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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Call it work, call it the eight or so music programs I’ve installed on my computer just trying to find one that works and does what I need, call it the rampant crashing, call it finishing art for my friend’s RPG finally, call it Guild Wars 2 beta, call it laziness or whatever you will. Monday is a terrible day, anyway. Just ask Garfield.

But I think the last few weeks have been pretty sparse on the details. Not a lot to show, not a lot to say… It’s nice to have updates out every week but lately I haven’t made much progress and I realized since I have a job and a life (wait… actually, I don’t), there won’t always be anything to update every week.

So, for now, I think the best option is just to update Whenever I Feel Like It. Which should be less often than weekly, but more often than monthly.

Anyway, on to actual game stuff news:

Samplitude is dead. It started acting up and I realized that while pirates are cool, I’m not cut out for the gig. Sorry, but I’m not paying $1000 to make some music. Especially with the program crashing like it does. (which may have more to do with running Windows 8 CP and not having a sound card OR any clue what I’m doing than the program itself being bad, but still…) I chose to give LMMS a second shot, and it’s actually performing fairly well this time around. It’s going to be an interesting experiment to see how well I can make music of my own. My plans for the sound design are the same as ever – a retro/techno mix. So very synthetic sound, upbeat and maybe a bit quirky, with plenty of bleep and buzz. This is something I’ll have to play around with when I actually get to implementing sound and music into the game. Making sound effects is… also interesting. So far I’ve been sticking to the retro side on sound effects, but I might see what else I can do to give the game more of its own unique style.

There’s this video about juice I was linked to on the You Tube. It’s about something I’ve noticed in a lot of amateur indie games, and something I often forget is fairly important to have in a game. You can’t replace fun with juice, but that doesn’t stop a lot of games from going there. Definitely a good video to watch even if you’re not a developer. Juice is a sort of abstraction but it’s what separates Lumines from the original Tetris. By adding in that factor and really pumping the game full of it, you go from something mechanically fun to a true experience, even if you change nothing about how it plays. It’s also something my game needs a good dose of. It’s still very early and I’m just one person, but I won’t let that get in the way of making this the best game it can be.

I’ve posted this now. It’s up to you to not let me get away with a juiceless game.

So next update comes When I Feel Like It. Not Monday, that’s for sure. I’ll probably have a lot more to show and say, though.

Whoops, didn’t plan this one out well.

I don’t have a lot of time to write this one before I have to go, but if I don’t do this now, I’ll be making another Tuesday Update again. I PROMISED! (or maybe not)

 

Okay, so actually this week I did more work on a game that’s NOT mine than I did work on my own. I basically finished the final stretch of art assets my friend needed for his 3DS RPG called Linked Destiny. He’s been a bit more quiet about the game online than I have been about mine, but you can see his Deviantart here:Β http://lexusx.deviantart.com/Β It’s been over a year since I last got a taste of the game, myself, but with the assets in good shape maybe soon I’ll get another try. I’m always talking with him about the game and it sounds like it’s shaping up really nicely. I can’t wait to see the results of our effort on that one. πŸ™‚

 

But as for Hysteria Star, there’s not a lot to report this week other than: ARMS. LIKE. NOODLES!!!

Really, work has been (almost) literally trying to kill me all week so I’ve been spending most of my time just trying to recover. I slept 14 hours one night! (NEW RECORD!) But I did look into more music software. Reason got me absolutely nowhere because it apparently has issues with Windows 8 and that happens to be what my computer is running, but I’m learning to use Samplitude now. I’m not sure yet if it’s what I need but it does at least appear to have all the technical goobles and whatchits I need to make pretty sounds for your ears to listen to sometimes.

Well looks like my time is about up, so let’s hope my tiny arms can handle another work day. LET’S-A GO! (Like it? It’s my new catchphrase, which I just made up. I think it’s pretty catchy.)

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF~

Sorry about the late writeup. I just started my new truck unloading/stocking job a week or so ago because I was getting tired of eating out of other people’s garbage to survive, so I don’t have the time or energy I usually do to get things done, sadly. 😦

But! I can still show some thingies and talk about stuffs. That’s always exciting!

-I’ve been playing around a bit more with the logo, now that I have more of an idea of what I want to do overall. It’s not often I have to design these, so I want to mess with different ideas until I get something I’d like to stick with. For now this is my favorite version.

Ouya console. Just got announced today with their Kickstarter, and I’m impressed. I’m “If I had $700 I’d be throwing it at my monitor” impressed, even! Maybe it’s a bit too early to be 100% sure or maybe it doesn’t have everything I need, but I’m definitely already making plans to port to Ouya. One feature that really excites me, something I can’t really do on the smartphone version, is multiplayer. This could mean simultaneous multiplayer for 2-4 players for the Ouya and PC versions. Something else I really like is how they will have free demos for every game on the system, so you can always play something for free before you have to decide to drop money on it. That is excellent, and definitely something I’m behind.

 

-Another of my level concepts, playing with visual design and colors. I like the idea of making the enemies in this level all generally glowing blue/red. It gives a very bright and defined set of obstacles, and the color coding also helps you easily see where something is trying to kill you. πŸ™‚

 

So not a lot of progress this week, but there’s some cool stuff anyway. I’m still looking for a music program, but this week I’ve been less active in that area. I’m still waiting on access to GM Studio so I can continue working on the game proper. Soon… soon.

 

That’s Metroid: Zero Mission. On GBA. Little King’s Story is on the Wii. Today’s theme seems to be revisiting games from my past, actually. These are ones I’ve played and loved before, and I’ve gotten back into them recently.

There’s not much to say about Metroid: ZM. It’s one I’ve played a lot in the past and I’m coming back to it with the help of emulators to enjoy it again and try some playthroughs I’ve never tried before. I don’t think I’m up to the 100% in less than 2 hours ones, but 15% completion was a fun challenge. Zero Mission really cuts into the heart of what I love in a Metroid game. It’s how you can play it a billion different ways. It’s how you get further into the game and discover that some little shortcut or hidden passageway could allow you to access an area before you’re “supposed” to. That freedom to go BEYOND what it seems the developers intended, even though it’s so smartly designed that you can’t possibly get yourself stuck or in an inescapable situation… that’s just beyond awesome. The game itself is only the surface, and it’s designed in such a way that playing around within the game, cleverly finding paths that you “shouldn’t” get into, getting items before you normally would, are all hugely satisfying, even if the reward isn’t great.

It’s also a little worrying, in a way. Modern games seems to put so much into cinematics and beautiful assets and a well-crafted story, that a GBA game knocks them out of the park in terms of how well it’s designed and how the overall package holds up in terms of gameplay. Zero Mission is still beautiful in its pixelated details, perfected down to every last corner of the map. It’s truly inspiring. Really makes me want to get back to The Outer World. But I know I can’t… not yet, anyway.

The other one today is Little King’s Story. I tend to gush about this game a lot, because it’s just SO GOOD. I beat it maybe a year or two back and I loved everything about it. I can’t believe I let the cover turn me off of this one for a while. By all means this looks in every way like a kids’ game. Or something easy. Trust me, it’s neither.
Well, you could say it’s a kids’ game, but there are some really deep messages in there, some surprising themes they cover, and some really emotional moments, all under the guise of this cutesy game about a little kid who found a magic crown and became king.
And also, it’s not an easy game by any means. There’s a ton of challenge to be found after an hour or two in the game. Right from the first enemy you face, you’re shown that all-out attacking will get you slaughtered quickly. And bosses don’t play nice, even from the early parts of the game. You must strategize, move around, get defensive, take risks, and think things through or the game won’t be doing you many favors.

The bosses are all so interesting, too. There’s 8 of them, I think, and each one is MASSIVELY different, using the base mechanics in radically different ways. The boss that turns the stage into a pinball table with a fat man as the ball and your army as paddles is the best ridiculous idea ever.

I started playing again lately to try out the unlocked Tyrant mode. I might have started this right after beating it but the last boss stomped me so many times I just had to give it a rest. The new difficulty makes the game insane. It should really just be called Everyone Dies Mode or something. Of course, being me, I LOVE IT.

I don’t think I could have gotten away without talking about some of my favorite games. I guess this post was bound to happen. πŸ™‚

 

I was hoping to get to show off the lighting system today, but I am currently without access to Game Maker Studio right now, so I can’t grab any in-game screenshots. I’ve been at work on some assets lately, but those can wait for now. I have been working on a new kind of asset lately, something I don’t have a lot of experience with but is still necessary- sound and music.

It’s almost second-nature to me at this point to set down a visual style and keep it consistent through a game. Visuals are something I’ve spent years working on in my free time, so they’re pretty natural to me. Something that’s a bit harder to understand is sound design. What sound effect fits this or that? How and when should sound effects be triggered? What kind of instrumentation should I use or what mood should the music evoke? I’ve had to think of these things before, but now I’m applying them in ways I haven’t before.

I have been running into some trouble when it comes to tools, though. Thanks to Daigasso! Band Bros, a Japanese Nintendo DS game, I have some experience working with music creation software, and thanks to having spent half my life in marching and concert bands I have plenty of experience playing music. But when it came time to find the program that would help me make some original songs of my own for the game, everything I tried fell flat.

I’ve considered just pulling out the headset and singing a song into it. There. Music.

So far, the best luck I had was with PxTone, Daisuke Amaya’s (AKA Pixel, the God-man who made Cave Story) awesome music creation software, which I learned quite fast. There are some usability issues but it’s come the closest to the level of Band Bros’ music editor in terms of ease of use. The downside is, it revolves around very low-fi sound waves as instrument samples and that’s not really what I want for the whole game. Since Hysteria Star is a mix of old and new, the musical style I’m shooting for is a mix of techno/electronic dance beats and chiptune melodies, and with PxTone, I’m stuck with 100% chiptune. I’m going less for NES music and more for Disasterpeace or Anamanaguchi style, here.

 

I feel like there’s a serious lack of pictures here. Anyone else feeling that way?

… Eh, here. Have an otter pirate.Β 

 

So, I need to find a good (preferably free?) music composition software with a wide range of instruments and a not-so-wide range of ridiculous features that just confuse me. That’s next on the list.

As for the rest, hopefully next week I’ll be back in the development saddle and putting new assets into the game.

 

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