Sooo at the end of February I released my latest (interactive) animation for the NG Flash Forward Jam!
'Brain-Toasting Dungeon'by ButzboChoose wisely and help Bollo make it to the end of this twised dungeon!!
With the jam concluded I thought It'd be fun to spread some brain cells about it:
The Jam was announced late last year, and it got me intrigued on what to make. While I've used Flash to animate for so long (10+ years!), my experience making more interactive stuff on it is pretty limited (the games I've updated here over the last years have mostly been done with the Construct3 engine (HTML5) which is something completely different).
Since the main focus was to make something that took advantage of Flash' features in some way. I focused on defining what was the most I could do with the limited coding (Actionscript 2) knowledge I had. When I'm creatively stuck I like to come back to this concept of letting Restrictions breed creativity (quote I read from Mark Rosewater, Magic: The Gathering's Lead Designer). The restriction in this case: having only this basic knowledge about buttons to control animated scenes, so that's how I went for this little choice-based adventure, focusing much more on the animation side of things, which was also a good excuse to get me back into animating something.
(One scan I found where I brainstormed a few ideas)
I also remembered I tried to make something like this before in the loong gone 2010, here's a secret unfinished project (ZOMG!):
An over-simplified 'RPG' battle with the catch that different choices either damaged you or the enemy in different increments. I think it had some potential, but I grew bored of it and didn't get far.
For the main character I chose Bollo, some sort of Onion Person (Onionoid, Onion-folk...?).
It's not his first appearance as he's been on a few animated loops I've made previously for the Loopdeloop challenge. Seemed like one of my characters which I could animate the quickest, which was convenient considering there wasn't as much time.
Here's a previous Bollo GIF:
The overall "story" (route) planning was a result of looking for unexpected desicions, so my main priority was to keep it fresh introducing new types of choices every time (doors, weapons, actions, etc). Everything has a weird logic and I guess the game gets away with it as it is forgiving taking you back to the last choice when you fail.
(Here's a super rough early diagram of the main path)
My composer pal Moralo Gonzalez was on board with the idea, so when planning the sequences, I sent him a track list for the different moods during the animation (dungeon, battle, magic, dragon, etc.), since the animation is fast paced, all are brief loops, around 10 seconds each, with this forced restriction of simplicity, he actually made them super quick! so by mid January I had a defined animatic of all scenes and was ready to animate.
However, January was pretty busy with animation work (and I also helped host a Global Game Jam location!) so the deadline extension to February were magnificent news! (otherwise this would have been waaay shorter).
While it is a quick experience, there was still a reasonable volume of animated scenes (16 total, around 2m 15s ), as this was mostly made in February, it meant animating roughly 1 scene every 1-2 days so I had to be consistant. Leaving the last few days for backgrounds (not my proudest part, but serviceable) and sound, where I had some hours to to search for a few sounds, also use the classic Bfxr to create others, and also record a few homemade sounds too.
And at last, managed to upload in time on the 28th!
If any inquiring minds wondered why is there a blocked/crumbled door right at the start, that's because it was considered as a whole alternative route!
I actually had some decent progress on this Route B before scrapping it in favor of a a better finish on everything else. So while it won't be so soon, I have plans of finishing that extra route, there were some fun segments on it (and I'm also sitting on a few unused music tracks).
Sooo, How did Flash do in 2021?
Flash was a super convenient tool for this kind of project: Simple button interactions to control animated scenes, and a surprise 'mini-game' at the end. And all done in the same place! I really like how fast and flexible it is to make any object integrated as a Button, or use 'Movie Clip' objects to keep an object animated even if the scene is frozen (used for the choice scenes), and it's easy to add all kinds of details for a better presentation, such as the animated pointer cursor.
While I don't expect to make much more complex games with Flash, it would be fun to revisit it for more things in this line.
Also the performance with the Ruffle emulator (which allows Flash games to work in 2021!) is great, and the fact that it works on mobile is a big plus.
And that's all I have for today! Despite being a bit of an endurance, this was a pretty fun project to get me back into animating more freely. Also it's been amazing to see the results of the Flash Forward Jam, some great quality stuff that really makes you respect this unique piece of software and its legacy, so why not go and play more Flash games?
And of course, brain-toasting thanks all who checked it out, and to the Judges for the award as top Movie with Interactive Elements!!!1uno