Hello void!

Posted by (twitter: @zeh)
July 20th, 2012 12:16 pm

Why Hello!

So as I was saying, Ludum Dare 24 will be my first Ludum Dare compo. I’m pretty excited! So excited, I’m writing this one post here to start things the right way.

I don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing. I guess I’ll be waiting for the theme announcement on August 24th before I decide.

I know, more or less, which platform I’ll be using, though. I want to create a Flash/Actionscript project, using Adobe AIR, and the Starling Framework. I haven’t used this framework yet, but from the demos I’ve seen, it has an amazing performance (it’s a library used to leverage Stage3D in Flash, that is, use GPU acceleration more easily). It will be also good to be back an ActionScript project; that way I can focus on making the game functional, rather than learning a whole new platform.

No 3D, though. All 2d.

I want the target to be multi-touch devices (maybe especially tablets); my main compilation will be as an Android APK. I may have something on the desktop/web too (since it will be Flash after all), but if I rely on multi-touch input, this may get tricky (I’d have to add a simulation layer for things like pinching and rotating).

I just want to create a kind of a frantic touch-based game where you use your fingers to control… something, like a map from above, with little Actor AIs. Code-wise, that’s what I want to focus on: self-sufficient AI.

What I have in mind right now is a game where you see a battlefield from above, and you have your own little dudes being constantly spawned. You can’t control your own little dudes; they’re independent. You can, however, control some parameters like their spawning rate and maybe their classes, if they have that.

Objective wise, I’m thinking something where you have to get your dudes to a certain point of the screen and do something, either reach the objective or retrieve a goal.

In my head, it looks a little bit like DotA, where the lane creeps sorta help you, but you don’t control them. The difference is that in DotA you have your own hero to control; I’m thinking something more macro.

Control of the dudes could be done by forcing grouping (e.g. tell them to “wait” at a certain point of the path, then releasing them) and changing the route they take. Maybe allowing different routes to the objective. Other than that, they’d be on their own.

The first idea I had was of a game where you had a sort of a tactical Team Fortress 2 game, where you could spawn different classes and they had to reach an objective. A kind of a “Tower Defense”-style game in reverse. That’s why I think you could have different classes of creepers… say, a bunch of “Scout” creepers rushing, but then meeting a bunch of “Heavy Weapons” enemy creepers. Oops.

Objectives could be varied. Team Fortress 2 also shows this pretty well: certain modes can change the game radically. Arena, Control Point, CTF… they’re all very different, even with just a few small rules changed.

Which all also remind me of Battlefield’s “Conquest” mode. For that control of your dudes would be more fine-grained (e.g. select a few of them and send them to a control point) but still sounds fun.

A lot of ideas. Nothing set on stone but it’s a good exercise. Too bad I only have one weekend for it, but it should be enough for a cool prototype.

Visually I think it’ll all be extremely simple, and retro-looking – Geometry Wars/Radiant Style. This would allow me to focus on the game experience rather than creating graphics (even though I think the graphics could still look great), and make it work better in case there’s an immense amount of actors on screen.

In the end, the image I have in mind is of something scribbling on a tablet frantically while his/her troops execute his/her orders. That’d be fun.

6 Responses to “Hello void!”

  1. Puzzlem00n says:

    Hey, welcome to the community! I’ve got to say, my first impression on you was: “Zeh? Cool name!” Seriously, very memorable.

    I do hope you practice the Starling framework a few weeks before the competition. A lot of people come here to try and have a learning experience over the weekend and end up submitting nothing. So yeah, I’d advise you give it a few test runs.

    • zeh says:

      Thanks Puzzlem00n. “Zeh” is my actual name (well, the typical nickname of my first name in my first language, at least).

      Agreed on testing the framework before. I’ll have a test project laid out and moving stuff on screen just so I can be sure it’s working. From what I’ve seen from the interface, it should be simple enough.

  2. Matt Rix says:

    Welcome Zeh! I’ve been a Flash developer for the part 6-7 years (most of that was at a company called Indusblue in Toronto), so of course you’re familiar to me as the creator of Tweener :)

    Good luck at LD24, your idea sounds pretty ambitious, but if you can pull it off it’ll be awesome. Cheers!

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