We also plan on getting engaged really soon and I have an idea for a proposal, but it's been difficult making our schedules match unfortunately. She currently works at a furniture warehouse and has a fairly high up position, so there's been a fair amount of hours in her schedule. Hoping by the end of the month I get to hear her say yes! Super excited and very happy!
I of course have also been working on some other things on the side, just obnoxiously quiet about it all. I've done some minor Game Boy Advance hacks on the side and have been working on Virtual Frink-ality's texture edits for Level 2. With Level 1's development, I finished up all of the Story Missions before I began working on the textures. Level 2 received similar treatment, with texture edits beginning after all the Story Missions were more or less finished. I was more concerned about Level 2 due to trying to get the textures to replicate the 'style' of The Simpsons Arcade game, since it's a larger undertaking than I had envisioned. With Level 1, creating 'cartoony' textures was pretty easy since I primarily had to focus on large black outlines and well saturated colors. The palette wasn't really that limited either. With Level 2, I'm trying to force myself to limit the palette to what the Arcade game had to work with to better replicate the style of a 16-bit arcade game, but now I'm running into the concern that I simply feel it's not visually distinct enough from Level 1's 'Cartoon' aesthetic. I've tried applying a 'CRT' effect over major textures as a test to see if that would better create a more distinct visual identity, but I feel the effect is simply too nauseating on smaller resolutions (which I normally try to target - I play this game on 800x600 regularly baby).
Spoiler: 'asphalt_norm.bmp' as it normally appears in my texture-modified Level 2
Spoiler: A demonstration of the 'CRT effect' being applied to 'asphalt_norm.bmp' in Level 2
While it might look passable in a still image, I think having multiple 'scanlines' appear onscreen as the player moves about looks too rough and the eye begins getting drawn to them in a way that I think is too distracting. I'm in favor of scrapping the effect entirely, which is why it's not applied to most of the other textures seen in the two above screenshots. I'm open to more feedback on the idea or a much better/smarter way to execute the idea, of course!
The Hell Inspector was extremely nice in allowing me to use the 'Funko Pop Mr. Garrison' costume from his 'Merry F'ing Christmas' mod as a base for an idea I have to make the NPCs that populate the Level (both regular pedestrians and missions hosts) to be 2D 'sprites', with Homer being the odd-ball initially. Not to worry though, since the idea is that you can also purchase a little 2D skin for Homer as well:
Not terribly impressive as-is, but I'm hoping the charm in the execution will make Level 2 feel more visually distinct from Level 1 which is my biggest concern getting this thing out the door.
So yeah, big changes in my personal life for the time being. It's exciting! I apologize as I want to write more, but we both planned a date that I'm driving her out to. Thank you for reading!