Getting an education

TL;DR -- Zelda games good - Must simplify design -- 

Funny story, I set out to make a hybrid of classic Zelda games and DooM, without actually having played through any of the classic Zelda games.

As a kid, I had my trusty NES, and the only Zelda game I ever had was Legend of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, which doesn't quite fit the bill as far as top-down games are concerned.
I rarely got to play the original Legend of Zelda, mostly when at friends' houses, and I personally never took a liking to it back in the day, I sincerely preferred Zelda II (which sounds like heresy to Zelda fans nowadays).

In any case, now I have an old second-hand Gameboy Mico (GBA) I've been slowly adquiring games for, which is harder than it seems, not because the games are not to be found, but because the collector's market results in obsecenely marked-up prices.

So I finally got my hands on two Zelda titles: A Link to the Past and The Minish Cap.

I've played all the way through A Link to the Past and quite enjoyed it. I'm even considering writing up a review or something. In any case, it did give me a lot of perspective regarding my current struggle to develop my silly little game.
I'm currently playing through The Minish Cap, and I'm linking it a lot too, although with some reservations (yes, the written review idea might be worth it). Still, it really is helping me shape up some ideas.

Funny fact, I originally used Link's Minish Cap sprites as a basis for the design of my own sprites!

As for the original Legend of Zelda, I got it too (classics series for the GBA) but... There's something about it that just doesn't engage me, and after wandering around for a bit I tend to lose interest.

Additionally, I also played through Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, which, despite being an RPG, has a level design pretty much exactly as I intend my game's design to be, and I got to experience the confusion such layout generates first hand.

I generally have a tendency to over-engineer, and this project has greatly suffered from it. After playing this games, I'm of a mind of restricting myself to replicating what these games can do, and then look into complicating matters. You know, the advice everyone gives you when you start out... The advice even I give out to others. 

Self-criticism is hard.

pixelDooM: Content Malcontent

TL;DR -- Limiting myself to shareware content --

It's been a while since I last posted, and you don't really care why, so let's jump straight into the thick of it.

I need constraints. If I'm let loose on a project, I just start adding cool features or endlessly debating over tiny details. Debating with myself. Yes, it's as silly as you'd expect.

So, I found myself a neat constraint. It's not a new idea, mind you, but it hit me hard again with the latest kerfuffle regarding content-id on Youtube and how trigger happy some corporations are regarding their IP, which was compounded by the imminent arrival of the new DooM game.

My idea is to work exclusively with "open" content, which has lead me to limit the contents of my DooM fangame to just the contents of the Shareware versions of the original.
This means that only maps, monsters and items present in the Shareware versions will be reflected in the game which spans only the Knee-Deep in Dead episode of the first game.

This is still a lot of content, to be honest, so I've also decided to cut back on "nifty" gameplay ideas, and keep it simple.

Now, I don't know if, from a legal standpoint, this offers any protection at all from a cease and desist order, but I guess it won't be seen as harmful as using content not freely available.
In any case, using less non-original content means it'll be easier to replace it if I ever get in trouble about it.

Onward to doing some work and posting some screenshots!


miniDooM - Mocking it up, by hand

Very minor update to share a little mockup I made up.... By hand.

Will this result in me dusting the project off and doing something with it? Hopefully.


miniDooM - More shading with LWJGL

I'm in the middle of upgrading all my core software from LWJGL 2.0 to LWJGL 3.0, which is a non-trivial amount of work, resulting in sizable chunks of code being thrown out because now, with hindsight, I realize how useless most of it really was (something I knew would happen anyway).

For the time being, here's a sample of the lighting shader:

Diffuse Map 
Normal Map
Spooky Lighting!
That light moves following the mouse cursor, and I love how the floor tiles look with the effect (I personally hate how my hand-made floor tiles come up).

Now, I'll hopefully have a moving character under that setup.

Oh, and in case I didn't mention it (I probably did), those normal maps are made by hand, which means I'm going to hate myself when applying normal maps to all the animations. It's a good thing most characters are modular, and a lot of the sprite elements get re-used.


TrShoot - Something's brewing...

I decided to give color pencils a try:

Yes, I'm being purposefully vague about my recent hiatus and this new post. Just bask in the glory of the kitty helmet for the time being.

Art - Oldies but Goldies

Been digging through my old drawings (aka unfinished projects), thought I'd share some, starting by this uplifting image:


miniDooM: Getting a hold of things... Again

Time to get back on track. As I mentioned before, I'm currently facing a dilemma regarding the miniDooM project, and this has brought to the forefront a sad truth of my current situation: Unless I get on with it and do something, the project will remain forever in the planning stages (I know, I know, basic stuff). So I'm now trying to focus on the basics.

My plan now is to build a feature complete release, that is, an implementation of the game that contains most, if not all, of the planned gameplay features, leaving content generation for a latter phase.

What this means is having the game boot directly into a game map with a few items, baddies and the like scattered around, and not to worry about how the game's story is structured.

Right now I'm making a list of the essential gameplay elements that I need to hit for this feature release. Once those are decided, I'll spend time creating the needed assets (a complete tileset for the map, all the required sprites for just this release, a few items), and then I'll focus on just programming the functionality, forgetting all about content generation until I have hit the functionality-complete release milestone.

I also need to get back to the weekly blog update, if only to keep myself thinking about my projects.