Category: Weekly Updates
I've been missing a few of these lately, but hopefully I can get back on track with them now!
I've uploaded Clarence's Big Chance to Newgrounds. If you have an account there, it might be helpful if you could rate it! [LINK]
Apart from that, I have actually been doing work this week...
I spent half the week composing music. I'm not a very skilled pianist, and I rarely practice to improve; when I do, I end up playing the same stuff over and over again (well, sort of 'playing'; I never finish learning anything and I can't play anything fluidly because I move on before I've perfected anything, so instead I can half-play dozens of different things).
So, I wanted to try to compose some simple piano pieces that I could actually learn and play and stuff, both to practice my composing and my piano playing. Brutally slaughtering two feathery evolved dinosaurs with one clod of mineral, you could say.
So what I've been doing is making a ten-track album of sorts... I composed a piece years ago called 'Quest I', which was a long piano solo piece in sections, meant to portray a story, with each section being a different part of that story. I'm doing that same kind of thing, except each section is a separate piece rather than just a part of one big track. So the first is 'The Protagonist's Theme', the next track is 'The Forest', then 'The Ruins', etc... Hopefully you get the point.
I'll probably upload it to BandCamp when I'm done so people can buy it if they want - sheet music included, of course - but I'm not exactly counting on people being interested; I've noticed that people only seem to buy the music of things that they're familiar with, so people buy MARDEK's music because they liked MARDEK and have emotional attachments to the music, rather than because the music itself is good. CBC's soundtrack didn't sell at all because the emotional attachment to that game was non-existent, I imagine.
Oh well. At least I'll have something for my own entertainment, anyway, and I'll have improved skills as a result of making it.
Now, onto something that people might actually care about, unlike that...
I've been reluctant to mention this, but I may as well anyway, since I've already brought it up in the chatroom to many of the regulars who were there...
My current project is *supposedly* Alora Fane, and I really did want to finish that... But sigh, surprise surprise, I have changed to another project instead. It's something I was really trying to get out of the habit of, and which I feel I should profusely apologise for.
BUT the new project is growing quickly, since it inherits a lot from Alora Fane's code, and it might be more appealing anyway.
Alora Fane was my first attempt at making an RPG in AS3, so I found that during its development, I was making many mistakes and having to redo things. I'd got to a point in development where most of the main engine features were done, and just content was left to be made... It took me maybe a month or two to get to that point.
However, I have got to about the same point in this new game in *two weeks*!
One of the main reasons for this is because I'm using simpler graphics, in a way... One thing that was difficult about developing Alora Fane was the new style I was trying to do field sprites and tilesets and stuff in. Everything was *bigger* than I usually make it (trees were like five tiles tall instead of the usual two, for example), and... agh, while that doesn't sound too big of a deal to a player, probably, it did make things so awkward to design, and resulted in so much frustration for me.
I ended up wishing that I'd just used the same style of graphics as MARDEK (that is, smaller sprites and trees and stuff), so that's what I'm doing in this game.
"But what IS this ruddy game you speak of, you frustrating ball of sick?!?", you ask? Yes, I don't suppose I've actually explained what the game IS...
Well, when I, uh, was busy being all anxious and having a breakdown recently, Pokemon Black and White were released. I've been a big fan of the Pokemon games since Red and Blue; I've probably put more hours of playtime into them than any other games. Since I was little, I've always wanted to make a Pokemon-like game, which is why I tried things like Beast Signer (and its earlier variants, called 'Beast Catcher', which have never been shown and never will be), and the Figimon and stuff.
Playing Pokemon Black reignited my desire to make a game like that of my own, and since I was trying to work on the Figimon thing anyway, and my anxiety was preventing me from working on Alora Fane, I decided to have a go at starting a new engine, a new Pokemon-like game...
It inherits a lot of the planned mechanics for the Figimon, such as types and skills and all the other stuff I explained in a previous post, but it'll be a stand-alone game.
I haven't decided yet whether I'll release it here as a 'paid game' (meaning I'd have to introduce the Fig Coins and stuff before I could release it), or whether I'll release it to portals. I will likely release it episodically.
It doesn't even have a *name* yet though... Maybe I'll just call it 'Figimon'? Hmm. I need to do a lot more planning.
It's at an odd phase in development... With Alora Fane, I tried really hard to spend a week or two just planning every mechanic and every plot event in detail, in text, before coding anything, since I'd had so many bad experiences with poor planning in the past, where I'd jumped into things then needed to redo them later to allow for new features and stuff...
But with this game, I planned it quickly and sloppily and got straight to work.
I decided I'd just try to make a fairly generic 'Monster Catcher RPG Engine', then I'd build the story around that engine once the mechanics were done. This way seemed more inspiring, somehow.
So I actually have got quite a lot of work done on it! I'm going to include some screenshots here just to demonstrate this fact:
As you can see, it's more of a blatant Pokemon clone than Beast Signer was, and I admit this. Basically it's just me stealing ideas (both mechanical and visual) from Pokemon so then I can make my own 'Pokemon game', rather than spending ages trying to be more original and come up with something entirely of my own. It's quicker this way, and since I'm merely making a casual Flash game, it doesn't matter too much... At least it doesn't include Sonic or Mario.
(Loads of comments about MARDEK said it was a 'Pokemon ripoff' because the Pokemon games were the only top-down pixelated tile-based RPGs the commenters had experience with... I bet this game wouldn't get any comments like that at all!!1)
Anyway, I am always constantly learning from my game making experiences, and it feels like there's this Holy Grail I've been striving for for a long time: a quick and simple but appealing game which I can make episodically, quickly, and release for quite a bit of money in a short space of time.
Alora Fane was meant to be such a game, but it, as always, succumbed to feature creep and is best left until I have more experience with AS3 stuff, due to its scope... I'll get back to it later; probably after this project's done with.
So yes! I am well aware that I'm doing the exact sort of thing I said I'd NOT do, but that's how things always work, isn't it?
Hopefully this is a turn for the better rather than for the worse, though. Pokemon is popular, and I've not seen any Flash-based stand-alone non-MMO Pokemon clone things before.
This one shouldn't take too long to get to the point where I can release it, especially since my motivation for it is driven by years of desire to make my very own Pokemon game.