Thursday, February 23, 2012

All levels... CLEAR!

Good news to everyone, yesterday I have finally finished all 6 levels of Oniken! In other words, the "playable" part of Oniken is all set!
Now I´m heading back to the cutscenes while my friend Marco Galvão is working on the online leaderboard!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Birth of Oniken part 2

Ok, as I promised last week here we go to the final part of "Birth of Oniken"... Nice name, it could be a comic book...
After the death of "Onikenchou" I felt very frustrated about making games, drawing comic book characters or even pixel artworks. So I gave up everything and dedicated myself to my architecture studies. From 2006 until 2009 I did nothing besides architecture stuff. When I concluded Architecture college in 2010, Pedro came and showed me a mockup he made with Ryu Hayabusa NES sprite in a 8-bit like Onikenchou background and sayed "Hey man, looks cool doesn't!? Let's go and remake Onikenchou in 8 bit style!" And I sayed "No, Onikenchou is dead, I don't want to do anything about games anymore." And he was like " ok ok D: "
During a holiday in february 2010 I was playing some of my NES games like crazy. Them I put my Ninja Gaiden trilogy games out of the dust and started to play all of them again. I finished Ninja Gaiden 1, then Ninja Gaiden 2 and Finally Ninja Gaiden 3 on the same day. I finished the three games, I turned off my NES and I was like "Holy crap those games are awesome!!!" I was also thinking in how I've spent hours playing those games again, just like when I was a kid. Back then I used to play those old NES games without getting tired or bored. Today's games are so complex that sometimes they can make you bored instead of giving you some fun.
With all that in my mind, I started to wonder "man those NES action games are so simple and very addicting, maybe it was here where I made a terrible mistake, Onikenchou was so full of shit that it wasn't fun, maybe I could make a simpler game like those NES action games."
I turned on my computer and did some sketches, it was weird to open graphics gale again after 3 years. After some time trying I finally created a decent looking NES style Zaku sprite. I've sent it to my friend Paulo (the guy from Proto Thunder) and he helped me out with some colors.
After that, I did the whole Zaku animation cycles and started a custom platform engine in Multimedia Fusion 2. Soon after I was sending a small demo stage to Pedro and sayed "Hey man. You were right about that, let's make an 8-bit Onikenchou, but this time we're gonna call it Oniken! Simple and cool! After that we started working on Oniken.
I have learned a lot from my past mistakes, and they put me in the right direction. I hope that this experience I have shared with you guys can help you not to repeat the same mistakes I did. Remember, old games can teach us lot more than anyone, play them and play hard! They are an unlimited source of knowledge about in-game design. Lots of game designers love to say that old games were full of problems and had wrong game design. I don't think so. I don't consider myself a game designer but a very experienced gamer and I like to think that games evolved a lot and improved a lot too in some aspects, however I also think that we lost lots of good aspects of the old games and one of them is their simplicity.

"Do you think that old games are useless? Think again punk!"
That´s all that I have to say, thanks to everyone and sorry for my english.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Birth of Oniken part 1

Hey everyone! I didin't post anything lately, I´m finishing the last events in Oniken last stage. As I won't show much stuff about the game´s ending to not spoil it to you, today I decided to talk about Oniken's beginning.
Oniken as I sayed before begun in 2010. However, it was inspired in a previous work, a 2005 indie game that I never finished. It´s name was "Onikenchou".
Now you´re problabling asking "What the... so it´s the same game you dumbass!" Yes and No. Oniken had the same base plot that Onikenchou, similar enemy designs but similarities end here. The rest is totally different.

During 2005, I was 17/18 years old and very little experience in creating games or even in pixel art, character design and stuff like that. (I´m not saying that today I can be considered much stuff, but at least I'm much more experienced than before.)
I really wanted to make a 2D action game, with ninjas, robots, explosions and everything that could be cool so I decided to start to sketch some ideas for this game.

I was a big fan of Ninja Gaiden and Strider Hiryu and, of course, old games in general. However, I'm not joking dudes, in 2005 if you show to people who you was making a 8 bit game everyone could spit in your face and say "are you f***ing insane!?". Back in 2005, people wasn´t that open to retro game style so I decided to make it in 16 bit style with lots of effects.

I don´t think that it was a bad decision for the game itself, HOWEVER it implied, at least in my case, in very bad results to the game final result.

As I said before at that time I was very little experienced in pixel art. As a result, while I wanted to make the game with overdetailed graphics, the graphic outcome was weird. Also, 16 bit graphics need a making time that I just didn't have doing the game by my own, programming it and also, you know, living. I choose the "super deformed" style for the characters because I found that was easier to animate and, during that time, lots of japanese indie games used it. I was very influenced by them and by SNK´s Metal Slug. The main character was Zaku, however he was a very different Zaku if you guys can notice.
Onikenchou´s Zaku
Oniken´s Zaku
Characters also were more anime look because I wasn´t good at portrait my personal art style into pixel art, like more "realistic" faces and more detailed figures.

That is a Zaku 16 bit like test I made just for fun. Notice the difference between my now 16 bit Zaku and Onikenchou's then 16 bits Zaku.
Beside the bad graphical choices, I had made another big mistake in Onikenchou.
It´s gameplay...
Onikenchou´s gameplay was very complex. It had RPG based level progression, special attacks like in a fighting game, itens that could be used like potions, different weapons and two playable characters... It had so much stuff that I think that was impossible to me, completely by myself, do that. But during that time I really though that it could be done. That was a huge mistake.
what the f...!?
With so much stuff Onikenchou´s gameplay was off. As you can see, there was lots of useless features like, if Zaku was using a firearm, he became slower and heavier however if I choose the main weapon, the sword, he was much faster and powerful so what was the point in having a weapon that was useless!? Lots of mistakes like this killed Onikenchou and in 2006 I canceled the game. (Thank god...)

Well that is half of the story... Next week I´ll show to you guys the rest. Stay tuned! =)