If there's one thing that's made this week quite difficult, it's realising that out of every single person involved in the Game Journo Game Jam, I am literally the only person still taking part. I won't lie, not having a community of fellow jam participants around me has been an isolating experience. But I've come out of the other side with some rocking new levels and a whole lot of pride.
The first stages of this week saw me build the space station level, which you'll notice has a significantly better tileset (I plan to improve the cave level's one on the weekend). After putting more effort into the art, I started thinking more about obstacles, as a run-with-some-jumping from point A to point B seemed boring, and boring my playerbase is a scenario that's hung low over my head lately. So what did I put in? Moving platforms. Can't be that hard to make those work, can it?
Yes. Yes it can.
The funny thing about some sites is that their forums lack a search feature. Unlike the robust, excellent one we have at our beck and call here in the hallowed halls of the Goodjer alpha base, Stencyl has no such feature (after writing this, I found that it did, but it's contextually useful, and therefore not that accessible). In fact, it was a nightmare, trying to find a solution as to why my platform did the following:
- Fell down.
- Wouldn't move until pushed.
- Slid out from underneath Hug Marine.
Then someone mentioned a behaviour being available to users for platform implementation, and I remembered the one resource I hadn't checked yet: StencylForge. For those of you who aren't aware of it, it's a database of assets, behaviours and other tools that you can use to make your games, provided by the talented and generous folks who have willingly made them available for use.
I'd gotten so used to figuring things out myself that I'd forgotten it existed, and after a quick search was the proud owner of platforming behaviours. But no matter what I did, I encountered the same issue: The Hug Marine kept acting like he was falling, because the platform wasn't colliding with him in the way I wanted it to — a frustrating development after choosing vertically-moving platforms instead.
Oddly enough, your QA department — or in my case, my friends — will suggest things that will solve a problem without actually having any knowledge of how or why the problem has been solved. Ashton Raze, fellow writer (buy his book), suggested I speed up the platforms, as they felt too slow. I did, and voila — Hug Marine is no longer a jittery mess.
After other bugfixes, I present to you levels one through three, minus music for levels two and three, and a few cave-level features as I work on making that level more interesting. I hope you enjoy it, and I look forward to sharing the finished game with you next Tuesday.
Yes, next Tuesday. I mentioned that I must be insane in the first post, didn't i?