It’s interesting when you’re working as a programmer / designer on a video game as opposed to looking in from the outside, because so many things are kind of intrinsically viewed from a different perspective. For instance, the decision to make floating water in a game (IE water that has its own gravity and just floats up there above the ground) might seem kind of weird, or creative, or *insert something else here* to an outsider. But see, that perspective carries with it the assumption that it was an active decision to make floating water, and in my case I certainly never actively made a decision to make it… it’s just kind of easiest for me to program most of my environmental pieces to not have any gravity and then place them wherever I feel like it. So the way my stuff works, the only way to NOT have floating water is to place it right on top of land. And of course while I’m placing stuff I’m just dragging and dropping it into the screen quick before positioning it, so even if my original plan was to have water work in traditional ways, there would still be that brief moment where it would be sitting there on my screen floating and I’d be like hmm… why not? Not that I’ve necessarily made the decision to have floating water in the final version of the game. But it’s there if I want it.
Speaking of environmental fluids, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to define them in my game. For instance, I now have water, quicksand, and lava created. From a programming perspective they’re all very similar and essentially running off of the same code with the only differences being the visual side (which is all placeholder junk I made) and a handful of variables used to create their distinct features. But there are a variety of directions one can go with these. For instance, in the 2D Mario games you can swim in water, but in the 2D Mega Man games you cannot… although it does slow you down and let you jump higher. In most games you can jam the jump button to jump yourself out of quicksand… but upon reflection, how much sense does that even make? I mean, what are you standing on to jump off of? It’s a convention, and one that I’ll probably stick with, but it’s worth questioning. As for lava, generally in games it slows you down like water does but also drains your health. A part of me wonders if that is enough though. Shouldn’t falling into freaking LAVA be a much bigger deal? What more would I add though? I don’t want to do insta-kills. Even more restricted movement? And if my character can swim in water, should they be able to swim in lava or not?! Hmm.
It’s easy to not think about the hundreds of tiny little decisions that go into every game. There isn’t always one obvious answer, and even when there is, it’s worth looking in a few other directions first before you settle on it.
Anyway, it’s been awhile but things are still coming along pretty well. Our favorite artist Infinitywave has created an early character design / run animation that is looking pretty sweet. We’ll probably hold off a bit on showing off art though, want to get some more done first.