Saturday, April 30, 2011

First Look at the Panda Facing Left

I took some time this afternoon to draw up the template image of the panda facing left ... or ... right I suppose from his perspective.  

Looking left

The black outline will serve as the frame of reference for the animation of the panda walking left (or right, I'm going to cheat and just flip the image, making any minor corrections for the rotation necessary.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

First Animation Effort

I preface this post by saying that I am in no way an animator.  In fact, I can only say that I dabble in the art of drawing in general.  Being that I am the only person working on this game, I am forced to develop, among other things, the sprite animation for all elements of the game.

The most robust animation in this particular game is going to be the walk cycles, specifically the walk cycle for the main character (and for the maid (spoiler!!!)).  Drawing these animations is something I've been dreading due to the inherent tedium though I'm at the point now that I'm getting annoyed by testing with a static image.  Said annoyance has escalated to the point necessary to raise my motivation to the level necessary to delve into the walk cycle. So here we go:

First attempt at a walk cycle
This is the forward walk cycle.  It ended up being eight frames which seems excessive looking at old NES walk cycles, but it looks decent.  I will most likely get annoyed drawing eight frames per direction (8*4=32).  To draw the animation I'm working off a base image and tracing in vellum so I can see the frames progress as I draw along.  Looking at the animation now I seem to tend downward in my drawing, though that may just be a consequence of the paper folding and I can probably clean that during digital inking. 

Before making this final I am going to tinker with the prospect of a lower frame count, though eight may just end up being what I leave it at, which may be fine since there's only one thing I really need to animate to this extent. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Panda Town - Hotel Room

I find that working on at least two projects at a time is a good practice, so long as time constraints are imposed on neither.  This way, when one project starts to wear on my soul, it can be temporarily dropped in favor of the other.  By the time the second project becomes a grind, the attractiveness of the first project has freshened.

Finding myself in this situation with Panda Town, after realizing that the art of drawing sprites was quite tedious and time consuming, I allowed the project to take a back seat for a month or two in favor of a Resource Container project which is a concept I've been tinkering with in one form or another for the past couple years. Over the last week I've found myself in a position with that project which is fostering a renewed interest in Panda Town, namely the position of being sick of thinking about the project.

So here we are, firing up Panda Town development again, and with a lot of the initial graphic work out of the way, I'm free to start focusing on the story line and puzzle aspects of the game.  While I haven't solidified things so much that I want to start talking about the concept of the game, I can say the format is going to be puzzle based insomuch as you are confronted with the puzzle of how to use various available items together in the proper sequence and time frame in order to achieve an end.  I'm sure this genre has a proper name but I do not know what it is nor do I have the patience right now to look it up.  Why I've chosen this genre is a subject of a potential future post, but not today's.

Current State of the Hotel Room
Where is the project at?  As I noted above most of the initial sprite work has been done and the general room layout is setup to my satisfaction.  There's more graphic work to be done, namely animation, which I feel is going to be even more draining than the initial development, but this level of completion gives me a test bed on which to develop the story and puzzles.  I've posted an image of the hotel room in which the game takes place and while I'll be cleaning up some of the graphics as time goes on, the image gives the general idea of how the game is going to look and feel.  Tonight I'm going to start really diving into puzzle design as this afternoon I came up with a better mechanism for laying out the story and puzzles than notes in a notebook which I found to be too static for my liking (probably the topic of a future post again, that's two, two future post topics in this post, ah ha hah).