This time, I’m going to talk a bit less about gameplay and a bit more about the visual effects we’ll be using in Chain Gang Chase. Parallax is a neat visual trick that, when used properly, can seem to add a third dimension to a two-dimensional display. The main premise of the game is that your group of convicts needs to escape while avoiding getting caught up on trees and other obstacles. If you’ve seen some of our promotional stuff (especially our Kickstarter video), you’ll remember that the trees were just flat, near-circular shapes. Parallax will help that a little bit by making trees look like they pop out of the screen.
“But how does parallax work?” You may ask. The basic idea of parallax is that some objects on the screen move more than others depending on how far they are from the camera. Objects that are farther away from the camera move more slowly and things closer to the camera move faster. This is just like in real life. If you want to try it out, hold up a pencil in front of your face and move your head back and forth without moving the pencil. The pencil will move quickly relative to your eyes, and all the stuff behind the pencil will move more slowly.
In Chain Gang Chase, the trees and other objects will have three layers (top, middle, and bottom). Based on the tree’s position in the game world, the middle and top layers will lean out towards the sides of the screen. Here’s an example of a before-and-after. On the left is an image without parallax, and the one on the right is one with parallax. In each image, the lower-left is the location of the camera.
Notice how the trees with parallax seem to be leaning more the farther they are away from the lower corner of the image? You can tell that they have layers, especially for the ones at the top and on the right. By contrast, you can see that the non-parallax trees are just flat and boring images. You might think that even the parallax trees don’t look too hot in still images, but the real magic happens when you’re actually moving the camera through the game world.
Unfortunately, that’s all the time I have for now. I hope you enjoyed the demonstrations, and I will be sure to keep writing about the cool stuff we do.