I’ve already mentioned that for this project I will be using Matt Thorson’s Grandma Engine for Game Maker, to give the game code a head-start. I’ve listed some of the advantages to working this way below.
Character Sprite Testing
The engine provides a default character sprite, which is a 16x16px red square. This can be swapped for any sprite of any size, although in my case I don’t need to make too many changes to the sprite size! All movement codes and physics are pre-determined, which presents a great opportunity to test character sprites and animations etc. without having to provide basic code before hand. I don’t currently have any sprite animations ready enough for testing, but I swapped the red square with my Hana sprite in order to get a feel for size and proportions. You may notice in the video that I’ve edited the sprite slightly again, because I felt that the sprite’s colour scheme should match the scheme used by the flowers more closely. I don’t know if this will stick yet.
The grandma engine has cleverly listed all physics-defining code as one list of custom variables, which can be easily changed by anyone who isn’t familiar with GML or game coding. This is useful for defining your own game-specific physics, and can be swiftly changed and tested in the Grandma Engine before being applied elsewhere!
From playing around with the default settings, I think it’s fair to say that the movement is perhaps a little too fast and the jump distance probably unnecessarily high. This is good for initially experimenting with the engine, but I will eventually slow everything down a little.
Level Design Testing
The engine comes with essential default level design assets, in the form of blocks and slopes which join together to make the platforms of platform games! As well as the standard solid blocks which prevent the player from an infinite drop, the engine provides jump-through platforms, which the player can access by jumping up from underneath but will not drop back through. This is useful for a range of platform types, and something I regret not using in previous developments. I placed flowers around the preset level build to get a sense of how the size of the flowers felt in comparison to the block sizes, and to my surprise they don’t look bad at 16×16. This may all change when the blocks become actual tiles.
Extra Functions Test
There are a couple of nice but unnecessary things that the Grandma Engine provides for you. Things like an optional double jump, which can be turned on and off easily. A more useful function is a warp square, which transports the character from the square to a specific location in any room in any part of the game. This is useful for doors between rooms, rather than using the default scroll room transition.