Friday, February 27, 2009

Level Ideas

I'm sorry for always using Sonic 3 and Knuckles as an example, but c'mon, it's the greatest platformer of all time, who can forget chasing the giant Robotnik robot through space as Super Sonic? This level is what inspired me to talk about some of the levels in the game.

Anyways, I'm gonna lay down some level ideas for y'all. The game is mostly going to take place in two cities: Rutherford, NJ and New York City. The Rutherford levels comprise the first half of the game, and they're gonna be based on streets and parks in Rutherford. Now if you've ever been there, which the majority of you reading this probably haven't, you'd know it's a pretty plain town, but that's what's gonna make this interesting. Name one platformer you've played that takes place in like... a normal looking environment. That's right, you can't. Here's a couple of ideas for levels that I was thinking up:

Rutherford Levels:

Carmita Ave - first level, a long straight through street, similar to the one pictured in the concept art, there's gonna be cracks in the side walk you can break through to go down into the sewer and there will be trees you can climb into, because Rutherford is known as the Borough of Trees.

West Passaic - An up-hill level, haven't really thought of anything cool for this level.

Memorial Field - A big field level, gonna kinda look like a grassy level from any generic platformer.

Park Ave - The main street in Rutherford, it's a down-hill slope that leads to the first huge boss battle.

And then the New York City levels:

St. Marks - Same as it is in real life, the grimey, but awesome street with $1 Pizza, you can climb up to the rooftop of one of the buildings for a Roof Top level

Union Square - Fight through monsters at Union Square! Idk I don't got any real ideas for this level yet

Uptown R Train - Take the subway uptown, what's gonna be cool about this level is it moves around you, so it feels like you're actually on the subway. Go through the cars to get to the normal end of the level or climb up on top of the cars to get to another level, or get off at one of the early stops for another level.

Times Square - This is where another huge boss battle will be (obviously, I mean c'mon)

Those were just some basic ideas I had for levels, nothing's set in stone yet, but you can see from the list of levels that you start off in Rutherford and move on to eventually getting to New York. Eight levels isn't bad for a platformer, considering Sonic 3 only had 6 levels. If these were the final levels, these would be the straight through levels, none of the alternate path levels were really touched upon (some were mentioned though).

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gameplay Concept Artwork

Oh hey wow is this an actually relevant post?! I felt kinda bad for making every image I post either Sonic related or Package Deal related, so I went and made some concept art of how the game SHOULD look!


This took me a while to make, I used a lot of Spade's Package Deal comics as the inspiration for this, to the point where I actually stole the grass because the grass I made was dull and lifeless. At first the buildings were all red, like red brick buildings, but that proved to be too... unattractive, as it clashed with Kail's red hair and the Health Bar.


Ok since I showed you the health bar, here's how the health system works in the game. Each character has a set number of bars, Kail has four, someone else might have five, the other guy might have three, but for now since I barely begun to work on the other characters, I'll just talk about Kail. When you get hit by an enemy you lose one bar, once you lose all four you die. To gain your health back, you need to find energy drinks! The in-game energy drink is called "Getting Up" which, if you hadn't noticed, is a funny little in-joke poking fun at the game's title. One energy drink will give you one bar, one turbo-fueled energy drink will fill you up completely.

Next post I'll talk about the battle system... maybe, idk lol.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Story Details

So I told you about the gameplay, now you wanna know about the story?! Alright alright, but before I do, the above picture doesn't show characters actually in the game (except Kail, left, and maybe Spade, right, Squadman, unfortunately, isn't in the game).

The story focuses on Kail, a slacker trudging through his post high school years. He's been going on a downward slope since he graduated high school, he was kicked out of his house, he barely gets any hours at work, and he's late on his rent. One day though, all of that changes. He wakes up around 2 in the afternoon one day to find out his small New Jersey town of Rutherford has been overcome by monsters! To make matters worse, there's no food in the fridge, so Kail has to fight through dozens of monsters to get a bite to eat. Kail and his friends then decide to go out and fight the monsters to keep the town safe, but discover something strange. A long time ago Kail concentrated all of his negative vibes into another being, Laik, who's essentially the bad side of Kail in one human form. Laik's discovered a way to bend reality to his will, so he created all the monsters that have been laid out over the town, and he has a helper: a giant 40 foot monster called the Destroyer. Now Kail and his friends need to clean up the town and take out Laik and the Destroyer!

How's that for a story? Name one platformer that takes place in a small town covered in monsters, actually, nevermind, because you'll probably name some games I never heard of and they'll turn out to be amazing games everyone knows of but me.

Anyways, thats not even the beginning of the story, it gets a lot more wild from there, and Rutherford isn't the only place you explore, you also get to explore New York City! Yayy!!!

It's gonna be a wild game, once I figure out who the characters in the game are I'll let you know!


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Package Deal

Here's a little history lesson on my past with sprites and comics and sprite comics. My friend Bill Sweet, also known as Spade, and I used to make sprite comics based on Sonic the Hedgehog and our lives, more of them based on our lives. In 2003 we did one called Sonic Advance 3 which was a comic about Sonic and friends after Sonic Advance 2 came out, and then the actual Sonic Advance 3 game came out. Well after that we did a lot of random one shot comics, then I started drawing comics and Spade stuck with sprites and he did a series that still sticks out above all the rest: Package Deal.

Package Deal was a comic series about Spade moving into a new apartment in a new city, and not expecting his buddies tagging along with him. It starred Spade, Kail, Dazz, Joel, Squadman, JJ, and other random characters I don't remember at the moment getting into wacky situations, usually hilarious ones.

What was great about Package Deal was the use of custom sprites based on Trionic's Sonic sprite sheet, so it gave the series it's own unique feel because at the time no one was really using these sprites.
You're probably asking "Kail, what does this have to do with Falling Down?" Well, Little Jimmy, it has everything to do with Falling Down! Since Bill now joined the Noise Tanks team, he's gonna be making the sprites for the game, so expect it to have a very PD feel to it. The game isn't gonna be as bright and colorful as PD, because the hell it's called Falling Down, not Happy Time Adventure, but it'll look similar to it, just a little darker.
Alright well I gave y'all enough to laugh about for now, I'm going to bed.


Different Paths to Different Levels

Super Mario World and Sonic 3 and Knuckles are the two examples I use for this game the most often because they're probably the two greatest classic platformers of all time. This game will not be a rip off of those, quite the opposite, this game is going to be able to stand on it's own two feet without having to be compared to anything else.

The idea to the game is that you don't have to just go right and make it to the end of the level. I liked the Warp Zone pipes in the second level of Super Mario Bros. on the NES, that was a cool idea. My idea for the game is that like in real life, you don't have to go in one direction, you can explore the area and end up going to different areas, and still end up at the same place. In New York City to get to Port Authority you don't have to walk down 42nd Street until you get to 8th ave, you can take a number of paths, like the subway or the bus, and that's the idea with this game.

Think Star Fox 64, there were like 3 paths I think in that game, depending on what you did and where you went in a level you would be sent to another level, and it didn't matter which way you went. That's the same idea with Falling Down, you go in one direction, you wind up at this level, you go in the other direction, you wind up at that level.

Maybe later I'll post some of the move sets I have for the characters and I'll get into detail on the battle system, which there really isn't much of because this game is about exploration and platforming and figuring out how to get past obstacles more than fighting.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

A lesson on sprites

Yeah so if you didn't understand what a sprite was in the last post, let me explain. In the world of video games, these days there are two ways to do things: sprites and 3D models and polygons.

Sprites are character animations made using pixel art and stuff, like MS Paint I guess would be a good example for people who've used it. It's like animating cartoonies, each pose is it's own sprite.

Here's a sprite sheet from Sonic the Hedgehog 3, the first section are all the poses used in the game, the rest are custom made by fans. In Falling Down there's probably gonna be less poses than in Sonic 3, but that depends. My friend Bill Sweet, who did the sprite I posted early, is gonna be the sprite artist on Falling Down. He's improved significantly since then, as that was 5 years ago, so get ready for some great art in this game!

Hopefully this week I'll cook up some mock-up screen shots of what I envision the game to look like, and I'll post some information on the story and stuff.


Kail Sprite Concept

This is a concept sprite, it's not the final one. Bill Sweet made this back in 2004 for our old sprite comics, he based it on a custom sprite sheet by Tri, I can't seem to find the original sheet anywhere, so the new one is gonna be based loosely on this. This is also a nostalgic look at the old Kail, I don't know if the Kail in Falling Down will sport this look, but there's a possibility. If anything this might be a hidden character haha, who knows?
Keep checking back for more updates! Now I gotta run to work before I'm late! YIKES!!

Falling Down

Hey everyone! Welcome to my new blog, where I'm gonna be detailing the creation of the upcoming video game Falling Down!
Falling Down is a classic 16-bit styled platformer in the same vein as Super Mario World and Sonic and Knuckles, I've been working on it by myself for the past month and so far I have the storyline down and the move set for one of the characters done, along with a lot of concept art I've been doodling. I hope to have this game finished by next year, with an October 2010 release date, to coincide with the next New York Comic Con, which I hope to have a booth at, but nothing is confirmed yet.
Hopefully I'll have some concept art to share by the end of this week, but I'm making this game at the same time as my next album AND I have a job, so it'll be a slow process.
I CAN tell you this much about the game though:

*Classic 2D side-scrolling platformer

*Fully animated intro and ending, maybe even fully animated cutscenes

*3 characters to play as, each one with different abilities

*Different paths in each level, similar to Star Fox 64, if you go down one path you'll go on to the next level, if you go down another path you'll go on to a different next level.

*A kickin' hard rock soundtrack!


Yeah, this game is gonna rock, I've been playing a lot of similar old-school games trying to cook up with some good ideas, so this game will definitely be something to look out for!