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Day 1: Because I can't sketch.

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My first idea was to simply clone the first stage of R-Type I, Sprites, backgrounds, gameplay, everything. The first stage of R-Type is very short but manages to memorable and complete with a spectacular boss. I'm just doing this for my personal learning, so I didn't see a problem in doing that.

However, I didn't want the game to be unfairly compared in anyway to the original. So I decided quickly design a semi-original level based of R-Type and other games I played.

First thing I did before starting this was to play and study a number of side scrolling shoot'em ups like Gradius III, R-Type II & III, Einhander, Sidearms, Last Resort and Pulstar.

All I have in my head right now are incomplete images and ideas of the game I want to create. I tried to sketch them on paper, but I'm really bad and unpracticed at it. This was useless. I realize now that I need to learn how to sketch on paper, and I will someday make some time to teach myself. For now however I'll just rely on the Gimp.

These are hardly game design specifications, but I think I've struck a handy way to sketch my ideas.
The level starts out in space, with the basic star field background, and a series of small enemies that drop the first few power-ups for the ship. We move on to the next scene.

Here we have the hero ship (the red bike) entering a some large space ship/station in earth's orbit. I'm not into cars and motorcycles (I still don't have a driver's licence) but there was something about this bike I like. The look of this bike conveys the kind of look I want my hero ship to have. Thats the earth and the moon in the background, BTW.

Next we have our hero face a mid-level guardian, represented here by Robocop's ED-209. I wanted some walking tank, or mecha to be here. You will have the option of destroying it, or with more difficulty you can try to hack its AI and take control over it. If you do, you can use it to against the enemy boss.

Now we're going up some diagonal elevator. The ed-209 is now your hacked drone and follows you up the shaft on the elevator platform. I wanted this scene because just scrolling horizontally is kinda boring. This will carry you to the large area where you'll meet the enemy boss...

OMG its Unicron! Okay, I admit I don't know what the enemy boss will look like, but it will be huge. I think this pictures the scale I'm trying to achieve (Although it does look like the ed-209 has shrunk a bit since we first saw him...).

Not bad for 30 minute's work but I still wish I was better at sketching. One day, I'll be well established at game development and I will be able to enlist some talent to do the concept artwork for me. But for now, its just programmer's art for me.

I've doing some interesting things with the photo of the red bike, and I'll post it later here. I think you'll agree that I am getting better at this when you see it.

I'll also post more details on the gameplay when I figure it out for myself, but want it to be like R-Type, except there is no orange orb-like module and the charge beam disables enemies instead of destroying them. It will also involve hacking enemy AI and taking control over them.
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This is the most bizarre design I've ever seen. [grin]

But it's awesome. I can't wait.

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Its been bizzare experience for me too. I didn't imagine designing games like this yesterday. I'm sketching levels before even knowing what the game is about, and with an image editor. I guess at this stage of development, anything goes.

Today's developments has yielded even stranger results, as you will see in the next journal entry this evening. And it actually looks good for a change. But I was suppose to work on gameplay today, I still don't know how the game is supposed to be played.

Well, as long as I'm having fun.

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