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.