As mentioned last time, player graphics!
A little history leading to the current state first:
When writing my fancy game design document at the beginning of the project, I was thinking a bit about how I envision the player characters and their relation with the story. Back then I was poised with the idea of characters like in TowerFall. I really liked the influence the distinctive look and a little back story had on players. I even went ahead and drawn some concepts for four possible players characters:
Even started some test pixeling:
Than I scraped the whole idea of distinctive characters, because lately I realized a couple of things about my goals and the core design and plot. The simple reasons are effort and graphical style. It would've taken a lot of time to really polish these portraits, and the top-down view is really restrictive in this regard, so it would have been impossible to keep the player coloring mechanic (anyone can select any look and your player number defines your color tint) and achieve recognisable game-play character graphics. The other not so obvious reason is, that in this game, players take a similar role and from time to time work together and not only against each other. Based on the back story, you fight the KREEP on places and in a setting like the Nostromo from Alien, and you get to choose while playing if you are Ripley fighting for survival or Ash the android helping evil corporate goals (and of course infuriating fellow players ). I believe similar looking and more generic characters fit the whole theme much better. Another thing is that I really liked the place-holder character I've used in the game so far .
I decided to pixel a similar looking astronaut guy:
And then I selected the "hope to be final" palettes for the players:
The down-side with this approach was, that players don't get to choose from various looks, and I kind of missed that idea, so I came up with a direction, that somewhat brings good traits from both worlds. The player characters would have two sprite layers and the second layer can be selected by the players to customize the head and armor looks. This amount of graphics to be produced was absolutely manageable, and it allowed a small customization while keeping a similar but recognisable look with player graphic coloring.
Not all of them is here, some still needs a couple of pixels to be pushed around, but most of them are finished. Going for ten "skins" (maybe even more if time allows). Another nice addition this approach made easily possible, and I love it's outcome, is female characters:
I'm perfectly satisfied with the new player character graphics. I'm pursuing this direction and I think overall, it benefits the game the most.
About the future of the game and some about the upcoming updates:
I would like to get the game, when it's finished, to steam. So I'm going to put together a greenlight page by next week. I don't know how much time I will have besides working on it, but I still have some half-finished developments sitting on my disk and I'm going to post the page itself, so at least a gameplay video is to be expected !