Yes, it’s true – we’ve been working on this game for over 3 years. You see, this is a hobby for us. We have jobs, school, and real life to deal with. Since we’ve started working on this project, we’ve moved, started at new schools, started a home business, and got married (yes, we’re a husband & wife dev team ). So, Artemis hasn’t been our #1 priority.
We love this project, though. I guess that’s why it has persevered. Lately, due to our other commitments, working on Artemis has been a sort of binge development process. That’s where we don’t work on the game for several months, and then suddenly there’s a weekend with free time (precious, precious free time) – so progress happens in bursts.
Our project goals have changed around a lot over the years. Originally, the game was going to have random, turn-based battles and a four character party. Those ideas were included in the game and somewhat fleshed out. Sometimes we have to go down the wrong path in order to realize it’s the wrong path, right?
So, 3+ years, and the project continues. I’ve heard that the guy who made Cave Story spent 5 years on it, and that game has won awards and stuff. I’m just sayin’.
It’s been a while since I posted a list of updates. Here are some things I’ve done lately:
- Since the player can jump now (see this post), this means only one weapon can be equipped at a time – because the second mouse button is used to jump instead of attack. This concerned me, because I was worried the player would have to constantly open the menu to switch attacks. So, to avoid this issue, I made it so the mouse scroll wheel switches weapons, like in a FPS. You can still use the menu, of course – but you don’t have to. And if your mouse doesn’t have a scroll wheel, well… get one. It’s 2009.
- The jumping will be useful for getting over holes and such, but I also wanted it to have a purpose in combat. So, the player can now preface a ground combo with a jump attack. Just think of fighting games, and you’ll know what I mean. My inspiration for this came from Mortal Kombat 3 and Henry Hatsworth, so it’s a good example of influence coming from very different games.
- I added a simple world map. This is very preliminary, but I have big plans for it: multiple zoom levels, a key, mouse dragging… basically, I’m going to include some of the interface features we’re all used to from Google maps. It’ll be in the style of our game, of course – it’s going to be on some sort of PDA the character carries around.
- I’ve been tackling a big issue: getting the game to run full screen at any resolution and any aspect ratio. Some of you might recall the game running with a big black border around the visible play area. Well, that border is gone now. Real full screen for everyone! This means the sprites may get scaled up on your system, but it’s a subtle scaling effect that most people will never notice. Best of all, any necessary scaling is applied when the game first starts up, so it doesn’t affect the frame rate.
Now that I’ve made changes to the way the game appears on the screen, I need to fix all of the menus. Once I do that and test everything myself, I should be ready to release another demo version. The maps and scenario will still be the same, but these new features make a pretty substantial upgrade IMO. Also, I’ll probably throw in a couple of new maps to feature the 3 new enemies: bee hive, jumping rock, and knight. There are also new accessories to equip and one new usable item (Eagle Feather; warps player to most recent save spot), so I’ll find somewhere to include them, too.
In an attempt to streamline things, I decided to remove the minigame (Puddle Quest). It was over 1,000 lines of code just for this non-essential minigame – roughly 10% of the entire source. The finished RPG will have other minigames which integrate into the gameplay better, like target practice and stuff.
Also, I started on a basic world map. It’s in a very simple form right now, but I’ll probably leave it that way for a while and come back to it later.
Next, I’m going to experiment with making the game compatible with a variety screen resolutions without putting a black border around the viewport. I’ve done this sort of thing before, hundreds of versions ago… or maybe a thousand. Things were very different then, though.