Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Background Challenge

These weeks I've been focused on risk management. In other words, I've been trying to identify (and subsequently eliminate) all potential road-blocks and hazards for the correct development of Bloodhunt. It's not an easy process, since we subconsciously avoid looking at risks (we reject staring at the eyes of death, of course). But it's really healthy for your development process, noticing your problems before they're too close to react.
So I made a list of Bloodhunt's most difficult tasks, everything that consumes too much time and represents a threat to the game. The top 5 points where variations on the same idea: Backgrounds.
Since the beginning of the game I've been struggling with location mockups, 2D and 2.5D perspectives and backgrounds in general. The Asylum took me weeks to complete, and the street level has finally blocked the creation process. Therefore it's time for taking a small shortcut. Let's just skip the street level for now. Which is the next level? The lair of the Lycanthrope. Ok, I have 5 hours to develop a full mockup of the lair, from sketch to textures and lighting. That's the Background Challenge. Also during the challenge I have to optimize the process for the next background. And so I did. Here's the final result.

Don't panick. I said "lair of the Lycanthrope" and I have added a big rat the size of a dog. That's not a werewolf. It's a new enemy I've been toying with, codenamed: Rat-Dog.
I'm pretty happy with the tunnels of the level, the crates and barrels (I love classical beat-em up cliches). Also, I have learned a couple of Photoshop tricks for working ultra-fast with pixels. They're super basic, but somehow I've worked without them until now.

  1. You can work with 1-pixel resolution and then scale up x4 with the close neighbour algorithm that produces no antialiasing. 
  2. You can add scattering to the pixel brush to paint random pixels around your brush. It's great for texturing the walls and floor. Also I used the trick in Rat-Dog hair (but I'll probably undo it, since it's maybe too much).
The challenge was so fulfilling that I took some extra time to animate the Rat-Dog. Nice.

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