During my downtime from working on EG I pecked away on the Unity engine, learning both the 2D and 3D sides. There was another type of 2D game I wanted to make where EG wasn't scratching that itch. EG was a slower paced game focused on the expanding journey of a long trek through an alien world. While +AB still has some elements of EG's inspiration in it, it's more arcade-like in structure.
When jumping to Unity I tried to learn from my amateurish mistakes from when I was coding EG. I tried to keep the code clean and concise, keeping everything organized and notated for future use. Jumping to the struture of Unity from straight coding was a godsend. Things that took me forever to get up and running was done in mere moments. It took me 3 weeks to get a fully playable game engine up and work what it took me months to a year to do in straight up coding.
For the game itself I only dialed a couple of things back from EG to make it easier on myself. First is was the graphics' style. When making EG I ended up going with an open 16bit influence where the graphics were meant to invoke the styles of the SNES and Amiga era, but never limiting myself to color or sprite limitations.
With +AB I went back a step and with an NES inspired style (with a few addition colors). By giving the game NES sprites it allows for easier limiting on other aspects as well, such as animations and tile sets. With EG I was trying to design everything with a bit of uniqueness that's constantly giving the player something new to look at. +AB goes with a more tighter, old school design that more reminiscent to games like Mega Man and Castlevania designed their stages. This allowed a quicker constuction of stage design as well.
Also with EG, even though it was a sci-fi fantasy adventure game I tried keep things a bit grounded. By grounded I mean everything has a bit of an organic connection to the world. For example in Super Mario Bros you will always see things like floating blocks throughout the world. In EG if there was a block it is connected to the world somehow. In +AB I wanted to loosen up that kind of restriction and allow for a looser stage design.
The game itself has been made up of parts of things I've been wanting for years but have yet seen. A classic style game that contains its own sequels and lots of replay-ability. The game would have a bit of a structured randomness to it. It starts off in the hub area that splits off into 4 paths. Those 4 paths each lead to one of 12 level themes (meaning there will be 8 themes the player won't play through the first time around). Each of those levels are broken up into 3 sections that also come from a pool of randomly selected stage layouts.
Rather than go the route of how some modern action rogue-likes are set up like Rogue Legacy and Binding of Isaac where there's a bunch of similarly set up room types with a bunch randomized enemies and item sets peppered throughout, I wanted to keep the level designed as a set structure with predetermined platform and enemy structured. The idea was to have the player feel like they're playing something akin to the design of a Mario, Mega Man, or Castlevania level rather than hoping that the next randomized room goes in their favor.
At the moment this project is still in the very early stages. Most of the core engine aspects are finished. The main character moves, runs, jumps, slides, climbs, shoots, attacks, gain/lose health, and collects items as she should. Level panning, parallax scrolling, level transitions, scoring system, and the game's loading & saving are all functional. Even have the game's core randomization code that determines every level set, bosses, enemy weaknesses, etc. all in place. So the engine is there ready to make a +AB with, but then there's my long time project of EG. Now that I have a solid 2D engine in place I could just start working on moving all my EG assets over and try to finish that game.