Since I managed to finish my contribution to the group Christmas game (which I’ve mentioned in a previous blog), I decided it would be good practice to try making another game, adding to the Xmas class think tank – Kelly and I have teamed up for this one, where she’s handling the code and I’m in charge of the graphics. First, we had to come up with an idea.
Last year’s Christmas game was good and there was an addictive factor to constantly want a better score. While our WarioWare concepts might achieve a similar thing once all stitched together, time is against us and we wanted a backup. We needed a quick game that had score as the driving force, which could even be played on mobile with simple controls. Kelly had seen a tutorial for making a game like Winter Bells (I’d never heard of it before, but here’s the link to the original game) and we thought it would be a good basis to work off of if we could get the code working and the right graphics in place.
While Kelly worked through the tutorial, I started to think up a premise for the game and what sort of graphics we would need. My thought was something to do with Santa and maybe he’d been on his way to deliver gifts, but a strong wind blows or something spook the reindeer and he (along with the gifts) all go tumbling out of the sleigh. The player has to help Santa get back up to his sleigh by jumping along the falling gifts. Every so often, one of his reindeer come along to give him a boost (and double his points), but the player has to be in the right place at the right time to catch the reindeer on the screen.
The snow is going to be procedurally generated, so I don’t have to worry about that, but I was thinking of ways I could incorporate a Sunderland theme. The only thing I could really come up with was to have something like Penshaw monument in the distance, lit up with lights and with a layer of snow, so it would look like Santa had fallen into Herrington park (old stomping ground for me).
I thought it would also be a good idea if Santa could actually move from facing left to facing right, or back again, depending on which way he was jumping. While I didn’t know how to do this in code, it made me think that Santa should be facing us from his side. With this in mind, I looked for reference photos and started vector drawing him in Animate.
I think it turned out quite well. I knew I couldn’t add a lot of details to him, since Kelly said he was only going to be about 30px by 30px when finally put into the game. So I went with solid colours, no necessary facial features, and a very obvious jumping pose. While it would have been nice to have done something in higher detail, but at least this Santa can be flipped depending on which way he’s jumping.
After that, I turned my attention to the “helpful reindeer” that appears sometimes. I had to keep in mind that, like Santa, this guy wasn’t going to be highly detailed and needed to have strong colours/lines so he’ll stand out on the screen. There will be instructions at the beginning of the game telling the player the reindeer will help Santa jump (like the presents do) but also the game points will be doubled.
I found some reindeer silhouettes and other designs online to use as inspiration, but I like the pose he has. It looks like he’s flying through the air, like you would expect of Santa’s reindeer.
Finally, I just threw together a really simple gift design, for the ones Santa would jump on as they fell down the screen. Unfortunately, I don’t think the code allowed for different kinds of designs, which would have been nice. The game is on a dark background, and these objects were really important to the mechanics of the game, so I made the colours bright where they would jump out off the background colour.
Although the designs aren’t quite what I’m used to (if I’d had more time, I would have done some more concept art before deciding on the final product), but I think they’re fit for purpose. In class, Kelly popped then into the code she had done and did a few sizing adjustments, then uploaded a link onto fastSWF:
Overall, I don’t think it’s as detailed as I would have liked and I have a few idea on how to improve some of the other graphics. I was thinking we’ll add a different game over graphic, maybe designed like a sign for Santa’s workshop and more colour. Of course, I’d also like to get a drawing of something Sunderland-related into it, but I’ll see if we have time with the other work we need to focus on right now.