Thursday, 31 December 2015

A Little Look Back at 2015!

My first (and second and third!) game came out this year! Here is a little run down of the games I finished this year.

# First one

Back in March my game for NaNoRenO was released, the game was New Pisces.

New Pisces

I learned a lot about deciding on a realistic scope and working to a deadline to finish a game! Skills which have been incredibly useful. I am still yet to complete a game which isn't for a game jam, but I feel like I stand a chance next year!

New Pisces was quite ambitious, I wanted to write about horoscopes (I find mystical things fascinating for a number or reasons) and the technological singularity from the point of view of a (questionably) unreliable narrator. I wanted the visual aesthetic to be strong and of course an interesting mechanic around the audio. While there was a lot of room for improvement, mostly in the areas of the story and how it ties into the music and player choices, I am incredibly happy with what I achieved given my lack of experience and time restrictions! A few months after the release I noticed this write up which I am still so happy about

A background image from New Pisces
I remember looking up all sorts of things about astrology while in a car dealership one day in March, the research part of game development is always a lot of fun for me.
I would consider making an updated version of the game one day!

# Second one

Next up was a fantasy game which had a much more traditional visual novel presentation this was for SuNoFes in July/August, that was For Ambergris.

For Ambergris

I wanted to make a game set in something like my ultimate fantasy universe! Full of enigmatic characters and strange goings on. When I approached it I had in my mind that this would be issue 0 of a 'motion comic' hybrid kind of story. I love that visual novels can be very different from traditional games and traditional films or book and I just wanted to get stuck in making something weird, that appeals to me. The game ended up being a bit of a mess as the story didn't really get going, so it's like half of a chapter one of a book, but with enough elements in the story for a trilogy of novels probably. Following this I really resolved to learn more about the craft of writing!

Background in For Ambergris
I think the assets in the game were the best bits about it, the music by Urban Fox and the art which I did and had a lot of fun making. For one of the scenes I took a photo of loads of playing cards and Magic the gathering cards in a stack which I then embellished in photoshop using the games colour palette - something that New Pisces didn't really have! I also tried to push my ren'py skills further with this game, by changing the text box appearance based on what type of text was on screen and introducing a click-to-continue indicator in the top right hand corner.

I released this game on the Android play store - it has about a 2 star rating - which is probably about right! It's motivating me to make a better game. I don't feel like I'll ever really chase ratings, as I want to make games that I'd enjoy playing first and foremost! But I do want others to enjoy them as well if at all possible!

# Third one

Lastly is my most recent game made for the NoBrainerIFJam in November, Void Id.

Void Id

Another fantasy VN set in the same universe as For Ambergris and featuring many of the same characters although a different protagonist. The jam had the rule of not exceeding 24 hours of development! I totally spent 48 hours on it though and even then I felt a lot of it was rushed! But it was a lot of fun writing this story which was inspired by what was going through my head when I couldn't sleep when I had a cold in late October. I really wanted a cookie person with a vape. Oh I didn't mention in the For Ambergris write up that gender hardly exists in this universe, something that I've been thinking a lot about over the year and as such made it's way into my games even though not into the stories themselves, which was pretty much a conscious decision.

Cookie and Kelp from Void Id
I think the writing was much better in this than For Ambergris. It's a weird game, which is what I was aiming for. So in that respect it was a success. It's only had about 29 downloads for PC and Mac since it's release, I think I could've done more to spread the word about the game, but due to it's lack of polish I couldn't quite bring myself to do that!

# OK next

So next year I'm planning to make a game that's not for a jam at all. The game I'm currently working on is a chill sim with, at least, a musical mechanic. I will announce more about that when I'm a little further along with it!

Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Void Id out now - NoBrainerIFJam

Another game jam game!

Here it is:

Void Id
It's an odd visual novel. The idea with this jam was to make an interactive fiction in 24 hours (but at your own pace over a month).

I actually spent about 48 hours on it in total, but to be fair half of that was creating art and sound assets, so I'm pretending that I am 2 people with the same name in hopes that counts as a team effort...

Thanks to qualifiedbadger for animations, I love how the vapours and breaths turned out.

Today is exactly a year since my first post here! I'm going to spend a little time planning my next project, which, in theory, won't be for a game jam. But chances are it will take so long to make that I'll release something for a jam before it's done!

Sunday, 18 October 2015

d20 post updated, inktober and playing other VNs

Well I'll try to do a monthly post even if I don't have anything of interest to report!

I've been keeping myself fairly busy in October so far with #inktober - all of my inked drawings are getting posted on my personal twitter which is @paradigmshifty

Here's one for fun:

Inktober drawing
Also I've been playing at least 10mins of a new visual novel every day this month (a challenge suggested by @renpytom), some games have been amazing and some have randomly crashed part way through! It's great soaking up the decisions other developers have made in such an industrious way, it helps me question my own decisions.

Attention RPG fans! Hehe, just a quick note to say I have updated my popular (over one hundred page views!!) d20 in Ren'Py post : 

It actually has some examples now, which some may find useful.

Still doing concept work for a couple of games, I'm not going to rush into full development mode until I decide what I really want to work on! It's something I've learned from participating in a couple of game jams this year (NaNoRenO and SuNoFes) - once you start to feel a bit fatigued by the project you need something to pull you through to the end, for me that's been both the themes I wanted to explore and the impending jam deadlines!

Friday, 11 September 2015

Ren'py game filesize tips, how do you make your game smaller and Sleepy Agents Update

I've been meaning to write on this topic, and I'm sure I have, but only messily until now.

So you know a lot of people have poor internet connections, or not much hard drive space, and when they see a game available for download that's over 100mb they may stop to think twice. Also if you'd like to upload a game to the android play store that is easier when it's under 50mb as you don't need to worry about creating an expansion file (which isn't too bad, but can be an extra hurdle to some I'm sure). Edit: Google Play store now allows files up to 100mb without the need for an expansion file.

So these situations aren't exactly the only reason you'd want to make your games filesize smaller. It's generally considered good practice to trim unnecessary bloat (though on the subject of webdesign this article makes good points about keeping filesizes down which it's easy to draw parallels with in terms of games which are distributed over the internet - pretty much all games!).

First thing to consider is the engine will already need some megabytes before you start adding assets, in the case of Ren'Py we're talking around 25-30mb. (once compressed in a zip file or similar this gets reduced to aroun 10mb) Is it possible to build a long game in ren'py in under 50mb? Well yes, but if you want to include decent quality (resolution/bitrate) music and art then it would be pretty tight. Instead just aim to trim down files that are unnecessary to the finished product.

A very quick win is to remove the files from the game directory that you don't even use! Yes these will go into the build if they are in the folder, so if they aren't in the game then remove them! There is probably a handy tool for checking for these type of files... I'll see if I can find anything. But I just check manually myself.

Now onto filetypes. You will probably want to use OGG files for audio assets, as these are smaller than MP3s for pretty much the same result. I've listened to OGG files at 320kbps and 192kbps against the WAV originals and found the quality perfectly acceptable for my games, I'd urge you to do a A/B split test to see if your ears can tell the difference if you are concerned about reducing the quality of your audio assets. There are many places you can do further reading on audio filetypes and quality (here is one example: ) To convert to OGG I use an online converter -

For images I like to use gif with 8 or 16 colours if I'm really trying to get a small file. Obviously this only works for certain assets and aesthetics. I use the Photoshop "Save to Web" export to play with my filetypes, I don't know if this is the best way but I find it has what I need. I also try to save photo's as Jpegs (sliding the compression down to find a good balance between the quality and the filesize - often around 75-85 for me). If you can get your full size images down from around 1mb to around 300kb then you'll be able to have over 3 times the assets for the same filesize at a quality that looks fine to the eye (something I should do is split tests on images using different monitors to see how they compare).

That's about it.

1. Remove unnecessary files from the game directory
2. Use Ogg for audio
3. Compress your images to find a a balance between quality and filesize

I'm sure for longer VNs and games with lots of poses, expressions, etc. there would be much more to say about being logical and not making 10 medium size files when 1 medium size and 10 small ones would accomplish the same job, but that's not something I've got much experience with.

Let me know if you have any thoughts of useful links that I can add to this post :)

Edit: This site is for reducing png filesizes: - I'm yet to try it out. But thanks very much to @baiyu_dev on twitter for the tip :)

And a quick update on Sleepy Agents:
Thanks for all the downloads and plays of For Ambergris. I've seen a couple of lets plays on youtube which is really amazing, I didn't think that would happen! The game now has an accessible build for anyone wanting to use the ren'py self-voicing feature or the auto-advance feature you can grab that from -
And it is on the Google play store! My first game officially released on Android, which is something I've wanted to do for years now, it feels good to have done that. (the link can be found from the page too).

What's next? Well I'm re-scripting the pizza game and hopefully will make a drive to finish that over the next few months. I'm also doing some outlines for future games (I have 3 in my mind which are all very different to each other and may or may not be released as sleepy agents games!) So I will share more information about whichever project is going to be next once I have decided!

Friday, 14 August 2015

For Ambergris #SuNoFes Out Now !

So you may be wondering if I got my game finished on time for the SuNoFes deadline...

I did! (I know, I already spoiled that in the title...)

Here is the link to download:

For Ambergris ( A Sleepy Agents Game )
This one is a kinetic novel, there are some choices in there, but mostly these save your desicions for a possible sequel, prequel, sidequel... Sorry if that's weird or annoying!

The music is good! I did the first track and the other 5 tracks are by Urban Fox -

Let me know what you think to the story - it's just about 20 mins long if you were wondering - also what did you think to the Click-To-Continue indicator and the character thoughts dialogue box changing.

Made this with Ren'Py for the SuNoFes jam - check out the jam here:

It took me roughly 5 weeks, I did the writing, coding, sound fx and a lot of the art too. I used a few CC assets to help with things like backgrounds :)

All the credits are in the game but I will link to the backgrounds as they are the main resource - - thanks for these OokamiKasumi!

Any feedback send that to me on LSF @paradigmshifty or twitter @sleepyagents / @paradigmshifty or email if you like!


Monday, 3 August 2015

For Ambergris - Just a random update #sunofes

- 100% Script
- 40% Editing
- 90% BGs
- 75% Sprites
- 60% Music/audio
- 90% Coding

Wow I was getting worried, but after a decent amount of progress I'm sure I can get finished on time!
Android release may be released a little later than the pc/mac/linux version as I haven't prioritised any android testing so far.

I finished a sprite today which I am happy to use for this game jam game!
I'm quite pleased with the result - I have plenty of room for improvement (I started drawing about 14 months ago, a lot still to learn!)

For Ambergris "Cassidy" Sprite
For Ambergris "Cassidy" Sprite
I will write about drawing and other art topics at some point in the future in case it's at all helpful!


Tuesday, 28 July 2015

For Ambergris Update! #SuNoFes

I literally just this minute finished adding my script to Ren'Py - the VN game engine I'm using for my latest game, For Ambergris.

It took a while as I've been breaking a fundamental rule of good programming - DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself). I've added the exact same 3 lines of code after every block of text... Given the time restraints of a jam I thought this would be easier than working out the proper solution!

So now I'd say I'm at about:

- 100% Script
- 30% Editing
- 66% BGs
- 5% Sprites
- 5% Music/audio
- 66% Coding

Here's a little Q&A I did with myself about the game:

define i = Character('Interviewer with incredibly long surname that will surely go onto two lines in the Say box if the game width is set to 800 pixels or below", color="#e0d4b6", what_slow_cps=38, what_font="LondonTwo.ttf")define p = Character('Paradigm Shifty', color="#f6beff", what_slow_cps=38, what_font="LondonTwo.ttf")

i "So, what's this ambergris game all about?"
p "It's called 'For Ambergris'. It's a short, light-mystery fantasy kinetic novel. I'm making it for the SuNoFes jam!"

i "Oh, but what's it about?"
p "Well, you play Jamie who receives an unusual invitation from an unknown source. The story goes from there. There's a weird painting, some tea drinking, it's set in London (in 2010 I think). There are a few supporting characters who you don't learn too much about. I am thinking this story may be the first of many set in a shared universe."

i "OK cool, so this game's going to have actual character sprites and dialogue and stuff?"
p "Yeah, I'd say it's much more traditional than my first game…"

i "How short is it?"
p "I think about 20 mins."

i "What is the game's purpose?"
p "Whoah that's deep. Erm. I wanted to make this for many reasons; to get writing and editing experience and Android release experience (hopefully). This will be the second game I've made nearly solo (Urban Fox is contributing some amazing music again like with my first game, New Pisces.) And I've wanted to make this VN (or, KN whatever) since I outlined the story earlier this year - it lends itself to the possibility of me making an indirect sequel with some characters and stories from old D&D campaigns I wrote! I will sometimes call it a VN (which I think implies player choices really mattering) even though at the moment it's a stand-alone KN as I would love to use the choices you make in this impact a different game set after this one!

i "Right… Why should I bother playing it again?"
p "Huh. I thought you were interested when I was talking about tea-drinking and antique furniture! It's just an interesting way to spend 20mins, reading a story with some music and art, seeing what you think of it. Well I think it's fun to read these things :) If it's more interesting than playing tetris or pong for half an hour then I'll think of it as a success!"

i "You're comparing your game to 2 household-name games there!"
p "Uh. Can I take that back?"

i "No. But did you want to say anything about the art or anything?"
p "Oh yeah, I especially want to mention that the soundtrack by Urban Fox is a great listen, check out
The art is by me, there's a mix of stuff I've made and other bits which are edits of creative commons material."

i "Is that it?"
p "It can be if you like?"

i "I think it's for the best."

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Update for SuNoFes game jam - For Ambergris

Wow it's been nearly 3 months since my last post here. Although only 140 characters I do update my twitter a lot more, it is @sleepyagents

The reason for this post is really to announce my upcoming game I'm working on for SuNoFes - - which started today and runs for 5 weeks I believe.

The game will be called For Ambergris, unless I change the title of course.

Art for 'For Ambergris'
I really wanted to do this project to help improve my writing and editing skills in particular, as I feel they are lacking more so than other areas.

I won't say too much about the game at this point, but it is a fantasy story (it will be suitably short so that it definitely gets finished!) in which the protagonist receives an unusual invite. I'm not 100% settled on how much interactivity I'd like to have in this - I may even decide it works better as a kinetic novel.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Ren'Py Multiple Audio Channels or Tracks

I keep meaning to do this post about audio channels in Ren'Py.

It was when I was working on my Nanoreno game, New Pisces, that I realised I would need to dig a bit deeper than just the Music, Sound and Voice channels that are standard in a new Ren'Py project. I wanted to have at least 12 loops of audio playing at the same time.

(This might seem like a lot, but the loops are quite stripped back - not full songs - and the 'gameplay' focuses on the interactive audio.)

After saving my 24+ audio files as mostly wav and ogg depending on the filesize (I tend to convert my wav files to ogg if they are over 1mb in the interest of keeping overall filesize low - I've been using to convert the files) I started to look at how to get multiple music channels.

The Ren'Py documentation on Audio is here where I saw:
 "New channels can be registered with"

I think I first tried putting that code into the options.rpy file which didn't work and eventually I had a go with it in the script.rpy file - which works just fine! I also added "init python:" which I think I must've discovered on the lemmasoft forums ( ) when searching for solutions. In case it's helpful to anybody here is my code from the very top of my script.rpy file:

# You can place the script of your game in this file.

init python:"one", mixer=None, loop=None, stop_on_mute=True, tight=False, file_prefix='', file_suffix='', buffer_queue=True)"two", mixer=None, loop=None, stop_on_mute=True, tight=False, file_prefix='', file_suffix='', buffer_queue=True)"three", mixer=None, loop=None, stop_on_mute=True, tight=False, file_prefix='', file_suffix='', buffer_queue=True)"four", mixer=None, loop=None, stop_on_mute=True, tight=False, file_prefix='', file_suffix='', buffer_queue=True)"five", mixer=None, loop=None, stop_on_mute=True, tight=False, file_prefix='', file_suffix='', buffer_queue=True)"six", mixer=None, loop=None, stop_on_mute=True, tight=False, file_prefix='', file_suffix='', buffer_queue=True)"seven", mixer=None, loop=None, stop_on_mute=True, tight=False, file_prefix='', file_suffix='', buffer_queue=True)"eight", mixer=None, loop=None, stop_on_mute=True, tight=False, file_prefix='', file_suffix='', buffer_queue=True)"nine", mixer=None, loop=None, stop_on_mute=True, tight=False, file_prefix='', file_suffix='', buffer_queue=True)"ten", mixer=None, loop=None, stop_on_mute=True, tight=False, file_prefix='', file_suffix='', buffer_queue=True)"eleven", mixer=None, loop=None, stop_on_mute=True, tight=False, file_prefix='', file_suffix='', buffer_queue=True)"twelve", mixer=None, loop=None, stop_on_mute=True, tight=False, file_prefix='', file_suffix='', buffer_queue=True)"zero", mixer=None, loop=None, stop_on_mute=True, tight=False, file_prefix='', file_suffix='', buffer_queue=True)"zeroone", mixer=None, loop=None, stop_on_mute=True, tight=False, file_prefix='', file_suffix='', buffer_queue=True)

#my variables

define slowdis = Dissolve(2.0, alpha=False, time_warp=None)
define vslowdis = Dissolve(3.0, alpha=False, time_warp=None)
define pixelfast = Pixellate(0.3, 8)

Then to get my file playing on the desired channel I used:
    play one "00.ogg"

I also wanted to change the volume of certain channels at various points of the game, for that I used:
    $, delay=0.8, channel='one')

Here the volume is expressed as a decimal with 1.0 being full volume and 0.0 being silent, I believe this is accurate to more than one decimal place, but didn't do lots of testing to be sure that it doesn't round up or down. The delay property is the amount of time in seconds the change in volume takes, so the fade between the old and new volume.

Hopefully that has been helpful, if you'd like to ask me questions on this (or anything really!) the best way to get in touch is via twitter ( @sleepyagents )

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

NaNoRenO 2015 Entry: New Pisces - Android APK available now

Blog updates were on pause while I was finishing off my NaNoRenO game, New Pisces, which I managed to get finished by 31st March 2015.

You can download from:

New Pisces - NaNoRenO2015 - Sleepy Agents
I made an android version in addition to the standard PC ,Mac and Linux builds. The latest Ren'Py version (6.99 at time of writing) has made it much smoother to build an APK in Windows 8.1, in that it worked!

In addition to making a standalone APK file which can be sideloaded onto any android device I decided to go through some of the Google Play store setup. I made a publisher account via the Google Play Developer Console - - and paid my 25usd. (Just a comment on that, I think this one-time fee is a fair system which allows super-tiny developers and projects to get onto the play store, I really hope it remains a one-off fee and doesn't in the future move to an annual model. If you're planning on releasing on the play store it might be worth considering signing up for an account now just in case the system changes much in the future.)

Now due to the fact my game is closer to 100mb than it is to 50mb I had to create an expansion file - which I discovered is created in the same RAPT directory that Ren'Py saves the APK to and has the extension OBB (apparently stands for Opaque Binary Blob!). This would've been fine if I had read the documentation which the android configuration wizard clearly states you should! Doc: the bit at the bottom of that page tells you what to do to make a working expansion file! The bits of code build.google_play_key = "..." and build.google_play_salt = ( ... ) go into the options.rpy file (I put mine at the top of that file - after a failed attempt at adding them to script.rpy!). I wasn't 100% sure what to do for the salt so I made up some random numbers which I think is what is expected!

Google Play has a beta testing option, so I've used that to upload and test my game via the play store. I don't think I'll make the game public on the play store, this was really for my own learning. Oh and a quick nod to teamtreehouse ( ) which is a great paid for elearning site. I watched some of the android dev videos previously which was good to get a feel for what I was to be undertaking!

The next post really will be about audio channels!

Thursday, 12 March 2015


Hey. I got a new wacom!

new wacom!
new wacom!

I also got a selfie-stick, but that'll have to be a whole different blog post :P

My drawing tablet came with 3 months of adobe CC which is amazing. I'm loving having full photoshop as opposed to just elements. I'll certainly consider a monthly subscription when my trial expires if the price is alright.

I'll do a post soon about adding extra audio channels in ren'py. For now I'll just link to the new post on lemmasoft forums for my NaNoRenO game! -

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

NaNoRenO 2015 - Early Development

So, my main project is on pause for this month, just because I really wanted to take part in NaNoRenO!

My game is called New Pisces and it's definitely interactive fiction - I wouldn't call it a visual novel, but it's a short story with audio and visual aspects!

It's now day 3 of nano (it is a month long game jam more here: ) and so far I've been working on a bit of everything.

The concept is just about done (I still have a bit of thinking to do about one of the routes), I've made a few BGs, I haven't planned to make any character sprites (I shouldn't need any for my story) - so that's a big weight off my shoulders! and I've finished the programming and most of the music! Well that will change when I get to testing I'm sure.

I'm taking on pretty much all of the work solo, I'm hoping to convince a few friends to create some assets and do playtesting though. The whole game will be in the 10-30 min range I believe, so the scope isn't too large.

first attempt at writing the code in ren'py
First attempt at writing the code in ren'py
I've had a few small hurdles to overcome so far. Parsing the script failed! And my audio production software has just crashed on me!

But I've got a currently working, albeit sparse, version of the game.

Minimal design - set to change
Minimal design - set to change!
Of course there will be more snags to come ( some of which probably due to my unconventional screen resolution for the game - 720x720 :S )

more errors!
More errors!
One thing I've certainly learned so far, don't try to put a % inside a string of dialogue unless you escape it out (I just opted for the word percent - which also works!)

OK. Back to the audio assets.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Commissioning assets, game inspirations and NaNoRenO!

I'm dropping the whole Day XX from the posts, because math should only be done when absolutely necessary!

I've been sent some great audio assets (sound FX) from my good friend Urban Fox ( ) - I'm certainly going to use them in the game! I've never formally commissioned any assets for a project, and I still haven't (I have just pestered friends for freebies!), but I am thinking about commissioning art, music, and maybe even other things on future projects. I've started a deviantart account and am keeping an eye out for artists who do commissions, at least I'll have a small pool to approach in the future if I do want to go down this route!

Progress has been pretty slow lately (still doing drawings and plotting mostly), I've had a lot of paid work on, so that's been keeping me busy. It's always good to get paid from time to time!

I thought it would be fun to mention a few of the inspirations for my pizza game.

1. Sean Lock joke about a world with no herbs (from Sean Lock Live I believe) - I think about this from time to time, what would a world without herbs be like. You can substitute herbs for anything really and it's still interesting to think about.

2. Silver Spoon episode 4 ( ) - A great anime episode about pizza and friendship that really struck me when I watched it

3. Anamanaguchi - Endless Fantasy music video ( ) - This, although very different to the episode of Silver Spoon, made me think of the same themes of pizza and friendship!

And of course real life, that's a big inspiration too!

Finally, NaNoRenO, the month-long game jam for visual novels ( ) starts at the start of March. Last March I hadn't ever used Ren'Py. Around that time last year I was playing D&D and for one of my campaigns I made a small RPG element which could be played online - it was just a bit of javascript. Then it was around June that I had a go with Ren'Py and made an unfinished game (which I might talk about in a future post). I'm planning on giving nanoreno a go this year, which if I get something finished (or finished enough!) by the end of March that will be my first finished game!
Well I made a game about 12 years ago when I was at school, but that was only 'released' on the school LAN!

I've still got a few weeks to come up with a concept for this other game, I'm planning on doing it 100% myself, so it'll have to be VERY short.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Day 53 - Progress report - Trying not to get too sidetracked

The progress over the last 10 days has been very similar to previously, in that I've been mostly doing art with a little story development also.

I've been thinking quite a bit about how slow my progress has been compared to my expectations. I thought that because the game has a fairly short and linear story that would mean I could complete the whole project within a couple of months doing everything myself. It's been pretty much 2 months now and I've got a bit of a story, a collection of art and music assets (a lot of which might not fit into the game) and about 4 seconds of game coded in.

I don't feel disappointed, if anything the realisation has given me added passion to stop meandering and get some of the bulk of the actual game down. Once I've done that I'll have plenty of tasks in terms of sprite-creating, split-testing audio, etc. to get on with, which will be more worthwhile than mindlessly editing files that could very well not even make it into the game.

I've just been enjoying doing the art so much, I think especially as it's new to me, I'm learning lots about drawing and digital editing. I think it's a good idea to learn as much as possible when you are in that sort of highly receptive state - where you are thirsty for more knowledge. So it's a balance between derailing my new found passion for art or derailing my game project. Only neither need to get derailed if I can use my time as effectively as possible.

This has been a strange blog post. Right, back to the code!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Day 43 - Backgrounds and some handy photoshop shortcuts

Little progress report:
I've finished the first part of my script. Which is just the first draft and will need some editing in time.
But mostly I've been working on art still! I've got about 5 characters designed and have had a go at initial sprites too. Also getting through the backgrounds a bit, maybe done 25% of backgrounds at this point.

Story: 25%
Sprites: 5%
Backgrounds: 25%
Music: 10%
Coding: 2%

Put like that I guess I still have a long way to go!

Background made from a photo I took last summer
Background made from a photo I took last summer
When I'm a better artist I'd love to draw some backgrounds. But for this project I'll be using edited photos.

Handy photoshop shortcuts I've learned in the last few days:

CTRL+U : brings up the hue/saturation settings (yay!)
CTRL+L : brings up the levels settings
I : changes tool to eyedropper
B: changes tool to brush
E: changes tool to eraser

These aren't exactly hidden away, but for some reason I hadn't used them until a few days ago after watching some helpful youtube videos. I would usually link to the helpful videos, but I can't remember which videos they were! So instead I'll link to this channel which has some cool process videos about working digitally:

Friday, 2 January 2015

Day 33 - Character designs for game. Colour palette tip.

Over the last couple of weeks I've been mostly focusing on improving my drawing abilities and coming up with character designs. I feel spending time on these areas is worth delaying any actual game coding or story writing, but I'll have to switch back from art mode to game mode at some point or I'll be drawing forever.

glitchmode esme
Glitchmode Esme
A little tip I picked up (I think from Mark Crilley - to come up with a colour palette is to take a photo with some interesting colours in and use photoshop to simplify this into a few dozen colours.

photoshop colour palette from photo
Photoshop colour palette from photo
I did play a little with the saturation first (under Enhance > Adjust Colour > Adjust Hue/Saturation) and then applied the Crystallize filter (under Filter > Pixelate > Crystallize).