Dev Blog 4: That's a Buffalo

Like many of you, I was busy over the holidays.  I ended up not getting much work done over those weeks due to family, travel, and watching my kids over the break.  I actually had hoped to accomplish more and to top it off, we were busy replacing a broken down car last week.  So that cut into my free time as well.  Enough with the excuses though, as I did get a few things done.

I spent the majority of December attempting to decide on the art style for my game and Matthew character.  I spent a lot of time looking at various art styles and tried my hand at a few, but didn't really feel that my art skills were up to the task.  So I ended up keeping my sprite style that I posted the other week.  Even though I said I didn't plan on using him, I just went ahead and drew our little Buffalo friend.​  While working with him I ran into a series of issues that I'll discuss next time in my first technical dev blog.  But for now, I'll just show a little bit of the character development Matthew went through.

The development above shows how the character design progressed.  The very first image on the left was created in my original mockup that I drew before I started any development. Then I came up with the design I showed last week. It's a thick-bordered character sprite that had gone through several iterations.  I tried a vector based character because I had read that was a good idea, but I gave up part way through drawing it as I could tell it just wasn't going to work out. I also figured it would be a real burden to animate.  Then I tried drawing him in the 'Secret of Kells' style, which ended up fine, but I also thought it looked a bit amateurish and might put others off.  

I wasn't that keen on the design either.  The second to last design was my attempt at a 'Legend of Zelda' angled perspective sprite.  I tried my hand at this because the game, if I haven't mentioned, will have some game play mechanics very similar to the Super Nintendo 'Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past'.  Overall I didn't think it was that bad, but I thought he looked a little too squashed and might not provide enough space to show emotion or actions.  So after all that, I went back to the original sprite because I was most happy with it.  I modified the face to make it more rounded and smaller so it could fit a grid that I'll use in the back end coding.

I did some animating of the Buffalo, as I think he'll be used as a neutral character and wanted to get one of those created so I could do some work on getting one into the code base and I wanted to have one with non-temporary art.  Lastly, there was some additional work done in the code relating to how the game characters (or actors as I also call them) are represented.