It’s been too long since I posted something new and I apologize for the lack of new tutorials. I got caught up in a few interesting projects. Ending up doing the artwork for some fun little games. Consequently resulting in less time for new tutorials and blog maintenance.
The latest one being finished at the moment with a planned release for mid-April is Super Crossbar Challenge. An addictive football game created by Pedro Cabaço of Shattered Box Games. It will be published by Fredbear Games and Play Play Games.
We are currently looking for testers for the upcoming iOS version – see the post on TouchArcade. Shortly, an Android version will follow shortly.
Update: Both versions have been released by now. The game is available for Android and iOS:
The year is coming to an end and it’s not been treating me too well… I had ongoing health issues and left Serbia where I was working with a bunch of friends. Long periods of testing new medication to help me with my pains and aches ended without much of a result… but hey…
I am still around and kicking. In order to end 2016 on a sweeter note, I will be giving away all BlockBuddies (single characters and packs) for free (for a limited time).
Grab them while they are there!
Have a happy and successful 2017 – may all your wishes come true and your game projects reach completion!
Here’s the preview of (most of) the available characters:
(there are some samurai and a mummy missing in this image for starters)
Note: I was a little bit lazy… and didn’t alter the prices on the blog pages though. As soon as you click on the buy button you should see the discounted price on the sellfy page – 0.00. Sellfy requires a share… Sorry… I can’t bypass that either.
A while back I saw this game video on facebook. It was a simple action game. It’s the kind you play when you have a moment to spare and want to get annoyed in a flappy bird kind of way. In short, it’s not really the kind of game I am good a playing! Nevertheless, it’s the kind of game that due to the rather limited amount of artwork is quite quick to reskin.
The game was created in construct2 by the talented Algerian coder Hadjoudj Mohamed. Like most indie authors, he couldn’t find or afford an artist to help with the game.
The result was a working game with ‘coder art’ and UX/ UI problems that come with it. E.g. placing the play button away from the easy reach of the fingers, fading the buttons too much with the background and a general lack of polish.
I went ahead and took the title screen and altered it. Starting with the game character, working my way through the elements on the title screen and sorting out the UI in the progress. The main elements are a lot cleaner and more visible.
With the game character looking a lot like a mix between a bee and a minion the choice of a hexagon as the main design element was easy. The buttons had to stand out more from the background than in the original version. I went with a blue and purple gradient and chose orange as the contrasting opposite for the main buttons.
The character was simple enough to allow a couple of funny variations.
Note: I used CorelDraw for the animation process. The combination of multiple pages (that export nicely to layered .psd files, which make it easy to export separate png files of the same size) and the use of symbols make it very easy to create the base set of images. Altering them for variations afterwards is a breeze.
The character has an idle animation, flying up, crashing and a game-over animation – all up 22 frames. Once these frames were set up I just needed to alter the symbols once and CorelDraw would update all 22 pages of the animation for me.
I want to share the first experience I had with the beta version of Affinity Designer by Serif. The tool has been out for Mac for a while (there is a free trial version available as well as purchase version for £39.99). It has received much praise as an alternative to Adobe Illustrator. Serif released the beta version for windows a few weeks ago.
I tried version 126.96.36.199 on my Windows SurfaceBook and am quite impressed with the ease of use. The features provided by the program are great.
If you have been working with any vector design tool before (Illustrator, CorelDraw or Inkscape) the basic set of tools will look very familiar.
The toolbar at the top has three unique icons though. The tool lets you switch between a vector design mode [draw persona] and pixel paint mode [pixel persona] and the batch export [export persona]. Next to those are tools to help you arrange, layer, snap and combine your shapes. All the icons are pretty clear and there is a tooltip when you hover over an icon for a little longer.
The UI elements matched the resolution of my laptop. At a resolution of 3000×2000 pixels, in my Microsoft surfacebook’s standard mode, Illustrator and CorelDraw make it hard to select nodes and node handles. They become very, very small and are not scaled when zooming in. Like Inkscape Affinity Designer scales these nicely to make it easy to select and modify the objects. All input displays are scaled and big enough to read.
The toolbar on the left hand side has your usual tools. In vector mode it allows you to allow you to move objects, change the canvas, edit nodes, or edit corners. There is tool for different types of drawing, edit the fill and the transparency. Preset standard objects (rectangles, circles, rectangles with rounded edges and a nice set of predefined shapes ranging from triangles to hearts, arrows and even editable cogs) can be selected from here.
Note: I really liked the canvas setting as it offered a choice of device-specific settings such as iPad, iPad pro or iPhone 6. It’s a very helpful feature when designing a full-screen layout. The background illustration matches the desired proportions and sizes from the start.
Another nice feature is the corner tool allowing easy modifying of the corners of a node. It offers 5 different shapes from plain to rounded and rounded inverse to steps. The amount can be quickly altered by dragging a marker or by entering a value.
To the right you have your colour panel (with the HSL colour wheel as preset but more schemes to pick from), swatches to help you organize frequently used colours, strokes to define the outlines and brush settings.
The layer panel underneath is very user-friendly. Showing preview icons makes selecting elements via the layers panel easy. Affinity Designer offers the essential tools you need when working with layers, such as locking and hiding elements or layer groups for easier handling.
The bottom right holds another panel for transforming, showing and editing your history and navigating the display area.
Here’s the resulting illustration while trying some of the frequently used features. I was combining objects, using gradient fills, opacity and opacity gradients. Overall, I was impressed by how easy it was to use the tools and modify the design.
Note: To me, the shortcuts are the key to working with a tool efficiently. Affinity Designer has some shortcuts set in unusual ways like the duplicate on CTRL + J. Those can be altered quickly in the settings to fit your own needs and habits.
To sum it up:
I will definitely spend more time using this tool. I want to explore the more advanced features. As far as creating illustrations and artwork for games, the program has convinced me. Its ease of use and the good quality of exporting the artwork to bitmaps is excellent. The results can easily be used inside the game engines.
I will write a more complete review with the pros and cons once I scratched more than just the surface. A comparisons to the tools I have been using in the past would be nice.
Eventually, I will cover some of the tools and the workflow of Affinity Designer on this blog in the future. It’s very easy to use this program. It offers a large set of tools ideal for creating vector graphics and illustrations.
Finally, let me know in the comment section if there is any interest in covering more on Affinity Designer.
Note: Affinity Designer is being frequently updated. The newest version might already be different from the one I base this initial post on.