Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Raid+ Paper Prototyping: Paper Strikes Back!

Now that the new school semester has started back it is time to dive deep back into blogging about Raid + stuff. Without giving too much away about the game we are pretty much starting over from square one as far as design goes this semester. Luckily for me the majority of the Tech gets to stay in place but this time through the design process the leads are really pushing to find the fun before we get back into developing. I find this to be a terrific idea. I was incredibly worried that the slow and tedious nature of the old version of the game would go unrecognized. I was so relieved when I found out that we were overhauling it but now as Tech guy I don't really have a whole lot of tech tasks to work on since development ceased. Meaning that I have been spending a lot of my time in paper prototyping sessions. After playing the game a number of times I voiced my opinion on what I thought about the new game. I thought it was more fun and faster than the old version but I thought that a number of the systems in place were over complicated. I also thought that the systems provided very little depth in contrast with large complexity which is never a good thing. In a similar fashion to all my other criticisms I've made in the past, they were largely ignored and I was branded not the target demographic for the game. I suppose there is some validity to that since many of the other Raid Members were having fun. Maybe I am just weird. But still I wonder if the fun in the sessions was more coming from the teams personalities rather than the game itself....Or maybe I am just Weird. Time Will Tell.

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Journey Of Pixels

Ive been making games for probably around 7 years now and it was only recently that I started doing my own art for my games. In the early days I would just steal sprites from other games but now that I make games professionally I cant really get away with that any more. So for a couple of years now I have been doing my own pixel sprite art, an art style where the images are meant to be simple pixelized and resemble classic games. Sit back and experience a journey of three years.

One of the Earliest Spritings I have. This was meant to the Icon for a game that I stopped working on called block heavy. It was meant to be a very blocky bullet hell/runner type game. As you can see, Icon has very basic shading and a simple font.

A few months after I canceled Block Heavy I started working on another game called the Scryer. I eventually ditched that name but I liked the idea of a crystal ball being my logo. These are my attempts at that. I remember liking the dithering on the second one but I still couldn't get the outline quite the way I wanted it. At the time I was using Graphics Gale for making sprites as apposed to gimp like I do now.
The renamed project Styx was a platformer that used a number of different kinds of bricks. At this point I decided to ditch the black outlines that I would later start using again. Fez influenced my art style for these bricks heavily though these ones do have dithered shading. 
Styx was the first game that I tried to sprite and animate a Humanoid. These were the final results. Not to shabby but the walk animation does look a little funky.
Initial designs and female sprites.


Chest Then.

Chest Now.

My Favorite Sprite from back Then :3

My Favorite Background of Styx. 
But as what typically happened to games I made back then. I stopped working on it.
And once again a started a new project. Jericho or as it would later be called, MicroDude.

For MicroDude I decide to go for a simple focused Tron type theme rather than a General Retro Theme. While at the time of Micro Dudes release I thought that the art style was to the games detriment I now realize that the art for the game was fine and that MicroDude sold poorly because of lack of any proper marketing.

Final Boss. Super Original Right?

No Dithering No Black Outline.
And For the First Time Jon Harwood Ships a Game!!
After the stress and Exhaustion of creating MicroDude I decided that I wanted my next game to be much simpler but have a more colorful art style. That wound up being Combo Princess.

My inspiration for the Combo Princess art style came from the work of Paul Robertson on Scott Pilgrim vs The World. This was the first time that animated sprites in unity's Mecanim animation tool which is why some of the pixels look slanted. I also switched over from graphics gale to gimp at this time. While the shading on Princess Ofelia here looks nice, I still didn't quite nail the shape of a human. 
The Ducks on the other hand Look FANTASTIC.
Post Apocalyptic Earth. 3033 AD...

Twas around this time that I created my current logo. 

After Combo Princess came out (Once again not financially successful) and I took a few months to work for some other companies I decided to get working another game Dusk Runner.
Finally starting to look like a real human.
Portal To the Final Boss?
Pretty sexy looking Orb and Gem.
General Stage Dressings
I animate my sprites in Mecanim by seperating my sprites into cells and then tweening the cells modularly.
Terrain Tiles.

What a Journey! 
That Ramona Flowers Took 8 hours to make by the way.