02/07/2011

"Captain Gunner!" - Work in progress cheesy shooter game

After my final uni project finished, I started rummaging through my hard drives to see what creative projects I had started last year. Like most arty people, I have a tendency to get excited about and start new projects in my spare time only to exhaust my enthusiasm within a couple of months because there is no real ultimate positive outcome (as there is in a uni project, for example)!
Nevertheless, I often still like the ideas, even if I may never continue them again. To cut to the chase, I started making a 2D side-scrolling shooter game last September. Take a look:


I did this in YoYo Game Maker 8 Pro, which is an amazing piece of software for anyone who wants to have a go at making games even through they have no coding experience. Through doing stuff like this, you gain some proper understanding of how coding works, and many people have started out in this program before progressing to real scripting platforms like Java.

It's also a great program for making pixely/8-bit artwork. One of my classmates - Tom Clark - made his entire final uni project animated film in an 8-bit style, but he said that the only way he could enlarge his MS Paint drawings without them being horrifically blended out was to zoom in and capture a screenshot.
GM has a built-in graphics editor, which is basically like an advanced version of MS Paint. Fundamentally it works the same as MS Paint, but with tonnes of extra features, not least the animation feature. For my sprites, I drew them in Game Maker first, then exported them to Photoshop for some precise shading and weathering - which is surprisingly difficult with such a small number of pixels!



It was particularly challenging trying to make the train's wheels look like they are spinning fast - with only 5 pixels making up each wheel!


I enjoy using GM to test out ideas. It seems that I always spend much more time on the sprites (graphics) in the game, as that is what I am most interested in.

For the past month or so I've also been working on a new game. It's inspired by a 2D version of Minecraft; which itself is not particularly original, but all I am interested in is creating the blocky, destructible environment,  after which I will make it a game in its own right. Unfortunately I have spent all of that time working on the game's engine as oppose to graphics, so it still looks far too awful to show anyone...I am even using 'Billy the Garden Boy' from Lumen Soup as the character, because I haven't got round to drawing a new one! Maybe I'll post it here if it ever starts to look good...

Check out the YoYo Game Maker at http://www.yoyogames.com/

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