Hello there! This week, I’ve got exciting updates about the game. The game had great progress, most especially with the graphics! This is in comparison to its previous state as Pill Rush.

Last time, I’ve shared that I got busy with the AI that I wasn’t able to do anything else. A few days after posting the update, I realized there wasn’t much to do with the AI. There were some fixes here and there, but I was content with what’s already there. I still need to have them tested soon.

From there, I moved on to the menus and, I must say, I’m satisfied with what I’ve accomplished so far. Some of the graphics are still placeholders, but you’ll get the idea behind them.

Here are details and screenshots of what’s been done so already:

Graphics

The video shows how the menus “flow” from one to another. It shows the animations that the screenshots can’t.

Title Screen

screenshot-123

For the title screen, I decided to go with the retro-style title animation before flashing the whole screen. I also included the Press Enter bit.

The background shows the main character in front. I was planning to make a completely different sprite here for him, portraying him as running from enemies. The enemies should be behind him. This was my plan, though I’m not sure yet if I can pull that off. It takes me hours to finish even just the letters for the menus. (Not that I can’t do it, I simply focus on the pixels too much. That’s why I take longer making the art.)

Most of what’s in this screen are still placeholders, aside from the main character. I plan to revise them soon, including the font for the logo.

Map/World Selection

screenshot-124

 

Here, the 3 worlds are displayed. By moving left or right, you can select which world you’d like to go to. Of course, the second and third worlds should be locked until you finish the last level in the first world, City.

The scrolling background was purely accidental. I meant to have checkerboard patterns scroll only at both top-right and bottom-left corners of the screen. Somehow, I couldn’t pull this off. I decided to go with this for the meantime. It still looks cool, though.

Level Selection

screenshot-125

Once you select a world, you’ll end up in its level selection screen. It shows the previous menu in the background with a dark overlay. It is supposed to be blurred instead. However, studying shaders is a bit too painful for me. It’s a bit inefficient too as I only plan to use the blurred effect here.

Game Over

screenshot-128

This is a simple Game Over screen showing, well, Game Over along with options to restart the level or quit the game. Similar to the Level Selection screen, the last snapshot of you playing will be set as background along with a dark radial overlay.

There will be two versions of this screen:

  1. If you run out of lives (hearts) = Game Over
  2. If you run out of time = Time’s Up

They’re practically the same thing, but I figured they can make a difference to the player.

Other than these updates on the looks of the game, not much has improved. I plan to start spriting the characters soon since people I know start to associate the game with the simplistic sprites they always see. I’ll start working with the tileset for the first world (City) as well since I started at the middle.

Gameplay

Movement

A friend of mine tested the game and pointed out the “sticking” problem we’ve been having since Pill Rush. At first, I thought the collision masks of the sprites were the culprits. I’ve been ignoring this since I thought it was easy to solve. I soon realized they were only just part of the cause, and the big one is really messy.

I looked at the global grid generated in every level. (For reference, I’m currently making the game in GameMaker: Studio). Back when the team was still on, we decided to go with the 32×32 cell size for the grid. We thought this setting was common so we went with it. From this, we had the sprites sized to 32 x 48.

When I started working on the game alone, I decided to upscale the sprite size and made it 48×48 to make it uniform. I didn’t change the cell size and so, obviously, this caused some problems. I soon resized the cell size to 48×48 and things went a bit more smoothly.

Even back when the game was still Pill Rush, there was this problem with turning points where you can get stuck most of the time. As a temporary solution, I decided to make the turning points a bit shorter.

screenshot-127
The purple tiles show the shorter tiles.

As far as I’ve tested, this slightly lessened the sticking issue for both AI and the player. As an additional thing, I’m planning to make the paths thicker. The image above shows 1 tile thick paths, which are still problematic.

 

The sticking problem may be slightly patched, but it introduced a new one: the tile sizes. I’ve already worked on majority of the Park tileset and I’ve set the tile size to 32×32. Resizing the cell size of the grid entailed the need for resizing the tile size as well for the tileset. I should have done the cell size resizing a bit sooner.

Enemies

So far, I have two types of AI done. I plan to add a new one laying out traps instead of making a new AI type with an interesting pathfinding algorithm. The traps can cost the player a life, make movement slower or cause the player to complete stop briefly. I have yet to test the idea, but I plan to do so very soon.

Powerups

coffee-563800_640.jpg
I’m back!

Coffees are now back in the game, as part of the inclusion of powerups. Even during Pill Rush, the coffee was planned to be included. I simply imported it into Postal Rush. It will have the same effect as planned: give the player a boost in speed for a few seconds.

Aside from this, I also plan to include an item that should give one or two lives to the player. I’ve been this cafe management game on my phone and I started associating coffee with croissants. I might use that for the sprites.

Music and Sounds

I tried generating sound effects from some online sound effects generators. I’ve integrated basic sound effects to the game. They include pressing Enter, Escape and so on. I’ve tried playtesting with and without them and I realized they do make a difference. The game started feeling a bit more of a game after including them.

For the music, I recently remembered Tetris Attack. I used to play it with my sister. I thought that game’s music feels just about right for Postal Rush. This music has been particularly lovely:

 

I’m thinking of commissioning a sound designer to have the music done. Unfortunately, I haven’t had luck finding music for the game. The ones I’ve found feel a bit too generic. I’m still thinking about it since it will entail money, something I sadly have little of.


And that’s it for my updates for this week or so. I didn’t realize it was this big of an update until I finished typing all of these out. I’ve been celebrating a bit lately due to the visible progress I’ve been having. Though the game’s not much, managing to finish the game will be a great accomplishment for me. This project lasted way longer than expected, but I would really love to see it out there as one of my simple yet hard-earned creations. Not to mention it’s my first game ever.

Do stay tuned for more updates! I might be posting a playable demo of the game very soon with its state. Check Selebreus’ Itch.io and GameJolt profiles. There’s not much there yet, but I’ll make sure to edit them very soon.

Have a good day!

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One thought on “Postal Rush Update #2: The BIG Graphics Update

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