Developer Diary: 4 Months

4 months ago I started developing a 2D pixel art game by myself: the artwork, the writing, the music, and building the project in Unity. I’m still in the early phases of my project timeline, but I wanted to share progress so far.

Thank you to everyone who has given advice and support. If you like what you see, please drop a line in the comments and/or share this with friends.

Onward!

Physics

Fun fact: Removing the box collider from the playable character provoked instant evil laughter from the kid.

Poor dino.

Falling
Work in progress. Behind the scenes look at what happens if you remove the box collider from a game object. Suzanne Skaar. All rights reserved.

 

Dinosaurs and other Updates

Summer has been fairly busy. On top of entertaining a kid during a pandemic and planning for homeschool, I’ve had other projects in the works. I was asked to submit work to a by invitation-only call for cyberpunk stories to a journal overseas. Regardless of whether my story gets picked up for publication, it was an honor to be asked, especially as I haven’t written in this genre before. I’ve been volunteering locally as I’ve been able. Remote meetings are a lifesaver for individuals with chronic illnesses/ conditions like migraines, arthritis, and motherhood (ahem), so I hope this trend continues after the pandemic. The ability to turn off the video and audio functions is especially appreciated. A laughing, streaking kid in the house did elicit momentary panic at one point.

In the relatively quiet moments and through the chaos, I have begun to make significant progress on my biggest project to date [Master’s thesis be damned]: an indie narrative game combining many of my favorite subjects.

Here is a peek at the main character:

Mini Dino Pixel Art.
Mini Dino Pixel Art (side view). Suzanne Skaar. 2020. All rights reserved.

Dino Front view Idle 8 19 2020
Front view Dino character, idle. Suzanne Skaar, 2020. Animation/ pixel art. Work in progress. All rights reserved.

My last programming class was in high school, more than 20 years ago, so I have been teaching myself Unity, a development platform which is free to users up to a certain revenue bracket. Brackeys tutorials on YouTube have been on repeat for months in the house. They are awesome: go check them out! Thanks to the site Beepbox, I have also been working on digital music composition for the first time. I first started using Audacity for podcasts a few years back, and it continues to be a great tool for artists. [While I’m not ready to share some of my serious attempts yet, my co-conspirator did willingly lend her vocals to this “parenting dance anthem.” It was created using Beepbox and Audacity.] 

Other snippets of the game art are up on the No Mine! Studios Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages. I’ve set myself a soft deadline of December (6 months from when I started) to get basic art in place so I can focus on research, writing, and mechanics. This game is a one mother show. If you are on the above platforms, please follow for updates, like, and share. Your support means a lot!

Gay Propaganda

Straight out of Russia, a specific brand of ice cream has caused an uproar because it’s rainbow colored and rainbows are “gay propaganda.”

It would be funny if the bigots behind these idiotic tirades didn’t put so many people in harm’s way in the process.

Anyway, here is a completely innocent gif of a stegosaurus I made today.

Stego_Rainbow
“Stegosaurus.” Animated gif. Suzanne Skaar. All rights reserved. 2020.

Cheers,

Suzanne

 

Peach

A simple question I won’t ruin by repeating the litany of reasons why Trump should not have lasted this long into his first term, let alone be elected in the first place.

Peach
“Peach.” Animated gif. Suzanne Skaar. All rights reserved 2020.

 

And yes, I did use Papyrus.

 

Answer the Phone

When your long-time friend/ collaborator texts you to call then doesn’t answer their phone, sometimes you just need to take a moment and animate your response…

Answer the Phone!
“Answer the Phone!” Animated gif. Suzanne Skaar. All rights reserved 2020.

Dinosaur animation

Spoiler alert: Swearing ahead.

I haven’t posted much at all since schools closed and I took over homeschooling/ enteraining my mini-me during my normal working hours. The work I have done has been in short bursts, then set aside to focus on the crisis of the day.

And then came last week. Protesters rightfully gathering to speak out against police brutality inspired our country’s “president” to declare war on the nation. I’m honestly surprised he made it to his last year before unleashing the military on citizens. He wasted no time detaining babies and children and tearing apart immigrant families.

I guess all those weekends playing golf saved the rest of the country this long.

But here we are. Tear gas and pepper spray and rubber bullets are being used on peaceful protesters in a country whose constitution states right to assemble as fucking rule number one. Journalists are being targeted and arrested on camera, just like in other authoritarian regimes. In Seattle, attendees at the peaceful gatherings were detained from Sunday evening through Tuesday afternoon because the courts closed on Monday and police officers are choosing to violate their duties to protect and serve the people.

My city, Tacoma, imposed a curfew yesterday. Tonight there’s a vigil in honor of Manuel Ellis, who died at the hands of Tacoma police. [Click the link to help his family with legal fees.]

This happened despite our community and state voting for deescalation legislation. Manuel’s death was EXACTLY what this legislation was designed to prevent. And yet…

I digress. I promised a new dinosaur animation. I made this last night while trying to take a break from thinking about what’s going on right now.

 

If you liked this video, please donate to a local protesters’ bail fund or your local ACLU. [If you hated it, donate double.]

 

Keep fighting however you can. You don’t have to be on the frontlines to make a difference.

Suzanne