Monday, July 28, 2008

Zero hour, 9 AM...

No, nothing to do with that song 'Rocket Man'...

I'd been playing a fair amount of Zero Hour recently, and considering that a) It comes with a free mapmaking tool, and b) I am really sick of the standard 8 player maps my friends only seem to want to play, I thought I might try my hand at making my own. After all, its the game designer thing to do.

So after a first failed map (the supply docks were off the map, the start points were half off) I made this one. Its hardly a masterpiece, but it still plays fine and I did put some thought into it's design. The primary thing here is that you'll need to expand into the centre, but doing so will put you into direct conflict with your neighbor. Furthermore, do you rush for the supplies, or attempt to take the artillery and use it too secure the centre early?

To be honest, I have no idea. I've tested it in game, but I haven't put in AI waypoints yet, so it wasn't that much of a challenge. I've also realised that for three players, as is the way we play at the moment, its going to be awfully unfair on who ever gets stuck in the middle.

Maybe I should focus more on only three player maps?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Arrrgh... quick quick... before anyone notices!

So I'm a day late.. I have my excuses. I mean, it *was* done and I *was* ready, but then I got sick. And then I though I needed to colour it up a little considering how much of my stuff is black and white. And then I realised I really need to work on my colouring.

But here we are; Part man, part machine, all whisk. When I was drawing it I was pretty happy with it, but now looking back on it I see so many errors. It's always that way though.

Little time to talk at the moment because I managed to pick up a few games cheap on the last day of the EB bigtime saleathon, but I might see if I can fit in one tomorrow.

Everything else is going swimingly.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Triumphant return!

Life has been busy, what can I say...

To the left, you will notice a screen shot from the upcoming Starlight game I've been working on. Co-incidentally, the same screen shot I promised some month ago. My dog ate my computer, OK?

Admittedly, I haven't really been doing as much of my own stuff as I had planned. I have been getting valuable insider experience, which is great because I'm learning new things everyday and piecing together old stuff I didn't understand from before, but I still feel like I'm letting myself down by not running my own show as well.

So about Starlight then?

It's a sci-fi puzzle type deal, inspired in a game sense by Portal and in a musical sense by Muse, loosely tied together by a tale of intergalactic love and exploding stars. In all realism, I'm just one guy. I'm not expecting this to rival Portal, or indeed any game. That's not the point. The goal here is to produce something I'm proud of and learn from in regards to game design.

The basics that I want to learn, and emulate with this game revolve around guided thought. Each puzzle, or star system, is supposed to build on the last. The puzzles aren't supposed to seem random, there should be some logical link between them and previous ones. This in itself isn't remarkably tough, but I do think that also having a balanced difficulty curve on top of that will be the kicker. More on that later though, no doubt when I'm finishing up levels I'll have learned a little more and have a more informed view.

My reference to 'Eastern Game Design' in the previous post might have to wait a little longer to be explained. It's cold here and my hands are starting to freeze up. Basically, it's in regards to control scheme. Take Super Mario Bros for example; in the old ones all you had was movement and jump (and shoot I guess). The game required you to take these basic moves, and slowly increase your understanding of them and use them in progressively difficult ways. That's the kind of aim I was taking when I was thinking about Starlight; simple base control system that gets employed in different ways as the game goes on. But as I said before, thats a bedtime story for another night.

Meanwhile, my current plan will be to update this blog on Mondays and Fridays. I've got two different projects on the go, my nights divvied up and a brand new determination to ROCK ON THRU.

Bets on me keeping that schedule are currently sitting at 15:1.