It’s HERE!

Its been a weird long winding road but its finally here! The Sword and the Slime is available on STEAM and ITCH.IO!

And oh boy it’s kind of a big deal for me. The Sword and the Slime is by far the biggest project that I have been a part of, let alone finished. But there is even more to it than that.

The Sword and the Slime itself has been in development off and on for the past 3-4 years, but the entire process was more like the culmination of 5-7 years of work because it wasn’t just the time it took to make the game, but also how long it took me to learn how to make a game. From game jams, small projects, ideas that went nowhere, to learning visual coding, pixel art, and animation, it was a lot to take in and I’ve still got plenty more I’m looking to learn. Then, on top of that, the games structure and direction changed significantly during development. For the longest time it was just “that game I’ve been working on” and “it will come out eventually”. There were plenty of times where I wondered myself if “eventually” was ever going to happen. The Sword and the Slime had slowly become this really big… thing, that was looming over me. I really wanted to move past it, just drop it and work on other stuff, I didn’t want to leave yet another project unfinished.

Ultimately I believed that The Sword and the Slime was something worth seeing through to the end and sharing. And no small part of that is thanks to you guys. I’ve always been pretty hard on myself and my work, but seeing peoples reactions, feedback, and love for this weird little thing I made over the past few years has all kinds of kept me going. So for real, thank you :>

And now its done! Right now, TODAY, you can go play my quirky, weird, but wholly unique little game.

So yeah. Tired, proud, ready for a nap.

But not done. Going to take a little bit of a break, and keep an eye on bug reports, but I’m actually really really eager to hit the ground running on my next project.

Stay tuned!

It’s Finally Happening!

The Sword and the Slime finally has an official launch date! It will be released October 4, 2019 on Steam. Wishlist us today!

If you’re around the Rochester area, we’ll be celebrating our launch at the Rochester Game Festival the follow day, October 5th. Swing by to say hi or to try out the game before you buy!

Thanks to everyone who has supported us throughout the process, even those who just happened to swing by our table at a show. It’s been a long time coming and we couldn’t have done it without all the feedback and encouragement we’ve received.

We hope you enjoy our little game!

The Sword Before the Slime

Since I’ll be wrapping up development soon there won’t be much content for a dedicated devlog. So instead I’ll be doing a series of post mortems reflecting on the development of Sword and the Slime. To kick things of we’ll start at the beginning.

And in the beginning there was no slime in The Sword and the Slime.

At this point I had been to three or so game jams, had a few game concepts that didn’t go anywhere, and had not written a single line of code (I still haven’t). The original idea of this game was more serious in tone and the sword would have been bound to different characters, and if you strayed too far from them the sword would lose its magical power and fall useless to the floor. The intro would have been an “on rails” experience following a world weary, but still powerful, wizard on his last hurrah to stop some calamity or some such. It would be your job to follow him around and protect him as he did his thing and casts this big ol’ mcguffin spell to save the world. But he still dies at the end, very dramatic, very sad, you all would have cried I promise. After all this the sword falls and is left in the dungeon for countless years… only to be found again by a lost and defenseless youth in the dungeon. From that point on the sword would be bound to the kid who would follow the sword, giving the player more direct control of the game. The rest writes itself, protect the kid because you have to not because you want to, fight scary monsters yada yada, guide them through the dungeon, growing bond and trust… would have been great.

But as it turns out creating a dynamic and convincing AI is tough. Who knew.

Like a good and proper game dev I kicked that core design issue down the road. I was sure I’d figure it out eventually.  In the meantime, the “kid” placeholder sprite was a green block. And it was dumb. I mean really dumb. It had the bare minimum amount of functionality. So sure, it would follow the sword around no problem, even if it was off a cliff or into open flame or a maw of pointy bits.

So there I was watching this dumb green block sprint off of cliffs while I contemplated the daunting task of creating a dynamic and responsive character. Watching this pitiful display I thought the green block looked a bit like a generic green slime cube. I giggled at thought and dismissed it. Then I did a double take.

If it was a slime it would be easier to program… it was practically done.

If it was a slime it could eat things

It could grow as it eats

It could shrink as it took damage

It’s size would become a natural health indicator.

It could bounce and jiggle and then some.

The more I thought about it the better it was. Not only did it sound way more fun and original, but more importantly it would cut down on design complexity. The only new problem was tying a flying sword and slime together into a narrative, but that would be much easier to figure out. I’ve learned (the hard way, several times)  that so much of game design is knowing what not to do, and when to cut your losses. Even if it means taking a project in a radically different direction. That being said I’ve still been working on this game on and off for 3 plus years, it is scary to think how far along it would be now if I had stuck to my guns… Looking back I’m glad I made the call I did, and not just for the time and effort saved because The Sword and the Slime is so much better for it, having become this weird silly playful thing.

Pixel by Pixel

You may have heard I have an art show coming up. This isn’t my first art show, but this is my first pixel art show, so I wanted to talk about what pixel art means to me, an artist who originally started off as a traditional illustrator.

A crazy thing happens with pixel art. At first, it’s just this blocky and ugly thing, right? But then you start to play with it, to learn its restrictions and lean into them, and suddenly really really cool things start to happen.

Like I said, I come from a traditional art background: painting, illustration, and comics. So I know a thing or two about color, composition, and all that good stuff (at least my Bachelor’s degree says I do). But for me, pixel art has always felt like a completely different process. It’s like I’m a kid stuck with some very limited toys; here you go, you can play with some squares, nope, you just get squares. Okay, you can have some different colored squares, but that’s it. Have fun. Ironically, I find these restrictions very comforting, because a blank canvas is beyond intimidating on a good day. With pixel art, I always have one square to start with.

When it comes to pixel art, I’m a fan of a particular style–that low low resolution stuff. Characters only 10 pixels tall kind of stuff. With a limited color palette–none of that gradient fade business. Just smooth, flat, color planes. Less is more. And don’t get me wrong, I love the high-res detail stuff too. But ultimately, with low-res art, there’s this extra interpretive element when the lack of detail gives our brains just enough wiggle room to fill in the blanks. That contrast that’s created where all of a sudden a little mess of blocks gets interpreted as a busy skyline complete with trains and traffic and little people living little lives in little itty bitty windows. And then you animate it and it gets even crazier. These harsh, blocky lines start to flow and stretch and bounce and yet it’s still a pile of harsh little squares. It’s that contrast that drives me nuts and I love it. When looking at a good piece of pixel art I often find myself thinking, “that is just so damn…clever.” This is why pixel art grabbed me in a way no other medium has.

That’s what this show represents; how pixel by pixel, I started building shapes, asking questions, adding, subtracting, experimenting with different colors, moving things around. Each of these pieces started with that one little square and with me, getting to play.

ROC Game Dev Space & Art Opening of
“Pixel by Pixel” the Art of Dennis McCorry
Saturday, February 23, 2019, 6PM-9PM
Sibley Square, 250 E. Main St. Rochester, NY

The story so far

What was originally intended as a quick concept project between two friends gradually grew and spread and festered, eventually taking over my life and the lives of those around me.

For those who don’t already know The Sword and the Slime is a non traditional puzzle platformer where the player, using only the mouse, controls a magical flying sword on a quest through deep dungeons and enchanted forests.

We have been working on this project in our free time for the past three years and a lot has changed in that time. There used to be an evil wizard in the game? Voice acting was almost a thing at one point. There weren’t even any slimes in the game when we got started…

You may have seen us at a few events in the Rochester area–we even made it up to Toronto for TCAF last year (fingers crossed for this year), however we’ve otherwise kept a fairly low profile. But through all of that we have refined the game and are ready to start sharing more of our progress with the world.

Stay tuned!

Denny at the Rochester Maker Faire – November 2018