Perri Trees! – AXRIA Project Evergreen (Making of Part 2)

AXRIA Project Evergreen is going strong so far, a lot of the key elements are being implemented and some fresh ideas are coming in!

Perri Tree!
The Perri trees now grow a lot faster and finishing growing after reaching around six Perri orbs tall, if you’re lucky there’s a chance that they can grow even taller! Sarah can wall jump on its sides like before and platform on the top of the trees, however I want to implement the ability to make sarah be able to walk past the tree while she’s on the ground, this should make it easier than constantly climbing the trees to another area. The only risk is that this could cause glitches, in what I’ve programmed so far it works well, until sarah jumps, at that point she is in a wall clinging state inside the Perri tree. If this doesn’t work well I’m considering to let Sarah be able to pass through the left and right sides of the Perri’s and be able to stand on just the top of each Perri orb.

It may appear surreal to some, but if coded properly this can potentially make getting from point A to B a lot quicker and less exhausting.

trees iff heights

Currently Sarah can cling to the trees using her wall attaching abilities, though as mentioned this is all subject to change.

Enemy Below!

The enemies are beginning to take shape, so far there is the Bloid who acts like he did in Axria Retro World. What I’m going to change through is pretty much everything about him! At the moment Bloids are born from the seeds planted in the ground, though I want to change it something a little different. I have a vision of the trees growing fruits within the leaves, and while they often contain seeds, sometimes they may be infected an give birth to a Bloid! After that they will try to hunt for any Berri flowers to eat, or a young sampling of a Perri tree!

Their attack is the main thing i wanted to change, in Retro World they didn’t have any special abilities, they were rather mindless compared to how i initially designed the Bloids back in 2008, so i want to create something thats similar to how i originally envisioned the Bloids (albeit more family friendly). Bloids will now attack by jumping onto an area of Sarah’s head and draining the colours of her body. The colours then get absorbed into its body to use as a special attack. When you defeat an enemy bloid its colours leak out and you can recollect them- to add a sense of getting back what’s been stolen from you!
Currently the Bloids can jump when they touch an invisible field near Sarah, however the rest has yet to be coded. You may notice a white box around the Bloid, that’s his hit-box, put there to make colliding with objects less wonky as there’s no fancy curves to it. This will be made invisible soon enough when all its events are implemented!

jump bloid

The line indicating his jump movement, hilariously the bloid misses his target and

Axria Star!

The Axria Star is back from Axria Retro World, I was going to replace it with Axria Portrait of Moonlight’s Naro Blaster, but I grew attached to the star- personally I saw it as more special to Sarah. Anyone could use a gun. I’ll change the plot around this another time, for now I would rather focus on Project Evergreen’s gameplay.
The star acts as it did in Retro World except now the physics have been tweaked making the gravity stronger and more impacting push when hitting against sarah. One key difference are the colour echo trail it leaves behind, its made of Sarah’s three colours albeit brighter. I hope to make this indicate the damage points left, say the stronger you are, the stronger the star will be.

The Axria star as it gets thrown!

The Axria star as it gets thrown!

But there’s another idea that ive come up with recently! I thought of how sarah could move the Perri orbs if they’re in her way- in the process of thinking possible ideas I came up with the idea of the Axria Star being able to copy abilities of assistant objects- in this case the Perri orbs!
I thought of a few ways this could work; either the Axria star takes the entire Perri orb and brings to Sarah’s hands (where she can carry it an throw it), or the Axria star copies/ takes away the power of the object it collides in. Either one of these can change the structure of the game, but I’m currently leaning towards the taking-ability idea. It will mean that weapons i had planned for Portrait of Moonlight can be reworked as abilities you seek out for in the level rather than ones you store in your inventory. These are all maybe’s however, but ideas I look forward to experimenting with!

Concept for the Axria star- shoot it into an object like the Perri tree to absorb its power!

Concept for the Axria star- shoot it into an object like the Perri tree to absorb its power!

Technical wizardry!

Technically the game has the key functions implemented, such as the camera panning up an down, all the background layers move along with the camera giving the feeling of parallax scrolling. You can see a video of the background in motion below; Please take a look.

Notice the use of glimmer on the water made with pixels travelling at different speeds. Notice the use of reflections of each mountain and how they’re two lines of the same image moving left an right. Notice how each mountain moves at a different speed to give the illusion of depth. There are 8 layers of background not including the glimmer, but i hope to include more for clouds an possibly foreground trees!

There has been one major technical change and that being the screen resolution, previously I’ve worked in a resolution similar to popular mobile devices (480×320) however there have been two drawbacks, one being that at this point I’m uncertain about porting any of my games to Smartphones, an secondly this resolution creates a boarder all around the screen on many monitors I’ve tested it on. This has been an issue for several of my games, mainly with Axria Retro World (Which had a insanely small resolution of 160×144! Though it was trying to replicate the original Game boy’s resolution).
As of now Game Editor has no way of stretching the screen resolution, so instead I’ve went with a screen resolution that works with most PCs but is still small enough for pixel art (800×600), even though it may have left an right boarders it shouldn’t show any boarders on the top or bottom sides of the screen making the game view look like its stuck in a black limbo.
While I’m fine with the current resolution (800×600) I do ponder if there’s a way to get the screen resolution to stretch on all monitors, either by its properties or through a new addition in a newer version in Game Editor.


Conclusion

Despite technical boundaries I feel i can still create some interesting mechanics that are fun to play around with! I hope to next implement all the key ingredients such as a goal to get and progression through rounds. Once that is met I can then add the enemies that make each Round progressively difficult!

-Angus Beer

bw_pixel_orb

Project Evergreen Announced – AXRIA Project Evergreen (Making of Part 1)

Announcing Project Evergreen

Although my progress has been slow on AXRIA Portrait of Moonlight in recent years, I feel that I’m starting to gain some momentum with its current build since January 2015. I’ve decided to make a demo of the first area of the first stage, but structure it in similar ways to an arcade game. Code-named Project Evergreen.

I decided to do this as it means I can focus my efforts on the main mechanics/ gimmicks of the level, so that I can lengthen it out later after all the main functions are complete. This should prove less stressful as it won’t mean constructing a huge level, only to have to rebuild it all because of a mechanic I change later down the line.

General idea

My general idea for this arcade themed demo is to have two horizontal screens worth of field, where you as Sarah have to get to a higher platform to obtain the Axria stone on a pedestal. She has to make her way up by either climbing up Perri trees with her wall-jumping abilities, or using the big Berri Flowers as springs. How these come into to existence is letting the falling seeds plant into the ground and waiting for them to grow into either a Berri Flower or Perri Tree.

The catch is that Scarfire’s creatures live off the Berri and Perri species, they will devour pieces of Perri tree while your climbing it, and will try to eat the Berri flowers while they’re off screen! They don’t want to share it with you so they’ll quench the colours from your body until your nothing but a uncoloured corpse. This will also be round based, so after obtaining the Axria Stone the stage resets with the Pedestal moving higher up each round, and more types of enemies coming in from different angles.

Mockupv2 XL

Mock up of Evergreen Gully

Mock Up

Here’s a mock up I made before I had a true engine, using some of the already made sprites and some newly made/ enhanced ones. This was made to demonstrate my basic idea for this arcade themed demo. You can see the Perri tree which is made out of multiple orbs, initially this was more for style but I thought this would give the ability for the trees to grow orb by orb. Enemies could knock parts off the tree causing parts to collapse.

There was also another idea Im not sure if it will work for this arcade demo, but that is the leaves can be collected into Sarahs body to replenish health. I thought of this when coming up with the idea of colour indicated hit points (Sarah has three colours, therefore three hit points left), and different coloured leaves could cause different abilities (like invincibility or even fire power).

I hope to add the same amount of detail as seen in the Mock-up, as her placeholder one in the current build is flatly coloured. At the moment Sarah has no Ponytail and has only one animation. The reason for a lot of placeholders is to concentrate on how the game handles, and if I decide to change Sarah’s hit-box size later then I wont have to reanimate things all over again.

RTrees growing

The current build of Project Evergreen – 03/02/15

Current Build

Here’s a screenshot of the current build of Project Evergreen, the background utilises parallax scrolling and in general left and right screen scrolling is functional. The top of the trees continually grow very slowly (0.6 pixels per second), and keeps adding more Perri orbs when it makes it to a certain height. The camera hasn’t been programmed to move up yet, but the Perri trees can grow above the screen. Sarah can also wall jump onto the sides of them.
You may notice the tree sampling alongside orange seeds, they all come to life when they go off screen…

mini berri evo

This is how the evolution of the Perri & Berri seed work so far, when you walk past a Mini Berri flower, it will fire three seeds into the air as the flower degrades into nothing but pixels. The seeds will then gravitate to the ground, where they stay there until Sarah buries it by treading it into the ground- when thats done, it will either grow into another Berri flower or into a Perri Tree.

Perri Berri evo 1I thought making the seed the look the same would add a feeling of chance, like rolling the dice, although in this case there’s a 1 in 10 chance the seed will grow into a Perri Tree. Those start of as little spuds like you see above, however give it some time and it will grow into a tree like you see below. You can jump off the sides of the tree and platform on top of them.

Inspiration to Project Evergreen

Like mentioned I want to create this game with an essence of Arcade spirit, but being relatively subtle about it; so no hi score or coin operation. The games that inspire me are games like Mario Bros Arcade and Animal Crossing.
Mario Bros (Not to be confused with the follow-up Super Mario Bros) for the way you had to analyse the playfield and strategize a way to defeat your enemies without them running into you; defeating Koopas and Crabs was done by jumping into the platform from below to flip them over, then kicking them off screen before they got back on their feet.

Animal Crossing as a series had you live as a Villager among a town of Animal civilians, the part that inspired me was the motive of planting different types of fruit to grow them into trees, you had to wait several real-time days to see them fully grown, sometimes their sampling died due to lack of water or the place they were planted. When it was successful you got more of that same fruit, which either meant you could bury for more trees, or sell them! This added a sense of satisfaction for having the patience to plant and grow the trees, almost encourages farming.

Conclusion

I have a feeling this will be a fun project in preparation for the full game of Axria Portrait of Moonlight, when I get some feedback on what proves fun for players then it will help when designing the full game, and any less desired ideas either improved or removed.

-Angus Beer