Delayed again 8

Hi again!

 

After several days of hard work the game is… NOT finished! In fact, I have to delay it until tomorrow. Though I have to say the progress with sprites and the tileset have been going really well.
To make up for this delay, I’ll present to you my first video game embroidery, which is based on Erwin in Langrisser II. I decided to make an embroidery after I some associates of mine were doing pearler beads based on pixel art. I wanted to do something similar, and somehow I stumbled across embroideries, which by cross-stitches creates squares like the pixels in pixel art.

 

To do it, I took a screenshot of the pixel art in question from the game using an emulator. Then I checked what colours I needed and bought yarns and a cloth. Then I started stitching. I did it at home, and at work when I walked around between the apartments of the seniors I took care of. I had the screenshot on my smartphone so I could check how to stitch anytime. A lot of elderly women were impressed and invited me to their homes to check their embroideries. And sometimes I got yarns and needles from them. I photographed my progress every day and put it on Facebook. After about four months, the embroidery was done, and I had it framed and bought a lamp to it. It is still hanging on my wall, four years later. The year after, I made another embroidery.

 

Here is my video presenting my very first video game embroidery:

 

But why did I pick Langrisser II as the game to base my embroidery on? We’ll talk about that another day…
Take care,

 

/Zebbe

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Delayed again 7

Hi again!

 

Yesterday, I was at the only true arcade of Stockholm, avoiding my responsibility of video game development like some kind of delinquent. Due to this morally wrong behaviour, the game has to be delayed until tomorrow. Sorry!

 

However, despite this, I did finish up not only a sprite today, but also its animation, which consists of 19 frames. Wow!

 

Anyway, the time at the arcade, which is called “HEY STHLM”, was nice. They had a lot of Sega games, such as OutRun 2 and Virtua Cop 3, which I played.

IMG_20170520_223443.jpgIMG_20170520_223425.jpg

 

I have been there a few times before and beaten the Rambo game, also by Sega and based on the movies. Star Wars Racer, Tekken Tag, Pacman, Street Fighter 4 as well as 3 are also there. Then there are lots of weird “physical” games of overly cute Japanese themes, modern bullet hell shmups, pinball machines and other things..

IMG_20170520_223819.jpgIMG_20170520_223602.jpgIMG_20170520_223554.jpg

 

It’s a great place and I am so happy to have it in Stockholm, because playing an arcade game cannot be compared to console games at home.

Take care,

 

/Zebbe

 

 

Delayed again 6

Welcome back to the delayed again series, the blog which presents the ideal time scheduling of video game development!

 

Because I am applying to the Futuregames game design program this autumn (see below), the game has to be delayed until tomorrow. However, I have continued to work on the tileset, which is a promising progress!

 

After taking care of the elderly for about 12 years, I finally decided to apply to higher education video game development programs. Some schools I have applied to are in cities quite far from mine, Skövde and Malmö, but there are also some in Stockholm which I hope I will be accepted to. One of them is Futuregames, the school which I have most expectations of:

 

 

Last month, I was at a three week preparatory course there, which helped me understand the video game industry a bit more and to prepare a work sample. During these weeks, I made a simple Marble Madness clone in the Unreal Engine, a video about it and a design document about The Viking & The Ninja.

The Marble Madness clone used some blueprints, a visual scripting system of the Unreal Engine. The blueprints can be used for almost anything. In my case I made moving platforms (see video screenshot below), change of ball physics, killzones and other things.

platform.png

My portfolio mostly showed the work I have done for WaterMelon, and so did also my curriculum vitae. The school put a lot of emphasis on past experiences, team work, visualization of your ability to design and the technical aspect. I’m not very skilled at the latter, but I hope my strengths in the other areas are enough to get accepted.

 

And two days ago, I managed to get to the second step of the selection progress. Out of around 500 applicants, I managed to be one of 130 to do a test in preparation for the final interview. The test was mostly about previous work, how to handle stress, team work etc. Things I am very used to. In a few days, I’ll know when the interview will be.  And in early July, I’ll know if I am accepted or not.

 

Take care,

 

/Zebbe

 

Delayed again 5

Hi!

The day before yesterday, I was at video game bar in Stockholm playing Nintendo LXIV with associates and strangers. It was fun! Due to this complete lack of discipline, the game has to been postponed again. I will try to be more disciplined from now on and focus on the development of the game.

 

Actually, I finished up a sprite yesterday. But for some reason, the game STILL isn’t done. Yeesh!

 

To make up for this delay, I’ll talk a bit about the item design of Pier Solar.

When I made the items, I wanted them to plentyful, varied and serve a purpose. I also wanted them to fit the setting and the place where they were located. Seeing as there are many towns in Pier Solar, I made unique weapons and armours for every town. I did a lot of research on Google for this task. For the equipment on the desert continent, I looked up old weapons and clothing used in Arabic countries, and for the mangrove jungle continent I looked up items used by natives of South America. As I love my heritage as a Nordic citizen, I made some homages to Norse mythology and some puns. In a town of thieves, I put a sword called “Steal Sword”, and there is also a book called “Meteoro Log”. I tried to have some humour, for example the item which decreases water type damage is the Towel, which can be found in a shower.

 

The characters had mostly exclusive weapons, but some, such as the Swordstick, could be used by both Hoston and Kruller as the former used swords and the latter rods. The armours were usually for either sex, sometimes both. The ultimate weapons and armours were exclusive to each character and were named after the best equipment in some fave RPGs of mine, as an homage. These could only be obtained if you completed sidequests. Because they were few and it was hard to put those in the end of the game, I came up with the solution of the item called Master Key, which you could find at various places throughout the game, mostly at optional caves. With the Master Keys you could find eight of the best armours and weapons at the end of the game, and the last ultimate weapon and armour could be found at the end of the multi-part sidequest also at that part of the game.

 

The uses of the items were often inspired by other 16-bit RPGs. Their abilities were very varied and brought a lot more to the table than just changing the stats of the characters: For example: decrease this elemental damages, make character faster, 100% chance to escape, half MP usage, heal HP and many other things.  But the stats were important – I didn’t want the items to just add attack or defence when you came to a new town, so I fiddled a bit with other stats as well so the player could think a bit before actually purchasing – sometimes skipping a weapon might be the better option.

I had many ideas for usages and Fonzie programmed most of them and came up with some other ideas, such as the books which teach spells. One book I made, I managed to integrate into the story a bit: the Nurse Notes for Alina, a book given to the party by the missing doctor at the end of the game, which resurrects dead characters.  I won’t spoil anything, but the dialogue when you get it fits the story like a glove. Other than that, there were also some story items which served no other purpose than pushing the plot forward.

 

When the items were done, I used a tool to put them into the game, give them the icon they needed, stats, price (in shops), select who could equip the and their abilities. I also updated Fonzie’s icons to make sure no item looked like any other. Of nearly 250 items, they were all unique in both look and ability, though some were quite similar.

 

And when this was done, I made the shops, which was simply adding all the item numbers to a string and a set price level. I also placed the chests in the game. Seeing as it was I who made the items, these last two tasks was something only I could do, I think. If you are wondering why there are so many herbs in the game, it’s because it was the standard item which I changed when I wanted something else in a chest. Which I most often wanted, naturally.

 

That’s all for now!

Take care,

 

/Zebbe

 

 

Delayed again 2

Hi,

 

Even more events I couldn’t do anything to prevent and which hindered the development forced me to delay the game again. My apologies!

 

But! I managed to finish up the sprite I was working on today. I also continued with the graphics pack.

 

I was going to compensate this lacking update with some more Pier Solar development talk, but since I’m hungry I’ll go play Super Mario 64 instead. My apologies again!

 

 

Take care,

 

/Zebbe

Delayed again

Hi,

Due to events I couldn’t possibly have foreseen, the game has been delayed again. Sorry about that.

However, today I started working on a sprite and on a tileset. It goes slow but nicely.

To make up for the delay, I decided to talk about my work on the Pier Solar NPC script a bit.

 

When I wrote it, I first spoke with the director Fonzie to get some direction and suggestions. There were a lot of events in the towns of Pier Solar, and there were over a dozen towns, so the NPC script required a lot of work. There were 13 towns, of which 3 were small and one was gigantic (it had several districts, a school, a mine and two docks).

 

When writing, I tried to write lines which fit the town setting. For example, in one of the towns in the mangrove jungle, they talk about eating wild animals, while in the more civilized town’s poor district they talk about unemployment. I read the story script to see if anything in particular needed to be said by the NPCs of any town.

 

To get a good mix of different characters and lines, I made sure to have children, adults and seniors in all towns, and about as many of both sexes. The lines were categorized as such:

  • Everyday life. Some towns had not much to do with the story other than being a pass-through area, so some NPCs just talked about their normal life. Cooking, sleeping and relationships are some typical subjects.
  • Story events. I always tried to attach some NPCs to the story. That could lead to some clues for the player. But often these lines were already written in the main script.
  • Sidequests. There weren’t many sidequests in the game, but when there were the NPCs gave hints on were to find them or how to beat them. Sometimes, when there wasn’t a sidequest nearby, I wrote a hint to find a hidden chest or getting an item by them. The later was complicated to script though, so there weren’t that many characters like that.
  • Battles. Again, this was hard to write, because when I wrote the NPC script, most of the battle work hadn’t been implemented in the game yet, and writing it later wasn’t possible because the script was to be translated in several different languages (and one of the directors understandably didn’t want them to re-translate later). But when I could write about battles, the characters gave hints on how to beat some enemies, for example destroying a turtle egg before it hatches and the turtle baby attacks you.
  • Jokes. Yes, I love humour and wanted to include a lof of it in the game. A review I read of the game had an NPC line in its headline and ended its review with another. That made me very glad!

 

A lot of inspiration came from my own life. Lines by the small kids were often stuff I heard when I was a small kid myself, and lines by the seniors were often quotes from the seniors I take care of at my job. I remember having a small notebook where I wrote down their quotes, which I later re-typed on the computer when I came home. I also had a notebook next to my bed. Another things I did was playing some 16-bit RPGs to see how the NPCs in those games were. But I was determined to write in my own style and touched on subjects never included in those games.

 

Another thing I implemented was naming a few NPCs to people who pre-ordered the posterity version of the game. There are about one character per town named this way.

 

Most NPCs had several lines, spoken at different occasions in the story, “before event A”, “after event A” etc. I tried to make mini-stories of their lines. Often they had a trouble during the first line, and then a solution for the second line.

 

When the script was written, I worked with the story and script writer Sean to proof-read and edit it. Then, much later, I put the lines into the game. This was also a lot of work. I had to choose character sprite, place this character on the map and how the character moves, if he/she does. I wanted as much variety as possible. There were some drawn characters which just had a single frame and no animation, I focused them on characters which were standing still, such as shop owners. One mistake I did was the speed of the characters. I thought the number, 00-99, would make a faster character if the it was higher, but it was the other way around. So most kids in the game are really slow while the seniors are running around. Whoops!

 

That is all! If you have any questions, please let me know!

 

Take care,

 

/Zebbe

Delayed

Hi again,

 

Unfortunately, I didn’t find a programmer and sound designer yesterday, so the game cannot be released today. But I did finish up the sprite I was working on yesterday, so at least that is done.

 

If I skip sleep this nite and work tomorrow, I might be able to release the game tomorrow evening. Fingers crossed!

 

Apologies for the delay, hope it won’t happen again!

 

Take care,

 

/Zebbe

Continued progress

Hi again,

 

Hope you are having a great day!

 

I’ve briefly explained the project and showed some graphics. I don’t want to spoil too much, so I don’t think I’ll show much else. Instead, I will talk about my progress. I can tell you the background image at the top is from one of the cutscenes of the game though.

Today, after a few hours of struggling in Paint Shop Pro, I touched up and finished a tileset I wanted to get back to. It is of the village of the game. I feel like the architecture of the houses is quite unique for a game like this, and the palette is also unlike anything I’ve seen in a Mega Drive game. Hope that’s a good thing! Making palettes is a PITA for me, but I get better and better.

When testing my tilesets, I use this program: http://www.mapeditor.org/
Check it out! It’s a free to use map editor. While it’s nice to test with, I won’t be using Tiled when I make the maps for the game, as I’m pretty sure it’s not compatible with Mega Drive code.

At work, I started on an NPC sprite in the app I mentioned earlier. Small sprites are the only things which can be done on the phone, and it’s not as user-friendly as working on a desktop, but when you have a few minutes of dead time at work it’s good for some simple pixel art.

 

With such amazing progression, it can’t be long until the game is out. If I work really, really hard the rest of the evening and hire super-fast power-robots from the future, the game should be out… TOMORROW! Stay tuned for orders!

 

Take care,

 

/Zebbe