Evidently I have better things to do with my November

Well, for what it’s worth, I decided to work on that third game.

The whole “make a game in a month” thing didn’t work out. There’s no point to going into my excuses as to why, even though I’ve got some good ones.

Here’s where I stand: I’m still working on this shorter game, and I’m using what I’ve done of the distraction RPG engine to put it together, but it doesn’t have all the features I need yet. Therefore, over the next few weeks, I need to add the following new features to the engine:

  • Finish the battle engine: So far the battle engine has some basic features, and menu support is finished, but it still lacks a number of crucial features – proper battle scripting, event animation, and ability to modify status (e.g. reduce health, trigger a “poison” effect, and so on). Once I’ve got all the things I need, I guess the next step would be to put together some working battles that can be fought from start to finish. At the moment, you just hit F1 and that brings up the battle menu.

  • Pathfinding: This is something that I was planning to add anyway, but since the new game is mostly a strategy game, it’s more of a priority. I had been looking into A* pathfinding for a while now anyway.

  • Catapillar Parties: This simply means that the other party members follow the main character around (rather than in most old RPGs, where the main character represented the whole party). It’s sorta required because of the way I intend to implement combat. This is actually relatively tricky to do properly in a pixel by pixel sense – the simplest way to do it would be to keep a history of the main character’s movements, and have the other party members copy those movements until they collided with the main character… though that leads to some problems with collision of other NPCs. A better solution is to use pathfinding, and have the other party members work out their own paths to the hero. Of course, that may also lead to problems if the other party members get stuck… So I’m not sure what to do. I’m open to suggestions for solutions here.

  • Cutscene Engine: I’ll need to implement a proper cutscene engine to handle events in the new game. This shouldn’t be that big a deal, since the scripting engine is already pretty versatile.

  • That’s it. After that, I’ll need to start adding a few features that are unique to the new game, so I can just start a fork on the old source code and start adding new features from there:

  • Space Exploration: I’ll need to add a completely new field mode for traveling between planets. This shouldn’t be a big deal, since the engine is designed to easily switch between states. My basic idea is to set up a simple starfield and have the player fly about in it.

  • …huh. I think that’s actually all I’ll need to do. If I get it that far, I should have an engine that’s fit to run my game. All that’s left to do is, you know, make it.

    * 7 Comments

    7 Comments so far

    1. Sven Lundgren on November 28th, 2006

      Personally I thought your first idea was the most interesting. I was kind of hoping you’d do that one. 🙁

    2. Terry on December 3rd, 2006

      Really? I liked it at first, but the more I thought about it, the more sure I was that it wouldn’t be any fun. I think the gimic would have worn thin very quickly.

      On the other hand, the “third” game that I mentioned has a lot more potential. I guess I didn’t really get that across in my post, though. I’ve got a lot of ideas about where I want to take the plot, the problem is that I don’t really like to discuss plot ideas until I’ve actually got something concrete to show…

      Basically, when I think about the first game, I think about how I’d get around the limitations, and how I’d make the whole thing appear less shallow than it is. When I think about the third game, I think about the potential that it has, and about all the cool things I could try out with it. When I looked at it that way, the decision became very easy…

      But it’s not like I’m so far down this path that I can’t turn back. Am I making a mistake here?

    3. Sven Lundgren on December 3rd, 2006

      Personally, I think no matter how cool or original your plot is, it’s gonna look like a million other games. The first idea sounded more original to me.

    4. Terry on December 3rd, 2006

      Huh. I didn’t think of that…

    5. Terry on December 3rd, 2006

      Bah. Now you’ve got me doubting both ideas! Maybe I should just step back and consider doing something completely different…

    6. stephen on December 7th, 2006

      Personally, the first game seemed the most concrete but it didn’t sound like as cool an idea as it could have sounded…but I was, to some extent, hoping to be proven wrong by some more definite sketches of how the game might work (and for some reason reminded me of a book I’ve just read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Castle_of_Crossed_Destinies ).

    7. Terry on December 7th, 2006

      I think the first game is a dead end. But now I also think the third one might be, heh. Either way, right now I’m just doing engine design work, so it doesn’t really matter what my end project is for the moment.

    Leave a reply