Tools

Hello again!

Today I'm going to take the opportunity to talk about the tools I am using to create Spaceship 2217, and why I'm using them.

Spaceship 2217 is going to be a pretty major milestone for me: a commercial game which I am trying to make quickly, but to a high standard, so to achieve this I am using the most efficient tools I can!

Engine

Spaceship 2217 is being made using GameMaker Studio 2 by YoYo Games! Although this iteration is relatively new, there is already a lot of content out there for anyone needing help with GameMaker, including tutorials and official documentation. I'm already experienced with GameMaker, having made both Knights of Fantasy and Ninja Boy in versions of the engine. I'm also quite a big fan of GML, GameMaker's built in programming language, due to the leniency of the syntax - you don't have to put semicolons at the end of every line if you don't want to, for example.

Audio

Currently I am using as3sfxr to create the sound effects for the game (with occasional tweaking in Audacity). I am not a sound designer, and so sfxr makes this all a lot more straightforward for me. I may change this later, however, to a sound generator I have more control over, such as Chiptone.

I am using Bosca Ceoil to make the music at present (although, again, this could change at some point). I'm not a composer either, so I've gone for the easy route. Before release I intend to dedicate a lot more time to learning music theory and studying how to craft an effective score with limited tools at my disposal. It doesn't have to be anything too dramatic, but I want to ensure a good standard of quality throughout.

Art

This is my most complex pipeline, so stick with me!

Firstly, I use Asset Forge to create 3D models of the different ships and hazards in the game. The reason for this is, again, efficiency, but also quality. Using Asset Forge I can create these models with a consistent sense of scale, and give them more realistic proportions than if I were to draw them myself. As can be seen in my previous projects (where I've not just used geometric shapes) I tend to go for a more cartoony art style, such as in Knights of Fantasy and Ninja Boy, where characters clearly do not have realistic proportions. I'm taking Spaceship 2217 as an opportunity to try something new when it comes to art design, and so far, I quite like what's been happening!

However, the sprites exported by Asset Forge aren't completely ready to use straight away - first I apply a certain style to them in paintdotnet, removing anti-aliasing and changing the colours to the PIXPIX32 palette. I used this palette in Ninja Boy and enjoy its boldness, making different colours easily distinguishable at a glance as well as making their silhouettes pop against a dark background. If it sounds like I know what I'm talking about when it comes to colour palettes, I really don't, hence why I'm borrowing someone else's palette!

You may have also noticed the portraits on the right hand side of the screenshots - these are some of the characters of the game, although they are not final, and I have been experimenting with different set ups for dialogue moments and cut scenes. For these portraits, I used the Game Character Hub to construct faces out of the presented assets, and then opened the result in paintdotnet to, again, apply a distinct style!

Whew, that was a long devlog. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more on the game!

-Morgan

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