With large amounts of work being done on The Ethereal Plains as of late, foremost among them has been mapping. Lots and lots of mapping. So as a bit of a side blog amidst the game development, I decided to show how I go about my environment mapping.
For this example, we will be looking at Alma Pass; a mountain-esque pass the player must go through to reach the town of Alma. As with all level design, both 2D and 3D, I follow the same basic steps:
I’ve finally finished up what will likely be the final version of the cutscene introducing the player to the story behind The Ethereal Plains. At this point, the story is developed enough where I can feel confident laying out the groundwork for the story ahead. Being that I’ve always preferred “seeing” the story as it is told, I decided to go for what I feel is a much more interesting opening cutscene.
I’ve been playing through other RPG Maker games lately and it seems every single one of them lays out the story for the player with a huge wall of text, mentioning numerous places, people and locations. I probably won’t remember any of them or get “in to” the game until I have a better understanding of the story, so the wall of text does nothing but bore me. Because of this, I chose not to slam the player with too much information right away, making the introduction to The Ethereal Plains that much more entertaining and easy to understand up-front.
Upon receiving my Raspberry Pi, I immediately got all sorts of ideas as to how I could implement it in to a fun project. My original plan was to build a case out of acrylic and implement a keyboard on to the top of it, similar to a Commodore 64. However since I have no access to tools capable of cutting acrylic correctly (and I don’t want to pay to have it laser cut), I scrapped that idea.
Next I thought I could modify an enclosure to house it and a USB hub together. I picked up a project box from Radio Shack after figuring out how much space I would need and proceeded to work with it. I eventually found it far more difficult than once though. Primarily due to having to re-route all of the various I/O ports from every side on the Raspberry Pi to a single side on the box. I knew I could get the cables and ports necessary to do so, but that would really cramp the inside of the box. In addition, having to dremel openings for all of that as well as the USB hub itself was a task I just did not want to do.
Finally finished putting together my About Me pages. Once I started typing all of that information in, I realized it would be far more practical to split them up in to sub-pages. Otherwise it would be one very long document to read through, likely deterring anyone from actually reading it.
Either way, it was fun to reminisce about all of that information.
Going through some old files, I came across this episode I was working on for Jazz Jackrabbit 2 way back when. My original plan was to make multiple episodes and encompass all of them in to this single pack, but it never got beyond just 9 levels. Thus the inspirational name of PANGOIO (Practically a New Game on its Own – clever huh?). Of them, one was a “level select”, two were boss fights, one was a bonus level, and one was just a level to fall down a long hole to infiltrate a secret base. In other words, only 4 were actual levels.
So after finding this again, I decided to play through it, grabbing some screenshots along the way.
Completed work on what I feel will be the final title screen for The Ethereal Plains.
Character sprites may still change as game development progresses.
While not much has been done visually with the game so far, I have added some new items to the game engine itself.
More importantly however, I have accomplished a lot in the story and character departments. I am almost finished fleshing out the characters and their back-stories, after which I will be going in to more detail on the story itself. I have a general overview of it complete, but that will only serve in public postings about it.