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    #7dfps : some initial thoughts

    2012 - 06.04

    So, I’m quite excited about the thought of the 7 Day FPS Challenge. I’ve never actually written a first person shooter – most of the things I do tend to be abstract or in third person. So this gives me an excuse to play around in a new format. In anticipation of the event, I’ve been playing around with some ideas.

    The first one is procedurally generated levels – I’ve investigated a few ways of doing this. The first was using a procedural height map on a unity3d terrain object – and populating the island with different buildings. This was all well and fine. But I feel it has probably been done to death – esp with unity as a platofrm. I loved both Doom and Doom2, so felt maybe I wanted to focus on indoor levels. This lead me to using a tried and true cave generator algorithm with a slight adaption ( as I normally use it for 2d cave gen). After adding a couple of levels ontop of each other, the results were ok. Not very happy with it yet, but still mucking around seeing what I want to do with it 🙂

    3d level generation

    Definitely think I will be going with indoors levels – I may stay with this approach or use a series of prefabs linked together at run time. I want indoor levels because the second major idea I’m having is too make it a slightly scary game. Inspired by some of the feedback I’ve had on Trapped in a Box – I’m going for more box like characters – this is purely an art choice, and nothing to do with my lack of 3d modelling skills 🙂 ( Did I manage to pull that off with a straight face? )

    I put together this quickly in google sketchup ( not the best package for this kind of thing, but suits my prototyping skills nicely ) :


    Now, before you giggle – imagine you are in a dark dungeon environment. You feel so alone, you move from one burning torch to the other, trying to find a way out. Suddenly the torches around you go out, and you see two pin pricks of red light in the distance. They start moving towards you, speeding up, getting bigger and bigger, and then suddenly the torches splurt back to life and OMG IT’S A BOX WITH A SCARY FACE ON!

    Hardly Amnesia alas, but still will be interesting I feel. To confirm my suspension that I had created a monster more scary than the Weeping Angels I had the following conversation with my partner :

    Me : (Shows image) does this look scary or silly to you?
    Me : imagine it dark, glowing eyes
    Her : more scary than silly i think

    I truly have created a monster! The game play idea itself is going to be a pretty simple one. You destroys these, errm, boxes by shattering them apart. They drop certain magical and alchemical elements which you can then craft into making your own scary boxes, or improving yourself. As you explore the location, you find out clues about who you are, why you are here and where you need to go to escape. I’m toying around with the idea of some other cool things, but want to keep the design fairly open for now, as I’m sure 7 days will translate into about 2 about a bit with my current rl work load alas.

    So this is my current thinking 🙂 Let me know what you think 🙂


    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 🙂


    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 🙂


    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! 🙂


    Slime Dungeon : A game made in a weekend

    2011 - 11.06

    It has been a while since I have released a game – everything seems to be complex prototypes at the moment. So I decided to give myself a challenge. Similar to the
    19 hour challenge
    that spawned SpaceOreMiner but slightly more concentrated – complete an entire game in a weekend.

    On Thursday night I came up with a simple prototype idea for a cell based game. Clearing as much of my weekend as I could, I set to work coding a game based upon this prototype idea. The goal was simple : I wanted a playable game, with sounds and music, as well as non-place holder artwork and a menu screen.

    One of the things I had to avoid a lot during this process was feature creep. It was so tempting to fall into the ‘lets add everything and make it awesome’. But I knew if I realistically wanted to complete a game within the weekend, I had to keep everything as simple as possible. But, to be honest, for around 12 hours work, I think I have something that fulfills all my major goals within my allotted time frame.

    There is plenty I will add and change to Slime Dungeon in the coming weeks ( it says version 1.0 but probably a good idea to take 0.99 off that value 😉 ). One of the most important of these being an option screen. The music is great and all, but gets annoying after a while 😉 Secondly the AI REALLY needs beefing up – currently it just randomly picks squares and tries to group it’s slimes together. There are some minor ( non-game play altering ) bugs also that need squashing.

    Thanks go out to Inko, who provided the amazing slime model and animations ( also an upgrade that is needed, he has provided three animations in total with it but time-constraints have prevented me from implementing them this weekend). I’d also like to mention freesound.org for the fantastic slime sounds and also the incredible offering of No Soap Radio which provided both the music pieces to the game. If you are an indie developer, I’d really recommend checking them out!

    So without my usual large amount of blog text, GreenSlimeGames is proud to present :

    Slime Dungeon