It’s going better now. Rather than hammering my head constantly against the glacial mass of animation work that needs to be completed, I’m approaching the project from many angles now, largely with a view towards completing a vertical slice of the first few areas. I roughed out all of the basic layout for the first chapter of the game (there will be four such chapters in the completed project.
Player sprite animation work continues slowly but surely, with the crouching animations now in place – once the standing and crouching turn animations are complete, all of the basic ground movement will be covered. From there I’ll probably move on to the jumping animations, which are actually mostly fairly easy since they tend to be short loops. This next month might be a big one for the look of the game, then. Actually, come to that, this past month also was kind of important regarding the game’s look as well, since I created the first backdrop image and spent a lot of time figuring out how it would look alongside the tilesets.
Reactions to the appearance of the game have been largely positive thus far, but I have some concerns (it’s my job to be a worrywart about these things). The original attempts at background art were way too bright and high contrast and pushed themselves really far forward into the image, and to be honest the background still has that problem to some degree. It may be that I need to brighten the foreground tileset, but I think it’s more likely that the background needs to be even more muted and maybe shifted to have a bit more color contrast against the tileset. I also think I made a fundamental mistake here in that the background image has several separate layers which, logically, would scroll with a bit of a parallax effect. In fact, the game supports effects like that, but this background image wasn’t constructed to use them. It’s not a big deal, most players won’t notice, and I can ameliorate the problem by adding some closer pillars on top of the background. This actually makes it even more important to mute the palette for the background, though, since there needs to be room for the pillars to fit into the color scheme.
Anyway, lots of decision making like that. I’m satisfied with the appearance of the game thus far, and this is still missing a lot of the extra detail a scene like this would have, such as lighting effects and additional dynamic details.
So: I’m pleased with this progress, except in that progress has been progressing very slowly. The Summer heat certainly hasn’t been helping in that regard, but I need to be thinking about how I can put in time more consistently and productively on the project. Now that I’m in a place where a lot of raw content needs to be created to manifest the vision of the game, putting in an hour a day seems grossly insufficient. Regardless, I definitely feel like I have something to build on here.