It’s that time when newer sprites show their face around Cairn. Previously we went through the exciting Free Blades and the awesome Thermocrats. Now it’s time for sprites that have no human form: these are the Fey and the mechanical Spiders.
Coming up, in Embalmit.com, your source for that sweet sweet, badass retro RTS: Cairn!
Previously on Cairn: One of the big issues we have when making the units is that they are very time consuming to make. The big culprit for why they take so long is the walking animation.
So when drawing these I can get away with repeating a few items here and there: the head, the torso and the belt area, which are made to have this faint bouncing animation in Flash. However the arms and the legs have to be drawn by hand and that’s what takes me a lot of time. For more on the pains of 2d animation in Cairn, check out this awesome post.
So a few months ago we discussed how to make simpler, yet effective sprites. The first issue was lore related: Cairn originally was meant to be more of a steampunk Mech game, however as time went by the steampunk and mech elements kind of faded away. The human sprites sort of took over and we made around 12 human units before we began to look for other things we could make.
So our first idea was a spider type of unit. The idea, after looking at other games that used spider-like units, is that you need less sides to move when the unit is moving. So instead of 12 sides, we only need 1 side for the body, the rest of the animation is done by the legs when they move.
We floated a few more ideas for spider units, but decided just to go for one type of design.
Those units became the Cruderoach and the Buzzroach. Their walk animation was relatively simple and required a few tweaks to adjust it for all 12 sides. To my surprise the developing cycle was extremely quick, which gave me time to work on things such as a breathing animation for the mechanical Roaches.
That breathing animation was complemented with a few particle effects, such as oil dripping and a little smoke.
After that we went for units that didn’t had a walk animation at all. Originally Adam wanted just 1 unit, and then change the palette colors to create multiple units and call it a day. However the design cycle for floating units was so fast that I ended up making 3 more units.
The Wisp, now probably called something else, was the first floating unit we produced. Since the unit’s walk and idle animation were the same, I added a few bits of lightning to make it a little bit more interesting.
After that was done, I decided to just keep going. How about a little companion unit for the Wisp?, what if the Wisp was like an overseer unit and it had some smaller and faster units that did all the muscle work for them. Thats how the Stinger came to be. It’s a tiny crab shaped flying unit, with a nasty melee strike to make it more awesome.
After that one was made, I still had more time, so lets make a unit composed of smaller units. The result was the Swarm. The idea behind it was even more reductionist: just 1 side all in all. As a whole the unit is composed of 3 animations: 1 idle/walk one, 1 attacking one and one death animation.
After that came to be, I really wanted to have a unit that was just a floating body. Originally this unit was called the Elemental, and I delivered with that name to Adam. The lightning effect is back, which takes a little time to draw but it pays off every time. I liked the Swarm’s melee attack so much that I gave this unit a melee attack as well.
The elemental, back when he was green and had a head.
Originally all of these units had a green color to them, but Adam really wanted to save all shades of green for the Kajarii. Which are Cairn’s necromancer faction (still to come). We did a few color tests and went for the purplish one.
We still might do some pallette swapping on these, specially since the red and blue kinda looks nice there.
After all this, Adam had to adjust the lore so that all these units could fit in the world of Myos. For which the floating units all became akin to mechanical forest creatures: the Fey.
As such all the units had a few name changes. Time for some Lore Attack!:
Few fey venture far out of the wilderness, except for the Bogill. They wander through back alleys and creep over roof tops in the quiet of night. They lash out at anyone who stands in their path with dagger like claws. Most people who live near the forests know to avoid the creatures especially at night.
Ancient forests team with these small creatures. Individually they go by many names, pixies, spirits, or fairies, but when clustered together they are known as the Fey Swarm. They cluster together when threatened and deal out a massive amount of small attacks bringing down even large prey. They have been seen dragging corpses from battle fields and piling them high at the base of ancient trees.
This vicious brutes are the most dangerous fey of all. Large hulking creatures that attack relentlessly to anyone they catch in their woods. Luckily they only live deep within the oldest woods and are rarely seen outside their native lands. Rumors have began to spread about an army of Satyr that are gathering at the center of the Shield Wood, but no one has delivered proof yet.
A glowing spherical fey, it is built for medium range battle, launching an elemental attack at anyone who comes too close. Attached to the metallic sphere are a half dozen chain linked limbs that create arcs of lightning when they attack. The visible center of this creature is an bright blue eye filled with lightening.
And that’s about it. There’s at least 3 more units coming up soon. Man, this game is just a few months away from being done. Stay tuned!