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

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Random Review #2: FTL (isn’t FTL travel impossible?)

Faster Than Light is a role-playing game developed by Subset Games, and it’s out of this world! Bad puns aside, this is a strategically adept game where you take the role of a Federation ship carrying vital information to your base that could ultimately defeat the Rebels that are terrorising the galaxy. It is a deceptively difficult game, despite its initial ease, and you will find yourself dying umpteen times before reaching the end, and as the game includes permadeath, you will have to start from the beginning every time you die. This sounds like it would get annoying, but no, it actually spurs the player on to try again and again, however annoying it is to see your ship exploding before your eyes after all your hard work. The permadeath feature makes the game much harder, but it is intended to allow the player to learn from their mistakes, for example they should learn that challenging a highly advanced Mantis ship is a bad idea when your Hull (this is your ship’s health) is on about 5, especially if you also only have a couple levels of shield.

ftl_1

The way the battles work is that you have a few bars of power (on the left at the bottom). You must allocate this power to your ship’s different systems, but choose wisely, as increasing power for one system may mean another important system has to be powered down. Of course, you can upgrade how much power your ship has in total and how much power each system can take by spending scrap, the game’s currency, which you salvage off any ships you destroy and earn from in-game events. One tactic I use is to upgrade all my shields as far as possible near the start, then use drones (which are not available on the first ship, the Kestrel, unless you purchase this system from a shop) to take out the enemy. Strategically planning your game session from the start is what this is all about. It is an addictive experience, one you will persevere with until you win the game.

-Daniel