Adventure Game Tests
I have Unity game engine / creator, and I happen to also have Adventure Creator. This is an anticipation that I make an adventure game. I’ve always been interested in point-and-click adventure games, but I’ve become more so in the last year.
It started when we ‘entered’ a game making contest. We had to make a game in a month, so we decided we’d make a short adventure game. It was about a robot that took care of a boy in the future. We actually got pretty far, had walking sprites, multiple screens, concept art, the whole bit. For that incarnation we used the WinterMute Engine. Unfortunately, for all intents and purposes, WinterMute only runs on Windows, and we’re always looking for something that can run on many different platforms.
Also unfortunately, we didn’t make the time limit and weren’t able to submit our game to the final contest. But, that’s okay. We thought we’d continue working on it anyway, but it just kind of fell to the wayside. Maybe someday, I’ll make it again. It is one of few game designs I’ve actually finished from beginning to end. It just needs to be made and scripted.
Anyways, I’ve been enamored with the ‘retro’ style graphics that are coming back now in games, particularly indie games. Pixelated graphics, in some ways, are easier to make because they require less detail. In other ways they are harder, but more esoterically.
The thing is, with the retro look you can make pixelated graphics, but unless you portray them on a consistent canvas, they’ll look funny. That means pixels will match up half-way between each other, the smooth moving effect of one sprite will looks weird on a pixelated background, etc. So, as far as I understand it, and I might be missing something, you have to run the game at the pixelated resolution you’re going for (unless you WANT that funny look.)
So I decided I’m going to try to make an adventure game old-school style. That is, I’m going to use a canvas of 320 pixels by 240 pixels. That’s actually half as large as the original screen resolution on my first Apple computer, the Macintosh IIsi. At first it sounds like very little space, but you’d be surprised what you can do in that tiny of a space. A lot of good games were made in that resolution.
At first we thought we’d have to do some special stuff in Photoshop to achieve good pixel graphic effects. So we actually purchased a photoshop action set (
link) that specialized in that. Of course, examining the contents afterwards, I realized I just could’ve done all these filters myself and saved some money. Ah well, so you learn.
However, when you pixelate using those action sets, the resolution stays the same. That means, for a large pixelation, each pixel ACTUALLY takes up 3 by 3 pixels. This doesn’t really work when you’re translating it to a game of a particular resolution.
The idea is that we’d be able to take photographs of things and turn them into graphics for adventure games. That’s how we could prototype / finish the adventure game more quickly. I decided that I’d try to just reduce the graphics to the target resolution and see how their pixelation turns out then.
Well, reducing the graphics to 320 x 240 did pixelate them, actually quite well, without any fancy effects or filters.
We went out one day about a week ago, the same day we went to the Stanley Hotel with Captain (I didn’t get that captured in a post, but I might, I wasn’t up keeping my blog as much at that time), and took a bunch of pictures in the university oval and library. Here are the fruits of some of my effort in trying to translate that into an adventure game screen. Click to see the full picture at full resolution (these have been enlarged to show what they’ll look like when scaled back up to the resolution of a modern monitor):
I also tested out trying to make a walking animation straight from video. As you can see the animation is of me. It’s like rotoscoping kind of, except I didn’t go over it again artfully. This was just a test. The animation has also ben enlarged to show the pixels:
I think these have turned out pretty well don’t you think?
For a while I decided I was going to be a comic book artist and game designer. I devoted all my time to trying to be those things, suppressing any other creative thoughts or actions. I just about went crazy and had severe severe writer’s block (and anxiety). When I decided that I’d just focus on what I wanted to focus on at any given time, be that programming, game designing, making a fursuit, writing, whatever… I relaxed a lot. I still want to draw, and I still want to design games, but I’m open to all sorts of things now.
I’m actually working on a game right now. It’s a fan / parody game, and I don’t want to divulge all the details, but it’s going to be pretty awesome.