Group 4 – Final Mermaid River Blog Post

For the last time, hi everyone!

So this is the final week for the Mermaid River project, and as it stands this week has mostly been about polishing already existing stuff.

Or at least that is what I would have said if I was not pretty much finished with everything I had been assigned to make as all the polish needed were done last week.

But does that mean that I have nothing to talk about? Of course not, a game project is never fully done, it just meets the end date and then has to be released.

So what does one do at a time like this? Near the end of a game project the team always runs the risk of not having what they create be included into the final game. Either it is deemed unfinished, unneeded or the team runs out of time to implement the element. It is the sad truth, but that is the way things can go sometimes. But enough about that. So, what have I been doing?

Sometimes there are things that needs to be changed overall. One this is that I finished the design for the Super Harpoon item that I talked about last week, and it ended up like this:

Yes, it is a combination of design 5 and 15 (I did the design and lineart, not the coloring).
The result come forth as we sat and discussed as a team the designs I had made to which one would be used. The results were varied as everyone liked different designs. So what I did was I took different elements from the designs that got the most votes, which resulted in three different designs.

The team all liked the tentacle themed design and a majority of the votes fell on design 3, 9 and 16. So I decided to combine the two and see how it turned out. Everyone was for the idea, so we went along and finished it. Perhaps we should have shown the designs to other people and let them vote for the design, but now the things are the way they are and I personally feel that it works out well in the long run 🙂

Another thing besides the Super Harpoon that needed updating was the Fishfood item. The Skogaholmslimpan just was not fitting enough to some people (how dare you guys).

So, now onto some actual design insight, who would have thought?
There were discussions of some different kinds of foods. Everything from worms to fish flakes were discussed (mostly quick ideas being thrown around). As we were dealing with crazed and probably meat and flesh eating fish (the Pirateanhas especially) and the fact that you are killing fish by more or less ripping them open using a sharp harpoon I thought that fish meat chum would fit pretty well.

(Once again, I only did the design and lineart, not the coloring (I am not one to steal credit from others :P))
Well, design might be an over-exaggeration, but when it comes to implementing something from the real world into an interprative piece of art such as video games one has to take some liberties and decide upon certain things.
I wanted the chum to looks as slimy and non specific as possible, but still grainy and in chunky pieces of fish. To make it like this I got a bit more freehanded with my line strokes. By mixing up thick and thin lines in a more or less random way in not so straigh lines you too can create something look mushy and non-desirable.
As a finishing touch to add to the grossness and fishy-ness of the chum I added in a fish bone that as the chum gets spread out in the water the bones slowly goes down along the chunks that it is attatched to.

Well then, sorry that this last post of mine was not that interesting or special for a final weeks and final thoughts (kinda) one, but the most interesting thing that I did this week is being kept a secret to everybody. So I hope that you like what you see at the end of our game, if you can get there that is 😉
We are not really meant to write a blog post next week, but I just might anyway to give some insight into why and how I along with my team created the final art asset for the game.

Well then, to each and everyone out there, best of luck with finishing your projects and I am more than looking forward to seeing everything in action tomorrow! Happy crunching! 😀

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Group 4 – Mermaid River Blog Post #5

 

Good evening!

So, after a successful beta earlier during the week we are now closing in on the final release date on friday the 18th! (Not as catchy as Friday the 13th)

So now that we have gotten as far as we have, we pretty much have everything that is needed for a fully playable game. So for the last part we are mostly polishing and updating whatever we already have in that could be expanded upon or given an extra designer’s touch to make every thing as good as possible.

So what have I been doing? I have been in the process of looking over some of my old animations as well as taking an extra look on how my graphics partners have finalized them.

But it is not only simple polish that we are doing, there are also some things that were used only as placeholders or that needs an upgrade overall. One of the major things that needed an overhaul are the power up items. They did not stick out and seem powerful enough, like with our special all enemy piercing harpoon powerup (imagine the harpoon in the bottom right labeled 0 but with a little bit of fire and a golden texture on it)

Sure, the change is fine, but we have noted as well as it being pointed out by some who have seen our beta version that it could really use some improvements to make it look as special as it feels firing it.

So this week I will go over some design process steps and how things might look in production before it is set to be implemented, animated or whatever.

When designing anything at all, the design is not always as obvious as it first might seem. “How can I make this look like a harpoon but make it look interesting and powerful” is the first thing I asked myself. So I and the graphics team discussed some things. First it was set in stone that the end of the harpoon will be basically the same as the original harpoon, so that we can attatch the same rope to it. Another thing was how we feel that an harpoon with extra hooks on it looks more or less like a mace. So that is where my first design elements were put, as seen in the first sketch and in a few of the others afterwards.

“It looks pretty good” I thought to myself, but whenever designing something the first thing that pops up in your mind might not always be the right choise. Remember this and hopefully your future designs will turn out the best they possibly could. A ton of ideas will come to you during the design process, as more focus put on the task at hand more thoughts and ideas will be born from it.

So continuing on I got multiple different ideas, all with different results. Some as stated continued with the mace design, whilst others were inspired by different elements. Like #2 was based on shark fins for hooks, #3 is based on a trident and so on.

I have done more stuff this week, but I feel like none of the things will go over anything especially new that you can not find in my earlier blog posts. That is how things go when it is mostly cleanup duty.

Well, there is one thing that I hope I can work on for next week, as soon as my team will allow me to work on it. Here is a preview of things hopefully to come:

Well then, as always I wish you all the best of luck with your projects and I am soo looking forward to seeing them all next friday! See you there! 😀

Group 4 – Mermaid River Blog Post #4

Hoowee! Back up in the saddle I go because this week I am getting stuff done again!

The last two weeks I feel like I have not made much progress due to sickness, personal reasons and a forced trip to Berlin to celebrate my dad’s 51th birthday (yeah, poor me, right) To make up for this I’ve turned up my working capacity to 11. I’ve managed to finish all school work we have so far as well as finializing the design of our Pirateahna enemy that was roughed out by the others, planned and created 5 animations and even tried clean lining one of them!

So in preperation for the beta we needed a few new enemies to give the player some more challenges, because right now just having an enemy that goes mostly forward is pretty easy to avoid, especially as you only have to stay at the top of the screen to basically avoid all enemies as well as keeping your health at maximum. Sure, the player have to go down if they want to collect points, but if the main point is seen as just getting to the end of the level, just avoiding everything would be the optimal strategy, and that’s no fun.

So what enemies did we choose and why? In the original document there were perticular enemies that were quite different from the Swordfish enemy, and those are the pirate pirahna “Pirateahna” and the pirate jellyfish “Jelly Roger”. So to mix up the challenges a bit more those enemies seemed to be the perfect candidates. However the jellyfish was basically a mindless floaty version of the pirahna, so we changed it to a projectile based one that shoots as Skip, making it one of the more differing challenges in the game.

So now more on the animations, this week I have included multiple parts of the animation process. So we have the enemy designs given to me, my first drawings of said enemy, shape animations, sketched animations, some clean lined animations as well as some animations in action!

First off we have the design for the pirahna rough design that was sent to me.

So with this rough design I could create a design more akin to the rest of the game. I went over the notes that were given to me by the others, what parts of the designs were most important as well as a final decision for how the enemy would work. It goes up and down in a mindless manner trying to bite everything that’s in front of it. Going off of this I knew that the most important aspect of the design had to be the face and jaw.

So here we see some sketches made for a more finalized version of the pirahna enemy. The original sketches that I made have not been scanned however, but these ones basically reflect those. A lot of the designs I feel looked more like the faces of crocodiles or aligators rather than a pirahna, thanks to the shifting teeth as well as the fact that I made the face a bit too long with the jaw being a bit too small. With these sketches you can also see more of some rough planning for the animations. Some things were deemed not necessary when it actually came to the animation, but that’s par for the course little buddy, par for the course.

Next up we have the shape animation planning for the animation alongside the sketched out versions ready to be linearted.

As I have talked about in earlier blog posts these shape animations that I make really allows you to quickly check if the animation will look like it is going to work or not. To really make the jaw stand out and to make it look big and sturdy I drew it as a big block that connects to the body. It is the one shape that is different from the rest of the design, whereas it is mostly made up of triangles. The face, the eyes to extent, the body and fin all share the triangular shapes. As soon as the shape animations were done and looked good all I had to do was sketch out the lines more exact on top of them so that it corresponds to the design, which also goes a lot faster due to the shapes showing most of what is there. I added some shadows to when the fin goes away from the screen to quickly and easily show more depth.

Lastly, as I have not been able to finish all of them, here we have the first frame of the swimming animation linearted.

I decided to put some color in to hide the face that some of the lines go through one another between the upper jaw area with the lower jaw area as well as the “brow” and the pirate hat 😛 This will also make it easy for the color artist to get some of the local colors down as you only have to choose the colored layer and then fill with the wanted color. If you have problems with filling with the bucket tool what I do is that istead of drawing the outline for the fill with a brush I draw it with a pen instead which leaves no dirty pixels around the edges.

The animated version is the featured image of this post, so just look at that one to see what this boils down to.

Hopefully I can keep the pace up in the future, I am learning so much and I hope that the rest of you do as well! Take care you guys, best of luck, have fun and I’m looking forward to seeing your betas! 😀

Group 4 – Mermaid River Blog Post #3

Hello again!

So, yeah, I have not had too much work done this week unfortunately. This has been due to sickness and the like. But enough about that, onto what has been happening as of late.

So after a successful alpha build we have now moved onto work for the Beta build. Originally we had planned to have more things in the game, such as a regular pick up that does not affect the player like with a power up. This is to give the player incentive to collect as many of them as possible to get a high score. We also had an additional enemy planned to give some variation in the enemy driven challenges given to the player. But due to time constraint and some general hinderance here and there we have not managed to pull this off.

So for now we are focusing on creating another enemy amongst other things. However, as we have not created an design for the enemy yet I have not had any design to animate for. Sure, I can do some general animations and ideas, but to really give each animation its own character I need to know what I am animating for.

So, what have I done with my time instead? Well, I just recently found out about the tweening function of animation! What does tweening mean? It means that the program gives you in between frames for the key frames you have created to give you more of an idea what you should draw in between different frames to get the wanted flow out of it. I know that this will help out a great deal in the future! Like the seaweed animation shown here, at first it had half as many frames and therefor had much more of a whiplash look too it making it seem like it is whipping in the wind rather than gently flowing and waving back and forth in the water.

I may not have an design to animate, but things needed for the environment that are not given character can be animated with no issue, so that’s why I can still animate whilst the others are working on other things. Now imagine a ton of these things in bulk all with differing hues, size and sharpness to them. I think that this alongside other planned set pieces will really give life to the water as you are swimming through! I think that it is important to have an area such as a huge body of water to be like this one big living organism that houses millions of all kinds of creatures and plant life.

So yeah, hopefully I will be able to get a lot more varied work done in the upcoming week. Me and my team seem to be working a lot better and faster under pressure as it is, so I think that we can pull this off! And once again, best of luck to all of you! 🙂

Group 4 – Mermaid River Blog Post #2

Hello again!

So moving along from last week’s post, have an updated Skip Swimming Animation!

Here’s some additional images for this week’s post:

 

Following the standard that we have set up for ourselves, as expected we are making sure that every thing looks like it belongs with the others!

As I was working with the animations the others were creating some other stuff in the meantime and as soon as I was done with an animation the others could pick it up, give it some line art and then finally color it. As I was working with the first animations the others were working on some other things in the meantime, such as some basic backgrounds and line art for the things in the game that does not require an animation. So ever since the start we have all had work to do to make sure that everyone can be productive at all times!

So since last time I have finished all of the major animations that are needed for an alpha showcase, but that does not mean that don’t have work to do! There is still a ton of work that can be done, such as other smaller things needed for the alpha as well as some animations that are needed for the beta.

One of the things I have made kind of goes outside of the work that we have planned for each of us. And that thing is the game’s first major power up, the mystical Squid Merman King Dave Scone’s (name pending) Magical Coin of Mystical Power (name also pending). The thing is that I am the one responsible for the animation as well as line art and coloring. I believe that this works out because there is currently no other item in the game that has an gold or metal texture in the game, which opens up a lof of design space. I could still follow the basic style made by the others to keep this in line with everything else.
This coin is also the first instance of where a secondary animation has been made. Meaning that an animation is made solely to enhance a certain aspect of another major animation. In this case it is a shimmering light that will appear around the coin to give it an illusion of shinyness and value, like expected of something golden. This also makes it so that it attracts the player’s attention so that they hopefully want to inspect it closer to see what it does. The player needs to figure out that this is something good and not an enemy in disguise or something out to hurt you!

To finish off I will give some insight on how I make the sprite sheets and why they look like they do. To make it as easy as possible for the programmers the sprites need to be the same distance from each other and stay within the same size grid to make sure that it animates properly when put into the game’s engine and sprite handler. At first I just put all of the sprites next to one another in a long row and tried by eye to put them with the same distance to each. This proved to be a long and tedious process that was not very accurate (who would have thought). So what I do now is that I put all the sprites each in its own layer and then stack all of them on top of one another. This is to make sure that they go along nicely when divided. This also gives the size needed for the grid to have each sprite in their correct placements. Hopefully that explanation was not too complicated or weird!

Good luck to you on your own projects! 😀