Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"An Ode To Pixel Days" Devlog Entry #1

Three weeks ago I've started coding and drawing for my new project called "An Ode To Pixel Days". This is my first "serious" game, in terms of polish, completeness and actually communicating with player on an artistic level. I planned my game for one week and made an actual game design document on it. I aim for a fully finished and polished game in a couple of months. Before going deeper into the game, I should say why I opened this blog.

Some people wanted to know about what I was doing! And more importantly, game development on your own is a process that's lacking most of the social skills, and I don't want to sit in my dark room and code code code. Instead, I'd like to sit in my dark room and code code code and write on my blog about it. That seems more appropriate.

Actually, because I’m a one hell of a lucky man, I’ve got much more than a dark room. I’m an intern at Nowhere Studios. They are lovely people. They offered me to help make my own game instead of me helping them with little things to learn more about game development. Orçun Nişli is always near to make observations and help me about anything. He helps me code, he gives advices about everything. I go to the office almost every week day. It’s a great motivation boost, just to be there with the lovely people of the Nowhere Studios team.

More about the game: “An Ode To Pixel Days” is a 2D puzzle/action platformer. I’m creating it using FlashDevelop and Flixel library. I’ve chosen Flixel because it’s so easy to use and suits my game design perfectly. Some people don’t agree on the use of Flixel, because it’s too easy, therefore it has its limitations. But I knew what I needed before even starting to code, so I know that for this project, I made the right choice.

The hook of the game is that our teenager protagonist wants to live in a more pixelized world, and builds a machine to make that happen. Let me explain it by showing you. Have you seen the screenshot at the top? That’s the first world. When he uses the machine, he goes to the second world which looks like this:

And as the story progresses, the protagonist actually continues using the machine. Every time, the worlds get even more pixelized. Until… the protagonist is a single pixel!

That’s enough about the story. What I want to talk about in this entry is my characters and my pixel-art. There are two characters in the game: Hans, our teenager protagonist; and the Cheerleader, the girl that Hans is in love with. The whole game is about Hans chasing the Cheerleader hopelessly. What I want to give to player are the feelings I had when I was a little boy: the hopelessness, the loneliness, feeling ugly and always falling for the prettiest girls. The Cheerleader is a character who is just there because she’s pretty. She’s not interesting, she’s selfish for her beauty, and she’s one of the popular girls in her school. She wants everyone to like her. And Hans wants… a pretty girl to like him. That’s all Hans thinks about. Is she pretty? Then she’s the greatest girl in the world. Hans is a twisted little boy, he always makes bad choices in life. On this game, he makes the choice of trying to make the cheerleader his girlfriend.

Drawing the Cheerleader was the hardest part of the graphics. I’ve made some changes in time to make her the prettiest. You can see the early and the latest versions of the Cheerleader:

Ain’t she a hottie? I’m proud of it, because that’s the prettiest thing I’ve ever drawn.

Because I have multiple worlds with different resolutions, I drew Hans and the Cheerleader multiple times. There are 6 worlds, there are 6 sprite sheets for Hans and another 6 for the cheerleader.

Overall, I really like what I’m doing. I love the process of creating a game. And a full game with all the codes, graphics and music of my own? That’s hard but a rewarding process. My next entry will be about the code I’ve written. I have the whole engine and the first two worlds already. See you guys later in a week. Or maybe a few days. I don’t really know. Thank you a lot for reading.

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