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Below is the development log for Squillamorph. It is GIF heavy and it might take a while to load them all.
Hey everyone! I've made some decent progress over the last week! This week's post contains piles of rubbish, a Kobold variation, and more ways for the player to die.
I thought it was about time to give the Waste Processor region a bit of beautification. Until now, the levels in this region have just used the base scenery assets, which are designed to be used in any level. This looked good but I felt the level needed more thematic elements. Seeing as this region is supposed to be a waste processing centre, I needed to make some trash related assets and machines to process it. I did some research into real waste processing facilities. This gave me a ton of reference and inspiration as to what I should create. This past week, I have managed to make multiple trash/rubble piles and chunks that I have placed throughout the levels. I have also made a couple of machine sprites to make the piles of rubbish make sense. I find that the new assets improve the level aesthetics and lend to the atmosphere of the levels.
I found these assets fun to make but very challenging to normal map. I don't think I've talked about normal mapping for ages. The last time I talked about it I'm sure I mentioned that the normal maps have to be drawn by hand to get the crisp lighting on the pixel art. Usually, I don't find it too difficult because most of the scenery is mechanical and uses straight angles. However, a pile of rubbish is a mess and uses all sorts of angles. To normal map these assets, I attempt to make sense of the obvious edges and block shapes. Then I basically make a mess of the normal map for the rest of the asset to add some randomness. However, I still have take into account the direction that light will hit or the piles won't look right. They have definitely been the most challenging assets to normal map so far, but I'm sure I'll have need for something just as challenging in the future!
My focus has now shifted towards the Kobold enemy and levels. I have made some good progress on these elements. The first thing I decided to do was to create a HUD animation for them. I found this animation much harder to work on than I did the Test Dummy animation, which is the first HUD animation I worked on. I think this is because the Kobold HUD symbol is slightly more complex. It took a lot of tweaking and testing but I believe I ended up with a decent transition.
Having become used to the varied gameplay of the Flop Shark and its variations, I found the one Kobold enemy much less interesting while testing. So I made it a priority to make the first variation of it. While it is not drastically different, I have made a tank variant of the Kobold. I think I might revisit the sprites to alter them further than I have, to make them feel more robust, but I like the colour difference. The only mechanical differences are the increased health and lower damage output. Just adding the one variation has improved the Kobold gameplay to no end. I look forward to creating more variations of the enemies.
I have managed to implement the environment hazard for the Reactor K region, the Kobold levels, this week. As I mentioned last week, this hazard is the cold pipes, which will slow and freeze the player on contact. This took some time because I had to consider the difficulty this could add to the levels; the Kobold gameplay is already quite challenging. I got it setup so that the pipes would slow the player down but they could escape with the dash. However, this was proving too easy to avoid compared to the previous region's hot pipes hazard. So I made it that the player cannot dash while being slowed/frozen. I think it still needs a bit of tweaking, but it is good enough for now and adds another interesting dynamic to the Kobold gameplay.
I'm the game developer for Squillamorph! I'll post here on the devlog as often as I can.