Anyways, without further ado... let's get to the new art!
This is the first building that you enter in the game. A lot of platformers have that flat look where you're standing on boxes directly in front of the camera, with a 100% straight view (original Mario or Sonic games for example). I wanted to go with a visual style with a bit more depth, like something that you'd see in a fighting game or beat 'em up. While the character is still limited to two-dimensional movement, the background gives the illusion that it takes place in a world with three dimensions.
When you're up on the streets, it's a wide open area with scrolling backgrounds and expansive landscapes. But once you go down into the sewers, the area becomes much more confined. The backgrounds down there become static and give you a sense that the character is in a tighter place.I really want to convey a sense of depth with my environments.
These backgrounds are actually composed of many small, individual pieces that are designed to be modular. Placing them in Unity has turned out to be a bit more time consuming than I originally figured it would, but by creating them in such a way it gives me a lot more freedom in my game design. I've toyed with the idea of creating more of a grid-based tile system to make placement easier. But again, I think the sense of scale that I'm currently using provides greater creative freedom than if I was working with tiles. So I'll stick with my current methods, at least for the prototype.
Here's a view of the skyline background. This is actually 4 images on top of one another, each able to scroll at its own speed. I went ahead and completely re-wrote my parallax script to not only be more efficient, but also to give me a bit more control over it from within Unity. I still have a slight issue with some of the layers fighting for Z-space, but I'm sure I'll figure that bug out before the next update. I also plan to add some clouds and stars up in the sky to break up that big dark area.
As you may have noticed up above, I finished Dyll's jogging animation! I've included the two sketched versions for comparison. I think I may need to adjust his head a bit in this animation to prevent it from looking so stiff, but I'm certainly happy enough with it for the prototype. This actually took me quite a bit of time, so I feel a slight sense of dread when I look at my list of animations that still need to be done. Hopefully the experience I gained from this one can help to speed up my process a bit.
Lastly we have my favorite bit that I worked on recently - a city bus! This is simply there as an "invisible wall" on the left to prevent the character from going off the map, but I got a bit carried away and had too much fun with it. Eventually I'd like to start the game off with an animation of Dyll getting off the bus and walking into the level. And then maybe looping an animation of the bus driver opening and closing the door. To me, little things like that really push sprite based games over the edge, so I'd like to include as many subtle animations as I can in the backgrounds.
And that's pretty much it for now! I feel happy with what I've accomplished since the last update, but of course there's still tons of stuff to do! I'm hoping to have a somewhat polished and playable first level when I head off to GDC in a few weeks, so look forward to at least one more update before then. Until next time... Adios!