Skip to main content

Hooray for Open Source

Today I started investigating how I want to handle the mini-map. I still haven't completely settled on a design that I like. Some of the questions or factors that I need to think about are:

  1. The minimap needs to be smart enough to (at least mostly) build itself from my level data, without me having to go back and build a big minimap by hand.
  2. I want to minimize the effort involved -- I neither want to have to add a bunch of meta-data to my maps to give them hints about displaying themselves on the minimap, neither do I want to have to write a ton of code for the build process to make it build the minimap.
  3. How much detail do I want to show on the minimap? In Anguna, the dungeons were just wireframes of the rooms (which is closer to a Super Metroid-style map), but the overworld was actually just the image of the overworld map scaled down to any extremely tiny size.
Super Metroid's wireframe map. Robo-Ninja's world is about as big as the "Brinstar" section of Super Metroid.
(bonus points for those of you that can point to Brinstar on this map without looking it up)

I'm leaning toward doing scaled down images (in answer to #3), so I started looking into a simple scriptable way to dump an image file from my map, using the Tiled editor. Turns out, they have a command-line utility for dumping them. The only problem: it omits any map layer with the name "collision" (why they hardcoded that is beyond me), which is the name I use for the primary layer in my maps!

Luckily, it's open-source! It took about an hour to:
  • Find the place in their code where it omits "collision" (actually, I didn't realize that's why my collision layer wasn't getting exported until I searched through their code!)
  • Change the command-line utility to take an argument flag to tell it whether to omit that flag
  • Compile, test
  • Send a message and a pull request to the maintainer, in case they're interested in using the changes.
So now I can dump out my images of my maps in an easily scripted method. Hooray for open-source!

Now I just need to decide about #1 and #2 above. My map files theoretically can figure out how they're all connected to each other, based on the "exit" hotspots, that warp you from one map to another when you get to a certain edge. But the maps don't really know their absolute position in the overall world map (which was just poor design/planning on my part).  So I really need to decide between computing each map's position by tracing through all the connections between maps (from a known start point), vs going back and adding metadata to each map to tell it what its position is in the global map. I'll have to think on that some more, I guess.


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…