Time for an update on this thread! Since last time I've done a bunch of stuff on the art side (tho I won't show too much right now), and I've been working out some of the complexities of a platform game. My findings so far: it's a massive pain in the ass to get good movement and handle animation states.
I've only done top-down stuff in construct before - you can check out this little thing I posted the other day: http://mattiassnygg.tumblr.com/post/98323008462/i-started-on-a-game-prototype-for-the-ludum-dare Great learning experience and I hope to bring a lot of that back into this project.
So what's new..
I made a runcycle and crouch animation of Kit. Now her little legs flail about looking stupid and funny in the wrong kind of way. Then I tried to get some structure into the various states she can be in animation-wise, which is not trivial for a semi-realistic game it turns out. It will take a lot of iteration both on the art and on the logic side since this is pretty much the whole essence of the game.
I tweaked the physical properties of the character (which is a 16x32 pixel box) so jump heights and shit like that are approaching what Turrican did back in the day. This game will show WAY more of the level in a single screen tho, and the character is relatively small, so there's no point in mimicing that too closely. Cyclosa is more about anticipation and tactics than being surprised and bumrushed by a bunch of robots with no fair warning.
There's a little enemy dude in there that fires lasers, stuff like that will be all over the maps and they'll have different purposes and mechanics (scouts you need to drop before they call the reinforcements, mounted turrets, worker droids building large metal structures etc). Platforms are cover and you have to use the terrain to your advantage (hence the much larger view of the level).
Boxes might have physics, but that could also create so much headache it won't be worth it (getting stuck in dynamic terrian really sucks and its not the kind of tradeoff I'm willing to make). Shit will explode though and with the magic of Box2D the effect of debris crashing around, bouncing realistically on all the different surfaces I think the core experience is there anyway. Plus there will be a bunch of destructible terrain to add to that effect.
Oh yeah there's like a snowstorm on the right edge of the screen, in the end it will be rain and in a low-res game like this I can afford to do collision detection and spawn bounce/rainsplatter effects, as well as streams and sewer pipes with water coming out of them. Lots of to-the-point effects to bring life to the world.
Some random pixel art, trying out some ideas. The HUD will be big like that with lots of juicy graphics. The gun will change as you progress and upgrade it, and in the end it probably won't even fit the window down there because of all the steroids its on.
I did some tests with having a text print out as part of the HUD but it might be too intrusive as the action is fairly high paced. Some quieter exploration areas could benefit from a stronger narrative element, like when you're exploring old collapsed subway systems, finding traces of what happened to the people who used to live down there, but that can be integrated either directly into the environment (think graffiti, posters, a barricade that's been cut through by plasma with human remains scattered around).
Next up is locking down jump height. I have the variable jump hight in there so you have control over how high you want to go. Still on the fence about the jump-through behavior since it's so easy to have your character fall off the screen if you're not careful (in combination with dynamic objects you can't control all possible outcomes of a jump through level editing.)
Also ladders. I've been playing Shovel Knight and they're doing a lot of things right with the controls without being overly complex about it. Play it now if you haven't, it's kick ass and a testament to the inherent fun factor of platforming as a genre.
A0Nasser - cool thanks for the input. I might have a look at spriter at some point, I've been thinking of adding some bigger things in there..
procrastinator - cheers man! yeah the integration into construct is really key there I guess, if you're looking to do bigger and more complex characters with a lot of IK and many moving parts. Giant mechs/robots? Would be cool to fight them stomping around, getting blown up and raining down chunks of metal all over the place