Gato loves to sit on her newly constructed cube perch and watch us work. And work is getting done! Today’s GMG, and probably from now on, is going to be a little different. Don’t fret your pretty little head: adorable Gato pictures will continue as always but we figured we’d add a little more “dev” to our “dev blog”. If the tech speak is a little too much TLDR for you, you can simply enjoy the pretty pictures I’ll draw to accompany the text. Take it away, James!

Charlie Murder Style
It’s amazing how much Charlie Murder has changed since its original showing at PAX East a year and a half ago.  That Charlie Murder was a crude, flat, raw and mucky beast, a button masher made in a weekend.  This Charlie Murder has become something elegant, artsy, and OH CRAP IT’S NOT PUNK ROCK ANYMORE!  But that’s ok.  Neither is My Chemical Romance, and you know what?  I’ve warmed up to them.  I like their sad little parade song.  I get all excited for the big outro.  Just don’t try to make me listen to Good Charlotte, or I will invent exciting new ways to stab you in the face.


Exciting Infrastructure (Don’t Read This Part If You Don’t Care About Development)
The PAX Demo of Charlie Murder was based on some of the tech I used for Dishwasher 1, namely the character editor (it’s in my completely aged yet slightly relevant book) and map editor, stuck with a nifty visual sprite sheet editor I made (and now swear by) that let me break away from the terrible horrible gridded sprite sheets I used in Dishwasher 1.  That was 3 editors.  Now we’re up to ELEVEN.  I guess the wise thing to do would have been to put all the editing functionality in a single, robust tool, but that’s not as braggable.  Ready for my massive editor rundown?  BLAM:

  • ClothesEdit for combining clothing layers and color ranges to create base clothes (like dark striped long sleeved shirts)
  • FoodEdit for defining attributes of various food items, like burgers (HP + 100) or energy bars (STR + 1)
  • MapEdit for making maps
  • MonsterEdit for setting attributes on monsters, like their stats, models, textures, and AI
  • SceneEdit for creating layered scenes. This was ripped from the comic cutscene editor from Dishwasher 2!
  • SheetEdit is my sprite sheet editor.  I can draw a bunch of sprites on a big texture, then bring them into this and drag rectangles over each sprite for easy use everywhere else.
  • SmashEdit for defining anything smashable.  This was hardcoded at first.  What a nightmare!  Now I can visually define all of the pieces, smoke, fire, etc. that break apart when Charlie Murder beats up a mailbox, car, pool table, etc.
  • ToastEdit is… eh… I don’t know.  I got in the habit of calling that BLAM Boss Popup from Dishwasher 2 a toast.  In Charlie Murder, I’m trying to make boss toasts more punk rock.  You’ll see.
  • WeaponEdit lets me define all the weapons’ stats, like how durable they are, what pieces they disintegrate into once they’ve been used up, their range, etc.
  • WorldMapEdit is built from MapEdit, but lets me make little world map nodes and trails.  World Map!
  • CharEdit for animating my characters.  Did you know Yuki and Dishwasher both had around 2500 frames of animation each in Dishwasher 2?

A big lesson I’ve learned again and again over the years is hardcoding evil editors good.  I’m sure Charlie Murder could benefit from better organization with its editors (I guess Shank used one imaginably robust tool for everything called The Shanker), but, for the most part, having specialized tools to create content rather than mucking about hardcoding everything.  And once you’ve made useful tools, you can keep recycling them for future projects.  I’ve used the same character animation format for Dead Samurai, Vampire Smile, ZP2K9, ZP2KX, Time Viking and Charlie Murder.

Get a Windows Phone
Are you sick of drinking the Apple Kool-Aid?  Are you an Xbox LIVE fanboy?  Windows Phone. It’s not terrible.

Seriously though, I had an iPhone 3G for two years or so and, after switching to a Samsung Focus (on launch day, no less), I can’t say I miss it.  Sure, there are a bunch of iPhone games you can’t get yet/at all on WP7 (I’ll never finish Chaos Rings now!) and that feeling of being able to find an app to for just about every task ever is a little diminished, but, hey, that’s ok.  I can do exactly what I want with it, the interface is insanely slick, and, as lame as it sounds, now that I can get Achievables on a phone, I’m actually playing phone games.  And OH YEAH, IT’S NOT AN APPLE PRODUCT.

We’ll Post Screenshots of Charlie Murder Someday
But not today.  We’re in art overhaul mode, and art is being thoroughly awesomely overhauled.  Seriously, the before and after caps are amazing.