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2D Level Visual (De)compisition and Preparing for a 2D Game

Alrighty you guys, I haven't been on in a while, as you can see with the massive delay between the Making Images in GIMP Part 2 and the to-be Making Images in GIMP Part 3, school has been piling on the projects and I can only work the video games during the slim slots of free time I have, so in order to keep from going completely off the map with blog posts, this will be a tipper in the composition of 2D game levels.

In the game we are currently working on right now, we have to focus on keeping a consistent style of a Kirby-esque side-scroller.  Doing something like this has its ups and downs, such as the nostalgia that comes from playing a straight-on game side scroller where the objective is clear while the game itself has some difficulties.  Arranging the actual environment, however, is quite the stress-inducer, and requires you to become organized if you aren't already, otherwise you won't be able to get through it without some  a hella ton of tears.  So get the folders ready, the will power revving, and the wrist exercised, because this is going to tax the hell out of your artist.

  • First off, get organized.  Don't just set up folders though, set objectives for yourself, create some lists and stick to them.  As tempting as it is to do the easiest stuff first, in the long run it's better to do the most important - though maybe more difficult- assets first.  This will typically be the environment (i.e. ground, background, transition, obscurities, etc.)

Mmm, look at that sweet, sweet, organization.  Keeping everything clean will make things easier for you and everyone you are collaborating with.

  • Second thing, get yourself physically ready.  You need to be able to sit down and get things done.  Eat a snack, drink a drink, take a piss, and DO SOME STRETCHES.  Stretch your back, touch your toes, prepare your wrists.  I mean, I'm not going to lie, it's going to get pretty boring, drawing everything, cleaning everything, making sure what needs to loop actually loops properly.  I mean, I have three different sets of trees, you just have to push yourself and remember that the ultimate outcome will actually look good.  You are going to want to cry and go to bed to the sweet sound of apathy.  But do you know what you have to do?

  • The actual working part is probably the worst part.  Through out it, you may find that somethings looks really good as individuals, but looks terrible all together, or vice versa, the best thing to remember is that things can be changed.  I've gone back and revised a lot of things, it's just a part of the process.  You have to keep in mind, a lot of things will come in sets.  Such as the trees, in order to keep things from looking too consistent, it's important to have a variety of scenery so that the player doesn't get bored.  Something just as important as variety though, is the way you layer things.  The game is 2D, but you still want to give it depth.  This is where staying organized (see step one) is important.  More than just foreground and background, you want something that gives the game more than just minimal depth.  This is where singular trees, rocks, fungi, etc. comes in.  The way that these obscurities layer on top of each other as well as inside the actual game gives extra pizzazz to the environment.  This gives the player the idea that you actually understand how perspective works if you size everything correctly (things get smaller as they go back, bigger as they come forward).  The best mindset to have probably is to not expect everything come out right the first time, and therefor not be daunted by mistakes.

Here's an example of what the scene looks like prior and during rendering of game play.  It's all about the layers and will power.  Things will come together in the end, you just have to believe in your capabilities.


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