possibly 5, when it comes to atmosphere and world)

Yes, that's right. In terms of atmosphere, VVVVVV is equal to Myst in my book. Anything 3 stars or more, I'd replay (and most have already replayed multiple times) solely for the atmosphere and world.

One thing I observe in these games is that the graphical quality of the game comes second to the world design itself. Great atmosphere and great worlds can be created even with poor graphics (See: King's Field, VVVVVV, Halflife 1).
Another observation is that world design and atmosphere is not bound to a specific genre (VVVVVV = 2D sidescroller, Halflife 1 = FPS, King's Field = 3D action RPG).
A third observation, and one that somewhat surprises me is that while 'Freedom of movement/Freedom to explore' is important to immersion and atmosphere, it doesn't depend on it (King's Field = freedom to explore in multiple directions - one big dungeon with chokepoint obstacles, VVVVVV = freedom to explore until you enter a fairly linear dungeon - dungeons can be overcome in any order, Halflife 1 = Infamously linear game moving from room to room, battle to battle, with only the freedom to move around in the last room or two you are currently in).

So going back to my spur-of-the-moment attempt to measure the effect of game attributes on world atmosphere:
Music/Sound > Coloration(color pallets)/Art-style > Freedom of movement/Freedom to explore > Architecture style > Fairness of enemies/Non-irritation > Characters involved > Graphical quality > Level layout

...It does seem to me that while some things contribute greatly to world atmosphere, no one thing on it's own is required. That is, that lack of any one of those attributes can be made up for by strengthening the others, despite some attributes (Like music and art style) carrying much greater weight than others. This is especially good for us as indie developers, because we can (and have been) enhancing some parts of our atmosphere equation (like Music and Art style) to compensate for that infamous and controversial area where we can't compete with the big studios: Graphical quality.


Physical-lizing a digital collection

Posted by , in Uncategorized, Indie games 08 January 2012 - - - - - - · 1,353 views
indie, physical distribution and 1 more...
Physical-lizing a digital collection As part of my cleaning up and organizing files, as mentioned in my previous post, I decided it'd be a good idea to backup the almost 30GB of DRM-free indie games I've purchased over the past few years.

I happened to have on-hand 20 blank DVDs with cases which I picked up on the cheap a few years back but never used (because, grr, I discovered my disc drive couldn't write DVDs after the purchase).

So I popped open Microsoft Word, creates a Slim-DVD case slipcover template, and got busy sorting, organizing and backing everything up to disc.

Here's the result:

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Crummy real-world photo.

The backs of some of the cases are even more awesome, showing screenshot of the games.

At a distance

Posted by , in Uncategorized, Indie games 08 December 2011 - - - - - - · 1,003 views
game, review, indie
I'm just stepping in for a moment, to highlight the very fun game called 'At a distance' by Terry Cavanagh, the same guy who made VVVVVV (you should go play that one too, if you haven't already).

At a distance is a blindingly ugly 'retro graphics' game. It's a 3D cooperative game which requires two people playing together helping each other figure out what to do and where to go in the game world. I wont mention what you do in the game, as it kinda ruins it - it's the figuring out what to do that is the entire gameplay of the game. The first 5 minutes were really confusing, but things steadily fell into place as my coop partner and I gained greather understanding of how the game worked.

The game is completely free, though it requires two separate computers that are best if physically side-by-side so you can see each other's screens. However, the game is very simple graphically, and a cheap netbook could probably run it just fine.

Download it from Terry's site here: [At a distance]

We beat the game in about 45 minutes, but it was very enjoyable and just the right size (any longer and my eyes would've killed me).

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