My man Hamish Todd was recently asking me about something I told him some time back; I told him that in game development, I polish as I go. I wanted to elaborate on that since it's a useful, but complex production style. Readers of this blog and followers of my game combat philosophies have heard me say that I developed one attack at the very beginning of Aztez, and didn't move on to another attack until that one looked and felt great. But other game developers could argue that polish is of secondary importance, and that the rules systems and mechanics are the most important thing to nail down first. And this is where I disagree!
(This is an image from a mech strategy game currently being developed by Zach Fowler. When he made this image the prototype was a mere 3 weeks in development! How jazzed did you get just looking at this?!)
On this 13th of October in the year of our wargod 2015 (may we all bleed for Huitzil), I have updated this piece of educational content to reflect the insights gained since I created the original demo in 2012. Unfortunately, webplayer content is pretty busted on all browsers but Firefox, and it won't work there for long. In lieu of sweet webplayer content, I've got these download links for PC, Mac, and Linux.
For those of you unfamiliar with this piece of content, it is an interactive demo I built to showcase the proper elements of a successful looking/sounding/feeling attack. I so frequently reference these elements when speaking to other developers or providing feedback to clients, so I use this to better communicates the important ideas. The key concept is that an attack's feel derives completely from:
- The character animations.
- The visual effects.
- The sound effects.
All of these elements are just children of those 3 things. From a development point of view, I highly advise advancing these items together to perceive the improvement of the attack in a motivating way.
While I went into great detail about the entire system of effects in the Impact Effects post, I just wanted to quickly share the sprites I made for the Sword Swing and Sword Slash effects so you can see exactly what's playing out when you watch our characters attack each other. It took a good amount of iteration on these to get the effect I wanted and the great feedback I got from people I showed it to was instrumental. Anyway, the sprite for the sword swing effect looks like this: