A bevy of graphical improvements

I implemented a bevy of minor graphical improvements this afternoon after spending the morning building a perimeter fence to keep my chickens in the yard. Here they are:

Briefly, these changes comprise:

  • A more interesting looking background image for the ship
  • Foreground objects that the character can pass behind
  • A smaller, denser map overlay without a flashing room indicator
  • More legible conversation text
  • Graphics for the engine room which totally look like a starship engine nuh uh yes they do
  • Chief Mizzen, the ship’s engineer

I’m feeling like I’m having trouble getting over a hill where I stop working on the game’s engine for long enough to produce real content for the game. Finding a balance between the two is paramount for keeping the feeling of momentum alive, so I’m dedicated to drawing / mapping something new every day… except when I really want to work on new engine features which happen to be sweet.

I also learned that when drawing foreground objects, it’s important they have an anchor that is likewise in the foreground, or else it looks really wrong.

The wrong kind of 2.5D

On an implementation note, I went down a bit of a dead-end with the mapping system, which I corrected today. As endorsed by the Tiled Map Editor community, I used a separate, non-graphical tile layer to track collisions, and used the auto-mapping feature in Tiled to fill it in. In retrospect, this needlessly complicated both the code and my workflow. Tiled auto-mapping can be charitably describes as “crufty and frustrating,” and in a 2D platformer, you nearly always want your main block layer to track player collisions anyway. I now have three tile layers, none of them auto-mapped: the background, the collision (“blocks”) layer, and the foreground. This scheme has some drawbacks as well, such as having to copy and paste between tile layers when moving stuff around, but on the whole I think it will be superior.

Finally, I think the new background’s a little off, somehow, but I don’t know how. Let me know what you think in the comments!

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