This update is going to be much shorter than it deserves to be, but I’ll be updating this again more regularly after next week comes and goes. The very short of it is that everything has been going incredibly well! Big milestones have been:
- Working at Mississippi State University’s incredible Entrepreneurship Center to both pay the bills and gain a ridiculous amount of experience working with a ton of different start ups. I could write pages about how fun, educational, and valuable this experience was, even though it only lasted 8 months.
- Raising $250k for the company since the last blog update. This took a lot of time and effort, but everything worked out big time! What’s also incredible is that I seriously love my investors, they’ve all been wonderful sources of insight, advice, and connections.
- Teaming up with two unbelievably talented artists (Antonio Stappaerts and Esther Smisdom) to design the first batch of characters. On top of being insanely skilled, they’re both also such a joy to work with. Every day is such a positive experience with them – I can’t get over how lucky I am to be working with them both right now. Words can’t capture how excited I am to show off the characters we’ve created, but for now I have to show restraint. Soon! In the meantime check out their ArtStations linked above. They’re great!
- Going to the Game Developers Conference next week! I fly out tomorrow! It’s got me constantly excited about getting to meet all these talented, experienced people. Being in Mississippi, I haven’t met a ton of game developers in person. It’s an exciting time, and one of the many examples recently where I felt like I’ve “made it” as a real game developer. Not entirely, but it’s one more for the checklist.
I plan to make blog posts about most if not all of the above topics once I get back from GDC, but it’s a week long conference so I might still be recovering well into the week after I get back. Hope my excitement can carry me through an entire week of constant learning and networking.
Like the title says, there are only 3 animations left before all of the core animations are finished. There might be some animations I have to tweak or redo, but as best as I can tell the only thing left after this will be coding. Since the last update I’ve done, redone, or tweaked 15 animations, so this is really the final stretch for animating.
Here’s the parry animation I did, I’m pretty happy with it.
The last 3 animations are going to be a bit tricky, because they’re the character’s special attacks. The reason why I left these for last is because I’ve been waiting for ideas on what these attacks should be, but unfortunately the inspiration never hit me. Oh well, I’ll come up with something. Back to animating!
Looking at what’s left to finish, there really isn’t much. There are four or five main features left to program, but I was looking at my animations to-do list and realized I could probably knock all of them out in a week or two. Since then all I’ve been doing is animating, which has been fun.
Here are a few of the animations I’ve done that are worth sharing:
The last one took a lot of work (especially proud of the footwork), but I’m super happy with how it came out. The whole thing is an homage to one of my favorite moments in Problem Sleuth, and you can see the source in the clip I provided. The hands are a little bit choppy, but I made a version where the hammer hand is more stationary and it just looked boring. Since the whole thing is an easter egg anyway, I’m not too worried about it looking 100% physics-accurate.
Anyway, out of the 84 animations I have planned for the character, I’m now done with 72 of them. Only 12 to go!
In the last update I typed out how there was no way I would be able to solve the issues with NAir, I ended up solving them the very next day. Whoops.
Turns out it was a “bounding box” problem, but it was a kind of bizarre one. So when the game makes a particle effect, it can take a lot of cpu usage depending on how complex the particle is. To help solve that problem a little bit, you can basically make it so that the computer doesn’t bother rendering the particles unless they’re on screen. In order to do that, you make an invisible box which tells the computer “Whenever this box is on screen, render the particles.”
The problem was that my original bounding box was apparently extremely small. It was so small that the character model blocked it, but only when facing one direction. When facing the other direction (or while moving), the bounding box wasn’t blocked from the camera and the particles rendered. So, mystery solved! After a few other tweaks, NAir ended up working pretty much fine.
In other news(!), I also finished the animations for FAir and UAir. No video for now, but when the final two aerials are finished and they’re all in the game, you can expect a post showcasing all five of them.
This attack has been giving me some real headaches. I’ve made three different versions of the attack, including animations and custom particle effects, but right now I think I’ll have to scrap pretty much all of them.
The general idea I had for the character was to use the nice particles I created for the DStrong attack and modify them for the NAir. The idea was to have an air blast around his waist knocking people away, but… a few problems cropped up which made me scrap the idea completely. Well…not completely, I do have one last ditch idea I’ll try tomorrow, but I wouldn’t put money on it working.
The first problem was that I couldn’t make the whirlwind particles follow the character. They would spawn in the correct place (his torso), but they would not move with the character. On the plus side, this gives me a good idea for one of the special moves, which means the work I put in has not gone totally to waste.
Another problem, and this is the really big one, is very…strange. It’s so strange and oddly specific that it’s the first bug I don’t think I can fix at all. When the character is facing right, not moving horizontally, and at the peak of his jump (so pretty nearly not moving at all midair), the particles stop displaying. They display in any other circumstance, such as facing left or moving, but the situation described above happens more often than you might think. It’s pretty awkward, and I’m not comfortable shipping even a prototype with something that clearly wrong in it.
There were a few other smaller problems, too, but I’m pretty sure that I could work through them eventually. The two above ones were the really big issues.
So anyway I’m going to try one final thing before coming up with an entirely new NAir idea. I guess I got more experience with particles, but that’s not much consolation to me right now.
Really quick update today. I spent today and yesterday finishing all the hitstun animations and getting them into the game. Dash attack is working in-game as well. Next step is either the aerial attacks or finalizing the knockback formula. They’re both about equally important, so I guess I’ll just see which I feel like doing tomorrow. Maybe both!
Today I made the dash attack from start to finish, here is the early, rough version and here is the final version (for now). Try to imagine that this is coming out of a run or dash, as that’s the only way to initiate the dash attack. That’s why it starts so abruptly.
I also got a few animations for hitstun completed. They’re pretty simple and there are a few left to go, so I haven’t recorded them yet.