The Screensaver Time Lapse Award
Awarded by keeyai on April 23, 2008
The Women are Monsters Award
Awarded by keeyai on April 23, 2008
Ten hours in and we can now select and direct our units. We’ve also got a (really ugly) minimap.
I’m pretty happy with what I’ve done in ten hours. I want the game basically functional at 20-25 hours so I can then polish it up and add content after that. The next two things I need are unit combat and resource collection; if I can get those in before hour 20 I’ll be pretty sure I can finish the game in my 40 hours. But I know I won’t get all the time I need to work on this over the weekend, even if I crunch (which is almost impossible with three kids). So what I submit to #7DRTS isn’t going to be the “final” version of the game. That’s a little sad, but not unexpected. Still happy with where the project is heading.
Got a little stuff done last night. Discovered the art I’m going to use; I mentioned it a long time ago on my blog but it’s worth a repeat: Oryx’s Lo-Fi Fantasy Sprites. Here’s a taste.
Aren’t they precious? They were originally made for a game competition called Assemblee about four years ago; since then they’ve become mainstays of the indie scene. Oryx sells an expanded commercial set so I contacted him and asked him if it were okay to use these for a non-commercial project; fortunately he was fine with that.
But I didn’t have time to get them integrated, so what you’re getting today is Colored Squaresville:
To come – um…everything. I’ve got the design nailed and it’s simple enough to do in the time allotted. I have the graphics I want. I’ve got the skillz from writing my bigger game, Planitia. Let’s get it done.
And by let’s, I mean me. I have to get it done.
Still no pretty screenshots or anything because I had trouble with my engine last night, so here’s some design work I did. First, my requirements:
* Buildings that either produce units or resources
* The ability to gather resources with units.
* The ability for units to fight each other.
* The ability to control units with band-selection and target specification.
* The ability to win the game by destroying all enemy structures
* Graphics for each unit, building and map
* A basic AI.
WOULD LIKE TO HAVE
* Map with different terrain types: blocking, slowing and normal squares
* Better graphics
* Sound effects
* Improved GUI
* Improved AI
WOULD BE AWESOME IF I COULD HAVE
* Multiplayer. Possible in seven days?
* Artist-done art (find one on IRC?)
Second, the design notes (I present these as-is, they are kind of free-associating):
Chitin is about two colonies of bugs fighting over resources. There will be buildings, workers and combat units.
Workers: Mite swarm. This is a swarm of very small units (basically dots) that will harvest any resources near their nest. Mites can’t be killed, so there’s no way to stop someone from harvesting. Mite nests can be built near resources and they’ll strip the resources bare in no time; think army ants. There’s no “owning” a resource; if two colonies build a mite nest near a resource then both colonies will harvest it (depleting it twice as fast).
Combat units: Three of various sizes. Dead combat units can be harvested by mites so it’s best to fight away from mite nests you don’t own. Classic rock-paper-scissors setup. We’ll have spitters, armored melee and fast melee. Spitters beat armored melee because they’ll wear them down before they get into range. Fast melee beat spitters because they get into range quickly and spitters are relatively weak. Armored melee beats fast melee because fast melee has no armor.
Plus, how about a big gargantuan unit, like a beetle? Slow, hard to destroy, but spits powerful acid a long way and can kill a colony all by itself if left unattended. Worth a lot resources if it can be killed and harvested, so it’s a risk/reward thing for the player that tries it.
Direct control of combat units?
Hmmm…how about a slow but steady drain on – YES. You win the game not by destroying the enemy whatever, but by making your enemy run out of ichor. Ichor is the resource of Chitin and will be used for everything. Ichor will have a +- marker next to it just like a resource in Total Annihilation, so you can see if your ichor income is rising or falling. You start with a slow ichor drain and every unit and building you make increases this drain, so you need to get out there and use your units to explore (which means there must be fog of war).
Creeps. That’s it, I think. There will be other insects on the map, you use your combat units to kill them for food then plant mites next to them to gather their resources. As you do, your ichor goes up meaning you can make new units (and maybe upgrade them?) But if you have no bugs to harvest, your ichor level will drop based on how many units you have in the field; when it gets to zero, you lose the game (your colony is untenable).
Creeps are also of the three different types; use the right bug on the right kind of creep – but be aware that you could get ganked by an enemy bug army that can counter yours.
The player can directly control all units except the mites. There won’t be any pathfinding on the units – after all, they’re drones. It’s your job to get them where you want them to go.
The player will end up with mite nests all over the place but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. A smart player might lure a creep towards a might nest before killing it.
So far I’ve got two buildings (colony and mite nest) and four units (spitters, speeders, brutes and the big bug) and one resource (ichor). That seems doable in seven days.
That’s all I’ve got for now. Feedback welcome!
So, here’s what I’m thinking. I’m thinking about two things, an old game and an old computer.
First, the old game. Once upon a time, a long time ago, a designer named Howard Thompson came up with a novel wargame idea – a game set on an alien planet, inhabited by huge, semi-sentient hive-minded insects. He called this game Hymenoptera, and unfortunately a complete version never saw the light of day.
It also had the word “hymen” in its name, which caused everyone who heard it to snicker.
As Hymenoptera languished in development hell, Thompson’s company, Metagaming, decided to focus on small, simpler, easily portable and playable games that they called microgames. This strategy proved successful, and Thompson decided to create a microgame set in the Hymenpotera universe. He called it Chitin: I – The Harvest Wars.
Now, on to the old computer. I’ve talked about Daniel Remar rather a lot on my blog, and I’ve mentioned his game Hero Core many times, too. Now, the interesting thing about Hero Core is that its native resolution is 200×180, which means that it could easily be replicated on the ZX Spectrum, which had a native resolution of 256×192. In fact, I always thought that Hero Core felt like a ZX Spectrum game – austere but imminently playable.
And then there was the Easter egg in Startopia that presented the game almost as if it were on a ZX Spectrum – and the game was still playable! The only real problem was that the text became unreadable, but you could still build and manage your aliens due to the use of very clear icons.
So for a while I’ve been wondering what an RTS on the Spectrum might have looked like. And I’ve already mentioned that by limiting himself to a small resolution and monochrome palette, Daniel was able to get effective graphics for Hero Core in a short amount of time.
So I’m following suit. My RTS will use a low native resolution to make it easier to do the graphics (I’ll scale the final graphics so the window will be larger on the screen, I promise) and it will be about bugs fighting over various resources they need.
And I’m going to call it Chitin, after the original microgame.
When I showed McFunkyPants’ Keynote to my 16-year-old daughter, she said, “That is one wise baby.”
And over the course of the weekend, she kept asking me, “Are you doing what the wise baby said?”
And I would say, “Yes, of course.”
But I didn’t. I made a NOOB MISTAKE and got over-ambitious with my game design. I wanted to make a platformer with conversations at various places because I had a story to tell. But I decided that my platformer level would be larger than the screen, smooth-scrolling, and 256×256 tiles in size.
And I felt that I needed an editor in order to make my (one) level. I spent most of Saturday trying to beat it into submission, and when my wife told me Sunday that she needed to go out for most of the day to get the kids ready for school, I knew I wasn’t going to finish.
After an hour or two of working on the editor, I should have ditched it, reduced the map size to 64×64, and edited it by hand. If I’d done so, I’d have finished something; as it is I have a half-finished editor, a nice conversation system…and no game.
Ah, well. There’s always LD22.
My game is called “Eternal Life”, and it’s going to be a Metroidvania, which means it’s going to need a large, varied level. So an editor was pretty much inevitable.
So here it is! Try not to laugh.
I am hereby declaring the framework and previous source I’ll start with for LD21. You can download it here:
It requires SDL, SDL_Image and SDL_Mixer.
This will be my third LD. In my first one, I only placed in Best Timelapse. In my second…I didn’t finish. I expect to do much better this time.
Discovery. Come ON. Name me a game where you DON’T discover anything.
“Discovery” suggests a Metroidvania to me. Those games are all about discovering new powers and discovering new areas of the map you couldn’t get to before.
I’ve been thinking about writing a Metroidvania. I actually already have a main character and a storyline. It’s called Zeta.
So…really simple version of Zeta?
Yes. Yes, I think so.
The Ludum Dare is serious business for serious folks. See my face? This is the face of someone who is serious about completing a game for Ludum Dare 19. I’ll also be doing a timelapse. A serious timelapse.
Even though I didn’t manage to finish my entry, I still did a timelapse. Because timelapses are cool.
Well…I bit off more than I could chew, but I might have managed if I hadn’t had some family distractions today.
So. The game was Star Kittens; the goal was Dungeon Keeper in space…with kittens. How close did I come?
Well, you have sculler droids that act like imps, digging out whatever areas you select. You can also tag dug-out areas as room types (the only rooms I got in were the dormitory (red) and cafeteria (yellow)).
Once you have a large enough dormitory and cafeteria, kittens will start spawning, but because they have no AI, they just stand there. So the game is not completable, indeed there’s very little real gameplay at all.
But here’s a screenshot!
I hope to do much better next time, and Star Kittens has so much good code in it that it would be stupid not to finish it…eventually.
I’ve decided to (mostly) ignore the theme to work on a game I’ve wanted to work on for a long time.
Basically, it’s Dungeon Keeper. In space. With kittens.
I’m not kidding. Here’s a picture of a security kitten! Considering that I have no artistic talent, doesn’t he look fetching in his lovely red uniform? (The actual icon is 32×32 of course.)
Awake now! And I know what game I’m going to make. It’s not going to match the theme perfectly but it’s one I’ve been wanting to do for a while now.
So here’s my first screenshot! Which is actually just a screenshot of the framework I got running before the compo begain…
Cleaned up some old code that uses SDL into a working 2D framework…no sound support, unfortunately.
This is just a test post to see if I can still post. I intend to compete in…LUDUM DARE 15! (15! 15! 15!)
Here’s a time lapse of my desktop as I competed in Ludum Dare 11.
Here’s a youtube link.
I know, the screenshots got cropped. The program I was using to grab them wasn’t grabbing the whole screen. Sorry about that.
And yes, there’s a whole lot of downtime in there. I’m married and I have three kids. My wife made a pithy comment about my participation, which you can see in the video.
You can download a higher-quality version here.
With 1 minute left!
Did Viridian bite off more than he can chew again? OF COURSE HE DID!
Frankly, I don’t know if I’ll be able to finish. Using treasures in rooms requires a tag system and I don’t know if I can finish one and get all the tags on the map and debug them in eight hours. At the very least, I should have a complete game where you run around killing monsters and getting treasures…but I wanted so much more.