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Ambient Adventure Music

One of the problems as a hobby Developer is in-game-music. This is a tough nut to crack for any developer. A proper musician will cost you a lot of money. Luckily there are some solutions to this problem. Generative music is one good example. Recently some good tools have been made available. One of them is Ujam. It’s amazing to see how quickly you can make a decent sounding beat or melody. It converts you voice into a melody and after that you can choose an arrangement based on music style. It’s made completely in flash, so won’t work on iOS devices. I have also tried Noatikl2 and Mixtikl but they are too hard to use and have a steep learning curve, and I have some more things to do. For an adventure it has to sound decent enough.The most important thing is that it should not distract or annoy the player. Another possibility making music is whistling the tune, converting it to midi and make it into a song in Garageband. Here a list of commercial tools that can do such a thing : Ableton Live 9 Melodyne (better and much cheaper than ableton) Free tools Whistlemagic (can’t provide a good link, windows only) iOS tools (all Paid, but not) Magic Stave Midi One tools fits in both categories and it’s my favorite (for the moment). Casio Chordana Composer is absolutely fabulous. It used a short melody (keyboard,whistle or voice) as seed and generates a song after you have chosen an arrangement and music style. The best thing is that it doesn’t sound like it’s generated at all! The following music was generated with Chordana, played and recorded this midi file with Roland’s iOS Sound Canvas (it’s quite an expense app but worth it). Well enjoy the music…

Screenshot Sunday The Lost Adventures

Animated assets from the very beginning

It is fun to see how I thought about asset creation before I started.  I made a lot of stuff with 3D Studio Max and Blender for earlier games. A lot of the assets for Blooneycounter were made with the help of Blender. So it was logical to make some of the stuff with those tools. I knew that animations were hard to do and I though I could make a pixelartsy look with the right shaders. I never made any animations so I didn’t know how to do that. I made a character that had a good bone setup with the MakeHuman tool. This is completely free and you can tweak the model before exporting. I picked up some nice walking animations from Carnegie Mellon University site. And after some time you have a walking figure. Exporting the frames gave the following animated character: The good thing about modeling is that you can render it from any angle for free : But the thing is…. It looks crap… And even how I tried my best. It looks darkish, awkward and everybody knows it was a 3D model.   So I decided to ditch the Blender way of doing stuff, and decided to hand animate frame by frame. And although making frames this way is sometimes time-consuming, it looks bright, nice and pixelated. Above animations are rendered at 60FPS… way to much for pixel art. Usually any animation has about 9 frames. My characters are 70×150 and it’s very doable. I bought character animation fundamentals to help me understand posing and acting characters My animations are improving steadily and I love how it looks. I created a falling animation in less than 4 hours, and that’s okay. I plan to make about 20 animations for the first level. I already created about 12, so still 8 to go. These are the ones left (for the first level): Putting up glasses Throwing a flashing grenade Dog animation Hand animations (no spoilers) Reach high animation Reach low animation Sit and eat animation Vaporize animation    

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Picking up stuff… It’s a lot of work really

Any adventure game would be boring without any believable animation. This takes some time though, but with the help of some excellent tools it’s doable. I create my animation frames with Gimp (and a layers export plugin found here) and refine and play the animation with Asesprite. I add the frames to Texture packer and it’s ready to put it to use in the game. Well let’s stop talking and show some video of picking up a hammer for example….! Picking up animation from franzzle on Vimeo. Off course this is only picking up from the floor. Imagine the list : Picking up as seen from behind on the floor Picking up as seen from the front on the floor Picking up as seen from behind from high places Picking up as seen from behind from mid height places etc… Luckily… some of the mid height animations can also be put to use as push button animations.

Create a nice little Christmas App

Every year we play a presents game with Christmas. The game goes like this: Throw a dice. The rolled dice number means a specific action should be made, like pickup a present, open present etc. The second round will make the actions more diverse, like ‘trade the present with your neighbor’. But as you will all have experienced one way or the other, the dices get lost. There is some cheating etc..  So the game I created is a “wheel of fortune” kinda game. All the actions are represented as slices of the wheel… It’s better to show you a vid of the resulting game I guess.    

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Thinking about a dialogsystem

Almost every adventure and every RPG has some kind of dialog system. The best known example of this is Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. The dialog at the end where they are at the heart of Atlantis must have been a nightmare to make. There are so many paths indiana could follow through,with only one path leading to a survival. Thinking about how to make such a system, I thought i’d had a look what’s available on the web. Not much at first, so I almost thought about making my own crummy system. But eventually I found and chose something, although it’s a Windows application. It’s always good to think about what’s available to you in the framework. Twine gives us json and every can be tied together with javascript. I looked at Twine a free online creator of those dialog trees (http://twinery.org). It has Windows, OSX and Linux. So that’s very nice and it’s free. Javascript support is there on ios, but the API is not nice because it assumes you are making iOS UI kind of stuff. I think this is a bummer. On Ray Wenderlich I found some RPG samples that used Lua, that gave me some head start how to make such a dialog system. But because I am a one man coding army, I thought I needed a graphical way of creating those dialogs and testing those apartly from the game (testing takes about 60% of your alotted dev time!). Writing dialog is also a creative process and If you don’t have a tool to write the dialogs it will become cumbersome to do. Eventually I found Chatmapper , a commercial dialog editor (http://www.chatmapper.com). I was surprised it used Lua for scripting. This all seemed to fit nicely with the samples I saw on Wenderlich. So I gave it a go. It has very good support for various format, json, xml etc.. What is nice is that it also imports a project from xml, so If any transformation needed to be done on anything on the project file, it could be imported and will work just fine. It is very stable and mature and oh it’s used on the most recent  Leasure Suit Larry game. So it will be capable of more than my needs.

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