Yesterday I met Ron, and today there are decent odds he is reading this. I always find it hard to point people here about the project, and then talk about them in the third person, but ce la vie. So I went in not knowing what to expect. Some part of me thought I was going to meet some 14 year old wunderkind, but I was pleasantly surprised instead. He’s seems like he knows what he’s talking about and the often awkward way that I meet new people didn’t seem to immediately put him off. He also caught the whole point of the project right off the bat – that it’s a portfolio for the members to showcase their work. So that’s cool. What I was expecting was for him to do the character renders and designs, which he has agreed to to. What surprised me and what I wasn’t prepared for was for Ron’s interest in doing the backgrounds. Turns out he is an illustrator at heart and the idea of getting almost free reign to do the kind of work on the backgrounds that he likes is very appealing. So I’m optimistic, even though I have no title for him yet. The Background Artist? The Character Artist? I have no idea.
-What we need in the meantime is some kind of schedule, and that falls on me as The Producer to create. The main problem is this : if we get picked up for IGF, then the whole plan goes right out the window as we all go into Defcon 5. Further exacerbating the problem is that we’re all up ended on the schedule. Pre-Production was non-existent for the IGF build and assets were created as fast as they could be and approved on the spot. Now, we need to go back and re-do some artwork. But, I’m already way, way ahead on creating levels and am in the middle of the 3rd level or about Chapter 5 (The Cliffs) and almost to 6 (The Castle Wall). So for right now, the schedule is based on getting everybody up to date with the work so a decent workflow can be established. Hopefully the last 2 Chapters will be easier than the first 2.
-Right, so the tentative (non-IGF) Schedule.
For The Illustrator
Character Designs for :
The Castle Guards
The Royal Guard (Fencers)
The Grand Skeleton (Boss Skeleton Character)
The General (Lead Knight)
The Guard Captain (Lead Guard)
Concept Art for:
Target Art screens.
-For the Target Screens what I’m looking for are some finished backgrounds that can be used as a kind of template. Once we have some of those we can really zero in on what the game will eventually look like, plus we’ll be able to show other artists what the game will/does look like later down the line. Depending on how quick you turn out to be, maybe the character art can have a tentative target date of the 3rd Week of January, the Level Concept Art for the stages above of 1-1 and the Target Art at around 1-8-09. Of course, with Concept art, I expect that it will slowly evolve over the course of the project which is why, A) No Concept art for the later stages yet. I think that what those look like may change as the first levels are worked out. B) No character renders yet. The ones in the game are fine for now, and then we can more quickly get caught up with the level art.
For The Animator:
Since many of the animations are already done for the first 2 levels, and the new character modeler will be busy with other stuff, I think we should focus on getting some of the scenes put together. So, as a test, please get the first scene in the game done. If you don’t have the script, let me know and I’ll get that to you. The Game itself has the first scene scripted (using the engine) out and will give you a decent idea of how the scene works.
For the Programmer / Designer:
I know, no work for me right? Wrong.
I still need to playtest the heck out of the 2nd Level and make sure it works, correct some of the bugs and…
-Update the Combat animation system so the enemies have more than 4 frames for the attacks – but still not break the system. I think it may be reasonably easy to install the animations since the current animations run on off frames. So I just have to add the frames for the in-betweens.
– Look into gamepad support.
– Tweak the jump to be a little more user friendly without breaking the game already built without changing the fundamental nature of the jump. For example, if I add a “float” at the top, it may change the total distance of the jump, which would be bad.
-Write my Post-Mortem submission. This or course, has the highest priority for game stuff as far as I am concerned. Getting that going will put all of our work in front of a lot of people that may not have even seen it. That’s some good exposure and really the whole point of the project.
– Add some more members. Now I need to find a Composer, and I talked to someone yesterday (who also wants to be a Lead Designer) but who is also interested in doing some level design work. As far as I am concerned, the more Level Designers and artists, the better. The more Level ideas and designs we get the better the whole game will be.
I’m smart enough to know that I cannot do everything myself and finding people that want to do these things will make the game the best it can be. I mean, I can do levels (obviously) but I haven’t studied the subject, or made mods or anything like that. I have to believe that someone who has will bring ideas to the table that I hadn’t considered before.
-Oh, about re-doing work. I liked what the Environmental Artist did, and (if he still wants) I plan to keep him on doing Level Designs. Since that’s really what he wants to do for a living, I’m more than happy to let him. Although I do need to work out some kind of vocabulary to talk about level concepts…hmm.