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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
I 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.
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.