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Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Starting Up a Flash Game!


So this summer I'm taking a class on game programming for Flash. As such, I'll be working continuously on a new game. I thought it would be fun to be super-transparent on this one, and do a pretty detailed companion log to mark my progress. So let's do it!

My idea is this: a side-on beat-em-up game in the style of Assassin Blue. The catch is that the game will be boss fights ONLY. I'm hoping that squeeze in 3 nicely-fleshed out bosses into the game.

So I started out doing a lot of concept sketches and brainstorming to get a character I was happy with as my lead. I felt like doing a badass femme fatale sort of character so the concepts quickly went that way.
I'm more or less settled in on a design, so I started thinking about the actual in-game art. Pixel art/bitmap animations seems like the obvious choice for me, though it'll require some more rigamarole to work into Flash. I thought I might experiment with a technique I've heard tell of, where artists create and rig 3D models, animate in 3D, and then export still 2D frames for gameplay. I kinda like that idea, especially since it'll lend to smooth, modular animation work, so I'm giving it a shot. Plus, it's a way for me to work some of my 3D experience into my game work.
So that's where I am as of the end of week 1 (out of 11). Let's see how it goes! (And how this balances with my Phanta work, which I've been keeping up on pretty regularly)...


Rockythechao said...

Found an old forum discussion on the use of pre-rendered graphics in games like Donkey Kong Country, Fallout, Mortal Kombat, Starcraft, etc.

You seem to have things figured out here, but I think it's still worth a read, even if some of the points discussed won't really apply to your game due to the color block-based art direction you seem to be taking.

Also, fair warning, the topic is from a pixel art forum, so there's naturally going to be a bit of bias.

Banov said...

Yeah, the bias shows.

I'm really happy with the look I'm cultivating here. The main advantage this offers me is very very smooth animation made relatively easily. I feel this game is a lot about the animation, so that's a significant boon. It's pretty narrow-minded to look at any sort of technique and call it absolutely inferior because it's not the one you're used to; one look at Ghost Trick and I'm sure a lot of them would feel differently about the potential of #D-rendered sprite.

And plus it's just fun to work on and it's a new trick to have on my belt, which is never a bad thing :)

Rockythechao said...

Please don't get the wrong idea, that topic doesn't necessarily reflect my personal views on the matter -- I just linked to that it thinking that it presented some things to take into consideration. But looking back, it was a lot more one-sided than I initially noticed... So, yeah, I shouldnt've been so hasty in sharing it.

Any drawing/animating technique, whether it be hand-drawn, pre-rendered, vector-animated, procedurally-generated, true 3D or hand-pixeled, is just a tool for the artist to use how they see fit. Each technique has its own strengths and weaknesses, but it doesn't mean one is inherently better than the other, just that some techniques are better suited for certain styles than others. Ultimately, the most important thing is how the tool is used, not the tool itself.

I think that's what a few of the comments in that topic were trying to get at, and what I got caught on when reading through the thing -- smaller pre-rendered sprites aren't as good at conveying precise details or depth when compared to hand-pixeled graphics and true 3D models. The defining aspects of your usual cel-shaded style, the bold, contrasting colors and the recognizable silhouettes, play to the strengths of the technique you're using. It's the same thing with Ghost Trick.

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