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OddBall Screenshot Saturday #5

12:49 PM June 2, 2012
Another Saturday, another screenshot! There's a lot going on in this shot, and it shows a mix of both placeholder art and more finished art. That should give you an idea of where the game is at in development (first 90% is done, working on the last 90%).

Back in screenshot #2 I showed you some coloured platforms that can be triggered by depressing similarly coloured buttons. I've since completed the coloured texture for those platforms and you can see a couple of them in today's snapshot. These platforms take up a very small amount of space on the tiny mobile screens, so I can't really show much detail on them. However, I still wanted to give the player an easy way to see what direction they will move when triggered. So I've used a simple coloured diffuse style for their texture along with white arrows to show the direction they will initially move.

Of course there are also the slide markings along the wall that show what way platforms will move, but the arrows make it even more clear. As simple as these platform textures look, they actually took me a while to complete. There are multiple colours that the platforms can be in the game and I didn't want to make a whole bunch of similar textures that simply had a different colour (this would take up more space in the game's download size and also in memory when running, and performance is always a concern for mobile devices). So I wrote a custom shader that takes a single greyscale texture that can be coloured any colour in code. Additionally, the shader has a cutout mask that can be hidden in the texture's alpha channel that won't be coloured. This allows me to have the white arrows and white outlines on the final texture while the rest of it gets coloured. So you can see how a relatively simple looking platform is actually quite a bit more complicated behind the scenes than you might think. The end result is a simple but sharp looking platform that only uses one texture and can be coloured in any colour dynamically. I'm quite happy with it :)

Another thing this screenshot shows is a "powerline" that goes from the blue target to the blue platform. Blue platforms are special because they are all triggered by the target when the first ball is scored. Afterwards, they will remain in their new triggered position for the rest of the level. Every other platform position can be triggered back and forth with buttons. So, the white powerline you see in this screenshot is another visual way to show the player that the blue platform is connected to the blue target. When the first Oddball is scored, the white powerline turns blue and the blue platform moves. Just a note: the current powerline art and target art is in a half completed state. I still need to texture them.

Next up, you can see a sort of aiming graphic displayed overtop of the (placeholder) cannon. This is a necessary addition because when you play the game on a touch screen your finger/thumb is used to drag the cannon to aim. However, your finger/thumb is covering the cannon while you do this and you can't tell what direction it is pointing without a visual aid. So this aiming graphic is only displayed while you are dragging the cannon and it disappears otherwise.

Lastly, (I told you there was a lot going on in this simple screenshot) I've also been working on juicing up my game lately. What does this mean? Colton Phillips, a local indie game developer, recently tweeted this video link entitled "juice it or lose it". It explains quite succinctly, and with examples, how adding simple polished flair to your game transforms it from what looks like a stale prototype into a finished game. Basically, I've been working on lots of little graphical touches that may seem minimal but they all add up to make the game much more visually appealing and juicy! One of those additions can be seen in today's screenshot which is a bit of a trail behind the yellow sponge Oddball. It's simple, but helps improve the overall look and feel of the game. Next week I hope to show a bunch more of the juiciness I've been adding lately :)

OddBall #screenshotsaturday #5

This entry posted by Graham in Velvety Couch Games
Tags: Game Development, OddBalls, ScreenshotSaturday

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