Hero Time: February Update
February 9th, 2014

It’s been a while since I said anything about this one.

Hero Time is an Android/iOS/Windows-Phone game, and an attempt to prove to myself that I’m capable of creating and selling a game by myself. I started learning to code games in July last year and decided that this would be my first ‘real’ game in September. It went through some pretty swift and thorough development through until the end of October, when university started to take priority again. During the Christmas holidays a lot of progress was made, but it went stagnant in January as I got used to being in uni again, and some other more important and exciting projects took priority. I decided to get back to it yesterday!

I’m at a very odd point in development – through researching and writing my dissertation on game design as a sophisticated discipline my views on games have changed quite a lot, and Hero Time goes against a lot of the principles which I’d like to stay true to with my future personal games. For this reason it’s very tempting to drop the project and start on a greater idea, but when I started this game I had one goal in mind: to finish it. For this reason I’ll be seeing it through to the end, hopefully sometime around the Easter Holidays. I still enjoying working on it however, and learn so much with every hour spent on it.

There have been a lot of changes and new things added – I won’t go through features and all of the coding that I’ve been working on, but aesthetically most of the sprites have been completed, re-made, then re-coloured (and still need some more polish/tweaking). The entire game went though a slight colour change which I think feels much more bold – the old colours feel weak in comparison (image above – left: October, right: February). I’m still trying to come to a decision on quite an important part seen in that image – the character was created as a flat vector image, and the objects were rendered from 3D models – I think that the variation in lighting/shading is really clashing and intend on doing something about it. The entire game scene will actually be much more exciting soon hopefully – currently I’m just trying to figure out the level design, so only collidable instances are present in screenshots.

This is an example of where 3D comes in pretty nicely – as the player kicks out the vents to get into the next room, the vent covers bounce at a bit of an angle which you wouldn’t get out of 2D. I’m still trying to work out how to utilise it a bit better – it’s looking slightly crude here (first attempt at it), but I think that it has a lot to offer.

I’m quite satisfied with the UI design so far, although I’m sure that there will be some tweaks to the way that it’s animated, and I’m yet to begin working on the HUD. I think that the loud start menu is quite successful so far though – when I’ve been chatting to other developers and game designers, I’ll ask them to check out my game and hand my phone over to them. Their face always lights up when they see the menu and a couple have said “I love it already”. Hopefully I can get everything following the menu to keep their interest – so far I’ve only had a short tutorial to show.

I think that’s all that I have to show right now. Today I started looking at making the jump from GameMaker to Unity so that I can have more freedom in my games and interactive work. I’ve started on the early tutorials and although C# is pretty intimidating, I’m feeling pretty good about it – it’s not too much of a complex step up from coding in GML. I expect I’ll be producing my final major project in Unity with some Arduino as input too. Wish me luck, eh?