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    Day 1, 3PM: A Working Game

    Posted by
    December 18th, 2010 6:41 am

    Two surprising things have happened: firstly, I’ve made a game that works already. There’s no point in playing it yet, since it does nothing interesting, but that was all I hoped to achieve today. This’ll give me time to make it interesting today, and make it good tomorrow.

    Secondly, now that I’ve made enough of it to see what it’s going to be like, I realise it has almost nothing to do with the theme. The angry deathbots you meet aren’t randomised yet, but even once they are I think running into them is just going to feel like encountering enemies in an arena. It technically is discovery, but because they’re simply off-screen rather than visibly obfuscated, it’s not going to feel like it.

    I’m not going to worry about that too much yet – my priority order is to make it interesting, then make it good, then make it fit the theme. Here’s what it looks like now:

    SnowBot 2

    The blue circles are shields: I didn’t fancy putting a bunch of work in just to recreate the conventional hitpoint bar or health meter on your interface, so I went for something more visual and in-fiction. Right now each shield takes one hit, but as you can see that makes you impractically large for not much health, so I’ll probably tighten their size and thickness before I’m done, and perhaps make them come back online a while after they’re taken out.

    The enemy will have these as well, and they’re one of the things that’ll be randomised, so it’ll be very obvious when you’re facing something tough. Not sure if I’ll also have big hulls – that’d mean introducing an armour system as well, which may defeat the point of the shields.

    I do plan to have large engines/tracks for fast bots, and a large turret or power core of some kind for things with a lot of firepower. Basically, if I can have at least three functionally important metrics that enemies can vary in, and make each one visually readable at a glance without any interface, I’ll be close to what I want.

    Challenges right now:

    • You’re in a fairly large open field of snow, and I’m not sure where to take the environments from there. I’d love it to be infinite but that’s technically tricky. I’d also love some randomly placed obstacles, but I’m wary of creating much art work for myself – I want time to redo the actual robots.
    • My control method didn’t work: holding the mouse button to make your bot chase it was fun, but it meant you’d never be able to fire in one direction while moving in another. I’ve changed it to Cannon Fodder controls – click to move, right click to shoot somewhere else while you’re on your way. It doesn’t feel quite right with current movement speed and screen size – you’re at your destination before you’ve got more than a couple of shots off. May rethink.
    • Random enemy movement was trickier than I thought. I’ve done it, but they’re rather geriatric: quivering with indecision when deciding where to move. I’ve realised the way to make it look better is have them pick an arbitrary direction, turn, then move. But that’s also the way every other game does it, so I’m still wondering if there’s a more interesting way.

    Title ideas: Sighs of the Snowbots? Snowbot Snores?

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