Pixel Commando! A Massive Hawk Experience!

I’m a fan of game design journalism and whatnot, but I also double as a game developer when opportunities arise. Here’s a bit of a post mortem for one of my favorite projects that I worked on.

Over the course of my college years, I’ve worked on a few projects, but probably none are as near and dear to my heart as Pixel Commando. Pixel Commando was a 48 Hour Game Jam project developed by myself, Jeremy, and James. This was the second Massive Hawk game, and the first one where I got to play the role of 2D Artist.

Pixel Commando is a game heavily inspired by Paper Mario, in way of aesthetic. It follows Corporal Carnage, a soldier for the Bureau Of All Residing Districts (BOARD) and their army called the Emergency Task Force (ETF).The Roktarian Colony that he is trying to occupy is under attack. Kragosaurs, an army of anthropomorphic reptilian soldiers wielding guns. It’s funny that they’re lizards, because in hindsight it really didn’t add anything to the narrative.

The game uses 2D character sprites in a 3D space, but rather than role-playing elements we focused on making a visually appealing side-scrolling shooter. While in hindsight there are a lot of things I would change, it was a great experience, and I got to really understand the beautiful experience of having a strong development flow. We had some prime communication, and strong talent, with adequate division of tasks to make for an ideal development experience.

We developed Pixel Commando in a short 48 hours, and while it’s only three levels long, for one of our first ever projects, I think it really came out well. I always look at it fondly as my favorite of our works. Even over Pavillion Pummel, which actually won us an award.

When we started, we had a theme “command” which allowed for a few ideas, but most people instantly went for RTS style games. We wanted to do something that highlighted each of our skills, and since I had little experience 3D modeling at the time, I knew I wanted to do a game with sprites. James still wanted to do his little 3D cartoons, bless his heart. While researching games that used that art style, we came across my pride and joy, Paper Mario. The legendary RPG whose praises I’ve been singing since I started the blog inspired one of my first major 2D art projects. As time progressed, we zeroed in on the type of combat we wanted. I’ll admit we didn’t focus on mechanics as much as we should have, but that was a valuable lesson for us going forward. We spent a lot of time on asset creation, and what we were left with was a pretty good looking blueprint of an experience. But why take my word for it? Give the game a go! Play Pixel Commando here! Unity Web Player isn’t compatible with Google Chrome.

That was my first post-mortem on here. Tomorrow, another game review! I hope you’ll tune in. For more on my personal projects, and other hype games, stay tuned for more from the GAME ROOM!!!

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