Adventures in Data Compression

Ahh, that glorious time in a project where you have to go back and tweak everything you’ve done up until that point, because it’s all getting too big. (A known issue with Unity and WebGL, to be fair…)

So while I modify my images to make them viable for RGBA DXT5 Compression… with or without Mip Maps… whatever the target platform… (This is what you get for not planning ahead, folks…)

…Here are some more screenshots in the meantime:

Christmas Update

Just thought I’d sneak a quick update in before the end of the year, like the ninja I am.

I’ve made significant progress with Unstable Engineer, my next game – which takes place some time before the events of Unstable. You are an engineer hired by a mysterious company called QTech, and your job is to test out their various ‘Blueprints’ and ‘Sparks’. I don’t have a new demo for you, but here’s some screenshots of the different game modes to whet your appetite:

I’ve also overhauled the UI since my last update (i.e. there now actually is a UI).

As you progress in the game you can get to know your coworkers, and earn their trust. Perhaps then you’ll uncover what exactly is going on in this secretive facility…

…Or maybe you’ll just learn some of the worst jokes I could think of. And if that doesn’t get you excited to play this game, I don’t know what will.

Have a good Christmas!

Blueprint Animations

I recently overhauled the blueprint sprites for my Unstable prequel, to allow for better resizing and give them more character. Here’s a direct comparison:

So long, pixel art! …Although I have kept the familiar blocky look, by aligning the design to a faux pixel grid. What can I say? I clearly love the simplistic feel.

The new art was done entirely with Inkscape, a long popular vector graphic tool. The great thing about software like that (other than the fact that it’s free) is how easily you can tweak your existing designs to create variants:

But even more useful is how easy you can do simple animations. By setting up pivot points for your different elements (arms, feet, etc.), you can add much more personality to your animations. Here’s another comparison:

With more wiggling of the body and flailing about of the arms, this allows for a lot more fun when animating. And all done with a simple (and free, did I say that yet?) tool like Inkscape. Sure there are great – and far newer – animation tools out there, but sticking with an old classic means you’re guaranteed to find the support if you need it.

This is just a sneak peek for now though! You’ll have to wait for the next demo update to see how much I can get these simple looking blueprints to flail about!

Demo Update! (Unstable Engineer)

As promised, I’ve updated the demo for my upcoming puzzle game. You’re an engineer hired by QTech, a secret facility developing machines called ‘blueprints’, powered by mysterious entities called ‘sparks’. Test out their devices, while getting to know the other researchers, and trying to uncover why exactly the facility is so secretive.

This demo features the early stages of the game, with the actual gameplay, although with many placeholder graphics. My next task is to design the blueprints themselves, so they aren’t just simple palette-swaps. I may go overboard, so you can expect much more interesting animations than in the original Unstable!

…But until then, you can wait patiently by playing this demo over and over and over…

New Game in Development (Early Demo)

I’ve started working on a new game! I suppose you would call it a prequel of sorts to Unstable, although the gameplay is different. The premise is that you are an engineer hired to test out the various blueprints, and you do so by guiding the robots to different exit points using the blueprints as upgrades. As you complete these tests, you’ll learn more about the mysterious company who hired you, and you might even find out why everything is being kept so secret…

It’ll be mouse-based gameplay where you click on robots to upgrade them. If you’ve ever played the Lemmings games (and if not, why not?) then you’ll have a good idea of how it works, although there are some significant differences, and there will be other game modes with different rules.

It’s early in development but I’ve created a simple demo with a handful of small levels. It only has placeholder graphics and there’s no sound, but it should give you an idea of the gameplay for the main game mode. Check it out if you like, and I’ll keep you updated on further progress!