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State of the World 2013

cube

Brief Overview

Some things happened, but not as quickly as I would have liked.

Better Overview

2013 was an odd but productive year for the website, Unearthed, and myself.

I had some grand ideas for Unearthed when the year began, including aspirations for a playable demo to be release by the summertime. Obviously that didn’t pan out the way I wanted it too… but perhaps it worked out for the best in the long run. Instead of finishing up a sparse tech demo I worked with the SM.net community to make hundreds of new sprites for the game.

gelatinouscube

I also had the chance to polish up a lot of game’s static assets (items, abilities, etc…), finalize the enemy listings, and revise my asset lists. So when the tech demo finally does get released it should be a pretty robust little hack!

zineIn non-Unearthed news, I found out this April that HyperBound had been featured in the book Rise of the Videogame Zinesters by Anna Anthropy. This was a bit of a surprise for me! I had not received very much HyperBound press after the initial deluge in 2007/2008, and I was never contacted about my inclusion in the book. The fact that I didn’t find out until nearly a year after it was released is testament to that, and I was certainly thrilled to be included.

As for the website itself: Radiostorm and myself have been hard at work writing reviews, game design articles, and other miscellaneous tidbits to keep things active around here. I’ll always be putting up game project updates (Unearthed, HyperBound, etc…), but it is nice to have a little variety. Especially when I’m just making asset lists or fixing coding errors, and don’t have fun sprites/maps/videos to show-off.

unearthed1.2

And whats coming down the pipe for next year? Well, I don’t want to make empty promises or set unrealistic deadlines so I’ll just say this: I am going to get as much work down on Unearthed as I can. I can’t guarantee a tech demo or a finished game, but I can promise good quality progress throughout the entire year.

Expect a few more updates throughout the month December, followed by a brief Christmas hiatus by about the 21st or so. I generally get back up to speed by the first week of January, so look forward to more game updates and activity on the website then. Happy Holidays!

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Unearthed Update: Item Implementation

Work continues on Unearthed! I have been slowly integrating items into the game (all 150 of them) using EarthBound’s wacky and confusing item formatting codes. It is slow work but progress is steady. Luckily, I was very organized while putting together the game outline so finding data is relatively easy.

items

I’ll keep posting incremental progress updates on my Twitter, but I may not be as diligent with my weekly blogs. I’ll try to at least have a post up every Monday, so long as I have something interesting to share with the world.

Bonus content: I was recently gifted a lovely Pixel Craft activity set, so I decided to make a little Mitchell with it. Colours aren’t canon! His acne is much worse than usual due to “palette restrictions.”

mitchellpixelcraft

That’s all for this week!

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Unearthed Update: Battle Sprites Implemented

All the battle sprites are now implemented for Unearthed! This was actually a really simple process thanks to Messianic’s diligent work. He prepped all the files for me, and I basically just had to copy and paste them over into the ROM.

Ancient Colossus (boss, optional)Jabberwock (boss, optional)Derelict Interloper (boss)

 

Dang, that is a sweet-ass lineup of sprites!

What’s up next? Well, over the holidays I’ll be diligently implementing items, abilities, and enemies into the game. This is pretty boring work (mostly editing spreadsheets), but is vital to the progress of the game. I have no idea how long this process will take, but once it is done I will be ready to start compiling a tech demo.

I’ll try to keep things interesting up on the blog, so check back every Monday for updates!

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Unearthed Update: November 11th (Missed Sprites)

Welp, I thought I had implemented every single overworld sprite in the game last week, but I was sorely mistaken. I actually missed a few sprites entirely and had to put them together from scratch. This wasn’t too hard to do, but did sorta ruin the moment.

First up (and perhaps the most egregious) are ISAAC’s death sprites. How the heck did I forget about these?! ISAAC is a robot so instead of a halo, his propeller just glows golden.

deadisaac

Next I have a couple of overworld sprites. The big one is for the Toxic Shambler (adapted from Mother 3), while the smaller one is for the recurring “eye probe” enemies found throughout the game (made by Maru on the SM.net forums).

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probe

Okay, and now I am for reals done all the overworld sprites for Unearthed. At least until the next time I screw things up.

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Unearthed Update: November 6th (Overworld Sprites Done!)

Sorry about the late update this week, but I thought I’d finish up this phase of production before commenting upon it. Over the last ten days I’ve managed to implement every overworld sprite in the game. That includes graphics for all enemies, PCs, NPCs, and environmental objects located in the game. It was a ton of work!

I also ended up redesigning or augmenting certain sprite designs along the way. I’ve posted a couple of the revamps below; The Radioactive Shambler and the Steam Man. The Shambler is actually an edit of a previous sprite, while the Steam Man simply has sideways sprites added into the mix.

radioactiveshambler_assembly

steammanassembly

I’ll be doing a final pass over the game’s sprites to make sure I haven’t missed anything, then I’ll work on implementing in-battle sprites. I’ll keep you all posted as I make progress.

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Unearthed Update: October 28th (Sprite Conversion IV)

Work trudges steadily for the sprite conversion process! I have implemented all of the NPCs into the game, and now I’m just plowing through the rest of the environmental sprites (plants mostly) and enemies. There’s a good chance I’ll be done by the end of the week, barring some sort of rom implosion.

Below are a couple simple edits and palette swaps I’ve made on the fly during the conversion process. The first is a Birdman chick, who looks a lot like Hamlet except with a whole lot less panache.

edit1

The second is a recolour of the Radio Tower (because I flubbed the palette the first time around). It has purple lightning this time because purple is the colour of SCIENCE!

edit2

That’s all for this week. Check back next Monday for hopefully the last of this sprite conversion business.