Level Selection Screen remade, New Cutscenes

24 October 2013

I’ve been really busy in life and away for 4 months because of National Service! I could only come back home on weekends and by then I am usually too tired to do much. However, with a stroke of luck, I was posted to a unit that doesn’t require us to stay in, which is extremely rare. As such, I am able to come back home every day at 7.30pm. I don’t want to let valuable time pass by like this. The few hours every day isn’t much, but at least I now have some time to devote to work on Introvert!

Level Selection Screen remade
I also had a one week holiday, which I used to solve certain issues pertaining to the Level Select, which has been bugging me for the past months. The reason why the LevelSelect had to be changed in the first place was because:
– It was too squeezy
– Does not look very nice

The Level Selection screen has undergone major changes every once in a while, and the main problems with my level selection screen based on feedback was:
– Too troublesome to navigate. Player has to actually “play” the levelselect to enter a level. Not cool.
– Messy. There is no flow in the levelselect. The portals to the levels are zigzagging everywhere.

Making a UI-based level select solves some old issues, but introduced new ones.
– Ugly
– Not intuitive
– Lots of empty space not utilized
– Does not transit well (player is suddenly restricted to grid-like movement to select levels)
I wasted a lot of time just re-doing. I have a bunch of LevelSelect.as that went to waste.

In the end, I made a new Level Select map that solves most problems. It looks pretty, is orderly and neat, and isn’t troublesome to navigate, but Han told me he could not explain it, but he preferred the “messy” Level Selection map, because the way the portals are arranged, and I guess the need for the player to “explore” the map gave him a feel that the turtle’s life was transitioning from being down in life to happiness. I suppose it sounds like a really cool feeling I want to give players, but as of now, I lack enough testers and feedback to make a conclusion of what works best.

Level Select comparisons

Top left shows the Level Selection being worked on currently (no decoration props added yet). Top right shows the interface level select.
And the 4 screenshots below are just versions of the old level selection screen are just there so that I can take the good points from them, and try to come up with a design that eliminates as much negative points as possible while combining the positive aspects of each design.

—-
Another aspect of the game that I like to work on: Cutscenes!
Somehow, I keep having ideas of cutscenes. They seem to really excite me for some reason, because they aren’t just traditional levels like the others. Each cutscene has its ‘unique’ feature, and that is what makes me excited.
I made three new cutscenes, and I am extremely proud of the final cutscene, which has some really cool stuff that I never attempted before. I really went crazy on the effects and transition of the scenes, and although the transition was very short, I was quite impressed that I made the entire cutscene work within just two days, especially since coding skills have the tendency tend to rust after such a long break.

Pictures of cutscene:

I have not shown anyone the new cutscenes, not even Li Hao or David. They are both very busy currently, which makes me feel so sad and lonely, being unable to gather any feedback. *Desperately need testers*

The cutscenes might undergo changes since there will definitely be ways I can make them more awesome, especially since Li Hao and David always gave me really helpful feedback.
—-

Believing in yourself (warning: lots of personal reflections/musings here)
I know nobody came here to read some rubbish morales/ life lesson thing, much less want to know how I feel about producing a game, but just now, I was looking to improve/expand on the Main Menu background. I found myself staring at the Main menu background for a good time.

You know, many months ago, when I made my first background, I thought that it looked really good. When I was later told that it was not good enough, I was very sure that there was no way I could improve it. There was no way I could do any better. Yet eventually, I ended up drawing something so much better and much more impressive. I thought I could reuse some of the old main menu assets, but I realised I did not want to.

And when I was deleting some of the old main menu assets from the xlf file that houses all the game assets, I honestly felt that what I drew months ago would never cut it as a Main Menu. It was really ugly lol, especially the buttons. The old main menu used to be pretty to me, and I could not let go of that, so I refused to believe I could draw something better, but I did in the end. I discarded the main menu I took days to draw, and it was worth it.

I didn’t believe I could do better, but I did.

But this isn’t just a single lesson and all. One of the things that I wanted to learn was how to let go of old stuff – letting go of the past has been something I have not been doing well in.

I have a feeling that at the end of this project, I will have learnt more than just programming and learning how to utilize Photoshop… There are just some things we learn along the way that we never thought we’d learn when we first do it.

When I started making Introvert, I never thought that one day, I’d hire David to make sounds and music for the game.

When I started making Introvert, I never thought that one day, I’d actually go to the extent to invest my own money, to try to reach a standard that would have approval from sponsors. I didn’t even know that FGL existed, much less expect myself to use it.

Looking at Introvert, and seeing how close it is to completion, it really makes me happy. It’s the overwhelming excitement that fills me that makes me want to push myself to complete it, to talk about it, to work on it, and to think of it when I go to bed, when I go through the physical training while I’m in the army.

Some day, months from now, Introvert will (hopefully) be published, and I am ever so curious to see players’ feedback on it. I hope I have not pushed my hopes too high, and hopefully I won’t be disappointed by how this game fares. After all, I have put so much effort into this game. But of course, I understand that effort doesn’t always reap rewards.

I guess when the game is completed, I will find out.

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