Friday, October 26, 2012

Rickety Rat is dead, long live Rickety Games!

Ok, I am calling it. The Rickety Rat animation is dead. After completing the last animatic so long ago, I recognized the script needs major work and it's way too long to animate already, and I haven't even thought about the animation in a year, so I am saying it's dead.

But! Remember that boardgame I was making as promotional material for the animation? Yeah, yeah I really like making boardgames. And possibly flash games. So I am just going to do that. I don't really know where it's going, or how I can monetize off it, but for now, I'm using the characters to make a series of board and card games. I just really like making boardgames man!

And it's not to say that I won't use Rickety and his friends for other things. I may just use clips from the movie and make little animations from the parts I really like, or make new shorter animations because I really like the characters. But for now, I'm using them for boardgames. I haven't really seen that before, a collection of boardgames telling a story about a group of characters, so maybe I'll do something with that.

So far, I'm working on two that I really like. The original one, A Rickety Road to the Top, is still being worked on, but it's a game I never feel like playing, which is never a good sign. I might drop it or redo it again.

Right now I'm working on a simple card game about the love of consumerism!  The main focus is buying more things makes you happy, and the person who is the first to reach consumerist bliss is the winner!

I play-tested it with my friends, and we mostly agreed it was hard keeping track of your money and happiness. It's just math guys! But playing through, there are any number of things that could make your happiness level fluctuate, so having a visual representation of how much happiness and money you have at any given time is useful instead of just keeping a number in your head.

On the left is my original character card, in which people are expected to keep track of their money and happiness. Needless to say pen and paper needed to be involved. On the right, I added sliders! Aren't they cute?!
I edited the character cards to give them sliders so players could mark how much happiness and money they have.  I liked the design, but the application left a bit to be desired. It was too small, and hard to move the arrows around. So I made it bigger!

Super-sized playing card!
It helped a little bit, but it's still too damn hard to move the sliders around. I have to cut more than the slit to make the slider more moveable. I'm also using regular paper here, so we'll have to see if it works any better on a harder stock of paper.  But just in case, I tried designing a new way of showing the money and happiness graphically.

Circiles! I need those metal doodads you put through paper sometimes.  I always have to buy 100 of them but they're somehow never around when I need them!
I designed circles, which might work better if I had the fasteners.  Which, if I were making this a downloadable PDF and someone had to go out and buy fasteners for it, might be a problem. I also think the slider looks better graphically, but we'll see when I print both out on a harder card stock.

UPDATE: I had them both printed, and not just one of each, I did a full-line of each just too see how annoying it would get after 6-8 times. Also, it's good incase I mess up! Also also, I went out and bought fasteners. They were not as easy to find as I'd thought they'd be.
Went out and bought fasteners! Now I have plenty ahahaha!
So after cutting them out and making two of each, I have to say I'm leaning towards the circles. Even though I need another element other than paper to make them(well technically I need tape for the itty bitty sliders), it's three times faster to make them and waaaay less annoying. There's so much cutting I have to do with the sliders, mostly for the slits. You basically need an exacto knife or have a really good handle on a scissors, and even then, you need to cut a thicker strip out just so the slider can move properly, and move all the way to the ends. It's a real hassle.
This is what the cards look like beforehand. Notice much more complicated the one on the left is! 
The only problem with the circles is that it's kind of had to turn them, but now that I think of it, it would probably be easier to make the arrow the spinny part and have the circle stay in place on the card. Oh Josh you drunk halfwit, get your shit together.

Welp this weekend I plan on play-testing them, so I'll see how everything works out!

Monday, May 16, 2011

playtested boardgame 2.0!

Hey there Ricketeers! I finally got to playtest the new version of the boardgame! Overall I think this was an improvement over the last version, but there are still some things that need to be tweaked. General consensus was that playtime was too long and the rules to confusing. I think what did it were all the various helper and action cards. I really liked making them and how they affected your rolls on different things(I blame Digimon Digital Card Battle for that), but it was tough keeping up on all of them and found myself being lenient on some of the skeletons/crooked helpers because I didn't want to discourage the new players. Not a good sign.

How you win is by getting fame tokens, and how you get fame tokens is by performing, and how you perform is by doing a perform roll with a die. One of the critiques was that the player should do something other than roll a die so as not t get it confused with the movement roll, or at least have a different die, which I agree with. She suggested some type of spinny thing or a boggle thing, which could be fun, but I also realized that performing and getting fame tokens is based solely on luck. Sure, you could use helpers, but acquiring those helpers is also based mostly on luck(being at the right space and having the right amount of cash to purchase).

I'd really like some way of acquiring fame tokens that requires skill and makes players feel they really won them. In D&D, doing anything is based on a dice roll, but it's also using the base rolls of that character that he or she knows to be special. I was thinking I could give the characters special attributes like that, but that would make the game even more complicated.

I also had the idea that you would have to choose a speciality at the beginning of the game, (singing, dancing, acting, joke telling, arts, etc.) and each player would actually have to perform in front of the other players in order to get a fame token, but if I were playing that game I don't know how keen I would be of acting out. Thoughts?

Also, there was a critique that there wasn't enough to do with money and fame tokens. Sure you need fame tokens to win, and get you into higher levels, but other than that, what purpose do they do? And the money can buy you stuff, but only if you're at the right spot at the right time. Some players were flat out broke, but others(myself included) were bleeding bills with nothing to do with it. Which, honestly, now that I think of it, is kind of awesome because it mimics real life society. Go me.

Also also, someone missed the customizable board I had last time. So if I can figure out a way to make it the same basic way with a class system and the end space in the middle but still have customizable pieces, I will. Someone suggested I make a 3 dimensional board with the higher class rungs being actually higher, which would be cool, but I have no idea how I'd pull it off.

Also the third, it was about twenty pages of paper to print out the entire game, not including the rules. Luckily I went to kinkos, but I still think it's an ungodly amount. Maybe if I cut down on all the cards it will help.

So in conclusion, fix the rolling, make the rules less confusing, do more with the tokens and have a shorter playtime. I'll work on it. Perhaps I'll do some animating in between even.

Stay tuned Ricketeers!

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Rickety Road to the Top Version 2.0

Hey there Ricketeers! Got some new stuff from the board game for ya!

It's basically the same premise as before, become the big star before anyone else can, but instead of getting from one end of the board to the other, you have to get to the middle. Or, the top theatre, which is in the middle. Bear with me.

You climb the different classes by gaining fame tokens. The first one to get the necessary number of fame tokens and get to the top, wins.

I completed a rough version of the 3-class tier board. Each player starts at the Rock Bottom Bar, and can keep going around the board until they get enough fame tokens to move up to the next tier.

The way you get fame tokens is by going to "perform spots" and perform. A player will roll a die; if you get a high score, you get money and a fame token, if you get a medium score you might get money, and if you get a low score, you get a skeleton(I had to keep them in, but instead of just blatantly sending you back if you get caught, they just impede your process).

Money can buy you out of jams, buy cards that help, and in some instances even buy fame tokens, so money makes the game go round.

I also included Helpers and Crooked helpers. Helpers are cards that help you along, such as giving you points on your perform roll or more spaces to move:

Crooked Helpers can also help you, but they come with a greater risk and may have a bigger chance of getting you in trouble:

You can still go to jail, but you only lose a fame token and a turn or two, then you can go right back up to where you were if you have enough fame tokens. It's much easier to come back from, but it's still enough risk to be careful for.

Along with Perform Spots, there are also spots where you can pick up helpers and crooked helpers, dumper spots where you can pay to get rid of unwanted skeletons, copper spots where you have to do a safety roll to see if you get caught, and hotspots, where you roll to se if you get an action card, helper, crooked helper, money, more spaces to move, or a skeleton:

All I really have to do is finish the cards, write up the rules and make the game pieces before I can beta test it. I think I can use the same game pieces, just on a smaller scale. We'll see.

What do you guys think so far? Does it sound fun and interesting? Would you be intrigued enough to play? Does anyone want to help with the beta testing?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Backgrounds and Board version 2.0

Hey Ricketeers! Another post i have to show off some things I've been doing! First, some nice backgrounds for the Stumbles animation!

I think they look pretty nice, so of course you won't see them for less than a second. So is the lot of animation. Second, a horribly dark picture of a terribly chickenscratch sketch of the new Rickety Road to the Top board:

Even if you were able to see it in detail, there's no way you could read my hand writing. But I am going to playtest it either this week or next so I'll have a better 'shopped version of it by then! The important part is her you can see the structure of the board(which has significantly less pieces this time) in which it has a low class(outer ring), middle class, (middle ring), and high class(inner ring). You start at the lowest and progress by getting fame tokens, which you get by performing at certain spots. I like this mechanic better than the previous linear "get to the end" one.

More stuff to come Ricketeers!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Rickety Rat lives

Ahhh you guys! So much stuff has been going on. Mostly I've been preoccupied with some other comics. But this week I shall have progress! I SHALL!

First off, I've been reworking the Rickety Rat board game: A rickety road to the top. Don't want to flesh it out too much, but in a nutshell, I've made it a non-linear board, added helper and crooked helper cards along with skeleton cards, added a class system, and added money and fame tokens. This is definitely an improvement over the former version, and hopefully it will be a lot more fun. I'll work on the art and rules this week and hopefully playtest it with some friends in the next couple of weeks. Expect an extremely rough sketch of the board soon!

On the animation front, I have been working on the stumbles short, mostly just to see how long something like this would take me(answer: not a short amount of time). I'm halfway done with the rough frames and have a number of the assets already finished. I'm hoping to get something into After Effects to show this week.

In script news, I still need to rework some of the kinks. I had an idea for making a funny version and a tragic version with subtle differences, but not all the scenes work in a funny or tragic way. So we'll see how that pans out.

Also seriously thinking retooling the blog design.

Stay frosty Ricketeers!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

the many faces of Stumbles

So I haven't done anything with rickety rat in a looong while. Well I have, just not very much, and just not telling you. but fear not faithful ricketeers! I've been doing Character sheets for Stumbles. Check out these lovable mugs!

Who couldn't fall in love with a big floppy face like that? Also, I did sheets of all the costumes he's wearing in his short. WARNING: may be risque.
If only I could make Stumbles Action figures. Collect them all! Well that's all I have to show for now. Tune in next time faithful viewers!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New Backgrounds!

Hey there Ricketeers! Haven't made a post on the animation in awhile. Frankly, I haven't really been working on it, but I just started rewriting the script and I've started to dabble in background design! I tried five different approaches and put Stumbles in to see how it would look with the flash characters.

I started with pen. I like these shading effects and it has a stark black and white look, but it just makes the characters look out of place.

Then I went with charcoal, which I love as a medium. It's easy and messy and has that nice dirty effect.

Ten I tried some grayscale markers, which have a nice look, but either I need bigger markers or I should fill it in areas in photoshop, which I think kind of defeats the purpose.

I just found a watercolor kit, so I figured I would try it out. Granted this is my first real watercolor piece since probably High school and I only have one brush, and I need to do it on better paper, but I really like the strokes it creates. Stumbles seems to fit in nicely.

Finally, this is a version I did in photoshop. It's easiest to do lighting effects in this medium when you have layers and apple Z, and Stumbles definitely fits in the best hear, but I don't feel like the background has enough life as it could have. I'll have to do more experimenting.

What do you all think? Which version is your favorite? What works and what doesn't? Thoughts? Opinions?