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  • Archive for May, 2012

    Looking for feedback on branching narratives – Trapped in a Box


    2012 - 05.17

    My quite random afternoon spent making Trapped in a Box has resulted in me spending quite a lot of time thinking about the game. I want to add a branching narrative to it – the overall story will remain the same, but as you spend time dodging slime, I want to enable the player to explore different aspects of the story. I want the core gameplay to remain the same, trying to read while dodging slime. The question is: how best to do this.

    My first thought was too keep it completely hidden from the player – basing it upon the length of time they spent on either side of the platform ( or amount of time they have been in the air or close calls or some other metric … ), the branches in the story would be triggered by this metric. Also, after adding time dilation I debated rewarding the player for not using it by giving them positive aspects of the story. Alas, the story that I have so far for the box doesn’t really have good and bad parts, so feel this would be pointless – I’m also trying to avoid getting to Lovecraft about it – but not sure I can :)

    So I put together three mock-ups of the game, which would allow the player to choose a branch based upon a key phrase. The first two are simply putting the decision above the platform, meaning the player has to jump to activate it. The third way is to use the Q and E keys to decide.

    Option 1 : fairly simple, just the words appearing

    Option 2 : very similar to option 1, but with boxes around the words

    Option 3 : Using the Q and E keys to decide

    Option 4 : Keep the choices the player makes hidden

    I think the primary goal with the multiple branch technique is so that the game play isn’t so repetitive – I’m not very good at it and tend to die a lot :) It would be interesting to explore other parts of the story by picking a different way to go through it every time I die. Also remembering the paths I have taken already to view bits of the story adds to the game itself. So anyway, feel free to aid me with my quest or add any suggestions your have :)

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    Trapped In A Box – Patchnotes 0.6


    2012 - 05.15

    After some complaints about the difficulty, I’ve added a time dilation effect, and also expanded a bit on the story of the box. Some other fixes can be found below :

  • Time Dilation – press W to slow down time ( or rapidly speed up your perception of time )
  • Updated story
  • Fixed position of slime drops
  • Fixed size of slime drops
  • Removed white capsule
  • Changed drips from spheres to capsules – better collision detection
  • Slime looks more like slime now – still not happy with it
  • Fixed some typos, made keys easier to understand
  • Everything is still pretty much W.I.P.
  • Go to http://greenslimegames.com/games/trappedinabox to play it !

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    Pretentious game is pretentious


    2012 - 05.13

    So, it was a nice sunny day outside and I have a pile of gardening to do. So instead of doing the sensible thing and tackling the nightmare jungle outside, I decided to write a game. And I’ll admit it – it is a rather pretentious game, but thought it would be quite an interesting concept. So, presenting to you : Trapped in a box

    It’s simple enough to play – A and D move your box left and right, space is the jump key. Avoid the slime, and see how far you can go. I’m quite interested in the narrative, which is where the pretentious bit comes into play. There isn’t a full tree yet and depending on feedback I may change things but there is a bit of dialog in there. Once the ‘story’ has stopped, the text changes to a raising count in meters. There is nothing after that – yet ;)

    No gameover screen, and not totally happy about the slime drips and the collision system, but its robust enough to give it a play. Still early days with it, but not bad for six hours work :) If you haven’t already clicked to play it : CLICK HERE and give it a go! Comments/tweets are always welcome :)

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    Update + A quick prototype


    2012 - 05.11

    Wow doesn’t time fly? Seems that I’ve been having some quite serious hosting problems, and have had to restore an old back-up of the site, meaning that the last few months posts have vanished. Annoying. Having said that, while I bring the site back online, I thought I’d post a quick update on what I’ve been up to. Incredibly I am actually working on two games in a RL work ( i.e. professional ) scenario – a Facebook game and an iPad game. Very exciting times :) Not sure how much I can actually post about them at the moment, will need to check, but thought some generic prototyping would be ok. These screenshots where rapidly put together as a mini-game for the Facebook game. The Facebook game itself is written in AS3 – however to rapidly prototype this mini-game I used the Unity flash deployment. The Unity to flash button in the corner is a test script used to communicate variables back to the main AS3 application. AS3 opens the unity flash as an object, and that button sends AS3 the message to close it. All pretty simple stuff, but nice to see how easy it is to implement these things in Unity. The game is game complete, and basically features the player on a side of a building collecting boxes of test tubes. Overall with the AS3 deployment, took about 5 hours to put together.

    As for the iPad game, I should have some pretty cool screenshots to show you next week :) Think I’ll be spending the weekend pulling the site back together – let this be a lesson to all, no matter how experienced you are – always back up, and more importantly, always backup to more than one location! ooops! :)

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