I took a short break from game programming to consider other aspects of game creation, mainly graphics. So many choices. Pixel art or not. Vector or Raster. I suppose the assets used in a game need to be raster (bitmap) graphics, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be created as vector art and exported to a raster format. I’ve been using Adobe products for many years, originally because I was doing some stock photography at a time when quality mattered. I got pretty good with Photoshop. I even entered a few Photoshop battles against graphic designers. I usually lost of course, but it was challenging and a lot of fun.
Now that I’m considering an indie career I’m rethinking software. Adobe Creative Suite is OK when I can claim the subscription off my tax because I use it for work, but that won’t really be a viable option going forward unless I start making real money from games. I’ve also used Anime Studio a bit for animations – it uses a bone system similar to 3D animation even when dealing with 2D sprites. Very convenient. However I’m considering a total open source platform – Krita, Inkscape, Blender maybe, and of course Godot as my game engine.
Back to playing around with Godot again, and I found a really good tutorial series on Udemy by Guilherme Oliveira called Godot 3 Complete Develop Course – 2D and 3D. Having been a teacher for 25 years I’m pretty critical of other teachers teaching style, but I’m quite impressed by this one. Being fairly new to Godot I thought animation was only achieved with a series of sprites representing a succession of frames in an animation, but I recently learned that one can move various parts of a character with rotations, translations etc just as you would in an application such as Photoshop. No bone animation unfortunately, but it does make the game engine more self-contained. I guess you can’t distort an image either (change shape) – perhaps I’ll still be doing my animations in a separate graphics program. Probably Krita or Inkscape if I stay open source. I think Blender might have some 2D options too – must check that out.
On another note, the tutorial series I mentioned started getting quite complex. I’ve always found project-based learning to have a major problem – it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Once methods in all the classes start sending messages all over the place, calling methods in other classes (scenes and functions in Godot), it becomes difficult to understand how it all works. After that you are just following a recipe, not really understanding what’s going on. You might end up with a working product, but not a lot better able to create something of your own.
This is the main reason I’ve started using design diagrams in my earlier posts. These diagrams are intended to help understand how something works, how everything fits together, before getting bogged down in details. I’m currentl using Visual Paradigm, and have acquired a reference on it as the online docs are a bit dry. With my regular work commitments nearly over I should have a bit more time soon to analyze some games in detail and hopefully provide a perspective on the whole process. Who know but I might even be able to work blockchain in there somewhere.