Not Quite Made it This Year

Posted by (twitter: @The_CMaster)
April 22nd, 2012 3:18 pm

So, even though there’s still a little more than two hours remaining, I’m giving up at this point. I’m too tired, and the game as it is at the moment is absolutely no fun to play. That’s something that could be fixed in two hours, however there’s also no sounds, incomplete graphics, and pretty much no environments to actually play in.

However, this is far from saying that it’s all been a waste of time. I’ve got a lot done, up until about lunchtime today, where it all ground to a crushing halt on a mess of inconsistent bugs and Blender screwing me over. What have I managed to acheive though? Well quite a few things that will hopefully be useful in the future:

There’s the over world map, showing the “tiny world” of a table inhabited my minature people, everyday objects (like the Thimble here, or the table knife that I was working on elsewhere) and a few everyday creatures like ants, that seem terrifying when you are half their size.
Overworld map

There’s the actual gameplay levels which (would) load when you reach the appropriate places on the overworld. These feature a variety of levers, pressure pads and so on that interact with locked and unlocked doors, moving walls and floors and drawbridges to create a dynamic environment suitable for puzzling in, or maybe even springing traps. (The player character is the one with the silly wide hat)

There’s a physics based combat system, where you and enemies fight it out with spears, bows etc.
Painfully bad combat

There’s a fully featured tile-based level editor, where you can drop in and remove tiles easily, and set up the links between the levers and the moving walls. As well as dropping in NPCs and so on.
Tile based level editor


So if there’s all that, then what isn’t there? Well:

  • Any actual levels. I just started on one before I gave up
  • Any gameplay that was actually worth experiencing. Combat was awful and largely untested, while puzzle design with just levers and pressure pads is likely to just be a trek
  • ANy objective – there was the rudiments of a “collect ALL the gold” system in, but that was about it.
  • Any sounds, or indeed any graphics that weren’t gawdawful.
  • Any links between the levels. Putting in the kind of persistence that having two different game levels (overworld and action world) worthwhile was a good step off, although the rudiments of the system were there.
  • The time and will left to actually churn out 3 or 4 levels and test them – I’d spent an hour of the four left, getting about 30% of the “Knife Edge” level done and tested, and testing was showing some real issues with player and NPC movement.
  • Anything to stop you breaking the game. Was quite possible to step off the edge into the void, or lure enemies into doing the same. Also, nothing would have prevented you form increasing score by just going into the same level, grabbing the nearest silver and leaving over and over again.
  • Any real idea as to what was going on. The most idea I’d had was to rip off Pratchett’s The Carpet People with The Table People. What the actual game was I didn’t know (I’d had a few ideas to do with nanobots building things as well, that I couldn’t figure out an actual game from.

What have I learned:

  • When you think your project is getting too big after a couple of hours. listen to yourself and scale it back, even swapping to another idea at this point is viable
  • If you’re going to use a tool like Blender, know more about it than just how to make very crude shapes, unless that is all you plan to do
  • Make sure your damn objects are always instanced before being referenced!
  • Blender will let you down and awful times.
  • If you didn’t really want a combat game, then don’t end up making one anyway – it will just be bad combat.

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