Mini Monster Maker - First Game

LadyLala

  • Posts: 38
Hi all,

I'm new here, and I'm pretty excited to discover how easy it is to make games with Stencyl. I'm an artist and frontend web developer, but I've never made a game (yet). Just played them. I won't bore you with my history...

Mini Monster Maker is an idea that I came up with as a practice for a larger game I'd like to make someday down the road when I'm more experienced. The idea behind this mini game is to build a creature using preset options in a menu/builder. I always enjoy making my own personalized characters in RPG games, and so I figured this would be a nice prototype for any future game where I wanted this feature.

I spent two evenings after work doodling - so here's my very rough sketches for a basic type of gameflow/selection process. Obviously I could add more options and items later, once the first working version is complete.

What do you think? Is this a silly idea I should just build for myself as practice, or does it have any merit here? FYI, I know I'm horrible at writing copy - the pretzel joke is one between my sister and I, and just placeholder (most likely) for now until I get something better together. Same with the art - will be updated later. At this point the graphics are just enough for me to knock some code blocks together.

Thanks for any and all suggestions - I'm not married to this concept, and open to constructive input.


merrak

  • *
  • Posts: 2480
I really like the artwork so far! (Bonus points for the aquarium in the background). When you complete all the steps, what happens to your creature?

LadyLala

  • Posts: 38
Thanks! (I drew each fish on its own layer and gave them a 3-frame cycle too!)

Hmmm.. It's not really the point in this exercise for me as to what happens; I figured a short animation at the end might be enough, although it would be nice to be able to take some sort of screenshot with the camera (inserting the player's face) alongside the monster and send the screenshot to the phone's gallery, but I think that's a limitation of the program; although I could be wrong...

Uh. Rambling, sorry. Since it's my first game, I wanted to start small so I can finish something modular I could use for virtually any other game I make going forward.

That being said - is that a bad idea? What should happen? Gosh, I just doodled this for fun >.>

The end result, I figured to just post here to the stencyl gallery - but I wasn't planning on porting this to any other platform or mobile device... maybe HTML5 for my portfolio site if it comes out nicely.

merrak

  • *
  • Posts: 2480
It'd be neat if the game were hosted somewhere so that it kept a gallery of the creatures people came up with. That would be difficult, though. On the other hand, a screen capture of just the monster + lab would be simple.

The modular goal you described worked very well for me. A lot of my smaller projects get rolled up into larger ones. Once you start to build a library of behaviors you can import into your projects, programming takes less time. Just be sure to keep good notes about how your code works (use the comment feature!)

LadyLala

  • Posts: 38
Yeah - I would love to make a big, extensive huge game someday - but right now, seeing as how I'm just mucking about, I wanted to do something fun and silly so I wasn't hugely invested in it and over my head.

I see you have some pretty great artwork yourself! I'm over at deviantart too - search mynti for my artwork.

I've been doing a lot of video and animation work for my day job - and now games...  it's a new hobby. Nice to meet you - and thanks for the feedback!

« Last Edit: July 14, 2016, 08:51:49 pm by LadyLala »

LadyLala

  • Posts: 38
Having fun tonight making some animation tests - here's my favorite so far... still got to work out some issues - and it's not detailed; but I think the general movement is okay...

ceosol

  • *
  • Posts: 2262
The right leg looks like it has a shorter stride, while the left leg doesn't look like it is bending. It is fine, but he seems to have a little bit of a limp :)

One of my favorite games as a kid was Monster Rancher (a game that became an anime instead of an anime that became a game). 90% of the game was just sitting there with your monster. I've been wanting to make a monster game ever since then - way before I even started game development. Maybe some time we could collab on a project.

LadyLala

  • Posts: 38
Awesome! Yeah - you're right. Thanks!  Something was bothering me about it, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

I'm used to drawing still 2D paintings; I figured I should get back to basics with some animation doodles to get my feet wet. I did a bunch of quick ones tonight - some okay (like the one attached), and some fails... as always!  Drawing motion is a whole new challenge - and a lot of fun!

I'd love to collab once I've gotten more experience (it's my first week as a game doodler, so I can't really commit to anything good right now!) I really appreciate the invitation :D I like the idea of collaborating with someone with more experience than me - I have a lot to learn...

What's cool about Stencyl is it seems even I can create a pretty complex game... but even just to animate my artwork and make it interactive is a fun exercise too.

LadyLala

  • Posts: 38
The right leg looks like it has a shorter stride, while the left leg doesn't look like it is bending. It is fine, but he seems to have a little bit of a limp :)

Ceosol - thanks for your advice. I've altered the animation - hopefully this looks better.

In addition to your comments about the legs, I also adjusted the hands, and some of the chest/head movement to hopefully seem more natural.

Thanks again for your critique!

« Last Edit: July 15, 2016, 07:18:30 am by LadyLala »

gurigraphics

  • Posts: 688
Now missing only raise and lower the height of hips and head.



merrak

  • *
  • Posts: 2480
The motion still looks a bit stiff to me. I think with the amount of detail you have, more frames might make it easier to get more fluid motion

Drawing motion is a whole new challenge - and a lot of fun!

I'm slowly working on animation myself. Muybridge is one of my favorite references.

ceosol

  • *
  • Posts: 2262
The motion still looks a bit stiff to me. I think with the amount of detail you have, more frames might make it easier to get more fluid motion

I was going to say the same thing. I think two extra frames, at the "down" point for each leg (in guri's picture) - showing the knee bend better would make it more fluid.

LadyLala

  • Posts: 38
Wow thanks guys! I'm in the middle of working on something else right now; but I'm going to fix this little walking suit dude based on everyone's input. I'll post my revision this weekend. This community is great - thanks for all the suggestions!

 
The motion still looks a bit stiff to me. I think with the amount of detail you have, more frames might make it easier to get more fluid motion

I'm slowly working on animation myself. Muybridge is one of my favorite references.

Holy donkey - that muybridge site is awesome, thank you so much for the link!

A question about animation frames - it seems to me that with a high resolution PNG actor, stencyl has issues with a lot of frames in each animation - is it because I'm working too big? For example - the ship animation in the Mini Monster Maker game has 3 frames and is an 800x800 pixel PNG; but when I add more frames to the actor sequence, it really slows down Stencyl and makes saving a chore.

I guess I should be working at smaller resolutions >.> Or maybe saving as gifs instead?

merrak

  • *
  • Posts: 2480
I don't think 800x800 is a tall order, but 3200x3200 would be... which is how large the 4x resolution images would be. Take a look at App Scaling. In particular,

Quote
You can import at a lower scale such as 1x or 2x (you can tell Stencyl what scale you are importing at, at the time that you import), and Stencyl will generate the hi-res variants. This is useful for retro games.

If you don't need the larger assets, try disabling them in the settings. Look at settings -> advanced tab. This may also be a good time to make a backup of your project.

LadyLala

  • Posts: 38
merrak, you are, of course, 100% correct. I have all my silly actors generating 4x scaling on a game that's already 1280x720 natively on import... talk about your hi-def! But no. I'll adjust the settings. Lol! You are a lifesaver.

As for backing up - I just export the game into a .stencyl file correct? If so, I've been doing that! Luckily all my silly games are simple prototypes right now - I'm still working out all the assorted bits of code before I'll start the full beta version of MMM - so all of this is not a big deal to adjust for.

With my prototypes, I make a new project specifically for the behavior I'm trying to figure out, so everything is in bits right now. But it makes some kind of logical sense to work this way for me, at least, until I get a handle on what the heck I'm doing.

« Last Edit: July 15, 2016, 11:02:26 am by LadyLala »