Thursday, May 29, 2008

Say NO to stuff you're not good at

Made a bit of a booboo the other day.

I started surfing some general game-making resources. Then I starting taking a look at some of the other projects people were working on. Then I started to feel self-conscious about my graphics, and where they're going to come from - can I find free sprites that are suitable, or can be edited? Can I even rob some from somewhere, some old abandonware? Can I (could I? might I?) actually upskill myself to draw them? And so I got deeper and deeper, and clogged up the thing with downloaded spritesheets and tilerippers and drawing packages and 3d animators and

and before long I was very depressed about it indeed, and felt that I would never be able to make or get the graphics I needed.

This is the way my game projects always went in the past. Ay ay. Its just not my skill area, and I let it get in the way. In my head, my sprites are all pixel-perfect dark warriormen who stride through the dark blasting away at HR Giger-like minions; but it just aint feasible. What is feasible is to take another path: instead of imitating games I know (and instead of trying to imitate art I've seen), I should kick the problem to the kerb. Come up with something simple and effective that is within my skill range. Hell, if I can come up with some sort of symbolic representation of a marine that commands a litle more attachment than a board-game counter, I'll have saved myself untold amounts of work with sprites and animations.

I'll mull it over.


And in case you think I've been idle because I haven't posted the last couple of days:
The marine now understands 360° of rotation, and can move diagonally.
Basic projectile (bullets) system in place.
Fixed a crossover bug in the lighting/rotation system.
Implemented a "squad" object.
Game camera now relies on specific objects - marines, drones, whatever - to provide it with vision.
And a LOT of the code has been streamlined, rearranged..... its getting pretty complex.


Joey said...

That's the hard part of being the one-man-band.

I've finally come to the terms that what ever project I do, isn't going to be what's in my head, but what I can get out of my head and into code or vector.

What you have sounds like its coming out pretty good, so my vote would be to make the engine. Heh, if I had a vote.

Once the engine is done, make the basic templates that are needed to create the better art. Then hit up the local highschool, college or art website and find an aspiring artist.

Worst case scenerio, you have an engine for your portfolio or for sale to a company who can't do the game part of it.

Now I just need to follow my unsolicited advice...

Sinisilma said...

Thanks joey! Its very unlikely that this will ever be going for commercial sale, or that I'll ever have a portfolio - my calling is something else. But that doesn't mean you're absolutely right. The engine it is then.

Joey said...

Hey, np. If you don't mind me asking, what are you doing the project for?

Sinisilma said...

Of course, what I meant to say was "that doesn't meant you AREN'T exactly right." By which I meant you were exactly right.


Well, lots of reasons. Its great brain exercise; once I get into the content it'll be great creativity exercise, designing plot, narrative etc. Plus I have to say I like learning python: its a very intuitive language. And I'm in no way a die hard, I've always had a soft spot for interpreted languages!

I've loved coding since I was a kid, but I never took to it professionally - I tried but god, I was bored.

Also, I've never managed to really see a project through to fruition - something substantial. This time I'm going strong and enjoying it. ;)

Joey said...

Those are as good a reasons as I can think of.

Definitely post something when your ready to show it, I kind of curious to see myself :)