Unfortunately, the “EMP countdown” is not nearly as epic as it sounds. But perhaps it is as ominous and suggests a certain impending doom. The briefing for the Extended Major Project is exactly one week away, so I’m using each day of that week to break down 7 of the most influential games/games developers in my life right now. The product of this project will be a culmination of the inspiration I’ve taken from these titles and the people who made them, so I think it’s important before going into any development of my own to take a few steps back, play some games and scribble down everything which I feel makes them great. The panic begins in a week’s time.
I’m beginning this list of greatness in a similar way to the previous Specialist Project, with my ultimate multimedia hero Craig D Adams, creator of the visuals for Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP for iOS. I focused a lot on this game for the Specialist Project, so for now I’ll talk a little about one of his lesser known side-projects.
This game is currently vague and segmented, existing only in little pieces all over the internet (as far as I can tell!). I’m not entirely sure if it’s a genuine project or simply a part of something which has now passed, but all this cryptic-ness (which can only be expected from creator Craig Adams…) is one of the things that got me really interested in this project. The game takes the form of a traditional side-scrolling platformer, where the player must climb a mountain through a blizzard. These screenshots are scale representations of some of the game rooms, taking on an unusual widescreen shape which complements the long stretches of horizontal gameplay:
Like most of Adams’ creations, Alpinist is slow-paced and blocky, yet pleasing to the eye. The game incorporates his trademark illustrative style, which in this case is very minimalist and un-cluttered. The gameplay also takes on a type of minimalism; to reach the goal the player must either run or jump to avoid obstacles. Despite the games ultimate simplicity, I’ve chosen this game as the starting point for my EMP because unlike S:S&S EP which was coded by professionals, Alpinist was created by Adams himself using Yoyo Game Maker. For me, this acts as an insight into the possibilities of the software and its diversity. Even with my limited experience of the software, straight from the start I can see moving backgrounds, custom room transitions and foreground layers in place. Though I know these things exist, watching them in a game made by some one else helps me see how I can better utilise these functions!
It is obvious that the game is meant to be a visual delight rather than a demanding challenge for core gamers, and it’s good to know that this is achievable and works successfully with the software I also plan to use over the next project. My real focus will be on getting the visual style and feel right, and in a way which suits the game.