Can Retro Game Bloggers Actually Make A Retro Game? – Part 2

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Two months in and I think I’ve gone mad.

 

Is the short story. When reviewing a game we all take great joy in criticising the gameplay, graphics, sound, difficulty and longevity but when you’re trying to create a game, thinking about the gameplay, graphics, sound, diffciulty and longevity can be one long pain in the backside! But should more game bloggers take the plunge? If you don’t mind the odd spot of cabin fever I’d definitely recommend it.

 

Construct 2

Where to begin with this “episode”? I thought I’d just touch upon how easy Contruct 2’s interface is to work as opposed from a language. Unity has been praised for its ease but you still need C# or JavaScript (I think) to manipulate it. Construct 2 on the other hand generates the code for you, you never see it. I’ve heard that Python is behind it but I may be wrong.

I’ve pulled the next part from this C2 tutorial but imagine this – you’re making a simple point and click shooter where you want the good guy to shoot a bullet when you left-click. Now, if you were writing this out you’d have to define the input, various sprite locations and remember the correct commands (the main thing that put me off fully learning a coding language) amongst many things. In C2 you just do this:

spawnbullet1

Yes you have to define a few things beforehand but you may only have to do it once if you’ve given it prior thought. And that’s the key point, as long as you have a map as to how you want things to work you can get it all out in C2 and debugging later is pretty straightforward. The pictoral view has many more benefits – you can group actions for one sprite together and put system actions somewhere else. C2 even allows you to label certain events (as they call them) so you won’t forget what certain ones do.

Does the simplicity of this “coding” mean simpler games? Have a look at one of our C2 house favourites Horizon Shift and you can clearly see that the answer is no. The only restriction is your imagination.

Needless to say, I managed to put together a grey-box demo to forward to our AA collective. If you ask nicely, I may send you the link.

 

Graphics

So we have a rough idea of what a platform game should include (see Part 1) and I like to think that a lot of that was included in our first demo – but what is a game without graphics? For the grey box I used a few outlines that came to me and also the main sprite animations that I was toying with earlier in the year. Petina (Skyline’s main character) is back and white because it makes sense to the story line (watch this space) and also because it’s easier to draw for newbies like me! Like I said previously – my experience stems from using a mouse on Deluxe Paint 4 – we’re playing catch up here!  Paint.net is proving a saviour and I’ve just started tinkering with Blender – both open source and both worth having a look at. We may be skint but we still have the tools!

Skyline-Snapshot1So the answer to the question “do I need to be a hotshot graphic artist to make a game?” is also a big whopping NO. It helps, don’t get me wrong, but if you’ve a good idea of what you want to get out there then just start drawing. You may scribble a lot of it out. I’ve found that procrastination is the biggest hinderance to the whole process – there’s no point thinking something won’t look good if you haven’t drawn it yet. Just do it, as a horrible corporation once said.

 

If you want to check the progress of the game then please check out the gallery at www.skylinegame.co.uk and follow on twitter @skylinegame

 

Hopefully more info on the Christmas demo in the next part…

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