Dev Blog 18: Running man
I spent most of my time this month working on graphics. Early on I had the idea of remaking the attack animation to be slightly more animated (for lack of a better word). The previous one was fine, but it didn't have much full body movement, so it felt a little too rigid. I now have the character jumping while attacking to give it a little more power. Yeah, it's cartoony and not realistic, but gives it that extra pop that I felt the old versions needed.
So you may (or may not) notice that the thick border around the sprite has been removed. This was something that I had been toying with for a while and I finally bit the bullet and made a choice. I liked the idea of the border around the characters, as it made them pop out from the environment. However, it may have been too stand-outish, because it really didn't look as good as I had hoped. I tried adding an outline border around my scenery and felt that it didn't look very good. So in the end, I decided to remove that border from all the character sprites. This took an annoying amount of time, as I had to redo the edges of the sprites and make sure the animations still looked correct. It was pretty easy to accidentally shave off some pixels on one frame of an animation and leave them in the next, which would result in pixels popping in and out as the character animated. So that's all cleaned up and overall things are blending better.
I'm still wishing I had more art talent! While I was in there, I decided to create Matthew's running animations. These turned out pretty good and took the time to program in the way running will work in my game. Originally I was going to keep it simple. You press a run button and the guy runs. But then an idea crossed my mind that it might be unique to have the character only run after walking for a period of time. Basically, the character would need to build up a little momentum before running. I'm sure it has been done before in other games, but the prior seems more common. It worked, but was missing a few things. It first needed to cancel out that momentum if the player stopped to swing their weapon or push a block for example, but it also should be easy to start back up if you'd stop for a split second. So basically, an invisible meter fills up and once it maxs out, the player starts running. If they stop moving, it slowly starts to reduce. If they start moving immediately, they'll be able to run fairly quickly. If they are stationary for many seconds, it'll take longer to get back into running.
In between all of this, I spent some additional time adding various scenery sprites to the word and fixing some coding bugs that have been bothering me. I also have been doing some work with the game's water scenery. I'll save some of that for a future dev blog, but overall the landscape that I hadn't yet spruced up is starting to look more lived in and natural. I'm really enjoying seeing it more filled out and just wish I had more time to get these chunks done faster.