Developers' Diary


Another font is over. So far I’ve created 4 fonts for this game, which doesn’t include an 8×8-ish bitmap score font and various other one-off text sprites. It’s one of the best things about this project – I’m being thrown headlong into territory never before explored. I’ve thought of making fonts before, but you can never imagine the little challenges that will beset you without having actually got your hands dirty whilst making one. It’s a lot of these challenges I find the best. Looking back at some of my original pixel art I can already see how far I have come and how much I have learnt.

My next big challenge is to finally sort out what we are going to do about explosions. Interestingly, from the outset this has been one of the most troublesome things to implement from an artistic perspective. The challenge lies in making something that is fairly attractive and stylish, and yet also very flexible so that it may be applied to many different situations, and also to make sure that the effect won’t be too CPU-intensive, as we are indeed making a game where there will be many, many explosions.

I’ve done some research recently, and somewhat counterintuitively one of the best sources for inspiration and ideas hasn’t just been other shmups, but fighting games, particularly Japanese doujin projects. They are faced with similar problems and contraints (both technolgical and practical), and despite this manage to create excellent energy and explosion effects that look really bold, yet at a fairly minimal cost to processing time. Melty Blood is the best example that I can think of as almost all of the effects use no animation, and rather make use of clever use of alpha, blending, scaling, rotation, and colour. Guilty Gear XX also has a similar approach in many aspects, yet is much more animation intensive (and uses far less colour – usually a max of 3 or 4 colours per effect animation).


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