Times, trials, and turbulence.
Next Up to Bat
Brand new project on the rise! I didn’t try all that hard to break away from the overhead shooter genre, so it will be following somewhat along that vein. Since I’m without internet, I decided that now would be a fantastic opportunity to create a small(ish) game that allowed me to flex myself outside of the conventional boundries that all of my games thus far have constrained themselves by. This new project aims to introduce several new systems and areas that none of my games to this point have explored:
Storyline. All five of my released games focus on mindless violence, more or less. Admiral Overalls was about as close as I’ve gotten to a game with a story, and that was just a blurb of text at the start and end of the game. I’d love a game that actually told a story, and being able to offer the players a character who really has a meaning and purpose in the world s/he is in.
Hand-crafted levels. Procedurally-generated content has been the cornerstone of all of my games to date, excluding Admiral Overalls, which Dean actually developed the levels for. Procedural content is neat, but we still aren’t at the point where it can replace the warm feel of a human touch. Being able to custom-tailor levels for more interesting and in-depth situations is something that randomized levels cannot do, and I’m excited to be able to bring to the table.
NPCs and Dialog. Flat-out, I’ve never finished a game that had NPCs in it, or dialog between the player and other characters. I really enjoy both creative writing and writing dialog — which I haven’t invested time in in far too long 😦 — so I’m looking really forward to getting into this. Dean and me agree that a Shadowrun/Morrowind-èsque conversation system would probably work the best for this game, whereas the player selects conversation items from a list when engaging in dialog with another character. The inclusion of dialog will also open the door to the clever insertion of intermittant witty humour, which I’ve sadly had to leave out of other projects. 🙂
Atmosphere. This one is the prime goal, which is really a byproduct of the above items and other things, such as general game polish. Atmosphere is that nice tingly feeling you get when you really feel like you’re part of that world, where you feel like your presence is actually making an impact in that game world. When I played through the project of another developer, Ravuya, and his game, Glow, I realized after blowing the guts out of the last boss that this feeling really was attainable even within hobbyist games such as ours.
But most of all, the rule I’m following for developing this game is KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid! Projects tend to fail because the author bites off more than they can programmatically chew, which I’m confident was the case for my last couple of drop-offs over the last few months. Although it means I’m sacrificing some code cleanliness for ease-of-programming, it’s a trade-off I’m willing to make. The code is still far cleaner than the mess known as Membrane Massacre, so I think I’m safe. 😉
Screenshots? I guiltily admit that I’m writing from work right now, so I don’t have screenshots to display at the moment. I haven’t even talked about what the game is about, either! Hopefully I can shed some light on both of these items in my next entry, which hopefully will start becoming more and more frequent. Work is finally winding down in this final month (August), so I can start to get back in the swing of things when uni rolls around this September.
I’ve realized that with the previous title I gave my right-hand sidebar, “Respected Developers”, that I likely had of insulted a number of people inadvertantly. It now holds the more apt title of, “Exceptional Developers”, which I think is more accurate. I refer to the folks who work their arses off on game development to no end; even more maniacally than the average (but still awesome) developer. If I were to make a list of “respected developers” I would probably run out of webspace trying to list all of you. I deeply respect all of you folks — you know who you are! 🙂