So, I spent the majority of yesterday working on BreakStuff (that’s what I’ll refer to it as fow now, since I don’t even have a title in mind yet). It’s kinda cool, because it’s been one of those situations where you’re working along, and the more you accomplish, the more the ideas begin to flow. I haven’t necessarily had any epiphanies as far as gameplay or overall mechanics go, but I have had some interesting ideas come to mind to add just a little bit of flavor to BreakStuff. At its roots, it’s purely just an arcade game; you know, quick rounds, one shot attempts, increasingly difficult gameplay, high scores, meant to be played in short bursts. But I’d also like to introduce a sense of progression so that each round doesn’t necessarily feel like you’re starting over from scratch. That’s a bit of a tricky design element to incorporate into an arcade game, but I do have just a few ideas in mind.
Imagine games like Risk of Rain where you attempt to clear the entire game in one go, but progression from previous rounds aids you in future rounds (albeit starting over from square one each time). A mechanic like that is pretty cool. Also doesn’t make you feel like you’ve wasted all that time playing only to have absolutely nothing to show for it (except maybe a high score and bragging rights).
But continuing on… so yesterday I switched over my rough sloppy 1-day prototype code over to much more finished, expandable code (formatted nicely, set up a finite state machine, etc.). I generally tend to start out quick and rough until I get some solid gameplay started, then I switch over to really solidifying and cleaning up the code.
I’ve coded it so that any new attacks animated in the character can be imported into the game, complete with hitboxes and collision detection, in under 5 minutes. The lengthy part is actually animating each attack, but on the code side of things, it’s pretty much nearly instant when it comes to integrating the new attack into the attack database.
Also, you can swap out heads in a second. I’m working on adding the ability to swap out all of the limbs too to completely 100% customize your character (though, for starters, I might just use this system to easily create a handful of premade characters).
Right now you can just run and attack, but hitboxes are implemented and props can take damage (though the damage counter needs work, considering I haven’t even made a custom font yet!).
Today I’m going to tackle some player-to-environment collision detection. Also thinking about how I’m going to approach this idea of procedurally generated rooms. I mean, the whole approach isn’t seeming too terribly complicated, but before I can really get my procedural generation code down, I have to understand the gameplay and game flow… which… isn’t completely established yet, hmm..
Anyway, will update tomorrow (or in a few days, we’ll see!)
(and I’ve just realized I use ‘incorporate’,’integrate’, or’import’ every few sentences. I need a way to import and integrate a bigger database into my lingo so I can incorporate more words. Corporate. Incorporate. Incorporate into. Incorporate in. Wut.)
Within the past 6 or so months, I’ve gone through at least 8 different solid prototypes for game ideas, ranging from platformers to online multiplayer party games up to a 2D ARPG survival sim. Every single one had some absolutely significant flaw in terms of design – I wasn’t interested in doing what everyone’s already done. No, I wanted to do more. Problem is, this “more” that I wanted to do never turned out to quite be that thing that could bring something new and exciting too an all-too-familiar genre. A 2D RTS where your unit’s turn is entirely time based? Or a platformer in the same vein as Wario Ware? Or how about a survival sim game where you kill zombies AND run a shop? They all sounded appealing on paper, but there were so many design flaws to work through, I found myself becoming demotivated and scrapping each and every project.
But time is running out. I’m onto what could potentially be my last game idea before I might have to bite the bullet and start job hunting for something entirely outside of my field. I’ve been working (as one of the programmers) with a talented group of game developers these past few months on an ambitious and super awesome game hitting PS4 and PC later this year. But trying to line myself up for the next freelance gig has proven anything but easy. I check the forums like a hawk but have no leads, and the fact that my software suite of choice is Gamemaker Studio (and most job offerings involve Unity) only bolsters the problem of finding my next job.
Though I hate to admit it, it’s a scary feeling not knowing what to expect. The last time this happened was right out of college when I was frantically searching for a job. I had 6 years of feeling mostly secure and safe, but that time is about to end very soon. My first Kickstarter project only gained about half of the funds required to start development. I spent months working on a mobile game only to receive about 14 downloads total, about more than half of that being from friends and family. I spent about 8 months working on my next major project, but it was met with mostly silence.
Cue the drama! But really though, this might be my last shot at this whole game development gig until I’ll be forced to once again return back to the normal work force spending my days doing something I’m not entirely passionate about. It’s become absolutely shameful that I’m now looking towards game development primarily for financial stability – I hope that one day once I have things in order, I can spend my time working on the games that I truly yearn to share with the world; emotional, immersive adventures.
So, I decided to document this “last shot”, so to speak. I’ll post weekly. A quick rundown – it’s just a very simple 2D arcade game where you break stuff. That’s all, literally. You just… break stuff. That’s the whole game. And I have to finish it in a month and a half.