Monday, August 31, 2009

Next Project

Ok, on to what my next project might be.  I'm not content unless I've got a project I'm working on, so there's not really an option of "no project".  While working on Anguna, I had lots of ideas of things that I might want to work on next.

I've considered doing some sort of 3d OpenGL-based game on the PC to learn what I'm doing with 3d game programming.  I've messed around with 3d before, but nothing more than little demos. Other things I've considered include some sort of NES homebrew, dreamcast homebrew, Atari 2600 homebrew, making an iphone game, doing a flash game, and finishing a digital scrapbooking tool for my wife. I also bought an Arduino and decided to try to make a simple robot with it.  So that's been occupying a good bit of my hobby time.  (Maybe I'll post some pictures/thoughts about the robot building at some point).

Really, though, the answer to "what's next" seems to be coming down to a few things:

1.  Whatever I make, I want people to actually play or use it.  I made an RPG engine for the PC once a long time ago that didn't really have a target market.  It was a fun project, but not very satisfying in the end, when there was nobody using it.

2.  There's already a HUGE pool of existing games out there on the PC (freeware games, or flash games, or whatnot).  If I made another one, the chance of getting my game played is pretty small.

3.  Although iphone game development would be fun, I don't feel like investing the money to buy a quality mac as well as an iphone or touch.  That's somewhere around $1000 to $1500 to drop.  I'm too cheap to pay that kind of money unless I'm REALLY sure that's what I want to do.

All of those seem to point to doing another console homebrew game.  It's a small enough niche to get noticed, and it's fun to see games running on the actual console.  As far as what system to develop for?  Dreamcast has a lot of overhead (emulators are poor, so I'd have to be tied down to testing on the physical console, which needs a TV).  Atari development is nasty hard (your code has to prepare and render EACH SCANLINE separately), and I'd have to brush up on my 6502 assembler.  I'd like to do a NES game -- I think I have a good enough grasp of how to program for it that I could learn it fairly quickly.  But it'd probably need to be in assembler also, which would limit my progress. 

So I'm leaning right now towards another GBA/DS game.  When I started on Anguna, I had debated between a Zelda clone, or a Metroidvania-style game.  (sorry for the cheesy label, but that describes it well).  I eventually settled on the Zelda clone, but I've still got some ideas for a side-scrolling adventure that I'd like to eventually work on.  So that's likely to be the next project.

More specifically, I'm thinking about doing something based loosely on Blaster Master.  I'm still debating exactly what that would mean and what it would look like, but that's the direction I'm looking.  I've been reading some reviews of older 2d side-scrolling adventure games, and playing through a few of them (Super Metroid, Symphony of the Night, etc) trying to boil down what I like and don't like about each of them.  Like Anguna, my goal will be to make the game that I want to play.  We'll see where it goes.  Especially considering I tend to start lots of hobby projects, and only finish the really interesting ones....

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