Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Bringing an Idea to Life (Part II)

In the previous post, we got up to the point where I had a solid idea on how to approach my story/video game idea, as well as the sort of style I was after. At the time, I was absolutely clueless about how to put a game together, let alone the insane amount of work required to plan even the simplest of games!

I can still clearly remember seeing how one particular program branded itself as being easy for beginners, and best of all, it was cheap (something like $20 US at the time)....that program was called Game Maker (at the time, the version was 7, and was created/run my Mark Overmars). With Game Maker, you had the option to try and write out each line of code, or you could use drag'n'drop icons to make games. It seemed like the ideal way to quickly put a game together! Of course, the drag'n'drop method was way more limited in what you could do as I soon found out, so writing everything in code was the way to go.
Writing code was a slow process, let me tell you! Going through tutorials and trying to figure out the right way to do things from scratch was challenging to say the least. There was a forum full of more experienced users of the program, thankfully. You could ask questions, find examples, and give advice if you were ever that fortunate. 
It took several months, but I managed to get something playable. By 'playable', I mean the game would start up, and you could run around and shoot enemies, but it was lacking pretty much everything that would make a game appealing. 
The game followed my idea of something similar to Metroid, and was fairly colourful, but fell short on charm. The illustrations in the book were cartoony and had outlines to define the shape, and I thought a good way to carry that through would be to use the DuckTales/Mega Man games by Capcom as a reference. Of course, my lack of experience with making nice pixel art came through loud and clear. See the below images for an embarrassing comparison.

 DuckTales Screenshot (full of charm and character):


The original version of Adventure Apes (pretty much the worst thing ever): 


So now that's out of the way, I can tell you that the gameplay closely matched the quality of the graphics. The version above was made available on my defunct website at one point, to put it out there for anyone who was curious and willing to suffer through the experience. 
It was about this time that I got really sick, and during this time, a dramatic shift occurred....which I'll go into in Part III.

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