Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The next adventure

Defend Your Nuts is currently being auctioned for sponsorship! It's going to need one more patch after I collect more feedback, but I am satisfied with how it has turned out. In the meantime I have been researching technology, since I have decided to switch to Android and iOS as my primary platforms.

I dabbled in Adobe's free Flash packager for iPhone during development of Defend Your Nuts, but with just a couple monsters on the screen, I was getting at most 5fps on my iPad! It was so slow that it did not matter if GPU rendering was enabled. I have some experience developing for iOS from scratch with straight up Objective C, so I knew I did not want to repeat such a miserable experience.

I eventually settled on Ansca Mobile's Corona SDK because I get to write all my code in a high-level language (Lua) and avoid tedious memory management and all the typical boiler-plate code that goes into a game. I understand those things are essential, but with the scale of my games I am better off putting faith in someone else's technology as a foundation. Plus I can continue to use Adobe Flash as my art and paper-doll animation tool, because I have found a way to export the transformation data out of my assets and into Lua scripts. For frame-by-frame animation, my license of Corona came with software that creates sprite sheets out of SWF files so this saves me even more time. The variety of aspect ratios on mobile devices always worried me, but Corona does a great job in handling all this with different scaling options. Porting to Flash should be easy because it has a very strong resemblence to Action Script and common data structures.

I got up to speed by prototyping some game ideas. I tried an experimental method by taking random clip art from the Internet and rearranging them in Flash while listening to music - that way I was oblivious to even the genre. Then once an idea came to me, I would export the assets and do some programming. The method is inspired by this digital artist who paints by first distorting an image to see a new unexpected image to work with.

Well, it kind of worked, but I got some strange results...

Here is a side scrolling game where you play as a knight hopping on cakes to collect cherries. The game lacked some serious depth and wasn't fun at all so I trashed it.

Then I rearranged clip art of food until some kind of veggies vs fast food tower defense idea came to mind. I refined it with additional art and a conveyer belt, but it was too strange so I trashed it as well. Also why would players want to destroy burgers and ice cream?

Then I continued to play around with clip art until a new idea came to mind. I refined it with some art of my own:

It's a tower defense game. The king hires you to recruit heroes to help defend against the onslaught. Here we see a cheap pirate/bandit hired to throw bombs, standing on one of the blue stumps reminiscent of a board game. I wanted to avoid a grid system and go with something a bit more natural. The idea could work, so I'm going for it. I expect a beta to take six weeks, so here we go...

1 comment:

scott said...

Sounds cool. I never heard about Corona. Once again no love for Windows Phone. :(