Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Post Demo ... Another Year ... Where do they come from!?

Another year, I'm not exactly certain why they keep arriving or where the hell they come from in the first place, but the damn things just keep coming. Also back to the grind post tech demo release.

GarageGames has been reborn as ... GarageGames ... which is nice, 'cos now all of those bug reports I filed on the engine are getting fixed.

In other news I've been loafing. Post demo of my "randomized FPS gameplay idea and test of how much I could world size, complexity, view distance and still have something playable" (still available for download hither 120(ish)mb )I loafed. And loafed I did.

It was Xmas time and a certain amount of loafing was required but that appeared to spill over somewhat into me not really working for month. And from reading other peoples blogs I've noticed that I'm not the only person who seems to have hit the seasonal speedbump with a sudden wane in enthusiasm.

This only got amplified with a sudden urge to make a "strategy and tactics" game. Think sort of in the vein of the original X-Com (not the forthcoming X-Com as a 1950s First Person Shooter ... I mean, who thought ...

"You know what X-Com should really be about? A First Person Shooter set in the 1950s! Fund it!"

... and I think I need a close bracket here).

With an overall strategic map that gives way to individual battlezones for turnbased squad tactics, but ditching the isometric view for a mixture of overhead map and over-shoulder cam for the actual action. With multiple playable factions and a sort of steampunk setting. Steampunk not about matching a leather bodice up to a tophat with a couple of cogs on it, but strapping a deathray to a zeppellin and invading Antartica ... For the glory of a cybernetic Queen Victoria, cos if the British Empire doesn't, the Kaizer will, or worse still ... Americans ... with their preposterous ideas of Republic, freedom, democracy and all people being equal ... I mean they don't even have a goddamn royal family, powerless figureheads who have been specially developed through a thousand years of inbreeding ...

I had a very brief um-and-ah about the logistics of doing it all in psuedo-script, and wondered if I'd make a quick demo as a basic playtest ... and the answer was no. Or at least, not now ... regardless that "commercially" I reckon it's likely to hold a far better time->work->possible profit ratio, though that might just be the "familiarity breeds contempt" thing - I've been learning on the job for 2 years, and refining the narrative idea/levels progression concept for 3-4.

I had replayed my demo and rather enjoyed, though need to sort out the armour->damage effect on the player as I think it's overly harsh now.

Back to the grind of my original gameplan, namely one first person shooter, single player narrative campaign with associated replays of all levels in randomized all-action mode.

Anyhow, I wanted an intro sequence, something set to music, why not, everything else has. And I figured long ago that drawing the damn things as comics would be a lot better than disasterously animated 3D manikins with poor voice acting - cos that was the only alternative one bloke in his bedroom can come up with. So I figured that I needed a system of doing full colour drawings, and being able to knock them out fairly quickly ... hence the new avatar.

Actually I despised everything about it initially ... but after staring at it on the forums for a couple of weeks I've "grown accustomed/given up caring/find it less hateful" to it.

But it took me over9000 hours in MSPaint ...

Which isn't so great. And as I'm going to have a fair few of these liberally scattered about as cut sequences, time is of the essence. So, after much practise ... it's not really got any faster ... and nowhere near the 30 minutes I was hoping for. So post completion of intro sequence, we'll be cutting back on the number drawings - though I was already of the mind to make them "reuseable".

Which brings me to the logistics of actually doing the intro sequence. Initially I thought that I should just script a GUI sequence but have now decided that video is the probably the way to go. Hyperthetically speaking - the player starts the campaign, theora video plays inside a gui. There is a "skip" button, because no one likes intros or cut scenes that can't be skipped, and there is a countdown timer telling the user exactly how long they have to sit there if they don't want to skip - because nobody likes watching cut scenes when they need the loo and aren't sure how long they are going to have to hold it in for ...


And that's enough reading for you, me thinks.

Intro Sequence isn't completed and still needs some more drawings, then it's sort out the action for my "premade many moons ago" corridor crawl, which was always supposed to be level one ... actually the demo level was supposed to be level one originally, done as a full exploration no shooty-shooty level but I thought I'd throw in 2 earlier ones for a more varied all action beginning (with short range and long range based gameplay respectively), so level one is now level three.

Remember this? Wow, that was a long time ago ...