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Friday, October 11, 2013

Making Fish Feaster - Part 3

     Once I had a game up and running all I needed to do was add some pretty fish and ambient sounds. I thought it would take me a few weeks at most. Maybe even a month, I did have a lot of fish to make after all. I also wanted to scale them all for each size the fish could possibly be. Pixel-by-pixel perfection. My game was going to be beautiful. Oh how foolish I was...
~Too Many Sprites~

Each one edited by hand to look as perfect as possible.
     Making sprites takes a while, but it can get done. Doing them all 10 times each at different sizes takes forever. The valuable lesson I learned from wasting months and months on these things is: rescaled sprites you made yourself basically look the same as ones scaled by software. I ended up using a rescale method built into Cocos2d for the sprites because it was efficient code and made the game a lot smaller by having smaller sprite sheets for the playable characters.

I should have done this from the start.
     After the sprite issue was settled I was searching for music. I had already tried making something in Garageband to no avail (I just can't, even with tutorials I'd take forever. I haven't taken a music class since 2nd grade). I asked a musically talented friend to whip something up for me with a promise of payment after the game's release. He made a few songs for my SDL game that's still on hold to this day, so I knew he could make something if I told him what I wanted.
     The trouble with asking for help is reliability. I'm working alone mostly because I'm the only one crazy enough to spend my college party/goof-off years working hard to get a career started. I'm dead-set on making games and am willing to put the time in at the expense of everything else I could be doing. Not everyone is like that. When I thought my friend would make the music, he forgot a few times, then ultimately gave up. So I needed to find some music from somewhere and I had a budget of near zero. Public domain it is.
     I found tons of great stuff at and (along with a few others, but those two are the ones I can rely on). There were tons of songs to choose from in all kinds of genres at incompetech and lots of creative commons sound effects at freesound. Any sound effect I couldn't find, I just imitated using my laptop's microphone and whatever was around me. With a bit of tweaking in Audacity and agreeing to the terms of use by giving credit in the app description, I started using the sound files in the game. 

     My baby was finally in beta and almost complete. At this point a lot of playtesting was going on and I got as many people to play it as I could. I was bug hunting. Hardcore. Once the game worked perfectly I needed to figure out how to get it in the app store. You can guess how that process went.

     There were a lot of things cut from the game, turning animations, background effects, the ability to name your fish, and a giant adventure mode where you swim around and eat respawning fish until you grow big enough to progress. But sometimes you have to just count your losses and move on. 

   Fish Feaster was a fun idea, and definitely taught me a lot. I'm glad to move on from it though, and now I'm almost 3 games closer to making my dream game. Each one builds up the experience I'll need to pull it off.

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