Lachlan's misadventures in games programming

Monday, 28 March 2011

Weekly Progress Update

3/28/2011 12:31:00 am Posted by Lachlan 1 comment
I haven't achieved massive amounts this week, in relation to WotAS. I did try my hand at more sprite art - some of which you can see in my Profile Picture (and duplicated here) of myself as well as a few other small things.


I've done some significant work on fleshing out the design document, but am still completely concept-less for the fourth Apocalypse Samurai, and working out how to distinguish the dragon from the beast for the end game, and what would make them good bosses - particularly considering my absolute loathing of bosses that break the rules from the rest of the game. I like bosses that the game play is fundamentally the same - just harder. I'm not a fan of games where you've been going through hordes and hordes of enemies and then reach a boss where you have to annoyingly dodge the things flying at you, and repeat some non-gameplay action (like run to a button and push it, then you get thrown back and repeat the whole stupid thing again).

I've also been sitting and considering the merits of 2D or 3D gameplay. I feel that it is necessary to emphasise  gameplay, because whether or not it is in 2D or 3D will not change the fact that the graphics itself will be in 2D. 2D is tempting for its simplicity, however, this limits fighting actions significantly, where 3D will allow me to create a richer experience. 3D, in this case, would be somewhat similar to the 3D found in many sidescrolling beat'em up's - such as the new Scott Pilgrim game, or River City Ransom; ie. using depth, side scrolling, and jumping. 3D does however present more difficulties in level design, and game design.

Finally, I have started fighting an internal battle as to whether I'll move beyond my beloved Object Pascal, to the heinous language well known as C++. Whilst everything about C++ repulses me, I think I'm going to need to be programming in it to gain enough access to support and better libraries to even give a basic hope to this project - or other indie game development projects. To learn this commonly used, outdated, ancient and archaic language, I'm going back to basics: Pong. I don't want to jump right into coding the game I really want to, because I don't want to get 6m in, have it almost, but not really playable, and suddenly discover I have to 'refactor the source' because of the strangled mess of spaghetti it has become. I'll keep working on non-programming bits of War of the Apocalypse Samurai, though I want to at least get a wee bit of experience to byte my teeth on before I really get into the programming (and probably most major) parts.

I would love to be able to have this finished, playable and on sale by Christmas. At the moment, almost nothing at all is done. I've done some work on design, some work on graphics and made my first tech demo in a different language - before realising that I really need to start the coding again in a different language. I do sense that some of the code will be best ported and not have been a complete waste of my time, but I've still not only got a long way to go, I've got by and large almost all of it to go. I don't know if Christmas is a realistic estimate or not, and I don't think I will until I start figuring out how long the project is taking me. I won't be too concerned if I miss the deadline owing to the lack of experience I have. I'd just like to have a finished, playable game.

1 comment:

  1. 2d gameplay is totally workable, if really retro (though the sidescroller genre is retro to begin with...) :p think Wonder Boy 2 or 3 on sms (definitely play 3 if you haven't, chalk it up to research :p - it had great gameplay and could help you nail down what makes 2d swordy gameplay work, and why it works so well when so many of the flashier snes sidescrollers just play awful)

    Imo part of why they worked well was cause monsters drop money and grinding to buying weapon and armor upgrades is an easy way to increase game length and give players a sense of achievement without having to design loads of new areas (only really works if the action is fun of course, but wb3 managed that despite fairly simple character controls by having varied and interesting enemies) Catchy music was a plus too :p

    Brett.

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