So yesterday I finally sat down and got a good start on Georgia and the Dragon. I’m using Adventure Game Studio (AGS), which is software designed specifically to make graphical/point-and-click/2D (call them what you want) adventure games. I had started playing around with it a year or so ago, and had managed to put together a brief demo of The Illusionist’s Fate (a deconstructed narrative I was developing through a ScreenWest Digital Development Breakout grant) using existing art (map and some scenes inc characters).
For some reason, I couldn’t seem to manage to get myself to sit down and do work on GatD. Firstly, there was a whole stack of emotional/self-esteem/motivational issues that were getting in the way (which I might blog about later). But then, every time I opened up AGS, I couldn’t seem to find where to start. I followed my asset list and made all the Rooms, Characters, and Items, but beyond that I felt at a loss. Using the standin “Roger” player character animation that comes with AGS seemed to be the most glaringly annoying.
I told my boyfriend, “I need to do the art first,” but he, a programmer, said that I just needed to “start coding.” Well, AGS is set up to be for “mid-level designers,” NOT programmers, and so a lot of the way it’s set up is that the behaviours are already there, you just need to put some art in, and then draw regions for hotspots and things. Everything is tied to rooms, regions, and characters. So basically, how am I meant to start if I don’t have anything to start WITH?
I thought back to Illusionist’s Fate, and how easy it was to “start” with that. That was easy because firstly I had a design doc (which I also have for GatD), and a lot of concept art. So I knew I needed art, at least a character sprite and backgrounds. Anyone who has known me for a while knows that I’m pretty capable of art. The problem is, I also have very high standards for myself. And then, Photoshop’s billions of colours got in the way..
So I looked up some graphics programs recommended for use with AGS. I’ve downloaded Spriter to try, but am currently using Aseprite to do basic pixel-based sprite graphics. Because of the paint-style limitations, it became a lot easier to knock together a set of temporary backgrounds, which made it easier to start scripting movement between rooms.
Then, of course, the character sprite looked grossly undersized and not at all like a woman… so I cheated a little, found a gif of a female character whose proportions I liked, and painted over it and tweaked it until she looked more like Georgia. Extra points if anyone can guess her original form 😉
Now, it seems like I’m spending most of my time trying to find ways to make the interaction as intuitive as possible… context-specific cursors, yes or no? 😛