October 18, 2009

Grand Feather

Finally we have a name for our game...

With awesome new art by our good pal, Gutter. We have been working a very long time on coming up with a good story for the world the game is set in, and we finally made one that we are both really happy with. The name Grand Feather has to do with the main story line, and the history of the game world. It refers to the majestic birds who live on and protect the island that Jack, Roger, and the 3 peg-appendage Captain land on at the begining of the game. They originally are forced to land there when Roger (Jack's dog) jumps out of the airship after a bird that flies by. They eventually get mixed up in the middle of events that are taking place on the island and eventually do enough things to make a game about. Don't worry there is way more story and a lot less generic events, but I do not want to explain all of it before we have more of the game completed.

We also have a new video.

Yeah, it is still the same grasslands area, that we have been working on, but almost all the graphics have changed since the last video and I thought that there should be a video of what the game currently looks like. We pretty much have all the graphical components of this area done and are moving on to the next ones, which are way more interesting.

So the game is really coming together, and now that we have a complete story in our minds for this thing, it no longer feels like the development of this game is going to come with us to our retirement homes. We have been working a lot on it recently and have been making a ton of progress so keep checking back for more updates! (And don't forget to drop us a comment!)

October 11, 2009

Friday Night is for Partying?

Wrong. Friday night is for working on video games. For the second Friday in a row (and probably more to come) we have been having game jam sessions from about 5pm to somewhere around 7am of almost pure non-stop game development madness. I keep coding until I get so tired that I start making stupid mistakes and would probably do more harm than good to the code.

Me around 5am. Mmm I miss all of that food I don't have anymore because I ate it.

And we also have a new SharkArm work station, which is pretty much the same as our old one but rearranged.

Those long hard flat things on four legs are 'tables' and we use them to set things on.

So lot's of new stuff being added to the game. We have been working on the story and main design of the game a whole lot recently, which I will go into more depth probably next post. I've also been coding in the cutscenes, which has turned out to be a very very time consuming process because we have been tweaking them so much to get every scene perfectly the way we want it. It's a lot of fun though, and I highly recommend it to anyone who programs for SharkArm. They are turning out really well so far for the most part, and I even almost released a video of the opening cutscene. Then I realized that it needed to be changed completely so I'm going to pretty much scrap the entire thing and redo it differently.

My favorite part about programming these huge projects is when you realize that huge portions of code that cost you hours has to go. About a week or two ago I was facing a problem that had to do with the draw order of the front tiles and the entities on the screen. Whenever a front tile was placed on a solid tile you can jump through, the player's graphics would be shown in front of the solid but behind the front tiles and it would look strange while in the air. Like this:

I don't really know if you can tell what I mean from the picture, it's a bit hard to explain, but in order to solve this problem I wrote this sorting algorithm for sorting all the entities based on their Y values and the tiles so that they would be drawn correctly and the front tiles would only be draw in front of the player when they are below the player's feet and did all this complicated stuff to get this one small problem to work right. It took about 6 hours. Then, the next day I figured out an insanely simple solution to this problem and fixed it a lot more efficiently that way, and threw all the work I did the day before in the trash can. You have to know when to part with code, even if you put a lot of hours into it. Same thing with your dog after you realize training him to fight in a kickboxing tournament would not score him a lead role in the next Air Bud sequel.

Yeah, ok he's a dog that plays basketball, soccer, and beach volleyball, but kickboxing
is too unrealistic? Get real Walt Disney, a dog roundhouse kicking a 300lb fighter
could totally happen, and would sell more tickets than you could ever dream of.

We've been trying to add in a whole lot more companions to the game, so we can see what kind of different gameplay elements we will be able to add in to each of the levels. And because it's totally awesome. I also just put in our first rideable companion, Rake, who can suck things in and blow things away. He is used for pulling in and pushing out blocks, to make bigger jumps and that sort of thing. I suppose he would be good for helping you blow out your birthday candles as well.

Jack riding Rake. Arif the fire bird and Roger the dog following. Tree.

Alright so there will be a pretty big update real soon, where a long awaited announcement will be made? What could it be? You'll have to find out. And I'm going to have another video out really soon because I realized how long ago that last one was made and how much different everything is. Almost all the graphics have changed and there are actually enemies in the game and things that move!

Oh yeah!

Stay tuned for updates. Real tuned.
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