This week's themed challenge over at Weekly Game Jam is titled Floating Sky Islands. With any project of mine, the first step is to open the notebook and start to sketch any idea or thought that comes to mind. Having a notebook always close to hand is a great way of recording the little snippets of ideas that may quickly get forgotten. I have also found that using a notebook is a great way to chart the evolution of ideas too.

It soon became apparent that the thought of a floating sky island conjures up feelings of relaxation and tranquillity and so this was to be the overall feel to the game I was going to build.

I have been trying for some time now to get the hang of low-poly artwork and wanted to apply the same technique to this project as I wanted vegetation, hills and trees to be present on my island and all of these would look great as poly art. However, after a bit of time it became apparent my skills are not sharp enough yet and so defaulted back to the style I am most comfortable with. It wasn't long before I had the general shape of the island.

Once I had all the artwork completed, I started to add subtle animations to give the impression that that the island was floating. I also wrote in some randomised clouds and made them opaque by complete accident adding to a great effect when they pass in front.

Now to turn it into the most relaxing game ever. I had a couple of ideas sketched out, the first being a slow-paced platformer but making a not so challenging platform game wouldn't hold the player's attention for very long, so I went with my second idea. Similar to other music games such as Guitar Hero, I set about coding something similar but wanted to use panpipes as these would fit better with the whole theme of the game. The player uses the keys Z, X, C and V to play the notes and instructions are taken from the letters that appear in the sun.

I also thought about keeping a score but I think the game works just as well without and it's hoped that people with enjoy the experience rather than get distracted by the competitive element.


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