My third full flash game is finally done! While my last one, Juggle Basher was essentially just a breakout clone, Block Merchant goes beyond the many tetris clones out there. It has different pieces, a new game mechanic of money and a shop which allows you to buy and sell blocks to optimize your set. The programming side of things was definitely a bit harder than the breakout clone, but where I really spent more time was the graphics. I probably put as much time into making the intro screen and the shop screen as into the programming. Fortunately, a fellow konger who goes by zoranac offered to help out with the music. He's been churning out all kinds of music in the Kongregate colabs.
Making a shop background has been difficult for me. First of all, I lack the drawing skills. Given an hour or so, I can do a decent job at realistic sketches, but comic-style drawing is what matters for games. After many, many false starts, I got a mediocre shop sketch done. I put a (hopefully) greedy-looking pig merchant in the front, a bookcase with blocks in the back and various low-tech shop stuff in the background. After taking a picture of my drawing with a digital camera and uploading it to my computer I went to Aviary, a web-based art-suite. It's not as powerful as Photoshop, but it's no slouch and it doesn't cost hundreds of dollars, either. I used the vector app to create polygon-based shapes on top of my sketch. Here's what it looked like part way through:
After finishing, then I saved the file as a png, and opened it with Paint.net to do the coloring and the details that had to be drawn. This process took me forever. Part of the problem is that I was using a mouse instead of a tablet, but I think most of it was just various rookie errors. Never resize stuff before using the paintbucket tool. The shapes will leak! Also, There were some serious perspective errors. Erasing and re-drawing huge chunks of picture really sucked. Next time, I'll try a lot harder to get it right with the vector based shapes at the beginning. I'm not completely proud of the final project, but I think it's better for my learning to just finish it and then be able to work on the next project sooner.
My second flash game is a breakout clone. It should be very familiar to anyone who ever played Arkanoid, Breakout or other paddle games. It's simple in terms of graphics, but it was much more work for me than the side-shooter I made since I had no stock graphics to work from. The collision detection was also a bit of a headache. Since there are multiple levels and score screens, I tried putting them into different frames instead of keeping everything in a single frame as I had in my first game.
It is a little disappointing to have taken so long to put this online, but life has been busy. My distractions have included moving to Beijing, making a visa run to Mongolia, fending off a beggar who tried to rob me, getting started on my HSK prep classes and a really cool girl I've recently met.