A few days after releasing the playable version of Bilou : School Rush, I started encountering ideas for one ultimate level, one where you climb up to the top, rather than running horizontally. Something much more along the lines of the "original" deep-ink-pit although not expecting any specific game physics.
What was nice with that was that it turned the otherwise purpose-less "school rush" into something backed by a story (simple, I admit, but a story nonetheless). It opened nice opportunities to have hand-drawn pictures as support for a "game ending / credit" moment, too... and last but not least I found a nice way to ensure that this last level is available only in "amiga" or "arcade" mode, but not in "casual" (which is meant for training and teasing, as you remember).
A sketching pause was more than welcome, and now I have some concept art and some tiki-books for the background to change the atmosphere of the ultimate level. I'm under the process of converting that to pixel art. With a size of over 800 individual tiles, it is clearly the biggest piece i've addressed with my sprite editor. I had to chunk it into 64-pixels slices, resisting the temptation to redesign the UI of the editor, but I'll allow myself to add a "live mockup construction mode" before I'm done.
I first opted for 32-indexed colours in Gimp, thinking that I'd paint over the lines, but the shapes are too far from pixel-friendly angles, and "cleaning up", adding highlihgts could turn out to be my best approach. Yet, I'm already raging against my own self:
- clicking '+' on the quick palette widget insert the selected colors, shifting existing colors to make some room, collapsing places they come from ... but I couldn't find that documented anywhere;
- '!' (replace current color by its closest match) acting only on the grid is too restrictive for such pieces
- '!' and '?' (search for color closest match and occurence of the color in the tileset) are disabled after we load something on the grid. I have to shift the pixels around before the buttons work again.
- losing the content of the 32x32 grid when entering palette screen or touching one 16x16 block on the tilesheet should never occur again.