As some possibly noted, the blog and my homesite were down for a couple of days last week. This was all due to my own dumbness, and has been fixed totally. Sorry about that!
Archive for July 2012
They look nice but they were a bit of a pain to work with.
This is kind of silly and not at all cool and amazing, but I just finished a level editor for a competition collaboration project I’m working on (along with ESA and such). Thing is, this editor has some functions that I haven’t tried implementing before, and thus it feels really cool to see them in action. It’s kind of hilarious (in a tragic way): it feels really good to create a level editor that looks and feels solid and bug-free, but actually creating a game using said editor can be feel like a huge chore.
Here’s said editor:
For comparison, here’s the rather simple (but useful!) editor of Environmental Station Alpha:
A friend of mine thought that the way I created the trailer was hilariously overcomplicated and thought it’d be interesting if I made a post describing the process, so here we go.
First of all, due to being a poor university student I don’t have the money to buy expensive video editing tools such as Sony Vegas; all videos I’ve made this far have used some combination of Camstudio and Windows Movie Maker (yeah, I know). Then again, I haven’t really given that much thought about the trailers and videos I’ve released this far, so I haven’t minded the awful quality.
With ESA, my intention was to really put some thought to the trailer, and for the first time actually use music made specifically for it. The plan was that I’d make a “raw” version of the trailer and send it to Noby, who’d compose a fitting song around it, after which I’d adjust the video so that the video and audio sync properly (I have no idea how the process ‘should’ go). However, a big problem was that if I did the trailer the usual way, i.e. by recording some gameplay and then mixing and editing it in Movie Maker, the result would be horribly grainy and fuzzy due to the enormous amounts of compression Movie Maker applies to the videos (I don’t know if there’s any way to avoid this – all the codecs I’ve tried apply a lot of compression).
After thinking about it for a bit, I came up with a solution that’d be really really weird but also (hopefully) allow me to create a video with high quality and proper audio. This was to build the trailer in-game, in Multimedia Fusion 2, the program I use to develop ESA. Now then, actually setting up scenes with AI-controlled player movements and such would be a huge pain, so what I actually did was to record a scene in-game with Camstudio, and then turn the AVI to a GIF, the latter of which could be opened in MMF 2. This way I’d get every in-game footage as an animated picture into the program, after which I would be able to connect them to each other with fitting transitions.
Here’s an example of a ‘raw’ footage gif that I used in the trailer:
It’s pretty small, because the game uses a resized window.
Recording and GIF-ifying the gameplay footage was quite time-consuming, but after I had that part done, the only things I still needed were short lines of text to show in-between the footage, as well as some special scenes that weren’t recorded in-game, such as a spaceship flying through space, or a closeup of the space station ESA takes place in. These weren’t that hard to implement, but I ended up creating a sort of a ‘code’ that’d tell the program how long a line of text would stay on-screen etc. This was to ensure that I could later sync the video easily with Noby’s music.
After I had ensured that the whole of the trailer would play properly, I recorded it again in Camstudio to get a raw version of the trailer, without music but with all the assets that’d be in the final. This I sent to Noby, who began to work on the trailer audio track. The music he made resembles the main theme of the game, and I was really happy to see how well it fit the trailer’s atmosphere. It’s good to have more than one person thinking about the ‘feel’ of the game, see. Anyway, the “toughest” part of the process was to actually add the music to the trailer. I had no video-editing tools that would screw the quality of the video file, so I actually added the music track to the in-game trailer and recorded it yet again with Camstudio, this time enabling “Stereo Mix” so that the program would also record everything that came out of my speakers. Since Stereo Mix records only what comes from one’s speakers, I had to turn my computer’s volume to 100% to get the volume levels correct. I use rather cheap headsets which let out quite a bit of sound, so I also had to muffle the sound under some clothes while recording (living in a student apartment can be a pain!) After this I finally had something I could call a ‘final’ version of the trailer.
(Except I had to record it again thrice because the volume levels still weren’t correct.)
Now that was a wall of text. Also typing it out makes it sounds much weirder than it actually was. Maybe I’ll try get that Sony Vegas for my next trailer, dohoho.
I released yet another update to Masjin; this time to fix a bug that has made joining games almost impossible lately. Not that anyone ever playes the game, I just felt sentimental and wanted to play around a bit. Maybe I’ll organize a game someday.