Creating the 'Tempest' and a 'Coco-Factory of Death'
Published on August 18, 2006 By ScottTykoski In Game Journals

Mid-project designing has always seemed a 'necessary evil' to me.

Don't get me wrong, as an artist, it feels really good to be fighting for the best possible idea then finally stumble across something acceptable, or, if I'm lucky, marginaly impressive. But when the clock is ticking, it's hard to be as creative as you'd prefer.

However, despite the constant nagging form my brain's 'left side' to settle with 'good enough', I plowed through this week and (In my opinion) whipped up some solid designs (but feel free to tell me otherwise). 

* * * * *

The first concept I did was for "The Tempest", for which I'll give some back-story.

At various times through the plot, focus shifts to a Zeppelin used by the villainous Old Man Winter and his 'Abominable Army'. One of the reasons they attack the Northpole is to ransack Santa's coal reserves to power the vehicle at full capacity.

I was looking for an end design that was ice themed, since it was piloted by the Abonimable Army, felt quite evil, and had some sort of magical feel to it. The final version had to also work from a level-design standpoint, since one of the final episodes would take the player through the twisted flying machine.

So, we needed an evil, ice themed magic zeplin that is tailored for adventuring.

Were these goals accomplished? Let's take a gander....

First Attempt

Using magical chucks of ice instead of a balloon to keep afloat, this version of the Tempest felt OK, but in the end it just didn't fit.

 Perhaps the ice-chunks were too much.

I did, however, like the spiked harness and the basic shape of the cabin area.

Second Attempt

Working off of the harnesses and cabin shape mentioned above, this zeppelin resorted to using an actual stitched and patched balloon to keep it afloat.

The left side of my brain kept complaining about the dangers of huge spikes so close to a material so easily popped.

Also added were some pipes in the rear. And they were good.

Third Attempt

No, it's not supposed to be an ice cream cone.

I went for a snowman shaped balloon and an icicle shaped cabin, hoping to subtly make the Zeppelin feel 'Cold' and 'Icy'.

Unfortunately it just ended up looking like soft-serve, which IS cold, but not-quite-evil enough.

Fourth Attempt

It must have been hungry or something when I made these, cause this one looks like a flying sausage.

Anyways, not bad, I still didn't like the cloth balloon though, and the wild octopus look of the pipes wasn't quite right, but I was almost there.

Final Design!

Revisiting the cabin shape that I liked so much, I worked a bit of the Abominable Army's logo into in with the skull-inspired bridge.

I also turned down the number of exhaust pipes sticking out the rear, and abandoned the idea of having propellers, instead sticking some more spikes onto a few rotating cogs on the zeppelins bum.

For the balloon part, I figured we can tie in the whole 'magic' feel by saying Old Man Winter conjures up a storm cloud to keep the ship airborne. This way I can keep the icy theme (the storm could can make snow) and I can keep the spiky harnesses without complaints about popping hazzards.

There are also some platforms on the side that the heroes can explore, and nice hefty spot on the top of the cabin area for a boss showdown.

All to actually get it into the game!

* * * * *

The next item on my list had me designing a level or two (or however many I could get done). As tends to happen lately, I spent too much time coding, and could only get one level concept done. I am happy with the result, and hope future level concepts go as smoothly as this one did (though more is always better).

The chocolaty insides of "Wigglebee's Hot-Coco Factory" (which is level 4 in the current game's episode breakdown) will have players dodging the steaming pool of hot coco, turning off broken pipes, and dismantling coco-making robots. If that doesn't get people in the holiday spirit, I don't know what will.

Color concept of Wigglebee's Hot-Coco Factory Level...don't fall in, Augustus!

* * * * *

As stated above, a lot of time was spent this week on the programming side. My plan, at the moment, is to have the finished working engine done in 3 weeks....which probably isn't going to happen....but a boy can dream!

For now, enjoy the new ladder-climbing abilities and the blockable-yet-destroyable environment objects!

Up to climb up, down to climb down, and the rest is the same ol', same ol'.

* * * * *

This is where the project heats up.

Next on my list are rooms that lead to other rooms, allowing for more level exploring and a more 'gamey' feel to the whole project. I've also started work on Panza's animation (player 2), so the co-op mode code will be needing my attention soon as well. Another goal for next week is to have rudimentary enemies in the game, with simple AI, so player can use their attacks on something other than a Shrub and a Barrel. That's a lot of coding to be done, and with some key animations and some quick designs sprinkled throughout, both hemispheres of the old brain will get a work-out, though I'm guessing the logic and reasoning side will bear the most burden.

So time to stop slacking,'s your time to shine!

- Previous Journal Entries -

on Aug 18, 2006
Looking good!
on Aug 18, 2006
Looks great!
on Aug 18, 2006
Looks like you are getting most of the basic functions done. One problem I noticed was that you have to jump to get off of a ladder. You can not just climb all the way down and walk off.
on Aug 18, 2006
Looks good, and I like how the reflections are drawn in the coco-factory drawing; It fits with the rest of the game. I have two complaints however. The first is that the camera seems to shake when the player is pushed back if they run into something. The other is that horizontal movement on the ladders is too slow. And what Martimus said.
on Aug 26, 2006
Nice work! I look forward to reading more about the unfolding of the development cycle.

I think it was a great idea to include an interactive demo of the game. The best articles are those that include a playable game

Good luck with the engine!
on Sep 28, 2006

btw, i dunno if anybody found this yet, but I can practically "walk on the air" indefinitely by jumping up & keep hitting the attack key...