Hi, internet. Today I'll be filling you in on how my made my most recent game for Ludum Dare, SMASHASAURUS. For this project I used GameMaker Studio (I got the pro version during Humble Bundle recently, woo!) photoshop and paint (yes I like making pixel art in paint sometimes).
For those of you who do not know, Ludum Dare is a long-running game jam where game developers of all experience levels from around the globe challenge out their skills and compete to create a game from scratch in just 48 hours. There is also a 72-hour jam for teams or those who wish to use outside assets, which isn't treated as a competition.
Check out their website!
So, I'll cut right to the chase and break down how I created by game this time around.
Humble beginnings (Day 1)
In my time zone, Ludum Dare began Friday night, so even though there was only 48 hours, I'll be breaking it down over Friday - Sunday (3 days).
Pretty quickly on Friday evening, I decided that I wanted to make a destructibles-driven game. I didn't come up with the dinosaur theme until later, but I ran with the endless beat-em-up idea almost immediately and set to work doing the bulk of the programming and problem solving.
I find that I work best if I wait to make art until the game is mostly done, so I just had blocks and an obnoxious magenta background for quite some time. I had a lot of trouble with the enemy AI (I am kind of a noob and have never made something so complicated), but by the end of the night I had (most) of a functioning, albiet ugly endless beat em up.
Starting to look like something (day 2 - Morning)
After the basic mechanics were set up, I made some slightly-less-ugly placeholder sprites and started to work out the smashing particles and level design. This whole period was a lot of tweaking to make the enemy AI actually work, the player animations work, and to set up the global variables so that it was easy to tweak the scaling difficulty. Nothing super exciting.
At this point I was convinced that I wanted to make the game become more and more difficult as your points increased, so I put quite a bit of time into this, as well.
Spawninggggggg (Day 2 - evening)
The game involves spawning mechanics, so I ended up spending a lot of time figuring this out. I have never made a game that involves spawning more than a few item types so there was a lot of tweaking involved. Initially I wanted to spawn random objects all over the house, but eventually I decided that the spawning would be specific to the furniture in each room.
I also started making some sprites, and set up the 'dino-level' system that levels you up as your score increases and increases spawn-rates and speed. I also made health and taking damage, and end-game conditions.
SPAWNING??!?!?!?? (Day 2- Night)
At this point I basically had the 'game' done, but there was a lot of work to be done on the spawning (thus the endless toilets..) So I stayed up way into the night correcting this. By this point, I had working enemies, the (almost) final level design done and had made a BG tile set. I went to bed knowing that the final morning would be spent making a LOT of sprites for smashable objects.
SPRITES AND STUFF TO SMAAASSSHH (Day 3- Morning)
At the end of Ludum Dare I spent several hours making sprites for all of the smashable objects, adjusting spawn logic and making a few different enemy types that appear as the game becomes more difficult. This was time-consuming, but refreshing after spending so much time on programming (which I am admittedly, not great at).
I opted not make sound, as I am bad at it and was worried that making sound effects for each item getting destroyed would end up sounding annoying. At the last possible moment, I complied the game and submitted it on time. Yay!
Gameplay Video + Download Link
Thanks again for checking out my Ludum Dare game- I have a lot of fun doing game jams even though I'm not an expert. You can see a quick gameplay video below if you'd like, or click the link below to where you can download Smashasaurus.
Why, hello there!
Thanks for popping by.
For the last 4 weeks I have been furiously finishing up Lesser Beasts,
and I'm happy to report that minus a few minor details, all of the artwork is complete. Check out the short quick look video, as well as the teaser trailer(s) that I've made. The quick look includes the short trailer, which provides hints as to the plot of the book as well as some previews of the artwork.
As you may already know, pre-orders for Lesser Beasts will begin May 1st and run until May 14th. I will post a video explaining how to order on May 1st, so keep an eye out and get ready to reserve a digital or print copy of Lesser Beasts.
Short teaser trailer
So for the last 3 weeks I've been hard at work on Lesser Beasts and getting ready for sales and events this summer. Last time I posted I had just begun the comic, and now I have 22 pages complete.
Again, I've made a short 2 minute video that you can watch to see some previews of half and completely finished pages, as well as my process and thoughts so far.
I've really begun to flesh out the main sections of the plot and have been doing a lot of painting. Stay tuned in coming weeks for more updates and information on where to purchase the book. Thanks for your continued support, everyone!
Check out the first video update if you'd like to see the thumbnail sketches for the entire comic!
lesser beasts production update #1
So, there's been a bit of radio silence about this project because I've been whittling away at the thumbnails and making an action plan. But, now I can start talking about what exactly I'm making.
I've made a short little video with some background, but I'll also give the short and sweet explanation of what exactly I'm working on.
Lesser Beasts" (This is a working title, I may or may not change it), is a graphic novel / art book that I am creating with the help of an independent artist grant from the Saskatchewan Arts Board. It follows a teenage girl who enters a world of swamp creatures and their spirits. There will be virtually no dialogue in the book, and it will mostly be illustrated by hand using mixed media (but let's not kid ourselves, it will mostly be watercolor).
There are many more details in store that I'll announce as I continue working on the book, so stay tuned for actual finished pages, concept art and almost certainly some struggling.
Designing Believable Narrative Illustrations with Mood, Story and Setting + "Scallywags!", a New Digital Painting and Process Video
An important part of creating an illustration has has depth and holds the viewer's attention
is filling it with characters and props that are entertaining and consistent.
As someone who usually draws silly cartoon animals and adventurous little girls, making characters the are believable and appropriate for their environment can be a challenge. One of the most important things to consider in designing characters to set up a visual scenario is, 'what story do these characters tell, and what is the most effective way to tell that story?' There are numerous ways to set up and fully understand story and content before you begin an illustration, but I'll run through the steps that I typically take.
What story do your characters tell?
Using appeal or the lack thereof in clever ways to establish the characters' personalities so that they can be understood on the first glance is very important. Big eyes, broad smiles and enthusiastic facial expressions will often come across as dopey, cutesy and childish. Creating a character with narrow eyes and sharp features, and hoping that he will come across as cute, for example, may be challenging.
So always be aware of how you want to the viewer to feel when they look at a character, and what background information you want them to absorb.
Be aware of details and style
Further, be aware that creating a very moody scene in a soft, friendly style may be difficult. Style is something that comes with times and practice, but it can be manipulated if you keep in mind the mood, setting and story that you are trying to convey in a piece.
For example, using more or less saturation of color, thicker or thinner lines, larger or smaller eyes, will all impact how your scene and characters are understood. That been said, defying typical convention, when done well, can have surprising results; for example, creating a very dark scene with typically cute characters can be unsettling.
Remember: Mood, Setting, Story
For example, in the painting "Scallywags!", I am displaying only the very end of what is meant to be understood as a treasure hunt story. We can see that one skeleton has already been defeated by the gull, which implies that he is good with a sword. The look of concentration on his face separates him from the happiness of Ferrett and Racoon, who are ecstatic to have finally found the treasure.
Clearly, the skeletons are protecting the treasure.
From these assumptions, the viewer (hopefully) is able to understand the story quickly and easily. There are many other ways to establish mood, setting and story in a composition, but remember to keep them in mind in every narrative work that you produce.
Thanks again for reading!
If you're interested in how I painted this image, watch the video below for a complete speedpaint!
Here's more places that you can find and follow my artwork online:
My Etsy Shop
My Facebook Fan Page
My Twitter: @graceparkman
My Youtube Channel
Buy a print of Scallywags!
"Scallywags!" Process video
Grace Avery-Parkman is a fantasy and visual development artist from Regina Saskatchewan. If you have any questions or concerns, please drop her a comment or email to email@example.com