While I know plenty of people are waiting on Project Explore to just be finished already, I have not lost hope in the vision quite yet. The artist/lead designer of the other project I am working on has joined me in the development of Project Explore. He is a great artist and a good friend.
With our combined effort we plan on COMPLETELY recreating the visuals of Project Explore. A first step we both agreed on was removing the top-down 2D perspective. It was an easy way for me to maintain the framerate and code in a lazy fashion but it is time to get serious.
Prepare your buns for 3D
There is no magical math equation happening to draw that terrain. That is actually 3D. No more cutting corners to avoid it. On the positive side of things, the framerate has gone way up since there is no time wasted doing complex math just to render terrain!
Stripping Away The Extra Crap From Game Maker
I disabled the application surface and decided I would handle all of it myself. I don't want the surface to be handled for me because I don't like the extra baggage. I removed a lot of the old surfaces and GUI scaling techniques I had to use prior to the removal of the application surface.
Throwing Away Old Assets
It's been rough but I managed to clear out an entire 45 MB of old assets. Along with that I guess less files are being kept in memory because the game uses 25 MB less memory than it did prior.
New Artist?! Who Is He? WHY!?!?!
Idiotekque and I worked together for a short time. I mean literally a month or so. In that time he was a paid contract worker. $100 a week was the deal. I obviously can't afford that regularly and although he has some hope in the success of the game, he was not interested in revenue share. After that it just felt desolate on the Project Explore development team.
Panos (the new artist) and I have worked together/known each other for a while now. He is fairly tech savvy and more importantly has a life time of experience doing art. Even more impressive is that he is formally educated on the subject.
He may not be my roommate and I have yet to meet him in person but of all my friends/contacts, I would trust nobody else with the task of leading Project Explore's art style more than I do Panos. So have faith in him and just prepare yourself for the hype.
But Seabass... You Keep Adding New Things, Will Project Explore Ever Be Finished?!
I don't know yet. I throw out old ideas because they aren't as awesome as I'd imagined they would be. Other times I re-write stuff in a more efficient way because I learn new things. It will take me some more time but I promise that when the game is finished, you will be 100% satisfied.
Steam Winter Sale!
Unfortunately Project Explore is skimming by and not making the ridiculous six figure income I'd hoped for. It is however making enough for me to split a fair amount with Panos and to pay off some of the many debts I've accumulated! That is good enough for me and feels like a decent Christmas present. Oh yeah and Project Explore is 33% off right now.
Last But Not Least, Merry Christmas!
I hope you could enjoy this post while sipping on some warm coffee or hot chocolate. I will try to post again soon but of course, like everyone else, I may be away for a day or two while i enjoy my time off.