If you’ve read our ‘game development as a hobby’ post you’ll know that we’ve been working on a game for the past few months. This post isn’t a, we’ve realised how hard it is and are thinking of giving up type post, in fact, I still find it a super fun project and think about working on it when I’m at my 9 to 5. This is more of an update post, as in, a lot has changed since the previous article we wrote.
We were inspired by the art from Guacamelee when we first started so that was the look Hannah focused on for all the art assets. However, after watching a few popular indie game documentaries we decided to go down the route of pixel art. Pixel art ages very well, you could pick up say the early Zelda games release on the Super Nintendo games, release them now in 2019, and it will hold up as a modern game. From Katana Zero to, dead cells, many new games have adopted the pixel art style and it doesn’t seem to be going downhill in terms of popularity anytime soon. Also, it’s easier to produce, and make pixel art look good, so that’s less work for us.
A problem I had when playing the game multiple times for testing was the collectables, which in our case are bugs. My problem was not the way they looked or where to put them in the game but why they exist, what is their purpose? Originally they were meant to be a currency and the player would be able to buy new abilities for the pangolin if they had enough, but that would have been a lot of work for us for our first game. We would have to come up with abilities, then animate then, then come up with a store system, and test the game to figure out how many bugs is enough for the ability. I didn’t want to introduce loads of features so I scrapped that idea. What replaced it however was a goals system. This is something I picked up from Assassin’s Creed Odessey which has a list of talks on the top left of the screen. The way the goals work is you’ll have a certain amount of bugs to collect each level to complete it. If you don’t, the game will prevent you until you do. The list of goals will be placed in the top right of the screen and they will vary based on level. Certain levels could even have multiple goals, from things like; collect at least 10 bugs, to jump on 3 enemies. These goals will incentivise the player to collect the bugs.
Those who have played early builds of the game will know of a feature which allowed the character to jump back and forth between different stages in the level, that feature had now been removed, well partially removed for various reasons. First it’s not an experience I want for the player, ideally, I’d like them to keep moving forward without any reason to go back to the previous sections. Also, it took a long time to implement and test, think about it. If a player only got two collectables, then jumped to another part of the level, got three collectables then went back to the previous stage, the game would have to remember exactly which collectables were picked up and store that data temporarily. The code for this exists in the game, I just think it will include an unnecessary amount of complexity so I’ve taken it out for now.
So those are most of the bigger changes that were made, there are some smaller ones like; the name of the game has changed from Pangolin Panic to, Scales: A pangolins story. We’re also planning to change the music and sound effects but, I feel like that’s quite far off. As usual, we will keep updating our progress on the blog.