By D_W 2 Comments
For many years I've been tinkering with various game making/editing programs. From RPG Maker on the PS1 to QuArk to GameMaker, etc. I've never completed a project. This needs to change. I found that it motivates me to make things public and release things on some sort of schedule, so I'm trying that. Now I'm doing this as a vlog since it's easier to demonstrate things in video than text for y'know video games.
BUT! for those of you that don't want to watch a 22 minute video of my terrible jokes, bad drawings, and stuttery commentary allow me to sum up. (OR write up a long long post.)
The program I'm using to make this game is GameMaker because I've used it for years and now that it's on Steam the project can be easily shared on the Steam Workshop. I'm also going to make the raw project files available to download as well. Why? Because this is mainly an experiment for me and there's nothing really anyone can do with my mediocre code other than maybe learn some basics.
The game in question with be a Shoot 'Em Up or Bullet Hell (I call the genre "Shmups", Deal with it) game mostly because I made one when I was first getting familiar with GameMaker and sort of know how to do things already. This is a very well traveled genre, but I feel I can bring something new to the table. This game will feature two things that I, personally, haven't seen explored in shmups in the way I have planned.
One is limited ammo. I don't mean how Einhänder has weapons with limited ammo, or how many other games have limited uses of Smart Bomb type weapons. No. I mean limited ammo for you're only weapon that is over the course of the entire game. If you run out of ammo then you don't get anymore until you restart. Even if you die. What I hope this does is make players think before they shoot. Many games of the genre in recent years have had the player constantly shooting without any sort of control because, quite frankly, you're normally holding the shoot button anyway. Limiting ammo may make the game more focused on dodging and finding the best place for your ship to be, but the levels and encounters will be designed around this. Any and all bosses will be able to be defeated without firing a shot. Ideally shooting will be a players last resort. There are some other things that this allows, but I'm not going to go into them now because they're not in the game yet.
The other is a more RPG-like Progression system. Leveling up, player progression, whatever you want to call it is actually incredibly common to the shmup genre. Usually it takes the form of temporary powerups. Games like Philosoma had it so that each time you got a weapon powerup you weapon level would increase. Instead of using powerups that the player picks up I'm going to opt for a system of upgrade points similar to the skill points that you'd find in many RPGs. Basically after each level the player will gain one point to spend on a couple of different stats/abilities/etc. There will be more possibly things to buy then there will be total attainable points making players have to choose wisely. Of course the big potential problem with this system is that there might be an optimal upgrade route if I'm not careful.
Now when the player dies in the game I'm not sure what have happen. I'm leaning towards having a checkpoint system and score system. When a player dies they'd restart at the most recent checkpoint but their score will be reduced to zero. I think that's the most fair way to do it. It's still up in the air though.
Something that I touch on in the video is my philosophy of how games challenge players. This is an idea that's still in the process of solidifying, so (like in the video) I won't go into too much depth, but basically I see challenge can be broken up into three main sub-categories. I'm mentioning it mainly to give perspective on how I approach game design. Let's also not forget that Challenge and Difficulty are not synonymous. Challenge is what the game presents as it's puzzle to the players (get to the other side of the room, don't let x variable become y, etc) while Difficulty is how it presents that that puzzle.
The three categories are Skill, Luck, and Resources.
Skill is the one everyone knows and probably agrees with. These are challenges of execution, mind, and knowledge. It's doing your Dragon Punch FADC into Ultra, your prowess at pushing blocks, memorization, and what-have-you.
Luck is the random or unpredictable elements a game with throw at you. Luck-based challenges can come in many forms, from random world seeds/game boards, AI movements, hit percentages, anything that the player cannot be 100% sure of.
Resources is the most bizarre of them. It's time and money basically. How much time does a player have to donate to the game? How much does the game or things in the game cost? Take fighting games for example. To get good at them it takes a lot of time practicing. Or a different example. Traveling in an Open World game. Those are both examples of Time being a challenge to the player. They're not engaging with the "main" gameplay mode but still have to overcome a potentially uninteresting or even frustrating element of the game.
Money or Cost can be a challenge in a lot of ways. Most obviously in Arcade games. How much does it cost to buy credits? 25 cents? A Dollar? Can the player overcome that resource cost to engage with the game? Free to Play games ask a similar question to their players.
But yeah, that's the basic idea of how I see challenge in games.
As for the art, audio, and a--- narrative, I don't want to go into that just yet. I'm sure many of you can guess at some of the narrative from the project title, Project Big Rip, but I'll save it for later.
That's it for this month! I'll be back next month with hopefully a fully, but probably just mostly working collision system and maybe some closer-to-final art.
Thanks for reading/watching/being alive! (I'll most likely post this around a couple of different forums, so you may see this exact post on another site. It's a lot to retype...)