JDGD: Jet Dancer Game Development Diary 20171023

Starting today, I will maintain a development blog for the Jet Dancer game on my website. I will (hopefully) update once a month. The goal will be to actually have something to say. In other words…I have to make a move on developing the game on a regular basis so I can make significant progress.

As I have been developing the game for a long time, it’s a good idea to reintroduce the project, both to readers and to myself.

What is Jet Dancer?

Jet Dancer is a 2D combat action platformer based on an original character of the same name. I designed Jet Dancer inspired by video games in the first place–my premise was to develop a character that could ‘believably’ do the things a lot of video game characters do, such as dash, double-jump, and do all types of special kicks that sometimes defy physics. After attempting to make comics based on the titular character, and losing interest (finally accepting the fact that I have little interest in actually making comic books myself), I decided to focus on making a game about the character since she is such a perfect fit.

The Construct 2 (C2) game development program has been a godsend to this game project, because I do not want to write code and I found C2 to be the absolute easiest to use game development software out there. It has a very user-friendly interface with an event-driven logic system. I could not have gotten nearly as far as I have with other programs…and I have tried. I’m not ruling out evolving to other programs in the future–I have my eye on Unity and UE4–but I’ve come so far with Construct 2 that I’m not ready to start anew in other software at this time.

I developed almost everything in the game myself, from the sprites and the HUD to much of the music. Sound effects I didn’t create myself came from free sites such as www.freesound.org and some BGMs from www.incompetech.com/music which may or may not be used in the final game. Everything else about the game with some small exceptions (I’ve followed tutorials and advice from experienced developers) was put together 100% by me.

Currently there is a demo of the Jet game on my site here but this is not representative of the final product I have in mind. It’s really a series of tests, testing Jet’s movements and attacks, the overall feel of the game, and combat against enemies, etc. Much of it will be rearranged, but it will not likely be presented in the same format when done. I have plans for cutscenes, many more levels, enemies and bosses.

The game is planned to be fairly straightforward; it’s not going to be a Metroidvania or an elaborate action-RPG with levels to gain and moves to unlock. It’s meant to be an old-school feel with my own content, a prettier, sexier version of the (S)NES games I grew up with: start game, see a skippable cutscene, start level, go through level(s), fight boss, see cutscene, next stage, and so on until the end of the game. It’ll be set up for speed runs and high scores and there will be ‘secrets’ to find in the form of gallery images and what not.

Inspirations for Jet Dancer include:
  • Mega Man X – mainly the dash and wall clinging. Also the futuristic setting and the concept of fighting foes that are basically different versions of the hero, or rather corrupted versions of what the hero is, that’s the foundation of the Jet Dancer story.
  • Rocket Knight Adventures – mainly the concept of using rockets for movement without flying (although there were flying stages in RKA, there won’t be in Jet Dancer) and melee combat.
  • Kick Master – I didn’t play much of this game but I loved the concept of a character relying almost entirely on kicks to beat enemies in a non-beat-em-up platfomer. It stuck with me ever since I first heard of it when it was a new NES game, all the way up until 2004 when I first designed my own ‘kick master’…with rocket boots.
  • Sexy game characters of the 90s – Cammy, Chun-Li, Blaze Fielding, Tyris Flare, Mai Shiranui and the like–current games featuring some of those names aside, characters like this have all but disappeared from today’s adventure games. I have began to feel that there was a distinct lack of sexy-for-its-own-sake character designs in video games. I unapologetically designed Jet Dancer to be a sex symbol. Her outfit is extremely revealing, her breasts are full and bounce with her movements, and her body is curvy and her movements emphasize this. She smiles, unaffected by the fact that she is seen as beautiful by some and as a slut by others. I’m sure this will offend some people, but I also feel there are people out there who, like me, believe that fantasy is the place to put fantastic things. I would never expect my wife or my daughters to dress like Jet Dancer, but creators shouldn’t be afraid to create fantasy characters like Jet Dancer. A blogger I follow once said something that stuck with me: “If women can’t be hot in fantasy, where can they be hot?”
What’s next?

My next move for the Jet game is to work on designing more levels. I have a bridge level in mind inspired by a comic that I will upload to my site later, an unfinished Jet Dancer comic that my followers on Facebook have likely seen already, an old work but a good one in my opinion. This level will likely follow a revamped rooftop level that already exists in the game demo and lead to a new boss fight against a character introduced in the comic. I will likely even use scenes from that comic to create cutscenes for that level, giving the game a more cohesive feel. I’ll also be designing enemies to suit this new scene. I don’t know how long this will take but I’m going to start today.

Thanks for reading!