Proof of Concept Video
In this game created in GB Studio, Lana Leopard learns of a toy company replacing cats with robotic cats and it's up to her to travel through Clover Country and stop the evil corporation.
Catrate Fighters - Meow Alpha
Hello, my name is Chris Bucca Taylor and I have always loved video games, they were how I made friends with the other kids in my neighborhood. Growing up I had an SNES and Nintendo 64, as well as a Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance SP. I have always gravitated toward the games of Rare Ltd. Their humor, characters, gameplay and polish were the height of gaming.
My influences for Meow Alpha are Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, and Link's Awakening DX.
August 22, 2023
Downloaded GB Studios and futzed around with it.
Goal became within the next month to create an overworld of three screens, then in the third there'll be a passage to the first side-scrolling level. Side-scrolling level will lead back to overworld, where you walk up to door of temple, it will open and you can go into it. The game is basically a take on DKC 3 or Impossible Lair.
Within this next month I built my assets. I downloaded Pixel Studio for the iPhone to create art bit by bit. I built a main character, my cat Lana Leopard, over the next couple days. Then I learned that bright green is basically the invisible color for characters, so I had to change Lana's features to be another color. After creating the overworld walking cycle for the character, I then creating the side-scrolling one that has jump. I also created two animation cells for Dash and Swim. I hope to use Swim as Climb as well, especially for jumping from vine to vine which is the goal for Level 1.
I drew out the assets for the three overworld screens, two being mirrors of each other with things that made them slightly different. And a giant walkaround Cat Temple, the Cat-Cave.
I went back into GB Studios after a while and figured out how to make the bad guy solid, make it so that when he shoots you it kills you and sends you back to the beginning of the level. I also made it so when you shoot, you kill the bad guy and it disappears. Currently when the bad guy shoots.
Idea is to make a second level that's a cave, maybe one that you can skateboard in.
November 27, 2023
I created the third level, the helicopter, kitty-copter, level, in Tiled, after a week of drawing out the assets on my phone. I created an asset png and then easily made the level. I then put it in the proper folder and added it in GB Studios as a new Frame.I added the bad guys flying around as well. It fits the 192 threshold.
December 3, 2023
I created the 2nd level in Tiled. It was too big so I then had to get rid of most of the stalagmites. It’s the cave level. I created assets a month back and made the level on my phone but it was waaay too big. So that’s when I realized I do need to download Tiled.
I got the level the right size. I then added the blocks to walk on, added unique bad guy drones for the level that have the same info as the previous baddies from level 1 to shoot and die.
I went to run the game and it was in limbo just thinking. No errors or anything, just taking a long time. Not sure what’s different. I added a character to the title screens because it kept giving me an error even though it would run anyway.
Later on in the night after we put up the Christmas tree I ran the game again, waited patiently, and it worked after 327899ms
Played the cave level. It’s fine, need to adjust a few platforms.
Thought that Cave level didn’t work, because of how high two of the platforms are. But I tested it out today and you can make both jumps if you press jump at just the right time. So I don’t need to change the level layout, moving the platforms down.
I went over the code in the drones for each level. Made sure they disappeared when you shot them. Still having trouble. When they shoot, I cannot shoot if we’re both on the screen. I can shoot and then my bullet will follow me along the side scroll, then hit a bad guy and they’ll disappear. Bad guys also can be stood on now. I need to program that when they hit you you die. I need to program losing life, maybe. I need to program jumping on them kills them maybe.
I looked up Links Awakening’s map and it’s broken down into 16 by 16, so I decided to do 16 by 16 for now, with the larger square counting as four and the little screens counting as 1.
I planned on making four large square 4 screen anchor points on the map. The Four Leafed Clover, Lighthouse, Cave Entrance, and Kitty College. I built all four in a few days in my spare time. Uploaded them to game. All were under the 192 limit except Kitty College, which wasn’t finished anyway. So I got rid of the sign letters that said Kitty College.
When I uploaded them I realized Beach Lighthouse goes on right, Cave below, Kitty college above and finally four leafed clover to the left. I then connect Clover Country sidescrolling level to 4 Leafed Clover. Then I connected cave side scrolling level to cave entrance. And the kitty copter cove level to the helicopter pad on Kitty College. I then made it so you can go to the top of the lighthouse and jump down but not be able to get up and made waves that move in the ocean. Moving forward! Would be cool to have animation of jump when Lana jumps off lighthouse.
January 15th 2024
A lot has happened. Initially I made the five giant anchor areas: Left- Four Leafed Clover, Right- Lighthouse, South- Cave Entrance, North- Kitty College, Center- Cat Cave. 256x256 I believe each.
So now I need to connect all of them. I also have the two sides of the Cat Cave, which are a GB screen size each. The anchors are a little less than the size of four GB screens.
So I took a screenshot of everything all eight screens, then on my phone drew over it the missing screens as red squares, then in blue I wrote how they all connect. In total I had about 45 screens to make (out of 47 since I already made two). So over the month I created an asset sheet of four trees, the different tiles I made two different grass ones, one for sand, the black tile with white dots for the Cat-Cave and four stone blocks, then those four turned to their side 90 degrees. Then I had the lines I used to make the exterior getting off Kitty college. I ended up recoloring those throughout and those helped me build what became 54 screens in that month all in Tiled and updating assets, like adding palm trees on my iPhone in Pixel Studio. I went from 47 to 54 screens and then the 5 huge anchor screens and three side scrolling levels.
Now I made 6 places that you can go into, so now I need to do those six interiors and the final side scrolling level with the Boss Battle.
But now I have a working map and working game. The door I made for the CatCave I added throughout the world in about 5 spots for advancement in the overworld. Right now it just asks if you have a key and unlocks.
Right around Christmas I ordered the Joey Jr. Gameboy flash cartridge reader. It basically is a device you plug a GB cartridge into and then it plugs in USB into the computer. I ordered it and I ordered two Chinese bootleg Pokémon cartridges from AliExpress, another Green (I was curious about it so I bought another a month ago age a Silver. I ended up getting the cartridges before I got the Joey Jr. The Pokémon Silver cartridge doesn’t look anything like the real thing, which I have. It looks most like the normal color cartridge.
When I went into my email I noticed the Joey Jr. I bought said “preorder,” meaning they were on back order. I emailed them and they got back within a day said they got on their shipment, see me lower in line, and they’ll bump me up and I should get it within a couple days! And I got it within that day couplet.
So I got it and the first thing I did was plug in my Gameboy Camera and finally after 26 years extract my GB camera pics and there’s two good ones of me, some of my old childhood neighbor, so I send them to him on Facebook messenger.
After getting done a PowerPoint presentation for work I plug in Fauxkemon Silver, back up the rom in a folder on my computer. I then export Meow Alpha in GB Studio as a rom. I simply drag and drop the rom into the usb drive folder that is the Pokémon Silver knock off cart. I also do it to the Green cart. I show my wife, put the Green cartridge into my GBA SP, flip the ON switch, the Nintendo logo pops up, been BOOM my logo pops up, followed by my Start Screen. My wife notices before I do because I’m in such shock.
I play my game on a real cartridge on real Nintendo hardware and immediately encounter a glitch a get stuck in the wall. I quickly update that and a few transitions between overworld screens and flash the carts again. I then take a smaller sticker of Lana Leopard, the first Catratè Fighter sticker I ever made and stuck it on the front of the cartridge.
Next day I bring my game to a school I’m working at. A Behavior Therapist named Mario asks me how my weekend was. I explain how it was my 11 year anniversary with my wife and that I was same to put my Gameboy game on a real Gameboy cartridge. I pull out my game, well from his backpack he pulls out his GBA, with his favorite game in it, X2- Wolverine’s Revenge GBA. He grabs my game, throws it in his system and starts playing my game. He’s astounded and says that he is impressed with this is what I do in my spare time, that adult him is impressed, but young me, childhood me, would be flabbergasted.
My goal was to make 50 NPCs that all move, that are animated. And I reached that goal and now have them all ready to go in the assets folder. I then cleaned up the doors I made cause when I was playing around with the game on Gameboy I noticed that after interacting with a door every time you press the action button it would say what the door said. So I fixed it, made different doors say unique things, not open of you say No. I added two more doors to block the path to the beach. Overall cleaned the doors up. I also started adding more dialogue to the NPCs that reference the storyline and have been coming up with names for all 50 NPC cats!
A few spots where with ledges you can fall off of and then drop down a section were wonky, so I cleaned them up too.
Started drawing the interior of Kitty College. Also cleaning up the boxart and ordered the stickers for the cartridges!
I then took out my original Gameboy. I have two of them, one doesn’t work, the other works but the screen flashes. Turns out my game works on the OG Gameboy as well!
TO BE CONTINUED...