The story and the mechanics

Since both Nikolai and I have full time jobs, it´s a little tough to find time to work on the game. But we´re slowly moving forward, and spend most of our evenings talking about the game concept or learning Unity. I have started  on a great tutorial, which explains most of what the different tools in the program do.  I´m also working my way through code academy´s programming-lessons, to get a basic grip on coding. Nikolai will of course be the one doing that part of the work, but it´s helpful to know a bit about the language.

The game concept is starting to get somewhere as well. The main storyline is getting clearer, and we have some new thoughts around the mechanics. Nothing is set in stone yet, but I feel we´re moving in the right direction.

We have talked a lot about it, and come to the conclusion that we don´t want to share the full storyline until the game is done. It has some twists and turns that we would like to be a surprise. But we´ll give you a short summary of the basic plot, and what poor Edgar has to face:

Edgar_Gameconcept-01 Edgar_Gameconcept-02 Edgar_Gameconcept-04 Edgar_Gameconcept-05 Edgar_Gameconcept-06 Edgar_Gameconcept-07 Edgar_Gameconcept-08 Edgar_Gameconcept-09 Edgar_Gameconcept-10

So that´s the plot. Roughly… It´s pretty basic, and gives Edgar a clear motive: Collect parts to fix his girlfriend. It also makes it easy for us to divide the game into chapters – one for each part. In each chapter you will be introduced to new or more advanced mechanics.
It´s  a common story, but the twists makes it special. Just wait.

About the mechanics: This is where we have been struggling. The mechanics has to be based on something that the humans could have used as a weapon against the robots. Something that destroys or manipulates metal. We lost the battle for magnets against Teslagrad and our new friends from Bergen (Go play the demo). So then what? We talked a bit about using the qualities of metal itself. (Melting points, chemical reactions, corrosion, mass….) but it didn´t really fit into the idea of a weapon. So we made a list:

What can destroy a robot:
-Rust
-Acid
-Electricity
-Computer viruses
-Water
-Explosives
-Nature (genetically modified super-nature)
-Lasers
-Heat
-Teleporters (Just teleport them into space. Done deal)
-Wind
-Lava
-Vacuum
-Ice

Acid. Acid is cool. There has been made several games using acid before, we know that… but it fits really well. It could also add something to the story, in terms of the humans making a weapon that not only destroyed the robots – but also, in the end, themselves.

…So we started talking about the possibilities of using acid, and I started sketching:

Edgar_Gameconcept-11 Edgar_Gameconcept-12 Edgar_Gameconcept-13-13 Edgar_Gameconcept-14 Edgar_Gameconcept-15 Edgar_Gameconcept-16 Edgar_Gameconcept-17 Edgar_Gameconcept-18 Edgar_Gameconcept-19 Edgar_Gameconcept-20

If any of you people out there has any thoughts or ideas, please share them with us. Like I said: nothing is set in stone yet.

IT´S ALIVE!!!

Apart from making super-simple flash ads through my job as a Graphic Designer, I have pretty much never animated a thing before. We had a couple of lessons when I went to the art academy, but nothing advanced. So… I´m expecting a pretty steep learning curve. I will make all the graphic material for our game, which involves a lot of moving objects.

After playing around in Adobe after effects for a little while now, I have come to realize that I not only have to learn how to animate, but I will also have to do some serious research on how different things move. For example: I tried to make a crate fall from the sky (because sometimes crates do that.) Sounds pretty simple. But then I had to figure out how fast it should fall, how hard it should hit the ground, the impact sending the crate back up again, and how fast it then would fall back down again. The game engine we choose will probably do a lot of this work for us, but it´s still practical for me to know how it works.

For now I´m using Adobe After Effects. I don´t know if that´s the best way to go around animating for games, but it´s a program I´m fairly familiar with. After animating your clip, it also allows you to export your movie into an png-sequence. Then you get all of the still-frames in separate image files. I can use this later to make sprites for the game.

I could of course hand-draw each frame to get a more dynamic look to it, but since Edgar is a robot made out of solid pieces connected with joints, I get a more realistic robot-animation by just moving and turning his joints as they are.

Anyhow: Edgar is alive! Look at him go! The animations need some polishing, and I have to work a bit with the timing of things. Like how fast the wheel is gonna turn, and how his joints will move. Still… I´m just happy to see him moving!

And: If anybody has any advice on how to make good sprite-sheets, and what kind of tools to use. Let me know!

gif_edgar2

My first animation of Edgar walking. I´m not too happy with this one. It´s not smooth enough, and he doesn´t move fast enough. But it´s kinda funny though.

segway2

So I want Edgar to be able to move pretty fast. It makes sense that he would, since he has a wheel. In this animation I have tried to make him move like a Segway. I got to work a bit on how the joints fit together.

blunke

Yes. He´s looking at you.

 

This was the first animation I ever made of Edgar. It´s a rough test to see how he will function in an environment with different elements. I used the puppet-tool in After effects, which is stretching him like he´s made of rubber. The examples above, where I don´t stretch the joints, works better. The sound effects are hilarious! Just free samples I grabbed from looperman. And the jumping-animation is way off. He needs more power in his jump to go that high.