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Advice for people with game ideas #2

A slightly more controversial follow up to my post on game design advice.

Advice for people with game ideas

Six things I think that every new game designer should know.

Derelict Dev Post #34

You and your team have fought your way through to the ship's Cargo Hold, where the rest of the survivors are building a barricade. Suddenly you hear noises - gunshots, explosions, screams... rushing with the rest of your men to find a way through the barricade, the ship suddenly goes quiet as you realise that you're too late to save even a single one of them.

Over the last week I have developed the final two boss levels for the game (part of the level for the penultimate one is depicted here) and written the endings. Also I changed the Marine texture to be a little less "90s Swat Team", as well as the usual assortment of bug fixes and minor tweaks.

There are only five more blog posts to go before Derelict is finished and the dev posts will come to an end. I'm starting to feel a tinge of emotion over the fact that something that I have worked on for over half a year is finally starting to come to fruition.

Next week I will post the final beta, which will have about three quarters of the levels of the final game (including the end). Stay tuned.

Derelict Dev Post #33

A new feature for building levels: Columns. They don't really do anything, but they look nice.

New level in the screenie too. This one requires more teamwork then most, forcing to split your squad in half and head down two separate corridors to get to the end. At the end of your corridors the two halves of your team have to work together to be able to open the exit doors. I'm intending to do one or two new levels each week in order to meet my final release deadline.

Other then that, i've just been focusing on misc features and fixing bugs. The due date for the final beta is 31 May and should include 18 levels total, including three unique bosses.

Derelict Dev Post #32

I have actually been putting in a fair bit of time working on Derelict, and this screenshot shows off some of the stuff that's new.

First off, the screenshot is in glorious 16x9 WIDESCREEN. I haven't posted any screenshots in Widescreen mode since back in Dev Post #7, because I finally fixed the problem where Widescreen display would chop the top and bottom off the GUI. Knowing how some people are picky about Widescreen (Bio-Shock) I thought I should make fixing that a high priority.

This level here is the Briefing room of the Atlas, and is mostly complete. It isn't the longest level but it requires some clever playing to get through. It is my design however the checkerboard ceiling/floors idea I stole from Sam. There is a very nasty surprise on this one so playing through it extremely carefully is essential.

If you look closely at the doors you'll see that they're different. They're now split horizontally through the middle (on a slight angle) and make a nice "woosh" sound when they open, and they open much faster too. I never really liked the old bulky doors anyway. Only real downside of the new doors is i've had to do away with that nice effect for knocking doors over.

Also if you look closely you'll notice a bunch of dots on the left. Its actually an email displaying on a screen. It is actually readable enough if you're close to it, basically I decided that I didn't like the email interface much and instead of re-working it, I just got rid of it. Plus I found it slightly distracting being taken 'away from the game world' to view an email. The screen objects are also much bigger now, not only to make it easier to read the email but so they can be connected in a line, the screen on the right hand side is actually three screens put together.

Other then that, i've just been working on basic bug fixes and such. I again improved the framerate for levels with lots of enemies (mind you the game always ran slick on my brothers desktop PC, but I want to ensure that Derelict can be played on a wide variety of semi-modern computers).


Derelict Dev Post #31

There are exactly four marines hiding in the grass, can you find them all? (click the picture to enlarge). Try not to use the radar if you can avoid it.

Above is my attempt at putting tall grass in the game. I know it isn't perfect so I may try to revise it later. So why is plant life being grown on the Atlas? Well, a number of reasons. Oxygen, food, aesthetics...

But more importantly there is a gameplay reason why the grass is there. Imagine your team wading through miles of the stuff with unseen enemies approaching from all sides. A level like that may very well be part of the next Derelict release.

I'm extremely delighted to report that, following the setbacks over the last couple of weeks, Derelict is back on track and moving towards its final beta release, which should be out by the end of the month.

Derelict Dev Post #30

Arriving just too late to save them, the players team stumbles upon the brutally mangled corpses of another marine squad.

This post is about a week late and I know it. Last week I was down in Greymouth and I was tied up with spending time with friends and loved ones (mostly playing Super Smash Bros Brawl!) and earlier this week I was in Christchurch where I did not have access to a PC I could use to do any development.

In my email this morning I received a new level from Sam, and its terrific. One that forces you to do most of the level solo, so it feels somewhat more like a traditional FPS.

Not much else to say, hopefully will have more news in the next update.


Random Free Game #3: Rueckblende

When I started randomly picking free games to review, I didn't think I would so quickly stumble upon a 400mb award winner! Here is Rueckblende!

In Rueckblende you see the world through the eyes of a man visiting his old summer home. It has long since become dilapidated and overrun with vegetation, but he is confronted, and perhaps haunted, by his childhood memories.

Artistically, the game (in actuality it is really an interactive movie) is absolutely stunning. The house and surrounding landscape seems to have been painstakingly hand crafted and filmed with a video camera. The characters seem to have been beautifully hand drawn and animated before being scanned into the game. And unlike many art house games (The Mondo series draws to mind!) it doesn't rely on abstract imagery to be unique.

Rueckblende plays somewhat like Myst - moving your mouse over the different directional arrows will smoothly walk you through the game world with an FMV, and clicking on visual cues will start an animated cut scene.

There is no challenge to the gameplay and every aspect of the game can be explored within the space of a few minutes, however that isn't the focus here.

I was expecting Rueckblende to be a whimsical heart string puller, yet I felt a wide range of emotions while playing it. Pangs of nostalgia, joy, fear, sadness, sorrow and anger all effected me at different parts of the game.

The longevity and replay value is near nil. However, if you have the bandwidth spare to download it, and you're not afraid of a game that doesn't have violence, then Rueckblende is a fantastic and memorable experience. 9/10

The official site is here


Derelict Dev Post #29

Time for Derelict Dev Post #29

The most immediately noticeable thing about this screenshot is that the icons on the left have been changed. They're not filled in so they're less intrusive and I think that makes them look a little bit better too. Maybe. Also on the left is a new counter, which is the ammo that each rifle contains.

Now, I -know- it would be unfair to make the player scavenge through the ship to find ammunition, but fortunately you don't have to do that. Each marine has infinite ammo, however now you will need to strategically reload every once in awhile. Ordinarily the marine AI will only reload when they are out of ammo so you may find it advantageous to issue a reload command every now and then.

Again I haven't really given Derelict adequate development time. Over the last week I have been travelling, working, spending time with mates and loved ones and playing an imported copy of Super Smash Bros Brawl (kick ass!). However I will redouble my efforts. I intend to release the full, single player only version of Derelict (The Derelict Online Client/Server will be a separate development project) on Queens Birthday weekend at the start of June, with one final beta release before then. Stay tuned.

Derelict Dev Post #28

New feature I have just put in are these holograph terminals. They've been hijacked by the mysterious antagonist of Derelict, and provide audio/visual messages as clues, taunts and exposition.

I haven't really had time to do a whole lot of work on Derelict. Next week I will be focusing on creating more levels for the game rather then working on the atmosphere and effects like I have been in the past couple of weeks. Stay tuned.