Casting Call

It’s Friday.

I just had dinner with my girlfriend and my girlfriend’s ex, and if that sounds uncomfortable to you then you’re old-fashioned. Dinner was fried-and-gingered veggies (kale, chard, green onions, broccoli) over rice noodles with soy sauce and agave nectar, and green lentils with curry and seitan. Can you tell I’m a vegan?

relevant topics!

I’d like to introduce you (a bit) to both the characters and the visual style of One-Eyed Monsters, if you’ll permit me. My laptop has decided to die, being one of the only creatures that decides when to die. I’ll probably get a new Mac Mini in the next few weeks (god bless Bill Me Later®). So these are only the images I had hosted on ImageShack at press time. You’ll meet Ryan’s concept art soon.

L-R: Julie, Monster

And the cast (L-R: Sebastian, Tek, Marshall, Julie):

SebTekMarshJulie

(note: graphics likely to get updated.)

What you can glean from this is that the game runs from a very wide angle, and we’re going blocky. The screen runs at a scaled-up 320×240 resolution. The characters are all of 14 pixels tall (Sebastian is 16). I still call it an adventure game but visually it’s less Monkey Island and more Lemmings.

There are both pragmatic and mildly philosophical reasons for making a game that centers around four very small characters, but now wouldn’t be a time for talking of them. I think we’ll need to know each other a bit longer before I get too pretentious, no?

For me, animating is very difficult, but pixelling comes pretty naturally. I can draw static images on the monsters themselves and then trace them, but I can’t animate them, not pleasingly. But below a certain resolution, animation is no longer drawing. When moving a single pixel is moving a hand 6 inches, a lot can be said with a little. And so long as that hand only moves one pixel each frame, it will look incredibly smooth at almost any frame rate. There is more complex animation that I’ll probably need help with later; I have a test of Marshall climbing into a shopping cart, and I’d say every other frame looks fantastic. But for things like walk cycles and gestures, I’ll be doing all the character animation myself.

I know I won’t be able to draw the larger scale stuff myself. An aesthetic is a tricky thing; you develop a style, you work within your limits, and it gets hard to tell which came first, the idea or the compromise. They become two halves of the same thing. I have a game where the characters are a size I can animate. Was that on purpose?

other shit!

In answer to the single comment this blog has received, I personally wanted to make the game in Python because I think it’s an elegant language, and Python is something I can actually read (erm, slightly). I felt I had more hope of being able to tweak things in a language designed to be readable than in something less user-friendly like OpenGL. As a Mac-person I’m often irritated that so many indie games don’t release for the Mac, and I’m sure Linux users are even more frustrated by this. So building in a cross-platform language was also important. But Francesco has signed on as a fellow blogger and is now a full mod here at One-Eyed Monsters. So you can get some more code-heavy speak about Python in the near-future.

Have a great week!

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