I'm happy with the results of last week's Game Prototype Challenge. Unlike my last Ludum Dare game, I had enough time to relentlessly test Pollen Knight to make sure that it was not only playable, but beatable as well. The trick in this game is not beating it, but in getting every pollen grain on the map in a single leap for the highest score multiplier. Every two or three levels, a new obstacle is introduced will hinder (or help) the player's progress. Really, the dust clouds were unexpectedly helpful at times when I needed to slow down my momentum.
Some of the maps are trickier than others, partly owing to the game's physics. The physics was a particular challenge, and is still not as tight as I would have liked it to be. I had to really fake it towards the end, no forces are really applied to the player until they lose contact with the stigma, and at that point collision between the stigma and player is ignored for a second to avoid the "grounded" state caused by contact between the two. It's playable and fairly consistant, but floaty and sometimes awkward. Perhaps I should have done the physics from scratch, rather than use rigidbodies.
The flower was easy, I modeled it off of a picture of a tulip and slapped some textures on it in Blender, then baked it out. The background flowers are 2D billboards of the first flower, shot from multiple angles and placed beyond the camera's depth of field. The knight was… uh… a disappointment. I never modeled a human figure before in 3D, and still have never rigged or animated one. I used to do claymation back in high school, totally different process. With no concept art to go by, I just took some google images of medieval helmets and tried to create a cartoony guy from there. It could have been better. Because the art doesn't really communicate "knight" or even "armor", I feel that this part of the theme was not implemented well. I should have added some shield extra life power-ups!
Now that I think about it, Pollen Knight is the most sexually explicit game I've made so far. Tulip porn . My original idea that I spent Monday and Tuesday crafting was a FPS involving pollen monsters, a giant evil flower, and the protagonist in mechanized suit. However, I had already made first person games for my last few personal an publicly released prototypes. I wanted to try something side-scrolling for a change. I think the original idea would have turned out something like Under a Watchful Eye.
Regardless, Pollen Knight turned out to be a competent if simple item collecting game. It's another game for the portfolio, another thing to show graduate schools to demonstrate my ability to code, design, and create.
Yeah, so that project is done and I'm satisfied with the results. Now back to Against the Wall. This weekend I had to forgo the Mini Ludum Dare since I was too worn-out by the GPCv8. My sleep schedule is completely off too, I don't really sleep at night anymore! I'll be sure to go to rest early tomorrow. For those who are interested, I am currently working on adapting version a0.3 into a webplayer for wider distribution.