I really shouldn’t try to blog.  I used my old ‘Webs’ blog more as an art tumblr or dA account, and I’ve tried both of those now, and they’re substantially more effective at carrying out work they were designed to do.  The problem with a video-game dev blog is that it’s a slow, dull task.  I have made progress with Project Oil, but not as much as I’d have liked.  The hulking vehicle of a project is something I’ve been trying to rev up for about a year now, to no real avail.  I’ve rewritten the story about five times, and I don’t really have any idea how big it’s really going to be.  I’ve learned so much about programming that opening the file and seeing how badly I programmed it originally makes me squirm; it’s too late to rewrite everything, though.  I just have to trudge on.

And so, it’s with this in mind that I decided I needed a refresher.  A small project that would be fun and allow me to actually finish something for once.  I’m really loving it so far.

It’s set in an ancient floating castle, and you play as an adventurer trying to claim the glorious riches the castle holds.  The castle has a grim past, and the ghosts that float through the place breath life into the ancient security system.  It’s a sidescrolling exploration game, with an emphasis on story-telling.  There are only going to be a few areas.

It will look quite a bit like this:

I’m doing everything I can to make it as thoroughly-cut as possible.  This is going to be an exercise in fat-trimming as much as anything else, which is really something that I need to learn if I ever want to finish Project Oil.

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Mining Area Hall Concept Art

If you’re wondering why there are fans on the walls of a hallway…  There’s a good reason for that.

UPDATE (new video):

And here’s a tiny animation for it:

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Project Oil Art Style

I’ve been having trouble deciding on the art style for Project Oil.  I was going to make it all 2D sprites (which go well with the ridiculously simple lighting system), but I’m not good at drawing sprites in 3/4 overhead view.  So now I’m experimenting with rendered images of 3D models–seeing if it looks nice, and if it clashes with the lighting system, and if it’s even within the realm of possibility.  If I do go with 3D renderings for the sprites I might go with watercolor style backgrounds (or just make everything pre-rendered 3D), if they go well together.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve got of my little test-subject:


monster w/ ambient occlusion


monster w/ lighting



The texture I’m using right now is just a temp, of course.  I just pasted it from some earlier concept art.

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Starting level design

I’ve been working on the AI.  I think I’ve got how it will work all planned out–it’s pretty simple–I just need to do the actual programming.

Also, I’ve been designing the first area.  There are going to be tons and tons of small details and a few items and stuff like that.  It’s coming along really well, although it’s pretty time consuming.  Really fun, though (can’t help but dread the time it’s gonna take to actually draw and program all these little details, especially since there are probably going to be TONS of rooms.  Just in the first ~5 minutes there’s probably twenty rooms.  Spread that over a couple (hopefully[?] several) hours, and this might take forever.  Ah, well.  I’ll work on the first five-minute-section, and if it takes a week to make each five minutes of gameplay, I’ll see what I can do to speed things up (or slow the player down?).

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Small update

I’ve added the system for rotating out usable tools.  The flashlight now will only work when it’s the selected tool.

I’ve also been working on the camera.  In the videos I’ve showed thus far, it’s just followed the player, but now I’ll be doing it a bit differently. when the flashlight is in use, it’ll find the midpoint between you and the end of the light and center on that; when the gun is being shot, it’ll follow the bullet for a few seconds, but keep the player in view, and then just slide back towards the player.  For the rest of the time, it’ll still just follow the player.  Of course, if this turns out to just be annoying, I’ll probably just throw it out.  I think it’ll be good, though.

After this, I’ll just add the enemies and the gun, and then I’ll start working on actual levels.  I think I’ll ditch the idea of combining items.  There was a lot wrong with the whole idea.  First of all,I tried to think of some interesting things to do with that, but the leisurely-paced essence of item combining didn’t really seem to match the style of the rest of the game (tense, always alert).  Secondly, I don’t want the game to get bogged down with item management, which would be necessary with item combining due to the number of items needed for it to be interesting.  Thirdly, I couldn’t really think of anything to make combinable.

Have I ever talked about the setting for this game?  It’s changed a bit, and it’ll probably change a bit more, but right now it’s a small town on a moon.  It’s made up of a mining station (the surface is basically ice, and underneath is a huge ocean), living quarters, a couple of research facilities (one for astrobiological research and one for astromineralogical research), some exploration outposts (this game will take place entirely within the base, but I like the idea of a spin-off where you’re an explorer on the surface), and the “Roof,” which is the transport center, although it hasn’t been used in a long time since there haven’t been any new ships in.

I hope to squeeze in tons and tons of little details, plus a few hidden subplots.

I’ve haven’t really decided on a final name for the game, but I’m toying with the idea of calling it “Haven.”  Of course, that wouldn’t really be very relevant to the game, so I’ll likely not go with that.


possible title w/ image

Yeah… this is pretty bad…  I just used the built-in gimp brushes.  And I usually don’t do any typography stuff.

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New “Project Oil” video

I’ve finished programming the inventory and interactive objects.  Here’s the video of it:

After I add a few more things, I’ll be able to start making the actual levels (which means an actual playable beta!)

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Monster Walk-cycle part 1

Here’s the animation for the walk-cycle of the monsters.  The rough, front two legs at least.  The middle legs will just swing loosely, and the hind legs will work similarly to this.

Showing how it will look in motion

high-res, still version

If they don’t move automatically, click them and they will.

…And here’s the fire-lighter gas container (Gaseous Material Containment Unit for short).  Any resemblance to a fire extinguisher is purely coincidental.

The hand drawn is the right

This one will animate when clicked on as well.

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Project Oil progress

I’ve been working on the inventory (something I’m a totally inexperienced n00b to programming), but it’s going really well!  Here’s what I’ve got so far:

I'll add a textbox soon. Somehow it slipped my mind when drawing the hud originally.

All I’ve got left to do is add the ability to use items from within the hud (although I’m not sure what you would use other than health boosts.

Also, You might notice it will also now show the player’s status (health) and location (the room he’s in).


Alright, now all that’s left is to integrate the system into the game (I keep these different aspects separate from the game until I’m sure they’ll work, so that they don’t clutter up the game in the likely event that the aspect will fall flat).

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Interactive objects

I’m almost done programming the groundwork for the interactive objects. It’s going great!

UPDATE: Alright, I’ve got it all set up.  Now I just need to integrate it.

UPDATE: Okay, it should be fully integrated.  Somehow it took me twice as long because I changed “dir” to “facing” (because dir can mean things like directory or something.  This way it’s less confusing).

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Current Alienators video

Here’s a video for the current version of Alienators (v1.3).  The framerate isn’t really that awful, it runs fine.  It’s just the stupid screen recorder (or stupid me, for not getting the stupid screen recorder to work, but I prefer to blame not me).

Remember you can play the game here.

Also, I posted this on Total Fantasy Geek, but I figured that since not many will be going back there, I’d upload this here:

Yeah, this game is totally imaginary.  Never ever happening.

If you're wondering why he's wearing a bucket with spikes sticking out... it's a long story.

Where I am currently in that 3d player character model for that imaginary game.

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