Friday, July 15, 2011

[AD] Bonus Levels

Over the past week I've been starting to create the two bonus levels in the game, exciting... Seriously though I wasn't sure how exactly to tackle them, seeing as I originally planned to have them accessible straight after opening them. In fact I'll just list the original vs. the new:

  • Bonus One required Arcade levels Mellow Meadows and Craving Caverns to be perfected, and could be accessed directly through the Arcade 'lobby'.
  • Bonus Two required Arcade levels Vivacious Volcano and Everlong Everest to be perfected, and could be accessed directly through the Arcade lobby.
  • Bonus One would have the approximate difficulty level of Vivacious Volcano and will include a new 'obstacle' (not telling what it is though!).
  • Bonus Two would have the difficulty level of just higher than Everlong Everest, and will also include a new 'obstacle' (not saying what this one is either..!)
  • Double Jump was the reward from Bonus Two, whilst a Secret was a reward from Bonus One.
  • No perfection times/times in general.
  • Bonus One and Bonus Two both still require the same levels to be perfected, but cannot be accessed until all four Arcade levels have been completed.
  • Bonus One has a higher difficulty level than Everlong Everest, it is however shorter (2 rooms).
  • Bonus Two has a higher difficulty level than Bonus One, it is three rooms long.
  • Rewards from completing Bonus One and Bonus Two are both Secrets.
  • Rewards from perfecting both Bonus One and Bonus Two is the double jump ability due to it potentially making the game a lot easier.
  • Perfection times and time system included in the levels.

So yeah, both bonus levels I think have changed a fair bit in terms of difficulty, making the double jump ability a fair bit harder to get, which I think is good seeing as it could potentially make some of the more difficult rooms easier (even though I myself have only been testing the game using single jump). I do not have any plans to include a "###% game complete" inside the pause menu or whatnot however, as I think it's rather pointless, complete all levels, perfect all Arcade/Bonus levels, collect all 9 secrets and that's your 100%!

Also on another note, I've made a music system and implemented it into the game, it's a rather simple one but it works and I'll be keeping it. Another thing crossed off my to-do list!

So until later, happy gaming/developing/etc/etc/etc!


Friday, July 1, 2011

The Art of Motivation

Being motivated to do work, or anything for that matter can be a real challenge. Staying motivated throughout the entire time I've been developing Approaching Dawn has definitely not been easy and was probably the most challenging part of the entire design/development process.

There were times throughout the development where I had ceased to do any work at all for many weeks due to just feeling all 'creatived' out. In fact not being motivated was probably one of the main reasons I did not get the game finished before the end of the sixth YoYo Games competition - which was September 1st, 2010. It's been quite some time since that deadline passed and looking back now motivation is what I struggled with the most.

This blog post will outline some ways that I 'got' my motivation back, and some tips on what not to do. So without further ado I'll begin:

Don't Get Ahead Of Yourself
A pretty simple one, and a motivation killer, especially when you find yourself overwhelmed with the massive plans you had made. Know your limits, and if you think your plans are a bit big, make it smaller, big doesn't necessarily mean better.

Don't Overwork Yourself
Simple, don't spend too much time each day/week on your project, because I found this also leads to having no motivation. Like everything you need moderation, and doing 8 hour days working on a project only helps you wanting to have a month, or two, or three break.

Don't Create Multiple Projects To Work On At Once
Working on many projects at once can be very overwhelming. Splitting your time up, keeping motivation and creativity for all of them can be very difficult. So stick to one, you can always write another story, or develop another game, or paint a picture after you've finished the one you're working on.

Find The Inspiration
Find a source of inspiration, this could be reading novels, playing games of the genre that you want to make, all sorts of things. I found a person who inspired me and gave me motivation to do work, the sky is the limit when looking for it!

Mix It Up
Especially when designing games, don't stay doing one thing for hours and hours, mix it up - change what you're doing. Example: I've been programming cutscenes, take a break from them and do some level design instead, or spriting etc. Doing the same thing can be very boring after a while and boredom does sap away at your motivation!

Force Yourself
There are times where you just don't 'feel' like working on it, or times where you say 'I have no motivation', do something about it! Force yourself to do a bit of programming, or a bit of writing, even if it turns out trashy it can be cleaned up later on, as long as you're working then you should be able to start generating ideas and well, getting some motivation!

Go Outside, Walk, Exercise
Going outside for a walk or doing some exercise after a few hours of working on my projects allowed me to clear my mind, relax and feel a lot better and a lot more keener to get work done when I came back. Heck, even just the feeling of being outside and fresh made me feel a lot better.

It's all good to go and read stuff on how to be motivated, but that won't motivate you. It is up to YOU to do something, so the longer you sit there thinking about how to get motivated the more time you're wasting! The best way is to slowly pick away at the things you've learnt on how to stay motivated and keep doing it.

There are plenty other things to get you motivated out there, not just the ones I've mentioned. Some of them might not even work for you, the important thing is though you do something, sitting around thinking about how to get motivated isn't very productive!

As for me, back to work I go!