I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, a little post on quite how Kodama got started.
For many years my girlfriend and I have owned a bamboo plant, she would often return to Poland for weeks at a time and leave me to look after this plant, and, well, me being me, I would constantly forget we ever owned such a plant, it seemed to be able to survive with no sun, and the same water for months at a time, in my opinion its probably invincible. This was the original seed for a game, a game where you would play as a plant, a plant in a plant put would of course be rather boring, so I instead went the anthropomorphized plant approach.
The idea was written down into my iPhone at around 1am whilst in bed, with Kodama originally being called OGMO (after Matt Thornsons editor), the next morning I sent the idea over to Abel Toy (whom I was already working on a much smaller and less ambitious title with) and he loved it, we discussed the idea in depth and it grew, soon becoming Kodama (after the Japanese tree spirit).
Here’s some screens from the Kodama early tests, we began using ChevyRays Flashpunk to prototype the idea, adding nice features like fluids and testing them out, heres a few screenshots from the very early days (WIP)
And a simple test of the fluid system Abel implimented
From here the idea started to grow quite rapidly, we removed several features that were nothing more then ‘fancy’ and ‘pretty’ wanting to keep the game down to the bare basics of the system and making sure this was enjoyable before adding to it.
A lot went on from here, I bought onboard a close friend and fantastic artist Chris .H and he began to paint things up, we’d already reached a good point and were confident in the idea, Chris’ art gave us even more ideas about the games visual style, the atmosphere and more, we started a little weak, not using the best methods of stage creation, causing poor Chris a few headaches when I or Abel requested changes, but we soon got on the right track thanks once again to the lovely folks at the Flashpunk Forums and began to use a fancy sticker system as you can see below. Abel will be posting something much more indepth about the editor process, so I won’t dive any deeper into this.
This made rapid prototyping dramatically easier, still not as easy on Chris as the graphics still take a while to paint up. but this speeds up the process and the memory footprint quite considerably, and enables us to make things like below within a few minutes as opposed to a few hours.
I know I know, there’s nothing new there, but it shows what the tile/stamp system is capable of.
I’m going to leave this post with a final image many people have been asking about, what does my most recent edit of Kodama himself look like?
The head is hollow, the mouth is gone, It’s becoming more creepy and typical of a Yokai creature, further edits will come, I’m not 100% sure where I want to take this, but I want to remove this slight ‘Pokemon/kawaii’ feel to it and create something that looks like nothing else before it. I’m pleased that its a far step from the Miyazaki Kodama in Princess Mononoke though, Daryl, the concept artist did a fantastic job here. He isn’t in the Team Page unfortunately, due to him having little free time, but in every Kodama image, there’s always something of his. Just as a small, final and yet rather unrelated note, I hope someone gets my reference in the way I’ve capitalized letters in the post name.