Photo Study of my partner in crime, Books “The Executive” Greenberg, Had a lot of fun with this. I’m really surprised how little change this had from the first hour to the third. The lips kind of concern me, I could’ve put a little more time into it, but as a study it served it’s purpose. Learned about facial structure some, but I still relied on photoshop heavily for moving bits and pieces around. My next study will avoid using liquify and transform tools.
If anyone out there is just getting started doing art, draw a ton on paper. I never do and it has slowed down my learning by years. I’ve been coddled by the proverbial teet of the digital age so my fundamentals are built on ctrl-z and free transform, don’t let that be you.
This probably should’ve been the first post on here, but I guess third is close enough.
I was watching the steam dev days videos on youtube, this one in particular about marketing. When the devs on the panel were put on the spot to describe their game in a sentence, they all did really well. But posed with the same question, I’m actually not sure what I’d answer.
What is Dandy?
Depending on who you are or where you’re coming from I think I’d answer that question very differently. If you’re a gamer the answer is sort of easy because genre names and game comparisons are inherently easy to describe, “Dandy is a horizontal schmup done as a rogue-like” or “Dandy is a slowed down, pensive Gradius.” But that’s just categorization.
Games are really unique in that the player has direct interaction. So maybe they should be described by the interactions the player makes, “Dandy is a game where you kill monsters by solving puzzles.” I think that gets closer but it’s also kind of confusing. Dandy isn’t a puzzle game. Once you’ve learned how an enemy can be killed, the game becomes about efficiency and understanding how the game uses your own input to challenge you.
There’s also the entire narrative side of things, which I tend to think of as secondary. “You’re a candy wizard fighting hordes of monsters to discover new ingredients,” doesn’t even scratch the surface of what Dandy is, but maybe that’s because it was designed with the narrative/art playing a very secondary role.
Maybe the reason it’s so difficult to describe is because the flavor of the game isn’t that referential to the real world. What the hell is a “Candy Wizard” and why does he shoot beams of energy from a candy cane. Why is he floating through the sky on a lollipop? It could also be because the game isn’t remotely done. Could what Dandy is, not even exist yet despite the games design being substantially planned.
I’m not entirely sure what the answer is in short form. “Dandy is a game where you’re your own worst enemy” has emerged as a big theme in the gameplay so maybe that’s the best answer. It describes how the players input directly affects the monsters and obstacles in the game. How small decisions can make or break your success.
I’ve always thought about Dandy as a game about addiction in a really abstract way. When we pitched it as an iOS game to Adult Swim a few years ago addiction was in the narrative. It was tied into the gameplay as well. You’d grow weary and insane if your supply of candy collectibles ran low. It was kind of dark, but for some reason I feel like this design actually still carries a bit of that and maybe more effectively.
As people play the game, maybe they’ll have the answer. I’m sure someone will describe it and it’ll feel painfully obvious. I’m sure I’ll make another post when that day comes.
Just started a new blog specifically from Dandy Dev. I’ll be reblogging whatever posts I make on there, so if you’re following me you probably don’t need to go over there. I just wanted somewhere for people interested specifically in Dandy or game design to go check that stuff out.
I was a little hesitant to fragment a new game dev blog off from my personal blog, but with more and more progress being made on Dandy (Wefiends new game) the more I feel the need for a dedicated place to talk about it’s game design.
This post isn’t meant to be about what Dandy is or who Wefiends is, but more of a hello. So here it is, a new blog exclusively about our game Dandy, and the design behind it.
As Wefiends (Our small band of 3 Game Devs) continues making progress on Dandy (Our new game) I feel like I should write some stuff about it.
Dandy’s a remake of a terrible old flash game I made when I was 15. The theme i’m exploring with the game is taking old things and making them new. It’s a schmup, in the vein of R-type and Gradius, but made through a lens of incredulity toward the archetypal game design choices the genre carries.
The image above is the third revision of the first area of the game. One of the things I always loved about Gradius was that there weren’t any transitions between stages. The game relied heavily on repeated play throughs and memorization for the player to make any progress. If you lost all your lives, you’d start back at the beginning. After dying over and over, progress felt very impactful. You were seeing something new in the background or some new enemy every time you lived a little longer than the last time. When you’d start over it was immediately clear where your last threshold had been and when you would cross it. There were other indicators such as your score and stage titles, but they felt kind of vestigial.
This design choice stands at stark contrast with other games where progress is delineated by separate levels/stages. The language used to describe the scenario seems to change to a frame outside of the game. “I got pretty far into level 1,” versus “I got to the point with the mushrooms floating in the sky”. It’s important that players thoughts and emotions are linked 1:1 to the avatar they control (even if through abstraction), for me that’s what makes a great game. All sorts of player thoughts change with separate levels. The players goal becomes to get to the end of each stage, instead of a new place. Progress also becomes incredibly concrete in a way that limits the feeling of discovery. When you know there are only 5 levels, you know how close the end is. I’m not saying this is bad design, because levels are very near and dear to games, but that it is “design” and that levels need to be implemented carefully and purposefully.
Dandy is what i’ll call a rogue-esque (rogue-like-like twice removed). It’s got sorta random enemies and sorta random power-ups, along with perma-death. Because of this, you’ll be starting over from the beginning a lot. There isn’t much memorization involved, but there’s a lot of learning. For this reason it calls for the same tricks Gradius employed. The background marks your progress in the game. There are no levels or scores. Just the background and the speed you move through it.
2/2 The Neverending Story screengrab study. Had an incredibly difficult time with both of them. Stopped after about an hour on both of them because the foundation just didn’t seem to be there. I kept struggling, flipping and zooming in and out, but the foreshortening and details on the knight eluded me in the end. Same with the sphinx’s face. Need more practice.