Project Development

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  • Hello, I'm new here and have a couple of questions...

    I'm curious as to what different people's development styles are.

    Do you do artwork first, and then do the program?

    Do you do the program using filler sprites, and then do the artwork after?

    What are the steps you take in creating your project?

    Also, this program is pretty newbie unfriendly. The Ghostshooter tutorial was helpful, and I've been through it two or three times... but after you've completed that, there's a gap. The other tutorials available are all for advanced users it seems. Even some of the basic features are undocumented, specifically the animator toolbar. I've looked for some documentation but didn't find any.

    If someone could give me a brief rundown on how the animator works, I'd appreciate it.

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  • I would say, design the game completely, then program it, then create art for it. If it's only you working on the project.

  • We have a wiki, but progress is slow, and I am aware we need to improve documentation to help beginning users. There isn't an article on the animator bar yet, unfortunately.

  • I tend to work best from a visual standpoint, so I create my full-scale art before placing it within the game. This also helps resolve collision issues early - something filler sprites cannot achieve.

  • This is how i do it.

    Method 1- The Throw-something-together-method.

    1: Before you actually have the game planned out even in your head; Start working on an engine.

    2: Create the graphics for every new object as soon as you add them.

    3: Come up with new ideas along the way. This will probably result in many situations where you have to remake parts of the code, use ugly workarounds and use the debugger a lot.

    4: Now your code is probably very messed up, your game is full of bugs, and you don't reall know yet what you want the game to end up like. You now have three ways to go.

    4-1: Abandon your game.

    4-2: Iron out the worst bugs, make a coupple of levels, and post the result as "Something i threw together in a few hours" in the Your Creations part of the forum.

    4-3: Take all the ideas you had, and write them down as part 1 and 2 of the Big-project method. You might want to keep some parts of the code too, but don't copy them! rewrite everything from the beginning, if you don't know exactly what everything does. Ther's a big risk if you copy the code that it will still be as messy and hard to understand as your first attempt.

    Method 2- The big-project method.

    1: Come up with a good game idea.

    2: Write down all the plans for the game. What every enemy should do, what the character will be able to do, the story, etc. THIS IS IMPORTANT TO DO!

    3: Start working with the code. Begin with the hardest parts, and work your way town to the easiest parts. It's allso good to start with the movement and abilitys for the main character so that you can test your game easily.

    4: If you feel like it, start working on the important parts of the artwork, but continue working on the code.

    5: As soon as the engine is playable, start with the level design. Many games come this far, but people tend to give up as soon as the engine is finnished. Many people like to build levels, so a good tip is to ask for help with this step to stop you from abandoning your game.

    6: You will probably be working on the artwork and leveldesign at the same time since you will be adding new things to your new levels. In the end of the game you will probably be working on both graphics, levels and code at the same time.

    7: Finnish the game. THIS IS ALSO IMPORTANT!

  • I generally do a mixture of filler sprites and final art all throughout the development. I find that a lot of my animations are dependent on specific timing, so having a final sprite done to fit in place for testing is a lot easier for me to program around. Generally I just use plain boxes until I need sprite or animation to solve some programming puzzle, then I make that real quick (well, as quick as I can) and just toss it in.

    I find that it's a pretty bad workflow, though. Stopping and starting all the time is a pain. I should probably just do stick figures approximating what the final animations will be, but I'm too concerned with how things look.

    I'm sure with more practice I won't need to have a sprite in front of me to know how it's going to behave. And I could probably streamline my workflow by making mockups and a bunch of prototype art before I ever start coding.

    As for the animator, click on your sprite and navigate to the Animator bar. Your animations are organized by name and angle. When you first place a sprite, that frame becomes Angle 0 under Default. This is "facing right" so you'll probably want to import your right-facing frame when creating the sprite.

    To add a frame to the angle, Right-click in the frame window and add one. It will show up as blank, so double-click it to edit that frame.

    Once you have more than one frame of animation in your sprite, the movie-strip will show up in the image editor and you can navigate through the frames for the current angle without having to open each frame separately.

    Right-click an animation name to add a new angle. For instance, if you wanted to make a left-facing frame, add Angle 180. The new angle will show up, but the frames will be empty. Right-click where the frames should be and add a new frame. Double click the empty frame to open the image editor and import your new frame.

    To make a new animation, Right-click the animation name window and select the appropriate item. You can rename an animation by clicking the name to highlight it and then typing a new name into the Properties bar.

    To change the looping or speed of your animation, click on an angle and the options will show up in the Properties bar as well. IIRC the numbers that go into the speed are in frames per second.

    I don't really know what sub-animations do, I haven't used them at all.

  • Personally I like to do all the graphics first so I don't have any placeholder garbage... plus it helps me to remember what still needs to be added etc.

    I start with the title screen and finish at the GAME OVER or CONGRATULATION YOU WIN screen, doing all the bits in between.

    I do all the coding/assembly/scripting last

  • Whatever you do, make sure you have your game planned out before coding! One of the biggest time killers I had in the past was making a game and adding new events in each of the 20+ levels because I wanted a new feature. What a mess! In short:

    1. Plan Game (Engine) on paper

    2. Basic Graphics/Animations needed for engine

    3. Engine!

    chuga chuga chugga gewdd luck!

  • Whatever you do, make sure you have your game planned out before coding! One of the biggest time killers I had in the past was making a game and adding new events in each of the 20+ levels because I wanted a new feature. What a mess! In short:

    1. Plan Game (Engine) on paper

    2. Basic Graphics/Animations needed for engine

    3. Engine!

    chuga chuga chugga gewdd luck!

    That's no problem now with event cheets, but you still gotta plan your game out.

  • Attan, how right you are! I noticed the ability to have layouts link to certain event sheets, what a great feature!

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