Game progress and modelling practice

My game for OGAM January is going well. I’m getting the hang of PlayMaker and now I have a cube (player) that can move around and kill stuff by asploding on them, and cylinders (enemies) that move down the screen, firing towards the player at intervals.

A change in focus

Testing my implementation of an explosion radius made me think of a different way to do this game. What if the player had a forcefield or blades or something which hardmed enemies that entered it, but allowed enemy bullets through? Instead of navigating a gauntlet of bullets and ships to explode yourself on a boss, the game is now about navigating a gauntlet of bullets and ships, while remaining close enough to enemies to whack them with your damaging forcefield thingy. If I made the forcefield damage over time, then I could keep kamikaze attacks as an oh-shit option (like crashing your ship into a boss’ cannon to get rid of it right now).

I’m starting a low-poly model library

Today I also started on that low-poly prototyping library I always wanted to make. Not only does it help me get used to Blender after so long away from it, but it’s also nice to have premade models for early development instead of using cubes and things. Here’s an example of a tree!



One Game a Month starts today, and I have an idea!

The One Game a Month project starts today, and I’ve finally gotten an idea that I’m fairly happy with in terms of potential and scope.

I was using my game idea generator to inspire myself, and was given these three words:

  • Rutabaga
  • Pyrrhic Victory
  • Bullet Hell

Forget the rutabaga for now. With the other two words I immediately thought of self-destruction, and the idea came to me of a vertically-scrolling SHMUP wherein bosses could only be damaged by crashing your ship into them. Something similar was done back in 1983 in Mines of Minos, except Mines was not a SHMUP. Jesse Schell wrote a pretty great article about the significance of that self-sacrifice mechanic for Well-Played 1.0.

I’m thinking that this game will have short levels — or no levels at all, just a big Boss Attack mode — and you’ll be trying to dodge the bullets and lesser enemies that the boss throws at you, just so that you can get close enough to hit a joint or a component of the boss or something. I’m deliberately keeping it simple right now, and adding more involved mechanics and twists later. I have a month to work on it, after all.

And with that rutabaga, I might just make the player’s ship a little turnip-shaped.

Some other notable things about 1GAM

I’ve never done anything in 2D, so this is a pretty good opportunity to do so (perhaps using RagePixel in Unity). I also recently bought PlayMaker, and even though I’m fairly adept at coding directly in C#, I think learning how to use PlayMaker would help my workflow.

End of day, 5PM

I’ve got a player controller and a modular enemy controller working in PlayMaker. Firing bullets at the player is kind of odd, as they either don’t have enough momentum to keep going, or else they just don’t move. I must be using the wrong move method.

Now that I’ve made a solid attempt of it, PlayMaker is not too bad. I can see how being able to visualise operations as a series of distinct blocks and actions is reassuring to the non-programmer, although I’m not used to thinking the PlayMaker way yet so my productivity is a bit low.

The lack of simple built-in loops took some time for me to get used to. I think of loops as the atoms of software, so having to break a FOR loop down into its state machine equivalent (a Declaration state branching into two states: Continuing, or Completed, with the Continuing state feeding back into the Declaration state) was very new to me. I’m excited to continue tomorrow.



Game Idea Generator

What is this?

This generator helps you come up with game ideas by randomly providing you with a list of game titles, genres and concepts, past Ludum Dare theme suggestions, and common and proper nouns.



It's tough to get back into it

I’m having a little trouble getting back into the swing of gamedev after such a long hiatus. Ideas and inspiration are a bit thin on the ground, and I’ve forgotten much of game programming, and will have to relearn it.

I picked up some Play-Doh and decided that, while I wait for my mojo to come back, I should take this opportunity to make some low-poly 3D models for use in game prototypes. I might hit upon a cool idea while working, and I might sell the finished models as a pack in the Unity Asset Store.



Hello again!

Testing period is over, I gave a great research presentation, it’s now time for the holidays! This means more gamedev stuff, so this website is going to ramp up again.

First port of call: Ludum Dare 25 is on December 14 through to 17, and I want in. Because of Christmas plans I will have to scale back my ideas, but it should be achievable. Also, the Experimental Gameplay Project creates challenge themes every month or two, and I’ve been meaning to do some of them.

In terms of game design paradigms, I’m going to do some static world stuff for a while. It will give me more context on what is needed to create a game world in the first place, instead of having to figure that stuff out on-the-fly while also learning procedural world generation. I really enjoyed making a puzzle game (aside from the fundamental annoyance of actually making puzzles), so I’ll try to think of another. I had a really great idea for a puzzle game that was kind of a hybrid of Picross and Tetris, but someone had that idea long before I did (and made it work really well too!).

For now, it’s time to get all of my computer stuff in order.



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