Project CATAM Pt.3

I’d like to start by apologizing for my absence. It has become more and more difficult to juggle life with development, managing marketplace requests and assistance, prototyping, and replying to everyone’s emails regarding my tutorials and Game Maker questions. I do want to stress that I enjoy these questions and I am glad that I can be of help to all of you. I am trying to strike more of a balance lately, so I have been back in the Seattle music scene, playing drums weekly, as well.

ANYWAY, onto the CATAM stuff. A lot is going on and I’d like to fill you guys in on what we’re working on, who “we” are, and what my plans are for the rest of development.

Status Report

Have you seen all of those Zelda fan-game GIFs that I’ve been tweeting? If yes, you’ve seen some of the mechanics that I’d like to include within our new project. We have yet to reveal a lot of the art and story included in CATAM, so I wanted a way to test and show off mechanics without spoiling a lot.

Basically, CATAM is metroidvania like game that draws inspiration from 3D Zelda titles like Ocarina of Time and The Wind Waker. The game is a 2D platformer that allows you to hold the left trigger to lock the player’s (Crown’s) facing. This mimics the Z-targeting system that is featured in 3D Zelda games. This gives you the ability dodge roll away from enemies while continuing to face them. Perhaps to put up your shield out of a roll to reflect an attack or fire arrows at an enemy while running away with ease. You will also be able to map three items to three face buttons in a similar Zelda fashion, as well.

To boil that down,

A-Jump/Wall Jump
X, Y, B-Map to items (sword, shield, bow, etc)
R-Roll
L-Lock facing

As of now, we have the core mechanics of the game nailed down as well as the majority of the plot, setting, and character stuff. We have narrowed down the scope and timeline (more on this later) to our liking. This week will be focused on getting all of the player animations finalized so that I can make sure that the controls are to my liking.

Team

I’m on the team, but you knew that. For the most part, I’m the dev. I’m doing all of the code and design. Everything aside from visuals and audio.

Jonathan ‘Ellian’ Rousseau is going to be our pixel artist. Yes, I said pixel artist. I mentioned HD art briefly, but I recently decided to revert back to my roots (again, more on this later).

You may have noticed that he tweeted our first look at CATAM on this past Saturday.

Lastly, Dylan Hanwright will be composing our OST and creating all of our sfx. He is a local friend who helped on both Frog Sord and Super III.

Moving Forward

Where to from here? Well…we have a lot planned. Jonathan JUST left his job at Cyanide Studios to pursue pixel art as a career and I’m super stoked to get him working. Every day we seem to be going back and forth about our ideas for the game and where we can take it. For the most part, we’re still in a heavy design and planning phase. Recently, I picked up a 3DS title called Xeodrifter by Renegade Kid. Not only was it a fun title, but I also stumbled across the postmortem on Gamasutra. Xeodrifter is a small metroidvania title that was created by a very small team over the course of five months. I really enjoyed the scope of the project and it is somewhere in the ballpark of what I expected to do with CATAM. Due to this, I was quite inspired by that article and that timeline. We have budgeted about ten months time for the production of our game, but I love having a pretty solid template when it comes to world and level design, budget, timeline, marketing, and practically everything else that I could need. I thank Jools and the team for making that type of information public.

So…Zelda, metroidvania, and pixel art. That’s pretty much all that I can give you for now. I will mention that I would LOVE to swap over to a different blogging process. I am strongly considering changing pace and attempting to deliver a weekly development video. In these videos I’d talk about the game and show new content, but I’d also just talk. About everything. What it’s like to work at home, what it’s like to work with investors, how to manage working with people who are nine time zones away from you, and anything else that somehow relates to gamedev life.

I hope that these videos are something that people would value. We’ll see how that goes.

Until next time,

-Z

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Project CATAM Pt.3

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