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Friday, October 10, 2014

PCT GameDevs: Sprite Making Tutorial & Custom Text Boxes

I explained the difference between pixel art styles and different approaches to making your own.
     Every week something is presented at the PCT GameDevs meetings and this week I showed everyone the basics of sprite making and how I made the text boxes work in Unicorn Training. It's nothing I haven't show on this blog before but it was my first time explaining these things to a live audience. It was actually pretty fun to put together and I got some extra practice with my new draw on paper then scan in Paint technique by tracing over an astroknight doodle.

     The meetings still have awkward points as attendance goes down and I occasionally stumble over words when trying to explain my thought process. Although the club is meant for students to teach each other, I'm not much of a teacher myself but more of an example. I've been working on stuff alone since high school so I'm used to the speed of thought and my complex web of information when doing anything. Putting it all into English on a moment's notice can be hard.

     I feel proud of getting this thing started but I really hope to see more members being active so I'm not running this alone. This last meeting in particular felt like me trying to keep an shrinking crowd entertained and even parts of the tutorial just felt off. I'd hate for this thing to die so soon after getting it up. I don't want to be known for starting a club that failed in just a month. Especially not after the fire I started.

     In hindsight I noticed that I forgot to mention how to keep spriteboxes the size of your biggest frame and keep it at dimensions at the power of 2. I also skipped drawing a tower defense turret from all sides as a time constraint. Come to think of it I didn't go over making a template look extremely different for each character either.

    Thinking back to the meeting makes me cringe a little because I'm sure there's members who know I'm not the great teacher they thought they'd see. I keep encouraging people to bring their own stuff to show but there's only been one presentation from someone who isn't me so far. There's even a member exclusive Google Drive up now where people can submit stuff to a central location to be shared at meetings. I want to learn to, especially from the people working with 3D stuff and procedural generation. Hopefully people get more willing to present themselves over time.

    Explaining things in understandable detail isn't my strong suit and even this blog reflects that. It used to be about showing exactly what I did technically to get to where I am but has evolved into how my games are coming along. I used to try to write tutorials for beginners but felt much more comfortable writing updates on my games and explanations of their features. Like a shift from developer-to-developer into developer-to-player.

     I hope I can eventually reach a point where I can post just enough technical nuggets of info to either inspire someone to get into development or inform someone taking on a similar problem.

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