Ever see those big-shot game developers showing off their Concept artwork? As a gamer, I enjoyed seeing previews from the next big game. But as a independent developer, I don’t have the pressure to impress the venture capitalists or hype the community. I somehow doubt that a screenshot is really going to make a difference in future sales… but do I know that for sure? No, so maybe I should try it. Do you want to see what I’ve been working on this week? I do admit, this makes me nervous. Will you like it? Will you steal my ideas? It’s a wonder why game developers even bother talking to gamers until the game is done. Maybe it’s because they like to show off their best work… I know I do!
The thumbnail preview is from a screenshot of my desktop. It’s covered in rocks. I have five asteroids completed. I figure I need about three more. I’m not going to cheapskate on this part of the process. When you’re playing the game, my goal is to make you feel like you’re in an asteroid field, not looking at a bunch of .png files. I figure that sensation will be more likely if the asteroids are varied. In the thumbnail, you can see the first asteroid of the most recent batch. I had an older asteroid image from some years ago (when I first started this project) but I decided to start from scratch.
I think my asteroid looks a lot like the death star from Return of the Jedi. Heh, but that wasn’t intentional.
Next you can see the main character, a fighter-class space craft. It still needs a gun turret. That’s what the circle in the middle is about. I’ll also need to get to work on the particle effects for the engines. I want it to feel cool when you move around. I remember when Super Mario first hit the Nintendo 64. When I played that game for the first time, I was happy with just jumping around… woo hoo… woo hoo! That’s my goal for space flight. I want it to feel fast and fun. So far, I’m moving closer to the goal. When I first dropped the fighter into the game, I was extremely happy and impressed with my progress.
I moved the sprite around the screen while making space sounds.
I probably would have kept this all a secret until the game launched, but I was extremely impressed with my capital ship design. The objective of the game is to protect the Captial Ship as it flies through the asteroid field. The capital ship is supposed to be much larger than the fighter. I figured that 256×512 would be a good size. (That means you’ll never see all of it on the screen at one time. The game screen is 480×320.) I prefer to do illustration in Adobe Flash, rather than Adobe Illustrator. I find it easier to make curvy lines in flash.
I’m kidding with the caption. Spaceball One is much bigger. While it might be cool to have a similar sized ship, there are hardware limitations to be concerned about. This is a game to be played on the iPhone.
Anway, I like my illustration. My only complaint was that it looks a little too phallic. But then again, after a quick look at rocket science and the military, this could be art imitating life. It’s funny how that happens. Once you get an image in your head, it’s hard to get it out. Like with the fighter design. The first version looked too much like Batman’s Batwing or a demon laughing at me. While working on the second version, I kept seeing an Owl. I think that happens when you stare at the screen too long, your mind starts playing tricks on you.
I wasn’t trying to copy any design or pre-existing artwork. I simply started with a shape. The fighter is round because that will make collision detection easier. The capital ship is square for the same reasons. I just kept drawing curvy lines in Flash until I saw something I liked. If I didn’t like the lines, I’d delete or adjust them. I kept going with this process, forcing myself to get some usable artwork. When I started this project, I was preparing myself to buy clipart or hire a freelancer. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find artwork with a compatible license agreement and/or illustrations that I felt was worth buying. So instead, I simply did it myself. I’m surprised that the results are so professional.
So hey, here it is… a preview of my game. I’m creating original artwork for you! Are you psyched to buy my game yet?