I had to remake my first tree sprite a few times because I just wasn't happy with how it was turning out, trees can be tricky because you don't want to take hours drawing every single leaf or make them look too abstract, so I found If I made small clusters of leaves I could just copy and paste them over and over, some where rotated and the effect worked pretty well.
I actually found a really quick way to add outlines to my sprites without having to draw them by hand, I've discovered that GameMaker Image Editor has an Image effect called Outline and I really like the results.
After a while of trying to figure out what the aliens should be like I've finally got an Idea I really like. The aliens are going to be plant based, as in weeds and flowers that take over people and pets throughout the town, I have a few cool ideas already for strange infesting plant-like monsters, this man has a weed type of alien with eyeballs infecting him. I even have a great idea for a weapon, a sprayer of weed killer the character wears on his back.
Lately I have been working on this car and I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. Changing colors is so easy with the Image Editor, I just need to carry over the seating colors, I plan on making a few varieties of cars and it might be fun to make an icecream truck.
Finally after planning the first level I'm starting to put together the first house in the neighborhood. It will be nice to see some of this game start to form and have a small area I can walk my player around. So far I have made just a few details like fences, shrubs, windows, a fridge and a television set. The bathroom has some blue tiles and the living room some carpeting, a lot of this stuff is really basic because I need to get the placement and overall look in place, I can always upgrade graphics later, and this way I can move forward with programming and game design issues.
I'm watching Indie Game: The Movie on Netflix, I've watched this movie a handful of times since I first saw it, it's an amazing documentary to me. I'm aware of some sort of negative responses from people in the dev community, some sort of drama here and there about it, I really could care less, I love this movie, I love the music and especially the people in it. When I first saw this movie and still when I watch it, parts of my brain light up and I feel excited, this movie makes me excited about making games. There are a lot of people just like this that spent a lot of time stuck in class, day dreaming of making games and sketching all day, lost in our heads, I know I was one of them. We've all watched over the years video games becoming substantially better and the sinking feeling of unattainability, this movie basically destroys that and renewes those dreams I had as a kid. There's one thing Phil Fish says that is spot on, "games are like the ultimate art form, just the ultimate medium, it's the sum total of every expressive medium of all-times made interactive", and it is awesome, I couldn't agree more, I want to wear many hats, I don't want to just do one thing and stop learning, I love it all and I want to create it all, then I can die happy. The art side of things comes easy to me and I can even make my own music but the code part is like a huge brick wall, I don't even know where to begin, programming is like a giant mountain I need to climb and I can't even figure out how to put my shoes on. GameMaker is like my training wheels and hopefully there will be a day I can outgrow it.
Today I thought I'd start making some towns people for my main character to interact with. They don't have any actions or behaviors yet but I plan on focusing on that soon. The black outline has been removed for now because I'm thinking about doubling the pixel count and upgrading the graphics quality, then I will see if a thinner outline looks okay.
I've also been working on a bunch of different ground sprites like water and dirt that can be used to build dirt paths or bodies of water.
I hadn't planned on making a true isometric game, by this I mean a world where everything is layered by distance, for instance if the player may need to walk in front of or behind a wall, that would have to be coded into both objects to adjust depths accordingly. After building a simple room and walking my character around, I realized it appeared annoyingly restricting for the player, especially since the objects in my game are isometric, I thought I might be able to get away with very little overlapping much like The Legend of Zelda. Although versions of Ultima VI have no isometric overlapping, later games in the Ultima series clearly do and have a much better look and feel to them.
So I had gone ahead and looked into some tutorials on YouTube and had the walls layering half correct, but no-matter how I adjusted the code at least one wall face would have the wrong depth, my character standing in front of walls he should be behind and so on. The code within the players End Step Event works with a separate object, obj_barrier (a pink square 16x16). The code utilizes instance_nearest and adjusts the players depth based on y distances. I spent a lot of hours just thinking, thinking like a programmer... something I have never really done, programming is a struggle for me, after a lot of playing around with no luck I tried placing two lines of obj_barrier inside and outside of my rooms and it worked like a charm. This method isn't perfect but at the level of programming skill I have it works great, maybe down the road I can find better solutions to problems like this.