what even are games anyway
Dreaming Mary
The adventure through a girl's final dream.



[RM2K3] movie maker

The easiest way to get your movie made is to hire someone, to be honest.

For promotional videos you'll want Adobe After Effects, which is what the OFF video (and many other promotional videos) was probably made with. ToonBoom is also a good possibility, though that program does actual character/cartoon animation rather than video editing.

Here's the process of how you make a video like that OFF commercial:

Step 1) Create a storyboard.
You have to plan out what you're doing. What's the first thing the audience sees? What happens in the video? What does it look like?
You have to make conscious decisions about backgrounds, character placement, how close or far the camera is...
Here's a random example from google images.

Another example (image is too big to post)

In the OFF commercial, the creator decided: "In the first scene, we're looking down at the grinning cat. We're close enough that we're in front of the cat, but far enough that you can tell we're standing above it."

"In the second scene, we're looking at the distant Batter standing in a field with floating cubes. After you see him from far away, we'll cut to a close up of his face and zoom in."

"Next, I'll show the title and credits."

And so on...

Step 2) Make an animatic (optional).
After you draw out your storyboard, you can put it into a video program and make a slideshow of each frame. This way you can time it to the music, see if the story flows smoothly, and edit any parts that look bad.

Step 3) Create your art assets.
When you're happy with your planning, you can actually start making your video. You have to draw your backgrounds and your character/effect art, and save them as separate images. In the OFF video, the creator static drawings which he later manipulated while animating. He also prepared some of the characters for puppetting, which I'll go into in the next part.

Below gif, you can see that each drawing was made separately, but they were all arranged together into a scene.

Step 4) Place your art assets in the video creator and start animating.
Videos where static drawings become deformed, warped, resized, or translated are created with keyframe animation. In many video editing programs you can do basic things like moving an image's position, changing its size, flipping it, etc. However, more powerful animation programs like After Effects (and Toon Boom, Live2D...) allow you to manipulate your art assets through puppeting, which is how the tail of the cat moves independently of the body, the ears wiggle, etc...

For that cat, the creator made separate drawings for the head, body, and tail. It's not all one piece. They used puppeting to make those really wiggly motions, and simply moved the position of the head upwards to create that "looking up at you" motion. All of the animation in this video is actually quite simple, but very effective. The main parts of the animation are position and rotation changes of whole images, while the puppeting is used on parts that hang out (for example, the arms on the fish thing at :08) for extra movement.

Nowadays puppeting is often used in place of cel animation (drawing frame by frame) because it's a LOT less work. If you've seen visual novels where the girls' hair moves and waves around, that's puppeting. The hair is drawn as a separate layer/image below the girl; her main "base" body doesn't have any of that hair.

At 0:21, the explosion is created by scaling up gore and moving them slightly, etc...

The gameplay parts of the movie can simply be recorded with OBS or LoiLo or something.

So, the hardest part about making the video is planning out what happens, and then going through all this work to actually make it happen. Anyone can learn how to use these programs from online tutorials, but it's making your concept, planning out how to do it, then actually doing it that most people have trouble with.

Not Seeing Names

This is hilariously terrifying, or terrifyingly hilarious.

How to not fall into the trap of making pretty but vapid games?

Cash, Slash, and Housekeeping, thanks very much for the thorough comments!

You guys (except for kentona >:E ) helped a lot and pointed out some important stuff I didn't consider. I think I have a clear view of the driving concept of the game now, focusing on why the story is important for the protagonist rather than just throwing him into the plot.

I'll follow the advice of pushing one facet of gameplay to complement the story. It technically won't be anything new (such a noob at rpgmaker...) but with any luck it'll work out conceptually and trick people into thinking it's innovative. Or something.

Just as an example, if your game was about a kid who gets nervous talking to others and has a hard time speaking his mind, you could have some dialogue choices wobble and disappear if the player takes too long to read and decide; this kinda fits the kid's inability to say what he's thinking. Another example - one of the things I thought was clever about Depression Quest was that, as the game progressed and you fell into depression, it would show you dialogue choices that you weren't allowed to pick (because of your growing stress levels) to emphasize your helplessness.

Slash, this is an awesome suggestion and I'm totally going to steal it *slapped
Well, not exactly this, but after reading the article Hasvers linked in the old thread it sparked some ideas.

All in all I'm going to try to develop some thorough, realistic characters, and ruminate some more on how to play around with player agency and character agency to capitalize on making something fresh and subverting expectations. The lying and deceiving is definitely a big part of this... I think the various ends of the game will be the MC deciding the truth of the matter for themselves. Will definitely have to do a lot of work subtext and nuance, among the other things in Housekeeping's comment >_<

Now I'm really pumped! Thanks again for all the advice, I'm feeling confident that I can make something now!

Peri's assorted art

Don't know what else to say, your concept art is incredible! The mood is really unique, especially when you contrast this one with your latest one.

How to not fall into the trap of making pretty but vapid games?

Thanks for the advice so far!

Treat the character like a living person. Give them real reactions to things. Give them a personality. Do not fret over the differences between genders or bullshit like that - kids under 10 don't have a defined gender issue unless they've been brought up to. Keep that in mind.

Talk to some kids. Get in their heads.
Like, seriously, get to know the subjects a little. It's something you should do if you're serious about portraying the character correctly.

Yeah, it's a good idea to have better and more fleshed-out characters... Children are a little hard to come by on a college campus, but I'll give my niece a call and see what she's up to. >_<

My solution is to not make very good looking games.


@Corfaisus, thanks for the tips on setting up dialogue and gameplay :) I'll do some brainstorming and research on the characters and do the visualizing when it comes down to making the dialogue.

How to not fall into the trap of making pretty but vapid games?

I'm gearing up to get rolling on a game, but I'm worried it'll be horribly bad and bland and boring. It's supposed to be an 'atmospheric adventure game'. (Yes, another one of those.) If you played dreaming mary it's supposed to be a spiritual sibling, but with a boy main character and with a whole new set of issues.

My goal is to make a symbolic dialogue on a personal insecurity and to treat it with a degree of seriousness, but to also make it palatable for other people to experience. I tried the same thing in my first game with mixed results.

I think it's very easy to make a story that comes off as too vague and purposeless, or a story which tries too hard to be edgy and deep and which ends up reading like a preteen's poetry journal. Do you have any advice for writing this kind of stuff?

It'd also be super cool if you have any advice for improving gameplay in the adventure genre. I know everyone's real tired of the whole 'pick up a key, walk through ten maps and use it on a door' shtick. Even writing about other tropes that you're tired of seeing would be great help.


Bahaha same here, long time no talk *also horrible

I'm really impressed by your process ;w; Your speed is already incredible by my standards (takes maybe 2~4 hours for a simple sprite?), but I'll wish you luck in improving =w=)b

Your explanation has helped me figure out some key things I need to be aware of / learn more (like practicing textures and doing much more research, for one...) so thank you for going into detail on this, I appreciate it ;w; And thank you for the kind words as well.


so much detail ;__;

Hey Alex, do you have a time estimate for making each vehicle and each character? For the huge vehicles especially it feels like it'd take forever and a half to get them done!

And if you don't mind me asking, do you do a lot of research to get the visual concept of what you're making? Like for the broken truck, those fiddly parts on the inside don't look like the work of someone vaguely winging it (like I usually do) :''')

As Max said your stuff is awesome, and you're definitely one of the artists I look up to. Also, Blood Alloy looks amazing, congrats to the team on the Steam Greenlight!

Pizza The Place

I'm loving all of the screens you've posted, they're all top-notch. I've heard some people say that pixel art is getting outdated, but the way you do it is so crisp and modern.

I especially like the town tileset up there with the tall wire thingy, it just looks really interesting.

slash does art

I like the one of Perihelion's character. The dark green sits really well with the orangey-yellow & cyan.

I agree!! It has a lot of personality, especially with your style! Looks really great!
Mary looks adorable, thank you for drawing her as well~

The Rook Wakes guy is awesome too. Somehow your green bg + yellow figure palettes leave a great impression. I love the subtle line shading, it's definitely a good stylistic element for your art.

Your self portrait is cute, too! Good luck with the game jam, I'll look forward to seeing what you guys come out with! When you have the three nicest people with the bluntest guy on RMN, it'll for sure be interesting XD