I got a contract job in Swindon which is a fair distance from my home in Gloucestershire. I did about a weeks’ worth of driving before realising how dangerous that particular journey can be. Also it was total dead time and I wasn’t getting back home til gone 7pm most nights.
But the big issue (aside from, y’know, not seeing the family) was that not much got done on Tribloos 3. Even less than the weeks leading up to that when I moved house and refurbished the garage into an office. Well that last job was still ongoing however I decided I must do something.
So I bought a folding bike (which I named “The Bumpkin Flyer” after the cycle track I was using of a similar name), got up at 5am and got the train from Cheltenham each day. It was pretty nice to sit there and get on with things whilst someone else did the driving. The first job to do was the scary clown face from the circus levels (ooer). But the main task I wanted to get done asap was the level select screen.
I didn’t want to move too far away from the previous incarnation of that but at the same time I realised I had a lot more areas than in Tribloos 2 (In fact, double the number of areas!) So to make it less confusing I decided it would be completely button controlled this time around.
One day when I’d missed my train I sat, rather embarrassingly, in the Swindon Train Station Cafe and drew on my laptop this terrible image of what I wanted the level select to look like.
I came up with a design with the world map on the left and then the level areas on the right. With wanting to make it a bit fun so I put simple animations in when you hover over the area button. I say “I” did that, really I did the first one then said to Catherine (That’s Catherine Bennett, our incredible artist for this project) “Pllleeeeaase make that look good!”.
As you can see here this is my “a 5 year old could do better” version.
And now a preview of Catherine’s amazing work:
Very soon I found I couldn’t fit all the buttons on screen. I didn’t really want a scroll bar as such but I didn’t want to reduce the size of the buttons either. Mainly because I wanted to put a progress bar and stars on the end. So I came up with the idea of making it “auto-scroll” depending on where the mouse is vertically. If it’s near the top of the screen then you’ll see the top of the list and if it’s near the bottom of the screen you’ll see the bottom of the list. Simple and, hopefully, effective.
Next I wanted something to happen on the map itself if you clicked on the area button. The level buttons slide in with their usual stars on (this time I made them wobble!) But on the left I wanted something to represent the area more than the world map picture. I came up with the idea of postcards that fly in with an image of the area on! I also made it fly a bit like the (1970) newspaper headlines, but ending on a slight kink instead.
And my work was done. So I decided to write this ready for when I finally get the blog prepped.
Tribloos 3 Development continues on…
At the time I wasn’t sure if I’d hit my target of “before 2017” but I was going to give it a bloomin good go!
Currently as I type this in November 2016 I’m on the last few level of the game. By the end of next week it should be playable from end to end. It’s quite exciting really but I know there’s still some tough work to do. Most of the cut-scenes still have their old graphics assets and most of the in-game music needs to be composed (although a lot of the themes are ready to be used). I’m still missing most sound effects and the Achievements are not finished. There’s also the question of challenge levels – should I have any and where do they fit into the game?
However it feels like I should get the vast majority done before the end of the month. Check back for more updates next week where I’ll show you the special level editor I made for the game and why I should have maybe done things differently!