Thursday, July 23, 2009


Turble is a flash game which I'm currently developing for Six AM Comics. The idea came one day when I was doodling with my Wacom Tablet and drew a purple little dragon riding a futuristic cannon (which resembled an olive). I liked the character so much that I whipped up a real quick flash file where you could drive him around and shoot the cannon. You can view the concept by clicking the following picture:

It was a very simple concept in nature. So simple that it had me reminiscing about the simpler days of video gaming. I figured it'd be cool to pay homage to the old sidescrollers for the NES. I spoke with fellow Six AMer, Dan, and we began brainstorming ideas for the plot. Dan thought the purple dragon looked like a Gerbil, so we decided we'd call him Turble... a gerbil from a post-apocalyptic future. The basic plot we came up with was as follows:

Turble is about a space age girble named Turble - who has a Grampa. Grampa, unfortunately, is a deteriorating Robot. Turble has been asked by Grampa to seek out energy sources to keep his joints going so that they can spend as much time as they can together. Turble, being a good grandgerbile, decides to help. Unfortunately, all the energy sources are in cannisters that are strewn around a post-apocalyptic landscape where robots, mutated creatures, and killer bugs roam. Turble will have to be quick, strong, and agile to get through the landscapes and defeat the bosses at the end of the level.

Next steps for this game involved some concept art for enemies and bosses. I had stopped working on Sonuva for a while to develop the look and feel for his game for a while. However, the taste of Sonuva was still in my mouth, so I re-concepted the Hunter character as a boss for Turble. This was the end result of that idea... again, click the picture... because pictures are more interesting than plain old links...

As you can probably tell from the thumbnail above, a large amount of actionscripting was required to develop the boss test. When it came to Flash work, I was always a timeline-based developer, i.e. I treated animations like a virtual flip book, drawing each frame and making my flash files ginormous in size... This game has been a very educational experience, having to work strictly in code... which for a while was almost entertaining... unless it didn't work right... in which case I just got mad and gave my computer the silent treatment... which proved to be unproductive.

This is as far as the actual development of the game has gotten. Other aspects of the game however have been just as interesting. Fortunately for me, I have a lot of friends who are musicians, and as a result, I've been lucky enough to receive contributions to the game's soundtrack. My good friend, Peter Thompson (whom I designed the Two Good Friends album cover for) converted one of his songs to MIDI format for me to use... and it was amazing. The song is called "Never Ending Fields of Pain", and for some reason it totally captured the old school Nintendo feel when played in MIDI format. The song is playing in first gameplay link in this blog post.

In addition to Never Ending Fields of Pain, my friend Dan Gillespie (who runs a very cool musical blog called "Microsong") was checking out the game and thought that Turble was riding a giant Martini Olive and composed a song called Martini Madness, which you can listen to here.

Dan also contributed a song he wrote a while back called Never Nova, which you can check out here.

All of these songs have turned out so perfectly that I could totally see them as becoming just as memorable as some of the older NES game soundtracks which have stuck in our heads over the years... Duck Tales, Mario, Zelda... and if you don't know what I'm talking about, than you obviously weren't a true child of the 80's... and I pity you.

The following were some character concepts I had come up with for the game... if you've read any of my other posts, than it's possible you came across the picture I did with my brother, and you may notice that a lot of the following creatures ended up in that drawing. I'm all about recycling ideas...

Dan also drew some interesting enemies for the game. One in particular was this crazy looking evil robot with blades for hands... he personally gave me nightmares and I had no choice but to unleash his fury on the post-apocalyptic world of Turble. You know what to do... click that picture:

Yeah... I should apologize for that animation's ending... we are pretty proud of ourselves over at Six AM Comics... The robot originally had legs, but for the sake of easy animation, we removed them and let him levitate... like a future robot should.

Anyway, that's as far as I've gotten on the game. I intend to finish it at some point... preferably after I finish work on Sonuva... but I'm sporadic, who knows, maybe I'll betray both games in favor of a new idea...

Must... Focus...
~ Mark

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