Patriot summary

that’s objective 4 of my honours project finished. and with that, I am done 😀 this was the last bulk of uni work I needed to do. now all that’s left is polishing up my dissertation(at 12k words right now, need to polish down to 6k) and getting my exhibition/graduation sorted.

the playable version of the game is in the works. and assuming I have permissions to install software on the exhibition computers, it should be playable with a mega drive pad. speaking which,i`ll show it off briefly here.

this was the first version of the game. only HD mode is available,camera can move in all 4 directions with some gorgeous parallax scrolling.

the second version used rudimentary character art for Willie and had some collision. the collision was apparently a pain to get working however because the game uses per pixel collision instead of being tile based. so whenever the character gets to this slope, he falls through it and the game crashes.

the third and current build of the game. the character can jump and change between visual styles. but there’s no animation as of yet.

it may see some improvements in the upcoming months but I can’t speak on my programmers behalf, he`s already helped me with this so much and he has his own deadlines to worry about. regardless the premise of something being playable (no matter how rudimentary) with a mega drive pad should be enough to allure people to my booth.

thus being the main reason I decided to create a video piece for patriot aswell to show off all the assets i`ve made for it. speaking of which, i`ve still to post this media test of the cave environment.

during animation of the video demo however, the only environment scrolling I could manage was the foreground in the fields. since i`m using a virtual camera it had to sync up with it, and it wasnt easy with animation tools.

another problem was, if I had kept all of the background layers in, than the files would become too large and unstable, at one point I had yellow boxes coming up in the publishes versions which was very odd. so for the majority of the animations there was just a foreground and 1 background. but for the transformations scenes, the backgrounds fade into white from closes to furthest away, i made these parts a separate file and transitioned into them using the video editing software. i`ll note these scenes when I get to them, but it was just like the workaround i had to do for bit.cops (where i could only have 1 type of each bad guy in one file) so practice makes perfect!

the intro starts off with a plain gold background, than the sword and shield slash into view. a white flash, and then the logo is revealed.

audio easter egg: the 6 note slow tune here is actually the silver rupee noise from Zelda:ocarina of time slowed down. I gathered a bunch of sound effects from Zelda, Sonic and various free sound libraries.

Willie falls into the scene much like the badass openings from contra. I was going to have big text slam onto the scene which says `GAE` which sf `go` in Scottish, but it was 1.obtuse  2.too easily pronounced as gay 3.is also featured later in this level and I didn’t want to overuse it.

he`s landed and is now continuing onwards. I started the game off in HD so it gave the retro look some oomph when it appears. that and the intro is in HD.

his first enemy encounter, two Scottish red lions. they way they run makes it seem like they have only two legs, whoops.

whenever a lion is slashed at, it dissolves into a pile of fur. just hope it doesn’t look too much blood. want to keeps things PG. maybe a 12a for some mild racism.

he jumps over the other lion. put this in cause i wanted to sho off his moveset as quickly as possible into the video.

notice his kilt flapping in the wind. acts as a hover jump of sorts.

lots of bumpy scenery in the level. it is the highlands after all. flat planes are boring.

the yellow slopes can’t be walked on, and stepping on them causes Willie to slide uncontrollable down them. this is used  later on to stop him from getting on top of the houses as easily, he needs to time his jump before touching the slope.

the flying haggis is dispatched. and it`s mincey guts spill.

put a transform at this point because I feel the video has been building it up long enough. notice the foreground objects turn white first, then the playing field, then the backgrounds, then finally the sky. takes an extra animation file and some video masking to accomplish it, but I feel the transformation needed some visual flair.

the transform causes the whole screen to flash white, then dissolves. very faint scenery im this image.

one thing i forgot to do. was put animated sheep into the HD environments. I have them in retro mode but not the other,whoops.

here he is killing the bagpipe enemy. funny story about where I got the death noise for it from.

he`s on the high land just before the house. timing this jump allows him to land on the roof instead of getting caught in the slippery slope. in my original design for the game, finding and defeating every enemy would have been the challenge. and there would have been some flying haggis up here to test completionists.

the spin attack acts as a double jump, has faster falling however.

initially I wasnt sure wherever to have the straw tops as the walkable part or the wooden beams. I think the beams work fine, could have had the straw parts as bouncy in retro maybe.

he lands in between two nonchalant red lions who havent noticed him. this was a really creative excuse to show off the lions prone animations.

and with a spin attack they are both dealt with, and i got to show off the prone/death animation also.

he goes back into HD. did it here so I could show the well incident.

the backgrounds arent terrifically in sync but you get the idea. don’t think it detracts.

i`ve managed to do something very stupid here. in my original photoshop file for the level i have a bucket as a separate object which was going to be kicked into the well by Willie. to serve as a sort of visual indicator that this object, is in fact a well. but i`ve forgotten to put it in.

going down the well in HD causes Willie to plummet and crash. much like real life. would be a bit of a shocker for anyone playing but hopefully pretty funny.

I put in this very rudimentary lives screen as an excuse to use the Braveheart quote about lives.

from this point onwards, the video is like a montage/filler series of shots because I wanted to show off every animation and every area in both visual styles. that and simply doing the same journey to the well again would have been boring, this mixes it up a little.

a retro encounter with the haggis. (haggi?)

then a crossfade, then HD bagpipes. I`ve now had the realisation, I should have tried to alter the sound effect to sound more Retro in the Retro style. I think there’s a very simple filter in audacity which lowers the fidelity of sounds by a variable amount. i used it for the gunshot at the beginning of bit.cops to get like a SNES gunshot-like sound. oh well too late now. low fidelity bagpipes might just cause people to go deaf.

the next 4 shots are a Benny hill like, left to right, right to left chase.

but with visual style shifts in the middle

here he is running back left. not very productive but there is 2 lions chasing him.

this one shot lingers for a bit too long and it brings attention to the sheep, or rather the fact there aren’t any in the HD version. it was hard to check scene timings during video editing as playback was erratic thanks to the screen record method I have to use, in order to make videos from swf files. flash should really have better video export options. or I should get another hard drive, the renders are gigantic.

a horde sequence at the houses with enemies attacking from both sides.

2 enemies in very close proximity approaching.

which gives me a chance to show Willie being hurt. it gamifies to the video to show him taking damage. (as does putting in a user interface, never got round to that) the fact that the bit.cops never took a single hit made them seem like indestructible badass`s but I like that.

now he`s back at the well in HD and the video is in sequence. I have him jump off the second roof here so I can point out the sign. Gae Doon is Scottish for go down. as in go down the well. couldn’t find a Scottish word for `in retro mode` so I left it to player experimentation to figure it out.

and I managed to get the HD animations for prone and prone/death in here thanks to the placement. guess the lion was busy looking at the rocky wall.

and now to transform into Retro. the sign here does a good job of highlighting the scene by scene transformation effect.

and having the transformation here also let me who off the Retro version of the sign.

the well has a very different reaction in retro mode. Willie slowly warps down it just like a warp pipe in Mario as the sound effect highlights. I do realise the sound effect was a bit too strong a reference, but I needed to get the point across and it`s only a video. whereas if it was a playable game I would not have used it.

and he lands carefully into the water cavern in retro mode. im not so proud of this area as I didn’t do anything in particular to enforce the `scottish` vibe. hence why I don’t spend too much time showing it off or putting in montage shots.

lots of tricky gaps here. was gonna have him fall down one of them to lose another life, but the lives screen joke is only good for about one use. had it been a more thorough video with three areas I may have done.

the spin attack doesnt dislodge the crystal in the way, it just shakes it.

it needs a charged attack. it`s great fun designing levels which take full advantage of the characters abilities. (and my animations)

the crystal gets ricocheted out at about a million miles per hour. it does move way too fast looking at it now, but that works in showing off how strong Willie is. the crystal takes out the tartan clad spider to the right as you can see. the death sound for it is the sound from the skulltulas in Zelda:ocarina of time.

the crystal traveling at uber velocity took out the spider but not the web (video game logic) and turns out it can’t be walked through,it`s just bouncing Willie back. an attack would have had the same effect if I bothered to animate him attacking it.

the logical course of action here is to switch styles.

this level was the biggest pain when it came to transformations. there are about 5 background layers which need to fade to white in their own timing. but for regular animation the level has just one flat background. I needed to make separate files for transformations than video edit them together as I`ve previously explained. i dread to think how painful it would be to get this level running in real-time on a playable engine.

the HD cave. the web is now looking a lot thinner and, like real web.

and just like a real life web, it simply tapers off and floats away when collided with. at least, this is my understanding of web after dusting away cobwebs.

another crystal needs charge attacked.

the crystal flying right gets a spiders attention, the lowering sound is taken from ocarina`s skulltulas aswell.

a spin attack deals with it no bother. there’s no real threat anyway since i didn’t make an attack animation, shh.

these are mushrooms. and just like mushrooms you’d find in a cavern, they are simply gooey,squishy and sticky and simply prevent Willie from jumping up onto the ledge.

 so with another obstacle comes another transformations (and yet, another animation file)

the mushrooms appearance is now a lot more rounded,vibrant and speckled. much like Mario mushrooms.

and just like Mario mushrooms, they are highly bouncy and help propel Willie further up.

the last part of the sequence, an array of platforms. initially they were going to shake and lower. and there was going to be a tricky passage to the right to jump into and enter the beach area. but the video fades to black here.

and that`s all for the video! I`ll post some more assets since i never got the chance to show off a few things these past few weeks.

the HD cave in it`s full glory. despite not being thematic at least it`s colourfull.

and the retro cave. the resolution for this one is a lot smaller than the highlands. really wanted to push the pixellated look, as people were telling me the first area was too detailed.

the HD tartan-spider. *ignore the missing tooth*

and the retro version.

i`m not going to bother with reposted concept art. if you wish to see more of patriot, use the category dropdown box and select objective 4.

regardless, onto the media test summary.

the environment and mechanic as a puzzle

videogames have been around for a long time, and a lot of traditions,stereotypes and conventions have formed. and Patriot playfully pokes fun at those conventions in an interactive way.

click and point puzzle games have always been operating under their own video game brand of logic instead of any realistic form of puzzle solving. and gamers have become accustomed to this quirky brand of problem solving. the well incident, as obtuse as it may be. is capable of evoking a variety of emotions from the player. albeit negative ones for falling down it in retro, but nostalgia and that `aha` moment when interacting with it in HD.

and it`s thanks to taking video game conventions literally and implementing the stereotypes in an interactive fashion. aside from the well, there’s a limitless amount of puzzles I could have exploited more so. I chose only to use a few so I could adapt them better for a scrolling hack and slash. many instances could be befitting of a puzzle game, but regardless. video game conventions have been around long enough to start cashing in on.

variety

obviously lower fidelity artwork takes less time to create, and it appeals to hardcore/older demographic quite strongly. and for this game, it adds a great deal of variety to the same locales. despite being thematically similar, both visual styles are extremely distinct, as is the animation of the characters. audio also has the potential to differentiate further. aside from the games gimmick adding a plethora of interesting obstacles, it can add a general level of polish to the overall presentation.

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