A made up bug painted digitally.
Saturday, May 2, 2015
I present to you our game:
Ludum Dare is an Accelerated Game Development Event (or game jam); that is to say you make a game from scratch really really fast. This game jam takes place over a weekend. The participants vote on a theme which is announced when the competition begins and you have to submit your game before the time is up.
The theme this time was 'an Unconventional Weapon'. In our game the weapon is an ice cream truck and you get to be some sort of psychopath who's goal is to kill the little animal children. I made art and animation and Max took care of all the code stuff and actually making it a game. Right off the bat I thought this idea is the perfect opportunity to make something that looks super cute and happy and the gore to be shocking and out of place for that twisted sense of humour.
Having decided on the general premise of the game we had to decide: what is the game, how will it work and what will it look like. Initially I was thinking of a side scroller with some sort of depth but Max had the idea to put it in this interesting view so it would look and feel new. We picked our music before we got started so everything could be timed to the beat. There are a lot of factors that the music can enhance, and if you aren't making it yourself to match what you have done in game it's easier to find music and bend your game to suit the music than it is to find music that matches your game.
The first thing I worked on was the truck. It was going to be sprite work so my goal was to get the bopin' to the beat animation to in as many views as possible...
But then after I had already done the animation in two views Max was like "I wanna make sweet jumps and mad hills!" Now, it is possible to do this with sprites, but it would have multiplied the amount of work: say I did 5 views of the truck, and say there were 2 angles up and one angle down thats 20 views total and that wouldn't be smooth at all. So with the time constraints it wasn't a viable option. I also didn't really want to start over with a 3d truck wich would be difficult to make match unless I made everything in 3d... not to mention I am a proud 2d artist who has used Maya a whopping one time to make a hallway.
Our solution: map the 2d truck to a box! The box is bigger than the truck drawing, it's invisible and in game it has no shading. Each skin only looks right from an angle very similar to the angle I drew it in cause anything that should stick out from the box looks all warped to hell. We tried this first with just one view of the truck and it worked surprisingly well.
There was a scare when we tried adding more views: each view warps in different ways as they approach the point where they should switch and its pretty jarring when you play. This freaked Max out, he wanted to get rid of the other views and just stick to the one. I on the other hand was like "dude the animation is totally gonna hide that" and it totally does. It's an animation short cut to add a squash and stretch to hide a jarring change from one view to another. The boppin' motion provides that squash and stretch constantly so you really don't notice the potentially jarring switch. I even got away with doing less views then I originally planned.
The kids I knew were going to have to be simple and super cute. I knew that they wouldn't appear very big on the screen so I didn't want them to be too difficult to read and a wanted to make enough different kids so that there was variety.
Max recommended I make an absurdly big explosion for when the truck dies. It needed a prominent vertical feature as the truck often falls off the map. I heartily agreed with the recommendation but the rainbow was my idea. I took some extra time on this one as it's pretty important and it adds a lot of polish to the game. Max added a camera shake, a light flash and some blood particles in game so it's even better!
Max recommended the ground texture have some chequerboard. It helps to make it look like there's some variety without much work. It also made it so you can tell where you are going and how fast you are going.
I made some trees and rocks as obstacles. I made the trunks separate from the foliage so Max could make the top part wobble on impact.
We're really happy with how it turned out, but of course the time restriction limited what we could do. The plan is to keep going and release a more fleshed out version in time.