This past week:

I have been on a personal journey to try to get my weight up in the realm of game development. My idea is trying a project I call a one-level game. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a game that consists of a single level. The goal is to make everything the game needs to feel ‘complete’ as if the game only consists of one stage. Imagine if, say, Super Mario Bros. ended with the princess rescued after World 1-1. That’s the concept: the game would still have the title screen, whatever menus, sound and music, gameplay…all that, end credits and everything. The idea is that if I can make one complete level and build the framework of a game, all that’s needed is to make more levels.

A while back, I designed a random practice warrior woman named Sannaa, an intentional alternate spelling of the Swahili name Sanaa which means ‘work of art’, according to one resource.

Sannaa's normal formAs ever, the idea was random at first, and then I started coming up with all kinds of ideas to do more with her. Inspired by the NES game Power Blade 2, in which the lead character (who looks like Arnold as the Terminator) wields a boomerang, I thought I could come up with a game that aped some of the concepts from that title, but done my way. So she would have a boomerang, and she would also be able to put on special ‘suits’, or in my case, magical elemental body paint that will allow her to change form. So I sketched up four different forms based on elements.

I’ve been kind of ‘soft-designing’ this universe featuring my Elemental Goddess Series https://jonathanpriceart.net/elemental-goddess-series-updated/. When I designed Sannaa’s alternate forms, I named them after goddesses Dunia (earth), Anga (sky), Moto (fire) and Maji (water).

As a one-level game project, my son gave me the idea of producing a desert level. I’ve always had trouble drawing environments — largely anything not related to characters, so I studied various methods of producing assets. I have a bad habit of throwing money at problems. I bought https://kenney.itch.io/assetforge and https://dacap.itch.io/aseprite with plans to use 3D models and pixel art to try to build things…

And then I said screw it, and started drawing assets the way I draw everything else, in Clip Studio Paint.

Mockup of a desert level. All art by me.

I’m a little proud of this. After looking at some asset packs in the Unity Asset Store for ideas and searching for pictures of deserts, I thought about how I would go about translating such things into usable assets for my own game. I started drawing and painting, and the above pic is a mockup I arranged with the things I built.

Currently, I’m putting it all together in Construct 3, just as I did with previous projects. I am slowly learning better practices, like focusing on structure before getting deep into animation and polish. I’ve made several pose tests of Sannaa’s sprite, but I haven’t done any animation at all. I’m using single frame images to test things as she moves through the levels,. So far, things are feeling good. I have a plan for the desert environment, the goal for the player and I even have some concepts of enemies I want to add to the game. I’m trying to take things one step at a time.

Last night, in an attempt to get more used to drawing Sannaa (too many of my random character designs are one-and-done’s yet I try to turn them into characters), I sketched another drawing of her in a slightly alternate outfit.

It’s probably not going to be in the game, but it was fun nonetheless.

Further updates to come. Thanks for reading!