Thursday, April 16, 2009

Phaeton! Now with 100% more ZOOM!

And so.. without actually explaining anything about my game I'm making an entry about the tools I am developing along with it... How totally moronic of me, but it's 2 AM and I have a crunch-filled work-day tomorrow - so, suck it up, all things will be explained in time.

Have you ever played a 2D Konami or Treasure game, like Contra Hard Corps or Gunstar Heroes and gawked in awe at those huge bosses that visibly consist of independently moving modules? I know I did, and still do whenever one of those modular monstrosities shows up in any game (except maybe for recent Castlevanias, where the modular bosses looked mighty cheep and sloppy). Phaeton is an editor I wrote to allow me to insert such creatures into my own game. It ended up being a rather complex animation program consisting of three stages - a module import stage, where you load a bitmap with all of your creature's body parts on it, a frame generation stage, where you arrange the imported modules into animation frames, and lastly - an animation stage, where you order the pre-created frames into animations. The editor then saves a file that describes the animation in an easy-to-parse text format, that combined with a module bitmap comprises all the ingredients needed for the creation of in-game modular beasties.

This is how Phaeton animation looks.

Tonight I have finally added a zoom in/out feature to all three stages of the editor. This addition was prompted by the fact that I am working on my netbook with a 10" screen for about 4 hours a day...

Oh, hell - since I have nobody to tell this...

I hate the idea of blogging - I really do, especially when it serves no real purpose other than attention-whoring. News-blogging - I can understand and relate to, but putting up what equates to your personal diary for all the world to see - it's douchy and pretentious... All that said - it's exactly what I'm doing now, despicable as it might be.

For a while now I have been making a game. "A while" in this case means almost a decade, and even longer if you count the 8-bit incarnations from my childhood. Now, before you say anything - it wasn't the same game all along, and the game has gone through at least 4 complete resets since its initial PC build back in 2001, but one element remains unchanged at its core - the protagonist, or more precisely the protagonist's name -Iya. Her age has changed over the years, currently hovering at about 12 years old. Her appearance went from a rather simplistic, poorly animated "chibi" figure, to what now is an almost properly proportioned and well-animated human child. Her personality and attitude also went all across the board from insipidly heroic, to sad, to bratty, to the current mix of determination and wonder, leaving any outside observer to conclude that I have absolutely no freaking idea of where the hell am I going with this. And that observer would've been right, or at least he would be up until the last reset of the project which happened three years ago - in 2006.

Now the game is finally shaping up, and though it is still far from completion, I want to keep a log of what is happening on the project - a log that can be read by anyone out there.

So, whatever: )

This is what at the moment passes for the title screen

This is what at the moment passes for the title screen