For the next few retrospective posts, we are going to show how the sidescroller build evolved over time, together with exclusive screenshots from some key revisions.
Before the decision of switching away from the 3D top down shooter was finalized, our pixel artists Jocchan and EarthPainting worked on a mock up to conceptualize what a 2D sidescrolling incarnation of the game would have looked like. They eventually came up with the picture below.
The team responded very positively. At first, there was some skepticism about choosing an 8 bit art style, considering how overused it had seemingly become for indie games as of late. The doubts were quickly dispelled once it became apparent how such a style would not only speed up the production of assets, but still allow the game to stand out on its own if complemented by modern effects. Once the decision of going ahead was taken, development could finally start.
The very first revision of Dudebro II reborn only featured a static sprite of Dudebro jumping in the middle of a 320×180px screen with a uniform XNA cornflower blue background. It was our very own Hello World, just 120% more badass.
By revision 16, the screen resolution was upgraded to 640×360. We already had Farseer Physics integration and TMX map loading, but the latter had no colliders yet (even though it may look otherwise in the picture above). We only had one large black platform near the bottom of the screen to prevent Dudebro from falling into eternal nothingness. Speaking of Dudebro, back then he could only walk and jump, with character physics slightly impractical for a game meant to become heavy on platforming. His sprite wasn’t even animated yet.
Fast forward to revision 32, and the test map finally has its own colliders for Dudebro to stand on. The picture is zoomed in by a factor of two to display the sprites more clearly. A working camera can already follow the player everywhere. Dudebro can now shoot placeholder fireballs, and his character physics has improved greatly thanks to a new approach intended to bypass some of the quirks caused by using a realistic physics engine. Still, it’s not really as tight as we need: jumps are way too floaty and character movement just doesn’t feel right yet. It was apparent we had a lot of room for improvement.
In revision 46, Dudebro is finally animated correctly… but one of his arms is missing. That is because the arm is actually a separate sprite, to allow for multidirectional shooting, and that one was not displayed yet. So, our star had to settle for shooting bullets from his beard. Which was actually kinda cool. The screen resolution also received another bump, with the addition of multipliers that allowed for clean looking action all the way up to 1080p (1920×1080).
Dudebro wouldn’t remain armless for very long. In fact, a few revisions later he would receive a muscular and fully functional arm to hold his guns with, but we’ll get to that in a later update.