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  • My Artist Residency Experience At Villa Kujoyama

    - Christophe Galati

  • III) Prototype development

    After setting up my work environment and the basics of most document in January, right in February I was able to start prototyping Himitsu Project. I started to list the various tasks on Trello and in the technical document, and made a planning of allocated tasks for each months.

    My first mission was to implement the 3C, having the control of the character (move, jump, run...). I don't really like to prototype with blocs, so I started with a sprite of a character I drew for a previous prototype (Memory from the Grave), with a background from Illusion of Gaia, which is one of my main references for this project. Right from the start I fixed the screen resolution to be true to the Game Boy Advance, this way I'll avoid to fall into the same trap that bothered me during the whole development of Save me Mr Tako (like the Pixel Perfect setting in Unity).


    After half a month, I started to make my own "sprites", graphical elements for both the characters and background, to eliminate all the "placeholder" (provisory assets brought from other games). It's at that time I started to implement the map and collision system. For the camera and different screens, I took and refined what I used in my previous game. I also found a free plugin, SuperTiled2Unity, to optimize the collisions and to get a nice workflow to create content quickly, one other aspect of development which took many times for Tako. 


    I optimized all those systems and the code architecture, added a bit of UI and menus, the swim feature... until the Open Studios, big milestone of my residency stay where I had visitors who were able to test the prototype, next to Save me Mr Tako. Villa Kujoyama does Open Days 3 times each year, so visitors from the artistic scene, politicians, press and the artist's own guests can come to the residency and see the work of each artists. Near the games, I printed slides explaining how I work, a few spritesheets, as well as an exhibition of retro games, explaining the different era as a player in my life, and how they inspired me. It was nice to see visitors who at first doubted why a game creator was here, but then realized that games have been part of their life too, that it is as inspiring as any other art and that it was logical that those kind of place are starting to open up to those creators .


    I lost a bit of time on the map system, the z-order and collisions, I had to wait for the developer of the plugin, who upgraded it so it works well for my needs. I used this time to complete my documentation and refined the already implemented systems according to the feedback I received during the tests, as the feeling of the jump, how you fall in holes, the character respawn...


    After a trip in Tokyo in April, I finally got the gameplay vision that I missed before, the idea behind the upcoming battle system, how the player will fight the shadows in the game. Unfortunately I barely had the time to implement it while I was there. I spend the last months refining those systems, implementing the dialog and cutscene systems, all those things we can't see but which, if implemented well, will save me precious time in the future. I couldn't go as far as I wanted, but I have a cool base I can build on.



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