6. Music Research For Inspiration/Ideas

Since the decision was to create our game with a pixel style look, I’ve concluded to give the soundtrack more of a “chiptune” feel to it. So I felt it was appropriate to look into some 8-bit style music, to get an idea on how I should compose the music. During my research, I’ve taken a look at a few songs from a few game examples that fit the style of how we would like our game to look.

Considering the tone of our game, I looked into less serious and more upbeat, exaggerated styles of music.

Menu Screen-

Compared to playing the game, we obviously want a less intense sountrack. So I took the time into looking at a couple of soundtracks used in Overworlds of games as well as their own menu screens. This one in particular caught my interest.

In-game –

The soundtrack for my game is initially planned to have two seperate stages of the song to match with the gameplay. The first stage would be before the game starts, something slow and calm before the player decides they’re ready to continue.

Not a lot of examples could be found, but this one in particular was probably the best I could use to get my idea across. Only it’ll naturally match up to the main part of the song.

Finally when the player begins, it’ll progress to a more intense and faster version of the song previously playing, the idea of making even faster versions of the song as the level progresses is considered. But alternatively if our development time is cut short, the alternative solution would be to speed up the song as it is.

Here’s an example of what sorta song I want playing to match the gameplay as it consists of endless running and dodging obstacles to keep the player going.


5. Stress Testing to Determine Limitations and Capabilities

After having proven the possibility of running any sort of code on an Android device, I then decided to determine the capabilities of Game Maker: Studio on Android devices, by experiencing first-hand the sort of complexity that could be afforded, and whether there were any limitations.

I did this through attempting a stress test using a personal project of mine, to see the level of detail and amount of content that could run on lower powered smart phones when compared to pc development of which I am previously used to. This project uses a large amount of objects on screen at any one time, and updates at 60 frames per second, although has a relatively low resolution. While not a perfect test case, it still proved useful for the purposes of stress testing.

After implementing some virtual keys to correspond with keyboard presses, I found the phone I was using to be sufficiently capable at running my game, indicating the level of performance that could be expected in running a game maker studio game on Android devices. From this, I could determine no serious issues with having a reasonable amount of game complexity, however, I will still keep optimisation be efficiency in mind while programming to ensure maximum compatibility across devices of different specifications and to get the most out of the resources available.

Also of note, is that I found while technically capable of playing the game, it was also extremely difficult to control, due to it being relatively complex in terms of its control scheme and reaction times. This is due to the game being designed with the PC platform and keyboard controls in mind, reinforcing the need for smart phone based games to focus on simplified core mechanics, and to feature more basic and streamlined input methods such as direct interaction and gestures rather than the more tactile inputs of more traditional games.


4. Preparations for Development

As I have the role of programmer for the game, the first steps I took were to set up and install all the software required to begin development. While it would be possible to complete this project by running and testing the game almost exclusively on Windows, only porting to Android occasionally throughout and for the final build, I have found from past experience on prior projects that it is much better to test projects intended for different platform devices on the target devices themselves throughout development, and not to leave doing so until the end.

I was able to purchase the required export module due to it being on sale at the time, allowing the ability to achieve this. I felt that this was in the best interests of the project to ensure that all decisions made throughout development had the target platform and all its intricacies taken into consideration rather than approximating the influence of platform differences.

To be able to actually utilise this, I first needed to set up the Android software development kit as required within Game Maker: Studio. This was a tedious but worthwhile process which once set up allowed for easy and fast deployment of the project for debugging and playtesting on Android devices.

After having done this, I attempted to get any sort of code running on my Android phone both as a proof of concept to check that the SDK was functioning correctly, and that there were no other issues preventing game execution from even being possible.

This first demo test consisted of simply dragging around a black triangle on screen, and having a button which created some trails. This proved to be successful, showing that I had a functioning workflow, and that games could run with multiple touch inputs on an end device.


3. Getting Used To Roles (Team Leader)

We’re practicing and getting used to our roles, getting ourselves prepared for putting the game together. Specifically, as team leader, I’ve taken the opportunity to research appropriate tools of creating sprite art for the game as well as music and sound effects for the game.

Sprite Art – I’ve found I’m most comfortable with using Photoshop for creating and animating the character’s sprites as I have more experience with the software and it has the tools needed to create him.

Music – Through research and recommendations, I’ve decided to use “FL Studio” to compose the music for the game.

Sound – Since the style of this game focuses around the 8-bit look, I felt it was appropriate to create 8-bit sounds for the game. I’ve discovered an easy solution to creating these sounds quickly and efficiently is through a website that provides full rights to whatever sound I’ve created through their services.

This service is found on the following website: http://www.bfxr.net/