Tuesday, 9 April 2013

One Game A Month: A Shadow From Beyond

So last month our little group that we refer to as “Not Enough Laptops” finished our second group game, “A Shadow From Beyond”. Like our first game, “Hjarta”, we created it in Unity, though this time it took over a month rather than a weekend. It started out as an attempt at the 7 Day Rogue Like challenge but the scope was too wide for that time frame, so we turned the focus more towards One Game A Month.

A Shadow From Beyond is a rogue like. The player takes control of an old man and must wander through randomly generated streets, filled with enemy cultists and monsters. The player’s goal is to dispatch cultists and unsummon as many monsters as possible. Simple, except for the fact that monsters are invulnerable to attack – the player must therefore piece together how the monster was summoned in the first place and oppose it’s elemental properties…

You can get a little more information about the game and give it a download, over at it’s indiedb page, here.


A Shadow From Beyond Shop

A Shadow From Beyond Notebook

A Shadow From Beyond Light Monster

A Shadow From Beyond Fire Monster

Personal Postmortem

I took a more “additional design” approach on this project and opted to work more on the art front - something I have a few regrets about. By taking a back seat on the design side I felt that I lost interest and focus on the project rather rapidly. At times it almost felt like I wasn’t working on the project at all, just polishing art that may or may not matter because the context of the assets that I was creating had become unclear to me. I’m not entirely sure if it was a product of working remotely or not, but I know the lack of face time definitely would have played a factor.

I feel that my motivation was nixed as I wasn’t able to keep up a consistent visual style across the project, simply because I couldn’t create assets fast enough. My selfish focus was more towards improving my skills rather than completing the project. I spent far too long trying to perfect the monster sprites and their associated animations – something that in the grand scheme of things wasn’t actually that important, though it was an excellent learning experience. I found that working with sprites that large and that complicated was easier said than done. If I was to go back I would have suggested working half the resolution and upscaling by double (or quadruple) – we could have achieved much more detailed visuals in a much shorter time frame (see the example below).

A Shadow From Beyond Sprites
I also feel that even the slightest bit of my input on design may have helped the game be a little clearer for new players, simply because more eyes on a project is almost always a good thing - especially where tutorials or signs and feedback are concerned. I was just too distant from the design when it really mattered. That being said, the resulting game is pretty cool and although I wasn’t happy with the quantity of my contributions, I’m glad to have worked on it and hope to pull off something of this quality in the future.

Here’s a bunch of assets I created for the project – I’m rather happy with some, but embarrassed about others. Either way, it was a hell of a learning experience.
A Shadow From Beyond OldmanA Shadow From Beyond RuneA Shadow From Beyond AttackA Shadow From Beyond Cultist
The attack animation didn’t make it into the final game on account that it was a little slow and we ran out of time to alter it. We had planned to have multiple colours of cultist, but again ran out of time to create and implement them.
A Shadow From Beyond Flesh MonsterA Shadow From Beyond Ice Monster
There were 12 monsters in all, but you’ll have to play the game to see them!