A downloadable game
Sidegunner is a game about a group of space mechs who fight against an alien threat. To get some funding for sprite art, a kickstarter was launched for this prototype. The prototype is playable and continuing to be developed. At some point this work will be folded into the main game.
Backstory of the game:
Since Jan 2016 I have been working on a top down 2d arcade shooter set in space where humans pilot mechanized robotic units to repair ships. I had designed the infrastructure, developed a story, and then sought to get some artwork for the characters I had in mind.
The ultimate vision for the game was quite ambitious for a first time project. I wanted the universe to be centered around human pilots who operate repair mechanized units. Their daily jobs are to repair ships ships and collect debris from asteroids. The story starts out following one pilot who is kind of lazy, just getting by in his job shooting at asteroids. Then one day, alien creatures from within the asteroid belts start attacking his ship. Along the way as he tries to protect the ship, he'll meet up with other sidegunners who have different abilities.
The cast of characters come from various ethnic backgrounds, reminiscent of my own personal experiences with my friends and their personalities. Ultimately it will be a story focused on the hero's comedic struggles with obsolescence, as he meets people who are way cooler than him, while they all work together to survive this alien menace that is starting to threaten all humanity's colonies throughout the galaxy.
I worked with a very talented artist, Clement Wolfram Swennes, and had him create concept characters for me based off of my descriptions. I really fell in love with these characters as Clement was able to take these characters in my head and bring them to life.
Each hero in the story has a mech that mirrors its personality in some ways. This character is going to be the main hero of the story who pilots a junky looking mech.
Main Hero and Junky Mech
He's kind of unkempt, a little on the lazy side, working in an area that really doesn't challenge him much. Later on in the story he'll encounter this guy......
Melee Hero and Mech
Our main hero will be supremely jealous of him and his cooler mech. This 'melee' hero, has a more disciplined personality and pilots a mysterious, powerful, agile mech. The coolness of it really bothers our main hero quite a bit. So jealous...so cool...
(Here is a secret link of some more art...shhhhh)
Here are some mech images that were commissioned by the very talented Iyad Sabouni
Setting a Goal: Create a Smaller Game first
I began to see that the full realization for my game was going to require a big financial undertaking; additionally, this was a mammoth sized first project for a first timer. So I put art asset development on hold temporarily and continued to work on game mechanics. In the process of testing out combat between a player and an advanced AI opponent, I made a smaller, stripped down prototype that was fun to play even by itself. It focuses on quicker battles that will give a taste of what's to come in the story of Sidegunner.
I thought: why don't I set this as a goal and use it to fund a portion of the art? Kickstarter launched their all-in-1 week campaign this month and it seemed like the perfect time to put this out there!
I want to use this prototype a means for funding the art assets for Sidegunner. In particular, this prototype only needs sprite animation art for three characters: the main hero, the melee mech fighter, and the advanced enemy.
Here are some gifs from the prototype game:
Enemy dodges and corrals your missiles and then uses a point defense system to stop them from seeking Enemy activates green shield You overheat and have to dodge until you cool down In development: the melee mech would have a limited ability to reflect projectiles back at the enemy Imagine how cool it would be if this was a playable character? PEW PEW Imagine how much COOLER it would be to have this guy kunfuing the heck out of enemies. POW POW
What the money has gone toward:
What I am asking is for the funding necessary to cover the expense of the in-game art animation for these characters, also known as sprite art. Having sprites, which are essentially the frames of animation for each character, is much better than only working with simple circles and lines. For example, the calculations of where a projectile will collide with a hero or enemy will be more complex than just a simple circle. I need to figure out where the 'hitboxes' are on art itself instead of using the simple vector graphics approach I'm using now. This will be especially important for the melee character since his animations are going to dictate where his strikes are. Additionally, the number of animations required is related to the number of actions that each character should perform: things like movement through space, engaging a boost, firing a weapon, getting hit, overheating, destruction, victory all tally up the total art required. For every feature that a character is suppose to have, there needs an appropriate amount of animation frames to make motion look smooth. The of the art also will have some complexities, as it's a top down 'orthographic' view, similar to games such as The Legend of Zelda or Hyperlight Drifter, where you can see the full body of the character rather than just the tops of their heads. I want to try very hard to keep the quality of art as high as possible.
Thus far two sets of sprite art for the main hero and the advanced enemy mech have been created with the funds from kickstarter. The melee mech will take some more time to develop, but the sprite art for the previous two mechs are in the prototype now.
Check out the current sprite art here:
About the Gameplay:
Gameplay is simplified down to a one on one battle with a computer AI opponent; the goal is to defeat the enemy before it defeats you. I have programmed behaviors and abilities for the AI opponent and would also like to get feedback from users so they could report how long it takes to defeat the enemy. This will allow me to tweak the behaviors of the AI opponent. Ideally it should be challenging, but not impossible. However, such behaviors will change depending on the situation provided in the game. The limiting factor for all heroes is how much heat they generate. When a max heat level is reached, the mech's safety systems kick in, preventing the player from attacking until the dangerous heat level has dissipated.
Controls are with mouse and keyboard with controller support on the way.
With feedback from the community who support this game, I'm hoping to make sure it remains fun and challenging.
How will it be distributed:
The game, art, and music will be distributed digitally via itch.io. The game will be released for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms.
About the music:
I am excited to collaborate with the artist Orange Drink as he will work on the soundtrack for this minigame. We want to design music in such a way that it is reactive to the situations that arise in this one on one battle. For example, we want to increasing the intensity when near death or being chased by a missile. Having reactive music will add to an overall more engaging play experience.
Check out some of his work at http://orangedrinkmusic.com/
A little about me:
BS ECE, Media Studies MS Music Technology, MS ECE
I've worked on a number of projects.
I just want to thank you for taking the time to look through this project page. I hope that it piques your interest, and should you decide to fund it, I look forward to chatting with you, getting your feedback, and building a community around this idea.
Click download now to get access to the following files:
- Updates: Sprites, and Pay What You WantSep 04, 2017