March Update

I know it’s been ages since I’ve updated this blog, but I have been working hard on a lot of projects, including commissions and the Jet Dancer Game.

I had numerous commissions in January and February, more complex than most work I’ve received in the past, and they required my absolute attention. Here’s one:

A book cover I produced for a client, one of several.

But the more recent reason I’ve been less focused on posting online is because I have decided to make a hard push to move the Jet Dancer game forward at last. I have decided once and for all that this is the project I’m going to devote my focus toward until it is completed.

New Boss: Ardor Cannon

As such, I have finally added more content to the game in the form of a new boss: Ardor Cannon.

For those who have read Jet Dancer: Dance 1, you may recognize her as the impulsive, ponytailed woman with the large cannon.

A page from Jet Dancer: Dance 1

I redesigned her for the Jet game, replacing the separate cannon with arm-mounted blasters on both arms. It made animation easier and thus, streamlined her development process.

Some base animations for Ardor Cannon.

I initially planned for her boss fight to be as ‘technical’ as the battle versus Striking Sphere, but after struggling and failing to get a “block and counter” function to work the way I wanted, I abandoned it and remembered the original spirit of the character. ‘Ardor’ means passion, and as such Ardor Cannon is more of a fighter that acts impulsively with her heart instead of her mind. So the fight against her is more of a violent battle that’s constantly moving. AC doesn’t have much in the way of defense, but fight her incorrectly and you’ll just end up getting gunned down. Her signature move is a massive energy blast that causes great harm to Jet if caught.

Watch out for that beam!

Next Up: Lovely Gauntlet

Next on the list is Lovely Gauntlet, the powerhouse. More than a few people saw how I drew her in Dance 1 and other illustrations and incorrectly (but not unfairly) assumed she was male.

A page from Jet Dancer: Dance 1

At the time when I designed her look for the comic, I was going for a design that said “anything can be beautiful”, but then I remembered the whole point of the “Sensual Weapons” series from which these characters, including Jet Dancer, were originally spawned: they are to be the epitome of strength and sex appeal, power and beauty in equal measure. Beauty is subjective, but the LG I designed in the comics was not beautiful by any measure, my artistic abilities notwithstanding.

When I first created LG, she had much more of a generic, traditional pretty girl design. Lovely Gauntlet didn’t even really have noticeable muscles; she just had big gauntlets. She also had long hair.

Lovely Gauntlet, circa 2009 and 2004 (small).

But I want her to at least give the impression that she’s more physically imposing than the other girls, so I think I’ve created quite an attractive middleground between the beauty I originally wanted and the strength I want her to show.

While she’s still a work in progress, I’m feeling good about how she’s going. I anticipate she is going to be a greater challenge than Ardor Cannon was. It’s not difficult to make a character shoot bullets in a game engine. But LG needs to be a fighter like Jet Dancer, with a variety of melee attacks, and I have other plans as well. I might even want LG to throw things, or be able to throw Jet herself. I’m still in the planning phase.

And as for Jet…

Speaking of Jet herself, the player will have access to a few more moves in the game as well. They don’t vastly alter the gameplay, but they make combat a bit more flexible and fun. There’s now a simple low kick that reaches further out than the Split Kick, but does less damage. Split Kick is now on par with Charge Kick damage-wise. Jet can do a dive kick out of the air by holding down and the Charge Kick button while jumping. I’ve also made some modifications that hopefully make gameplay easier on a gamepad. I enabled the analog stick to manipulate Jet just as the D-Pad does, although I didn’t feel the need to make analog controls affect Jet’s mobility.

Jet Dancer vs. Ardor Cannon (Instagram)

I’m going to try to keep this blog updated, but eventually I’ll be moving specific focus on the Jet Dancer game to a new website. Once it’s ready, I’ll share the details.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time!