(First of all, I was originally concerned about not having enough votes when I started this post, but I’m all good now. That said, you should still play my game because it’s cool, but perhaps consider playing other games too, there’s still time!)
Tamamystery is a cutesy virtual pet game with nothing mysterious or nefarious involved at all. Nope. Why would you suggest that? Also it’s in Flash, so there’s no download or anything, which means you should totes play it!
Now that that’s out of the way, lets get to what this post is about: How I came to using papercraft for my Ludum Dare game!
The first thing you’ll notice is my freakish hands holding some type of paper-craft device. But it wasn’t always going to be this way…
Once I knew I was going to do something Tamagotchi related, I started off by doing the classic Google image search to get ideas.
I also watched some Youtube videos to get an idea of how the Tamagotchi gameplay typically works. I also came across this Tamagotchi device with the little cake on the top, which I liked, and is why I added a bow on the top of my toy.
So I started creating the graphics of the game. I knew I wanted the game to look like a real device, and so it had to be fairly realistic looking. So I started in GIMP, first by taking photo of an actual Tamagotchi and adjusting the colours a bit. Using that as a basis, I was going to try to essentially redraw it in GIMP, but soon realised that it looked pretty bad, and was going to take a while to do.
So I ditched that idea. Then I remembered “Hey, I’ve done nice vector stuff in the past, right? I’ll do it in flash!”. I quickly realised that THAT was going nowhere too.
So I drew this little place holder graphics and moved on. Also, here you can see I had the idea of having a background that’s permanently etched in the game, like some Tamagotchis and small toys do.
Then I tried to figure out what it would look like on paper, and an idea hit me: If I can make it look good on paper, why not just use that as the graphics as is! I have a whole bunch of cardboard in my room (I often use it for craft things for kids), I had everything I needed really.
The actual process of making the toy wasn’t too hard, all I did was draw each piece lightly on the cardboard in pencil and then cut out the outline. I made sure to measure out a piece of cardboard with the same dimensions as the screen so that they lined up.
To put the pieces together, I used Blu-Tack, which is good for two reasons. Firstly, because it’s not permanent so you can move things around. Secondly, it makes the pieces stick out a bit, so you don’t just end up with a flat piece of cardboard, but instead have something with a bit of depth in it. Depending on how much Blu-Tack you use, you can adjust the height of each piece a little bit.
To get it into the game, I just took a photo on my phone, put it on the computer, and then skewed it a little bit to compensate for the slight angle I took it at. Then I scaled it to make sure the screen was a nice multiple of the game window size, in pixels, because otherwise you get awkward half-sized pixels or blurry edges due to anti-aliasing, and nobody wants that.
It looked pretty good at this point, but I felt like it needed colour to look more like an actual device. So I added in the colour in GIMP by using layers with the “Multiply” blending mode. If you just transparently overlay a colour, you lose some of the contrast as all your shadows become lighter, whereas with multiplying, you preserve all the blacks as black, and keep the subtle paper texture better. That’s a little tip for ya.
And to add in the hands, I just took a photo of me holding it with one hand in the different positions, and photoshop’d that in with GIMP (am I allowed to say that?). It would’ve been nice to set up a tripod and take photos of me holding it in the different positions to get the shadows right, but that also would’ve taken a bit longer and would’ve meant I had to skew, scale and colour 4 photos instead of 1.
And that’s it! I had a lot of fun with using papercraft, I might try to make an all-papercraft game next time. I’ll probably need some better equipment though.
Thanks for reading! See ya later!