Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Forest

So, as promised I'm posting an update on how the game is coming along.
After a rough 12 hours of developing it, the player can now walk, jump, and change shape.
it's not much, but I spent most of that time trying to create a particle system for it, which sadly didn't work, mainly because the system I wrote earlier was written for a 3D camera, and here the camera is facing only in one direction. I don't know why it doesn't work, it should since in another project I did it worked perfectly. Never mind that, another most of the time was spent on drawings, and not on actually making them as on choosing the style, and the details.
Here's the promo poster:
The game is about a soul, trapped in a mysterious forest (I know, it's so cliche it's sad). Something in the forest is changing all the animals into monsters, you don't know what it is, but you know that you must stop it. As you step deeper into the forest you notice that you've been split in half. Good and Evil. As white/good, you cannot harm enemies, but you can transform them back to their original forms, which means you'll have to outsmart them and lure them into the healing portals. As red/evil, you can kill the enemies, be it directly with claws, or by setting up traps.
So what does this gives to player?
Different games.
For Poyo Adventure, I plan on creating something I call a Story Tree. Even if the game is pretty linear itself, your actions define which path you'll take, and therefore even different storylines can be created.
I don't want to spoil too much, but I plan to make some of the enemies vital in a certain way. depending on which enemies you save, and which you'll kill you may be opening a new path and closing another, that way you can play the same game, and reach two different, even completely unrelated endings. You'll be playing through levels you haven't even seen before, or thought of when you played the first time.

Now for the technical stuff.
It's a 2D side scrolling game. I don't know in which genre it would fit because that'll depend on how the player plays. The player will be able to avoid most of the enemies, like in a standard platformer, outsmart them, fight them directly, or place traps in appropriate places.
But here's the thing: Even though it's 2D side scrolling game, I plan on using the 3D space.
here's a basic level layout:
As you can see even though the graphics and all the action is happening in 2D, the world itself will be 3 Dimensional, allowing that way to create layers. In here we have 4 basic layers.
1-The ground/platforms, it's normal always perpendicular to the camera normal, it'll represent the space on which the player will be able to stand on.
2-the background, here you can see the trees, but it can contain more layers, that are further away from the camera.
3-the player and enemy layer, that's where all the action will take place that can actually affect the player.
4- the foreground, bushes, grass, and anything else that doesn't obstructs the view too much, but adds to the view.

Of course all the layers will follow a set of rules.
Background and foreground layers will mostly be gray, and have lower resolution images to fake depth of field. They cannot create visual clutter, but at the same time must set the right mood.
Gameplay layer will use either brighter tones, or Red. Yes, I plan on making the whole game in shades of gray and red, by that I can not only maintain visual cleanliness, but also make the separate parts of the gameplay stand out. For example, enemies are red, cleansed ones are white. The player itself will be white or red, depending on his stance.

Engine Features:
2D collisions using 2D static models (no rotation, and no flexible models so far) for collision detection.
Loadable maps.
Out of screen testing, AKA if it's not on the screen, don't draw it.
Basic AI.

Art Direction:
The objects will be drawings made in photoshop using my Wacom Tablet, they'll have rough, sketchy edges, and overflowing colour.
Here are some of them I've done so far:

Some player poses:
And some plants:
The plants will be a bit darker in the game.

In general what I'm looking for the mood is abandonment, alienation and mystery.

Music: far I've got no idea if I'll add any sounds at all, since I don't know how to use any music software, nor I have any instruments I can play on (I can play piano, but I don't have one, and my dad took my keyboard to Poland).
But I would gladly accept help from anyone that has experience in making music. Unfortunately I wouldn't be able to pay though.... and it kinda would ruin the game being developed by one person idea.

Final note:
I don't expect that I finish this game on time, there's still a long way to go, and only 35 hours allowed left.
Next time I update on the development I should have a small demo ready, with a test level which should contain the layered display, one enemy, and the ability to interact with it. Still, I don't suppose the level loading will be ready, nor the AI will be active. I'll post the demo here when that time comes.

That's enough for today, I gotta go sleep.

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