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.

Cowface

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