The Massive “Yes-I’ve-Been-Gone-For-Ages-But-Now-I’m-Back” Update!

Why I’m a bad person

Okay. So, firstly, it’s been 38 days since the last post on here, and 53 days since the last actual update, which all makes me a terrible person. However, first there was Christmas and all the stuff that comes with that, like getting presents for people and seeing relatives, then new year, then suddenly I had every piece of work ever in the history of the universe to do for school. BUT, and this is a huge but, I’ve been working on the game through all of that and the main reason for not updating until now hasn’t been all these massive drains on my time (though they helped), but rather I wanted to do something huge for this update, so prepare yourselves for the Yes-I’ve-Been-Gone-For-Ages-But-Now-I’m-Back Update!

Development Hell

I’m a bit like a goldfish sometimes, in that I’ll look at something, think it’s amazing, then see something else and ditch the first thing. That’s exactly me while developing this update; I kept putting in all of my half-baked ideas and nothing got done fully. I meant well, I swear, but it delayed the update quite a bit. But, I’ve put in a new texturing system which should make the whole texturing process a lot easier and quicker for me, AND save on performance, I’ve expanded and improved a couple levels, and the biggest thing is, I’ve added a boss battle! And we all know everyone loves boss battles! So read on and be amaaaaazed *dramatic voice*!!!

Updated, improved and removed levels

spikes-51This, as you might recognise, is the hub level. However, it’s had a facelift, and a big one at that. It now serves as the hub for the entire game, rather than having separate hubs for each world. The blue building from before is for World 1, and upstairs is World 2, then as more worlds are added, you’ll be able to access more areas to find new levels. Also, due to loads of changes I’ve made to the level geometry and the texturing (I made a script that handles all of the texture sizes for me), everything should run smoother and I’ll be able to put more decoration in the levels. In short: it’s better, more shiny things.

In the hub now, you’ll find the levels 1-5 near your spawn area, a practice room (ie, the large room that was there before), and upstairs you’ll find the cube to go to the boss battle; however, that’ll only appear after you’ve beaten levels 1-5. Also, you won’t have all three guns unlocked straight away, but you’ll find them scattered in certain levels. The laser gun is needed to access World 2, which is way above the rest of the level, so it’s found after you beat the boss. There’s also a trophy room to view all the gold cubes you’ve found, as well as an incinerator which is there for decoration and because destroying thing is really cool.

spikes-49I’ve re-modeled the vapour gun too, so it’s not exactly the same as the other two. I tried getting all the animations and sounds to go with it too, but for some reason Unity’s animation thingy hates me and keeps giving me really horrific results, so no animations. Sad face. The force gun has had improvements too; right-clicking now holds an object in front of you, and then left-clicking will shoot it as normal, but you can only hold things for 5 seconds, and it’ll drain your gravit meter, and the object will then disappear 5 seconds later, although I want to tweak this system a bit, such as only certain objects obliterating themselves when they’re dropped.

No more lives!

Another thing to note: no more lives. I decided that they don’t really add anything to the game, and it’s much more fun to try a really hard part indefinitely rather than being limited to 5 tries. Because infinite fail is funny. I’ve added a load of stuff to the tutorial level too (well, I’ve completely redone it, the old one was pretty bad, this it less bad), and it covers stuff the old one didn’t.

spikes-52In addition to the texturing stuff mentioned earlier, I’ve added some sort of moving textures, like neon signs, kinda. They’re dotted around the place as decoration, and to provide directions and other information. They’re used as decoration in the super-sexy new start menu, which is vastly improved on the old one, and you can see an image at the top of this post.

And finally, the boss battle!

Yes, it’s the part you’ve all been waiting for: a boss battle! He’s called Squoid (because it sounded nice, no other deep meaning), and he’s basically a big blue cube thing that launches himself at you and fires spiky balls of death at you in a fight to the death in his lair.

spikes-50He might not look like much, but he’ll wreck you. The idea is to use the force gun in some way to bring him down, but I’ll let you figure out the details, because I don’t want to spoil the fun of finding out for yourself how the battle works. His lair is absolutely magnificent though, and you should have fun having a look around it.

spikes-54There’s so many other little additions that I can’t list them all here, I can’t remember them all. Little things such as the gun icons in the corner being animated and zooming in when you run along with everything else, a range of new billboards, and small changes to the positioning of items in some levels to make it more convenient. However, through all of this, I haven’t been able to update all the levels, such as the Testing Area, and the promised World 2 Level 2, which I started to develop after the last update, but before updating the texturing system, hence these levels will appear as a blur of pinkness and glitches.

Also something I just noticed, the WebPlayer build for my game has only just broke a megabyte in size! It’s massively compressed, evidently. That’s technology for you. And if you don’t like external links or if you just think my Dropbox public folder is icky, there’s a new Project Spikes page at the top of this very website! Now you don’t even have to leave! Although, to be honest, it’s better playing through the link at the bottom of the page (same as always, why haven’t you bookmarked it yet?), as the page on this site is a bit broken. WordPress hates Unity, obviously. But, have fun heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Challenge Plan

The April game challenge starts tomorrow, and I have decided to develop this game as the 3D platformer RPG I have been planing for a while, and I will see how far I can get with it in a month. This is a small change of plan, as I had originally planned to make a completely different game this month, but I decided it’s easier to just develop most of my platformer during April.

The game will be structured in the following way:

-A large hub world (there may be several of them), featuring minigames and other interactive stuff to do. I may not be able to get the minigames all programmed/implemented in time, but they will exist eventually. The hub world will feature some method of accessing levels, for example portals or doorways.

-Different levels accessed through the hub world(s). They will be clustered together. These levels will differ by theme, size and objective, for example there will be forest levels and volcano levels, small and large levels, linear and branched objectives for completing levels. I am aiming for at least 5 fully completed levels for the end of the month.

-Bonus levels accessed through each levels. These will be a fun breakaway from the level, continuing the theme of that level, and the objective here will be to collect everything without dying or before time runs out. Think Crash Bandicoot on the PS1 for this.

-Boss levels that are unlocked by completing each cluster of levels, then you have to defeat the boss in order to progress to the next cluster of levels. Some bosses are easy and some are hard, and obviously as the game progresses, the bosses get harder. This will be a challenge for me, as the AI required for a boss is so much more difficult to implement than a more rudimentary AI used for normal enemies.

As it starts tomorrow, I will be doing some planning of the game stages on paper and drawing up some concept art for the characters or enemies for a few days to begin with. I will also be making some blocky initial versions of some stages, and perhaps the character along with a 3rd person camera following him/her. I will also hopefully be implementing travelling between worlds, which isn’t hard to do.

The general aim of the game is for the main character to collect some kind of collectible. I have yet to decide what this is, but I have narrowed it down to three things (however I may think of more):

-Gems. You’re enticed by shiny things and therefore want to find as many shiny gems as possible.

-Computer chips/components. You’re making a really cool contraption and you need computer chips to finish it. However, you’re fresh out of them and you need to go find more.

-Light. In a world of darkness, you must find the light and return it to the Sun so he can shine brighter and light up the darkness, purging the world of the monsters that roam it.

It’s gonna be a busy month for me indeed, but I hope to get a nice prototype version out at the end of the month. I’ll update regularly and give links to a development version of the game for downloading and testing, so you can see what I’ve done. When I reach significant milestones I will write updates on this blog, so keep reading to see how I’m doing. Thanks for all your support!

-Daniel

April Challenge! Make a game in a month!

Hey guys, I saw a really nice idea on another blog and decided to give it a go (credits for the idea go to this blog: http://benlowden.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/1-week-challenge/ ). What is this idea you ask? Make a game in a week. This seemed like a great challenge to me, although I have a lot to do in terms of work round about now, so I decided to make it a month-long challenge for me to compensate. I will start the challenge at the beginning of April, and I will try to make a working game by the end of the month. Any ideas will be welcomed, and if your idea is used by me in the final product, your name will be featured in the credits. I will try my best to get a working game finished by the end of the month, and I hope you will help and support me in this, especially if you can give me any good ideas on what genre the game should be, what kind of characters should be on it, and what general direction to take the game in.

I will also be properly starting development on my main game project extremely soon, it will be a 3D platformer/RPG blend created using the Unity game engine, featuring a mix of open environments and more enclosed levels, as well as fun minigames and an intuitive battle system. My thoughts are for a Crash Bandicoot-like platformer, but with a rich ecosystem of creatures to battle, with a more RPG-like feel to fighting enemies, and colourful and varied environments to engross the player into the game world. The game will feature one main open hub world to act as a tutorial and a fun area to play around in, then lots of worlds connecting from it, with increasing difficulty as you progress and unlock new levels. You will have to find some sort of collectibles in order to progress to the next level, and fight bosses to reach new worlds. I hope you look forward to playing it, I will periodically update you on its progress, and any ideas are welcome and worthy of mention in the game’s credits. Thanks for reading!

-Daniel