Just added a new post over at iCloneRevolution about using Gamesalad and iClone for rapid game development. Now I’m not going to tell you that this is a great game because it was built as a testbed for a proof of concept demo to a client. It is a full game but as is explained in the article not much time was spent on gameplay but rather in learning the mechanics of Gamesalad and trying to remember how to logically structure a game.
More importantly it was used to test the graphics of iClone with the application since these types of games are dominated by simple, vector style graphics that load quickly and are easy to push to a smartphone or tablet. This game was developed with HTML5 standards and as long as one keeps in mind that the graphics need to be as slim and trim and possible then it appears to work just fine.
There are some things to remember when working in game engines and Gamesalad is no different.
- Images need to be divisible by 2 like 64X16, 128X128 and so forth. If your image is 66 X 128 then the game engine will kick it up to next level in terms of load and might possibly treat it as a 128X128.
- Images need to be PNG or will be converted and photoshop does a better job of converting raster images like jpg than Gamesalad does. The Gamesalad converted png is a bit bloated in file size.
I used 8 Bit png when possible and 24 bit when I needed very clean transparency. I also downsized the palette to a minimum such as 16, 32 or 64 before saving. The background images (480X320) came out of iClone anywhere from 120K to 250K but Photoshop optimized this down to 30 to 50k if you played with the palette settings. You will notice some heavy dithering in the larger images that is to be expected with this type of optimization.
While this type of game development is rapid you will still need to have a basic understanding of game logic, working with attributes and generally what to do next as Gamesalad does not do this for you. Instead it offers a clean interface to drag and drop a limited number of commands/attributes that when used in a logical manner can formulate some very ingenious game levels. This particular testbed game offers several different types of arcade game interaction… more that you would normally see in a well developed game but again… this was to make sure I could do what the client was asking for.
Its a greenlight to start on the first game and I’m excited about it. This is what I love about digital freelancing… you never know what you’ll be doing next!