The Game Boy of Isaac - Team Kirby Devlog

We are "Team Kirby" from Telecom Paris, and for our end-of-year project, we set out to write a game, inspired by The Binding of Isaac, for the original Game Boy.

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25 June 2020

Some explanations on graphics

by Ametheek

Even though our project is based on The Binding of Isaac, we decided to create our own visual identity, with an original main character.


First steps

At first, when we started to talk about our project, we at Team Kirby wanted to add new gameplay ideas, and we chose to draw inspiration from the Doom games. We wanted a badass character, ready to murder anyone in a whirlwind of blood and violence, and we thought that making it look innocent would be in hilarious contrast with its psychopathic behavior. So our goal was to make something both cute and murderous.

Meet ‘Piney’

At first, we tried to make an 8x8 character. We wanted to reduce the number of horizontal sprites to a minimum (given that only 10 can be displayed on a given line), and we thought it would be hilarious to have an undersized main character wielding huge weapons and wreaking havoc on enemies several times its size.

Alas, 8x8 was too small for us to manage getting both the smile (for the ‘psychopathic’ component) and the ears/horns/hair (for the ‘cute’ component) right, so we chose to go with an 8x16 sprite.

After some trial and error, we created Piney:

Piney is a pineapple. Piney is cute. Piney will murder anyone without remorse.

Piney’s preferred way of killing: up close, bloody and personal

At that point, we had the cuteness down. But we needed to show Piney’s, uh, peculiar tendencies in some way, and what better way to do that than through the gameplay? More specifically, through its weapon and favorite way of killing. And because Doom was a major inspiration, we easily agreed to give our little Piney an oversized chainsaw.

NB: getting it to be oversized without wasting sprites is proving to be a challenge.

At first, it was just supposed to be one of our mad pineapple’s many weapons, but as discussions proceeded, we agreed that it should have a special place and become our character’s iconic weapon.

Here is a preliminary version of it in action:

What more?

For the time being, I’m focusing a lot on the chainsaw. It must be messy to use, oversized, and I brainstormed a lot with @yberreby to know what to do with it.

It will be used in combination with another game mechanic that is yet to be implemented: the Dash, a super-fast move that should be high-risk, high-reward, and high-fun.

It’s supposed to be a major part of the gameplay, so I need to offer Piney a good dash animation in order for the player have a good gameplay experience.

Maps and general aestethics

I’m working with @Chatpion and @RoussyE to create the graphics they need for the maps (pikes, walls, holes…).

Because we want to make a violent game (with blood and explosions!) we will need lots of sprites/tiles (we haven’t decided how to make it yet) to display all that information on screen. Also, I decided to have very simple map graphics at first, so as not to saturate the visual information so that the player can manage to see what’s going on despite the bloodshed.

tags: graphics - test