Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Long Textual Explanation of the Game I'm Making

Hello lonely reader of my blog (I refer to myself when I say this) here is an update about what I'm doing. I've thought long and hard trying to find the perfect design for my game this summer (all the while working on a basic 2d engine as I said before) and I was struggling. Like I said earlier, I believe in video games as a medium perfect for emotional expression as well as artistry and I really wanted to try doing something in that vein this summer. In the end I've decided against it. Though I really want to create something which a player can feel emotionally invested in, I also believe that the gameplay absolutely can't suck (I'm looking at you hordes of retro flash games with touching storylines, haunting music and boring gameplay). However, this is a big task, finding a tale, a feeling that you want to convey and then creating meaningful gameplay that brings those things to the forefront. I am confident in my ability to do this and have narrowed out some basic ideas, but with such a limited time span and a workforce consisting of only me (have I mentioned I am unbelievably god-awfully bad at drawing anything even remotely more complicated than a scribble) I don't think I could make something that would not fall in the trap of just being not at all fun to play.

This is why I have decided to take another route, I'm focusing solely on the gameplay, building an experience that is just purely fun and challenging, letting everything else come second (hey, maybe I am good enough to do everything, only time will tell). The game I'm making is a platformer (yes, the indie dev FPS) that is a cross between a room based puzzle game (think Angry Birds or The Company of Myself ) and a more expansive platformer style like Metroid or Castlevania or Cave Story or Knytt or etc... The idea is to have semi-large explorable worlds as self contained levels that need to be completed one after the other. I have quite nailed this part down yet, but the game the way to beat each level is likely going to be to find all of the collectibles hidden within it (they would be sparse, easy to see, but hard to reach).

The primary tool given to the player is (apart from jumping) the ability to shoot two different colored shots out of his gun. These shots do not affect enemies, however they affect the environment. One color raises any block that is shot and the other lowers it. It's like gravity suddenly turns on for that block in the direction corresponding to the type of shot the block was hit with (note that I haven't decided any kind of setting for this game yet as I am focusing on gameplay, meaning the player may not have a "gun" and gravity almost certainly won't be the explanation given behind his level manipulation powers). Every part of every level in the game can be manipulated in this way, however given that the player can only shoot either left or right I have found it easy to make it so that the player can't fundamentally break the level (by removing the floor for example). Enemies must be squished to be killed and platforms must be rode to success. This is meant to be both a puzzle and action game.

Reading that last paragraph I realize it makes just about zero sense, or at the very least is hard to follow without some visual aid. I would embed the basic prototype here, which would make this post make a hell of a lot more sense, but I'm planning on making an awesome post about the camera system tomorrow, and I don't want two posts with the exact same embedded prototype. Since I don't have any readers, nobody will be here to witness the one day this explanation is without the prototype to aid in clarification.

More to come tomorrow on camera's in open-world 2d platformer games.

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