We also started finishing up adding sound effects to the game. It really makes the game more seamless when everything has some kind of sound feedback to the player.
We are also tightening up the menu controls and working out some bugs on the co-op game play. Hopefully all will stay on schedule and we will be done within the next two weeks and ready to just play test the crap out of it! Then off to the DBP in March! Then into the Xbox Indie Games!
Jeff: We had a question on how the levels were made and if we had a level editor so I'll give a little insight into how the process works. We're working with a tile engine, so everything you see, besides the backgrounds, is a tile of some form. The default tile size is 64x48 and that's how most tiles are displayed but we also have some bigger tiles, like the giant trees or branches in the Tropical Village level. These are 4 tiles by 4 tiles (256x192) but they are still drawn in the spot of a single tile, they're just drawn 4 times as big. Here's an example of how the levels look to the engine
I'm sure you're wondering what you're looking at and how that makes any sense at all. This is by far the simplest/smallest level we have because it's the tutorial level but the others would probably be too big to include. Periods (.) refer to blank spaces where nothing is drawn, 'Z' refers to ground tiles that have collision so you can walk on them, 'X' marks the exit flag, and so on.
When we first started the project our level designer would go through these by hand and place stuff by writing letters and symbols all over the place. I'm sure you can see where that is totally lame and in most cases wouldn't even be considered level design. I worked in secret building a little level editor that looks and works much like if you were making 8-bit art in Paint, painting pixel by pixel. I made a quick little video showing off some features it has in it. I know it looks like an 8 year old designed it but it's only used/seen by us so we didn't take any time making it presentable. If you pay attention to the screen where it says "C: Change Tileset - *LEVEL*" (40 seconds in) you can filter through the tiles we've drawn for the different levels. It looks really bad going through the tilesets because it has one of the Tropical Village levels loaded, and we re-use tiles where we could so one of the map characters that draws a tree branch in this level, may draw a steel beam, or a lava tile in a different level. There's a few things that are a little goofy and enemies are drawn halfway into the ground, but the save feature works, Brandon (level designer) understands how/where everything needs to be placed in order for it to work so it's good enough for us at this point.
If you paid attention to our post earlier this week about the 'Treasure maps' they are drawn exactly like the level editor. Good use of re-using code. :D
Question or comments? If there's anything else that you'd like to know how it works, or just get a little insight let us know!