It turns out I jumped the gun a little last week as I was advised to “finish the first level to move on…” I checked back to my time plan this morning and my goal for this week was to add UI elements like the HUD and inventory menus. These are now well under way, so I feel like I’m doing well for time, although I know in my head that this can only mean I’ve omitted to do something a long the way. Obviously, graphics are still a working progress. The reason I wanted to start placing UI elements now is because I felt the natural graphical style would be evident enough to start expanding from background assets to the other areas, like the UI, title menus etc which will start to take form over the next couple of weeks. Right now, I’m still filling out my days with level refinement and perfecting areas which have been left overlooked for a while. So that I can’t miss A SINGLE THING, I’ve started at the beginning of the level and worked my way, changing and improving on specific things as I’ve gone along.
In a lot of places, parts of the level simply needed filling out slightly. You can see some improvements to the graphics here where I’ve added little plants and bushes and filled out large plain areas with small rock details etc, so that every part of the level has a unique combination of my existing tiles and assets. What may of may not be noticeable from this image is some adjustments to the lighting which I’ve made. I’ve expanded the sprite I use for these lights so that it covers a larger area and isn’t so concentrated on a small space, which brightens up the level significantly and adds more light variation across the level.
One major addition to the tileset has been these grassy edge tiles, which droop over the edges of platforms and just round them off nicely. They make everything seem a lot more finished, and eliminate a lot of the very hard, straight edges that were causing problems before.
Another significant change has been to the lighting system inside caves. I’ve made the ambient light nearly black, which almost makes the background invisible, except where there are lights. I’ve made these lights much brighter than the outside lights as they are significantly more essential more gameplay. I think this change make the level more interesting visually as well as in terms of how the player plays the game. Instead of looking at an entire surrounding area, the player is constrained to one small space. In this image, you can also see some improvements I’ve made to the Hanging Adversary sprite, which is now finished and working very nicely.
When it came to animating the Hello Mushroom sprite, I admittedly got a little stuck. My original design didn’t give me much space to work with, and I felt like I could only accomplish very minimal movement. This would have been fine, except my other obstacles are now much more active in comparison! So, I redesigned the shape of the mushroom to be more flexible. This new mushroom still releases spores in exactly the same way as the old design, but this one now dances about a bit. The smaller mushrooms are harmless and (I think) create a nice little piece of scenery, but warn when there is a nasty mushroom around!