We are Rich Halliday (programming) and Joe Pendon (art)!
About GreenPixelDev (twitter: @GreenPixelDev)
Hey, everyone! Green Pixel’s artist here! Ludum Dare 26 was a blast and we came up with our Jam entry: Eternal Journey
If you’ve played it and rated it, thank you so much for your feedback! If you haven’t, check it out here and we’d appreciate your thoughts!
We made Eternal Journey with mobile devices in mind (as we have released an iOS title in the past) and we’re happy to read that a lot of the feedback seems to welcome the game – albeit a more finished version – on smartphones
This was our second LD Jam and one thing I realized from LD25 was that I didn’t really learn much artistically – besides learning how fast I could work under a time constraint. So, this time around, I decided to experiment. Why not, right? When I heard that the theme was Minimalism, I thought of triangles and, inspired by games like Vlambeer’s Ridiculous Fishing, I came up with the art for Eternal Journey. Below is a handy screenshot if you don’t have time to play the game
Triangles galore, eh? Now that we’re going ahead with the fully-featured version of the game (that we’re hoping to release before the next LD :D), I’m wondering if I should continue with this triangle-istic style. As a game artist, I’ve only really ever worked with pixel art and it’s the most comfortable style for me. I whipped up a quick mockup of what the mobile, pixel art version would look like (note that the background is largely unfinished :D), seen below:
See the huge difference? Gameplay aside, which style would you prefer? Do you think pixel art still appeals to the masses or is it played out? Would the semi-abstract triangles fare better in the world of apps?
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Thanks and happy gaming!
That was some 72 hours! This was a great second Ludum Dare for us! We sure picked an ambitious concept to try and complete during an already busy weekend but we’re glad we did and now we have something pretty awesome to build on! Unfortunately, we didn’t get some core features in or music and sound effects but everything else worked out perfectly!
Congratulations to everyone who participated and now comes the fun part! Happy gaming and rating!
Stay tuned for post-mortems (maybe!)
From the desk of Joe, the art side of Green Pixel:
Minimalism, eh? Before finding out the theme, I was set on using my usual style, pixel art, to create our 2nd LD entry. But, after seeing “Minimalism”, I decided to try something different. My first thoughts were about minimalist paintings. Then, suddenly, that episode of Seinfeld where George buys the triangle paintings from the “fat starving artist” popped into my head Yeah, I’m a big Seinfeld fan. In fact, I usually have Seinfeld playing in the background while I work! Having visually memorized all the episodes, I can just listen to the show and still enjoy it subconsciously haha
Anyways, back to the triangles! This style is completely new to me and I feel like I’m on an adventure trying this out in such a short time I’d love to hear any feedback! (Ignore the red squares and UI for now :D)
And, yes, I am also a Game of Thrones fan
I’m off to sleep! See you all tomorrow!
We’re in for our second LD!
Our last entry, “Dr. Vile in The Greater Good” made 2nd place Overall in the Jam so we’re going to try our best to make our next entry even better!
Speaking of Dr. Vile, thanks to all your feedback, we’ve been working on expanding the story and game features to make Dr. Vile a full-fledged indie title
You heard Lexe! Follow us on Twitter (@GreenPixelDev) for Dr. Vile updates! We’re planning a PC/Mac release and then we’ll consider an iPad release. Here’s what you can expect:
- Break objects and your enemies’ prized possessions to collect resources!
- Use your borrowed- well, stolen – resources to craft new weapons, tools, and upgrades! Craft a personal Teleporter, sneak around with a Disguise Ray, and much, much more!
- Explore Dr. Vile’s city – full of rich snobs, regular Joes, pesky robots, rabid guard dogs, fierce soldiers, and more!
- Make your way through 4 treacherous dungeons!
- Relive the original “Dr. Vile in The Greater Good” and complete Dr. Vile’s Death Ray!
- And tons more! We’re aiming to pack hours and hours of gameplay into a neat, pixel art package with lots of laughs and the corniest of jokes
- OH! And BEST OF ALL… face off against Dr. Vile’s arch nemesis: Dr. Ben Evolent! Surely beating him to a bloody pulp will make Dr. Vile the greatest scientist of all time!
We’re looking forward to getting it out and adding another Success Story to Ludum Dare’s illustrious history!
But, this weekend, we’ll be strapping down for Ludum Dare 26! Good luck, everyone!
A huge thank you goes out to everyone who has played, rated, and commented on our entry: Dr. Vile in The Greater Good! We’re very happy and grateful to have received some great feedback from all of you
We’re planning on expanding Dr. Vile into Java and iOS so stay tuned here and follow us on Twitter (@GreenPixelDev) to stay updated! We greatly appreciate your support and continued feedback!
Hey everyone! It’s Rich, the programmer/composer half of Green Pixel. This past weekend Joe and I entered our first Ludum Dare and ended up making this game over the course of 55-60 working hours (which is almost a week and a half at a regular job when you think about it!).
Before the Jam:
As much as I love playing and making games, I also love developing really boring but useful tools. Early on Joe and I realised we only have interest in creating games from the NES/SNES era and that means sprite sheets and tile maps, baby! So over the past year, knowing our self-imposed limitations, we’ve been working together to create a set of tools to make our lives as 2D developers easier (every day we inch closer to the “generate game!” button!). Two of these tools, our animation system and tile map editor, became extremely valuable over the weekend.
For the week leading up to Ludum Dare, I started writing a 2D flash engine. We went with flash because:
- You can play the game directly in your browser.
- ActionScript is a rrreally forgiving language which is perfect for trying to get a game finished in 3 days and not being arsed to fix memory leaks and whatever else.
- I haven’t gotten around to making a cutscene tool yet, so movieclips to the rescue!
I had never tried making my own engine before and now I can’t imagine how I got by before. With the tool chain and the new engine in place, Joe could section up a sprite sheet, create animations and I could have it in the game in about 5 minutes.
The Jam – Some notes on the creative process:
Friday – First of all, the theme really took me by surprise and I think I actually voted it down a few times haha. Anyway, we heeded the advice of the keynote and spent about an hour or so brainstorming ideas. We decide on a top-down Link To The Past style game where a Mad Scientist would have to gather resources to build a death ray to protect a world he hated from a meteor by smashing up people’s property whynot. I began by breaking the game down into the various objects that needed to be coded. We had the idea to randomly generate the town and the house interiors, so I first broke up the map into equal sized squares. Each square could have a 0 or more houses, each house could have 1 or more floors, each floor would have 1 or more rooms and each room would contain various objects and NPCs. Too ambitious! At the end of the first night and having a bunch of weird-looking half-assed procedurally generated house interiors, it was clear we would have to design some house templates and assign these templates randomly to build the town. We also constrained each house to only have a single floor. The game looked like Colecovision at this point with my amazing programmer art of solid coloured rectangles, but morale remained high!
Saturday – When I woke up, Joe was finished most of the character animations at this point, so I added them to the player and the NPCs. The NPCs just stood in the top corner of each house and didn’t scroll with the map, but they looked good! The big task for the day was grabbing sections of the templates to build the town map and house interiors. We also discovered the size limit on a ByteArray in ActionScript! Fortunately, Joe was able to prune the templates down so we could load the maps. That night we discussed things we wanted to put in the game, but would have to cut if we were going to reach the Monday deadline. We had originally planned on a few different locations (military base, good scientist’s lab) and giving Dr Vile an inventory of collected resources, similar to Minecraft, that you’d periodically have to empty at his lair in order to build parts of the death ray. We scrapped these ideas and just focused on the town game play. By the end of the first full day, we had a clear vision and most of the visuals in place… just no game play.
Sunday/Monday – The long haul! We vowed not to sleep until it was complete! (We actually did end up sleeping, but we also completed it so I guess that’s ok). Jobs for the day: NPC AI (yeah, I foolishly left this until 23:00 on Sunday night), breakable objects, loot spawning, music and sound effects, cutscenes, HUD graphics, game flow (menu – game game over – final cutscene – menu). So… basically half the game. We worked until 9 am Monday and took a brief 4 hour nap and then rushed like crazy to get the rest of the things into the game but it all came together in the end.
- We had a bug in one of the tools that almost erased all the art for the game on the second day haha. Luckilly, it was fixable while the art was still in the RAM.
- Generating a ByteArray so large that it crashed the flash game and not really having the time to design an alternative.
- A bug in the AStar implementation meant that if an NPC was more than 10 or so tiles away, it would take about 20 seconds to calculate a path. AStar is not a lot of fun to debug at the best of times, but it was about 4:00 am Monday. Luckily, the problem was simple and it ran fairly smoothly after that.
- NPC AI in general. I had never done enemy AI before and there are a lot of things I would do differently now (like not calling the path finding function every frame when they’re chasing you d’oh!)
- Combat. I had also never really done any sort of melee combat before. It works ok, but it’s definitely clunky and can lead to some garbage deaths.
- We finished!
- Pretty much had time to implement everything after stripping down the feature list.
- Learned a lot in a short amount of time about AI and procedural generation.
- Doing both code and music has a nice duality where if I get pissed off with one, the other uses the other side of my brain. Mmm, brain massage.
All in all, it was one of the most fun weekends I’ve had! I already can’t wait for the next Ludum Dare in April. <3
Someone expressed interest in the source code in the comments section for the game itself, so I’ll upload that. I don’t know about the engine code? It’s kind of in an unfinished state and I might release it as an open source library along with the tools some day. Hopefully the game source will still be interesting!
Congratulations to everyone who participated and submitted a game!
Hey everyone! I’m Joe, artist for Green Pixel’s games and for our first Ludum Dare entry: Dr. Vile in The Greater Good! I did the art and my friend and Green Pixel’s programmer, Rich, did the programming so we’ll each be writing a post-mortem of our experience.
First off, congratulations to every who participated in Ludum Dare 25! Whether you finished what you wanted to finished or not, think of how much more you have now than what you had before you started! I had that mindset going in and even if we didn’t finish in time, I would have still had art assets and we still would have had a foundation to build something out of. Thankfully, we did finish and now, not only do we have a great foundation to continue to build on, we have a game that people seem to enjoy! Thank you to everyone who’s played and we greatly appreciate your awesome reviews!
I’ve never worked on a project that had such a short timeframe. To all you 48-hour devs, kudos to you! I can barely tie my shoes in the time it took you to make a game! Right when we found out the theme, Rich and I immediately started brainstorming. From aliens to meteors to Mayans, we eventually decided to go the mad scientist route. And, thus, Dr. Vile was born! We gathered all our gameplay ideas and then I opened up Photoshop and went to work
I drew inspiration for Dr. Vile’s look from all the mad scientist cliches out there. Lab coat, crazy glasses, disheveled hair, etc. It was tough fitting everything into a 16x16px sprite while keeping it discernible but I think I managed! He looks like a mad scientist, right? I also drew inspiration from a character in my webcomic, The Pocalypse, named Doc. Doc is also a mad scientist and I’m sure you can see the resemblance!
After I created Dr. Vile, I created the world around him. I usually work in one .psd for our game projects so I can keep everything together and keep everything in line with the theme. Here’s what I ended up with
There may be a few things missing (like Dr. Vile’s computer assistant, Lexe) but that’s pretty much everything in the game! This simple (and small!) art style let me work with the time constraint while still being able to create as much “things” as possible. One important thing that I’ve learned from past game projects is the speed of my work, depending on the style of the game. This personal knowledge was invaluable in estimating how much I could get done in 72 hours
Another extremely important thing for this project – and all projects, big or small – is how well Rich and I communicated. We’ve been working together for about 5 years, from a larger company to an indie studio to an at-home business, and knowing him for so long has created a great sense of communication I think that there’s nothing more important than that when you’re working in a team. For this project, it was crucial that we remained on the same wavelength because, obviously, art and programming are not the same. Rich let me know what was needed and what wasn’t and I prioritized my art list accordingly. I could have put Dr. Vile’s laboratory on the top of my list yet it wouldn’t have made it into the game. Imagine the time I would’ve wasted on a big, fancy laboratory if we didn’t communicate effectively! And, while we both had the same overall vision for the game, the finer details had to discussed so we both knew exactly how the game would look and work I regularly send images like this to Rich to make sure that I’m on the right track:
It was a super fun 72 hours and I look forward to doing a Jam again! I wouldn’t have done anything differently and I’m glad that I now know that we can create something pretty cool in so little time!
We are planning on expanding the game so stay tuned for updates (we’re hoping to add crafting, more weapons, more locations, more everything)! Follow us on Twitter @GreenPixelDev and feel free to visit http://www.greenpixel.ca and check out our other projects
Thank you again for playing Dr. Vile in The Greater Good and if you haven’t, play it now and give us your feedback!
Also, keep an eye out for Rich’s post-mortem!
Pheeeew! Finished our first Ludum Dare submission: “Dr. Vile in The Greater Good“! After working on months-long projects, it’s amazing to think that this game didn’t exist – and wasn’t even planned – 72 hours ago!
Congratulations to every Ludum Dare dev and whether you completed what you wanted to complete or not, you have much more now than what you had three days ago!
Enjoy Dr. Vile in The Greater Good and please give us your feedback! We may expand this game further, add more features, and who knows what else!
Since one of us did programming (and music!) and one of us did art, we’re planning on writing two post-mortems! Stay tuned