Thursday, July 14, 2016

Bringing an Idea to Life (Part VII)

Like I hinted at in the last post, I'd make this one brief by comparison. Honestly, there wasn't much that happened after the Mayan Mystery was released. The changes to the game's performance and gamepad support were included, and it seemed like the interest was pretty much non-existent going forward.
At the time, there was an Adventure Apes website that I used as a more direct way for people to get the game (it was still available on Desura and a couple other smaller sites). I kept it running, even though I hadn't done anything new with it in ages.
My intention was to make the website kind of a hub for different things relating to the Adventure Apes. It would have been awesome to have some fun t-shirt designs or other merchandise that people could purchase through there, but I couldn't find enough time to work on all that kind of stuff between a day job and family things at the time.
On the game development side, a lot had changed. I was feeling totally burned out from making the Mayan Mystery, but wanted to keep pushing to get something new out there. There were a ton of ideas floating around in my head, and a bunch of them were started, ballooned into things that became unmanageable, and then dropped.
The storyline is that the Adventure Apes end up in space (specifically Europa) after the Mayan Mystery, so I explored all kinds of possibilities as minigames etc, but never really loved any of them.

Early concept for a sequel.


Galactic Gladiator:  A single screen arena fighter

 Otis in Orbit: A physics-based shmup thinger. Never really got off the ground with this one.

A map I had set up for Galactic Gladiator. Stages were only revealed as you make progress. I'm still happy with the Super Mario Bros 3 type functionality of it!

A smartphone minigame attempt where you tried to discover and document as many creatures in Europa's ocean without running out of fuel.

  Opening screen for the game above. I like the movie poster quality the layout has :)

I tried a few times to partner up with people who were much better programmers than me, but those fell through too. It's hard to find the time to finish a game when you're doing it in your spare time!

Descent to Atlantis: Kind of like an underwater treasure hunt!


Jarhead: This was to be a side-scrolling jump'n'gun type thing. Simple, but lots of fun!

For a while, I really slowed down on anything game-related. It felt nice to rediscover my other interests, like going outside! For so long, my mind was focussed on game development that everything else was out of balance. Getting back to doing other things helped clear my head, and made it clear that I can still do all of the things I like, but it would be important to do them in smaller amounts to keep everything balanced.
An important thought came up during this time; I make games because I like making them! There was no need to beat myself during the process, especially since the whole experience was for fun. If your livelihood depends on finishing games by a certain date, then it'll be a much different story of course.

Eventually, it occurred to me that while trying all these ideas was a good way to practice different aspects of making a game, I really out to settle on something and get back into the swing of things. A proper sequel to the Mayan Mystery was long overdue, and with all the exploration of styles done over the previous few years, the time seemed right to start on that. Looking back at all those images is interesting, because the sequel really ended up being a combination of almost all of them!
Graphically, I wanted to do something new. Pixel art is still amazing when done right, but I felt the urge to draw, so in the winter of 2015, I settled on creating a side-scrolling shooter with hand drawn graphics and try to build on the story that was started with the Mayan Mystery.

In the next post, I'll show a little bit of what I've got set up for Adventure Apes 2, as well as talk about being approached to have the Mayan Mystery put on Steam Greenlight. Exciting times to be sure!

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