Skip to main content

Starting a new game

Well, I'm finally starting a new game.

Actually, I've been working on it off and on for a couple months now, but I've been hesitant to talk about it, as I'm not sure I'm mentally committed to finishing it.  I'm still not sure I'm ever going to finish it, but I have trouble not talking about things. So despite the fact that I hate yapping about things that I'm not sure I'll ever finish, here goes.

Like Anguna, I'm attempting to make a game that I want to play. (See my discussion of where I failed to achieve that mark for Anguna)

So I'm working on a cheesy little game called "Robo-Ninja." The main character, is in fact, a robot ninja.

So what I really want to make, a large metroidvania-style adventure game, generally requires better input mechanisms than a phone provides. There's a reason there's 8 million tap-to-jump games (Like The Impossible Game, which did it the best, and Wind Up Knight, which got tons of attention but was ultimately incredibly boring). Like I've talked about on this blog before, I really love the exploration part of a simple but large 2d world. So I started thinking about ways to make a metroidvania game work on a phone.

I really also like incredibly frustrating games where you die. A Lot.  (See the Impossible Game, above). I was completely blown away by VVVVVV, which is both incredibly frustrating AND a metroidvania-style game.

I also have to limit the scope of the game. I don't want to spend 3 years working on this like I did Anguna.

So I set out to combine all of those, and decided on the gimmick: a metroidvania game where the only controls are the crazy tapping-to-jump mechanism.   (well, to jump or do an alternative action depending on what items you have -- I was picturing some sort of Ninja dude as I was brainstorming), You could also tap on a corner to cycle through your inventory of items. To make it harder, your dude never stops running forward. Except when he hits a wall, then he turns around and runs the other way. (thus the Robot part, because he's dumb and just runs) So you have to work your way through a frustrating world of pits and spikes and frustrating timing, exploring and choosing routes by forcing your guy to bounce off the right walls or jump through the right holes.


Here's an example of me falling in a pit, about to die. I do that a lot in my tests.


So far, it's been a lot of fun. I had to pick a framework/game engine (LibGDX, which I'll talk about some other time), find art resources (there's quite a bit of free art out there, the hard part was finding enough that matched up to get some sort of consistent style to the game), figure out what tools I wanted to use (Tiled for mapping, I think), and then start coding!

Now that I've finally broken down and admitted I'm working on this, I'll plan on posting more thoughts about the game as it progresses (or stalls out and dies if I get bored).

Although, for now, I will say that my 2 testing levels are hard enough to frustrate me as I test it. That's a good sign in my book. ;-)

Comments

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mark Sidarous said…
Excited to play it! FWIW, I thought Anguna was great.

Popular posts from this blog

Retrospex 32 Review

RetrospexInternational recently sent me a couple units of their new handheld device, the Retrospex 32, a new dedicated GameboyAdvance emulator handheld.  To make the unit playable out of the box, they pre-loaded a handful of homebrew games, including Anguna, which is why they were kind enough to send me 2 of the units to play with.  I was pretty excited to get my hands on the device and try it (I loved my old GBA micro with a good flash cart!), and see Anguna running on it. So here's my thoughts after playing with it.



Their website lists the Retrospex 32 for £59.99, which is around $100 USD. It seems like it's marketed toward people into retro-gaming (which makes sense for a dedicated GBA emulator device). At that price, with that target market, and such a limited set of functionality (why not make it a multi-machine emulator, and emulate all the old consoles?), it would hopefully do a really good job of it.

The short version of my review: it doesn't. It has one job (emula…

Making the game fun

The real trick for Spacey McRacey (as I'm calling it now) is going to be making it fun.  And that's what I'm rather unsure about at this point.

I have a game design that basically works. The technical issues are mostly sorted out, I just need to get a few more implemented before I can seriously play test it.

But fun? It's hard to know if it's actually going to be any fun to play.  With a 4-player party-style game, it's seems like it might be hard to hit that fine line where everyone is close and competing, where everything feels exciting and tense, as opposed to tedious and boring.  And despite envisioning my game as fun, it might just be boring to play.

Some of that comes down to tweaking it. Tweaking the speeds, difficulties, etc, will make a difference. (If it's too easy to shoot people from behind, then it will be nearly impossible to hold a lead for very long, which could ruin it and make it no fun. If it's too hard to kill the guy in front, it wil…

Killer Queen

So at PRGE, I played an arcade game that just left me amazed.  Killer Queen.

It's a 10-player game. You have 2 cabinets linked together, and 5 players huddled on each one. Each one is a team of 5 people, working together to play a simple one-screen 2d platformer.  But what made it work was the high quality game design.

First, the game is relatively simple, yet there is a lot going on at once.  One player plays the queen, the most important and powerful character on the team. The others start as workers, but can become warriors who can fly around and attack in a very joust-like flappy contest of height.  The real trick is that there are three completely different ways to win: either collect a bunch of berries and bring them back to your base, or ride a REALLY SLOW snail across the screen (while other people try to kill you, and you hope your team protects you), or kill the enemy queen 3 times.  There's some other things going on as well (using berries to upgrade, capturing upgr…