Around about a year ago I was driving home from work when a song came on the radio. The song in question was Erol Alkan's rework of Forever Dolphin Love. It hit me just right. It was then I had the most vivid vision of the game I wanted to make. It all came to me at once: the music (duh), the visual aesthetic and the gameplay. I've stewed on the ideas for a year and now finally have a name:
So what is Vectonic?
"Hover vehicles fighting without projectiles in a vector synthscape."
I started actual work on it on Sunday night and after two fantastic development sessions have something to show:
I like the word "synthscape".
The terrain there is randomly generated as the game starts. The colour of the world also changes dynamically to visualise with the music playing. I found these things easy to implement given my past experience with terrain generation and music visualisation. Here's a GIF to give a feel for how the visualisation looks:
There was a lot I hadn't dealt with in the past though such as texturing (including creating normal maps). I wanted to provide the simple vector aesthetic with subtle detail that is only really felt by the way light shines on the surfaces. This is visible as a hexagonal grid on the screenshots above.
In addition to texturing I have very little experience with 3D modeling which I'd need for some sweet hover vehicle models. All I had done was several years ago in university where I made a simple gingerbread man in Blender. Rather than just rush blinding into trying to sculpt something in Blender I went out and purchased some plasticine to try flesh out some ideas. I wanted something angular with a reasonably even weight distribution in a more or less hexagonal shape.
I like the disconnected pieces.
Now that I had a stronger idea of what I wanted I took to Blender and - Oh wait! Current version of Blender isn't working on my machine (I'm still looking a fix for this.). I didn't let that stop me though. I found a cool in browser 3D modeling tool called Tinkercad. It makes using basic shapes pretty easy without the learning curve getting back into Blender would involve. It lacks (as far as I could see) the UV mapping options I was looking for as it is mainly a tool for 3D printing. Regardless I had a pretty good model made which was closer to what I had envisioned:
Still needs work though.
Since then after talking to my brother he has volunteered to do the modeling for me. I'm so grateful for this. He's got a heap of 3D modeling experience which I'll happily take on-board. I've handed him my specs and mock-ups and so for now I'm waiting for him to get back to me with a sharper model than I could ever hope to make.
On the music end I've been curating a playlist of songs with the elements of Erol Alkan's Forever Dolphin Love rework that I loved the most. Depending on how far this goes (and I'm aiming for an actual release) I'll be looking to license these tunes. That sounds like a lot of work. Work I'm eager to do. There's so much more to do and so much to learn.
I've got mad ambition.