Sunday, 20 November 2011

Finally getting started on GMC

So I've tried applying the rendering technique to GMC. Maybe I'm just crazy but I really like the style and I think I'm finally on track to get started on the game properly. I'm changing the plan a bit and I'm going to give the western theme a bit more focus han I previously intended, and have bandits as enemies instead of robots (though maybe some robots will pop up as well). Having more human enemies will probably change the gameplay a bit as well, but I'll still try have it as MegaMan-like as possible with lots of small simple enemies.

Also got it running on Android now. The post effect that's blurring the colours on the character might be a bit too demanding, and I'm not sure how much it really adds. I like it though. I get 30 fps on my Xperia PLAY, so it's probably ridiculously slow on weaker phones. Then again that phone will be about a year old by the time the game is finnished so maybe it's OK. I'm thinking of making it possible to turn of the post effects; but I have to see how much extra work that will be. I'll have to have two sets of shaders for everything in that case, as everything would work a bit different without the post effect.

Btw, what you see in the screenshot is some really old content that I've tweaked a bit. When I first started working on GMC ages ago, before releasing the Wii Homebrew version with the GreenHillZone-like environment, I tried making a train level but could never get it look remotely decent and gave up. I thought it fit the theme quite well and I don't really need much textures with this style so I tried reviving it.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

More rendering tomfoolery

I was playing around a bit with the old rendering demo from my last post and accidentally spawned in the character from project GMC (who I suddenly turned into a cowboy a few weeks ago) without proper textures adapted for this rendering technique, and I absolutely love the result. The thing is, he's supposed to have two textures, one colour texture and one with some details that gets rendered along with the shading and outlines. But he's using his standard texture for the details, which just turned into massive areas of solid shading and for the colour texture he just got whatever texture was used last. In this case it's the texture for the tree trunk which turned him all brown; he also looked quite dashing when he was all green. I've tweaked the texture a bit to make some more details standout before I took the screenshot though.

The look reminds me of something but I can't quite place it. I think it looks a lot better than when I tried doing proper colouring, and somehow it just feels right with the cowboy motif as well.

I'm considering if I should just go ahead and change Project GMC to this style. I'm thinking very sparse environment art that are just outlines with some sketch shading and enemies in this style with just one colour. I'd have to rethink a lot of things, but I'm pretty much stuck anyway and have a hard time finding an identity for the game. This would certainly give it a unique style and it would most likely speed up content creation considerably, but I'm not sure I'd be able to use much of what I have so far, and I don't know how much variation I can make in this style.

I still have to try running it on phones though. It needs to render to a couple of different framebuffers and do some blurring and stuff, which seemed quite slow last time I tried to do stuff like that on iPhone and Xperia.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Old rendering demo

Found this old thing lying around on my computer and thought it was pretty neat. I made this about two years ago I think. It's meant to look like some kind of water colour + felt pen illustration. I was considering making some kind of artsy adventure game with this type of graphics, but it never amounted to anything. Maybe I should try to see if I can get it to work on GLES and do something small for iPhone/Android.

I'd need to tweak the effect a bit and have some better suited models for the artstyle though. The effect is done by rendering the scene twice, once with colours and once with outlines and shading. The colour texture is blured and distorted a bit to make to colours float outside the outlines slightly. And the sketch shading is of course done by overlaying a texture with a bunch of lines on all the shaded parts, and offsetting it every few frames to make it look less static

(Btw, I reccommend watching it in fullscreen and HD, the effect is pretty hard to make out in the small embedded window)

Thursday, 10 November 2011

And now something completely different

Just realised that I have just been whining for the last few posts, and that's getting a bit tiresome. So here's something awesome and completely unrelated instead. People in freaky costumes playing sweet Dragon Quest music; what could be better?

Time to move on

So over a months has passed since I released Helium Boy and I still haven't gotten started on my next game and the sales are really awful. The brief upswing I mentioned in my last post didn't last long and now it's down to just a couple of units per day. I tried having a free weekend last week and got over 50 000 downloads. It only lead to a dozen or so extra sales the day after though, and people also discovered a rather serious bug that meant it would not run on iPad for some people so I got a bunch of negative reviews. Unfourtunately I have no way of really testing the bug as everyone I know with an iPad are able to run it just fine. I've also just gotten the game to be featured in the Xperia Play Recommender which was a longer process than I had expected and I'm not sure if it will pay off. Haven't noticed any effect at all yet.

I've been meaning to make a Lite version for iOS but I just can't decide the right balance of content between the Lite and the full version; having two few levels in it will probably seem cheap, but having too many means that there's not that much extra to put in the full version, which will make it seem like a ripoff, and there's also good chance people won't finish the levels in the Lite version and won't ever need to get the Full one. Maybe I should just put everything in the Lite version and have Ads be the only difference, though I'm really not sure how effective that would be.

Apart from worrying about sales and bugs I've been trying to enjoy some time off. I've played through Catherine and put over 70 hours into Xenoblade Chronicles; might post some opinions about them sometime later. But it's really about time to get started on something new now. Don't feel very motivated though and not really keen on either of the projects I've started on right now, but I guess starting another one wouldn't be a very good idea either.