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Squidi’s mechanic #035 – Room Conveyor Belt

February 3rd, 2014

I don’t wanna read all that crap edition

Here’s a prototype I made base off Sean Howard’s Room Conveyor Belt Conecpt
Saturday’s completed
Sunday’s completed prototype


There are a few links that take you to external sites. I do not manage the content outside of here
Friday I came home set to work on my pinball machine. I was very clear that I wasn’t going to use the internet or watch tv or do anything that would distract from my goal… I failed horribly at that. 2 hours into this test I had moved on to checking up on something I read in the book and everything spiraled out of control from there. I ended up on Sean Howard’s web site reading over some of his game mechanics. I saw his Conveyor Belt Prototype and thought of how much fun that would be with a little more work done to it. I then embarked on a solo-squidi-jam and decided to make a more complete version of the game over the course of the weekend. I then set out a few guidelines and rules and started from there.


squidiscreenshot

Rules I set for myself

No using flash IDE

I usually use a few base movie clips to do my screens and handle font management. Not this time, I decided to only have one SWF that loaded everything externally. This made for a very bloated project, and it gets worse because…

No modifying, editing, or creating art assets in editor

I decided against modifying any of his artwork that was provided as part of the Free Pixel Project. Which proved to be very challenging. I had to change the way I usually handle art work. With three exceptions, I had to base my game around one character set and one tile set.

  1. I used photoshop to create the map.I read in the maps per pixel
  2. I created the coin and shadow in code pixel by pixel.
  3. I used photoshop to check all of my x/y positions of the tiles that I read in.

Keeping it simple

My mind went 1,000 miles per hour as I was working. All the cool features I wanted to add. All the additional features I wanted to add! All the MORE features I wanted to add! Nope! Had to reel it all back in and figure out what I could actually get done this weekend and do just that. Too many features means I could get overwhelmed and bail on the project. Speaking of which…

Don’t get burned out

I had to make sure I didn’t try and do everything in a single setting. I took breaks. I went and got dinner. I paused to watch a little TV and actually relaxed. I learned a lot from last years Global Game Jam. To keep at a good pace, I made sure to set a stopping point for saturday and a stopping point for sunday. I actually finished earlier Sunday that I originally thought and instead of adding additional features. I just called it a day.

Learn something

This was the hardest thing to do. Because I wanted to make sure I kept it simple, I tried to do everything within my own personal knowledge base. And I wanted to get it done in a timely fashion so I used an existing game engine. Keeping it simple did allow me to reduce the amount of time I had to look up the answer to any problems, but I did hit one road block that caused me to learn something. :)


Yup... it says "Troy"

Yup… it says “Troy”

I found a faster way of dealing with the placement of tiles without having to write really complex algorithms or using a map editor! This allowed me to lay out everything in photoshop and have the game generate all the proper tiles in place that I needed. (Hence how I cheated on the “No external image manipulation…” rule) Here’s a great article on doing bitwise terrain calculations!

What I would have liked to have added

Multiplayer

My brain kept trying to get me to add more. I snuck in a second player, just to see how easy it would be to build off of what I’ve already built. It took me less than 15 minutes (I had to rename a variable here and there)… but I would’ve liked to have seen the game work with four players. It currently being even two players huddled around one keyboard is very difficult.

Trading Card System

I would like to have a system that allows you to pick a series of cards, and the game randomly chooses which cards you have in your “deck” to lay out various parts level. I’ve written down a few ideas I had to expand on this entire concept, but I want to make sure I don’t dump too much out at once.

Better Enemies

Right now the skeletons stick to whichever map they start on. This was in The Prototype this game was based off of. In thinking of the above TCS, I figured it would add a nice balance if the card you chose would only increase the difficulty of that area. But, if I were to expand on this game any further, I had two ideas for enemies…
The Thief
The Thief wouldn’t just compete against you, it would also steal your coins. So if you bumped in to it, it would die but take a percentage of whatever coins you’ve already collected.
The Hunter
The hunter would actively go from space to space in an attempt to find which space you were in. And if it detected you, hunt after until it touched and killed you.

Time attack

There’s a base time that it should take to complete each of the rooms, this is all added together and expanded as a time limit to collect as many coins as you can. This could be fun or frustrating, I’ll possibly play with this in the future.

Accounts (More TCS)

I wanted to create a website and web based accounts so people who play can trade cards that they’ve unlocked with other players. This idea had to quickly go on the back burner because it sounds really expensive for me to develop for a free no revenue generating game.

Map Editor

I wanted to make a map editor. :(

Screens

Right now the game just starts… and ends.

Player Messaging

When the game just ends… it goes right to black. Collecting coins just makes the coin disappear, it would be nice to have some kind of cool effect and all.

Audio

It’s quiet… a little too quiet.

Closing

Thank you for reading this far in to this and not just clicking the link at the top of the post. It really means a lot to me that I got a chance to explain how much fun this project was for me and you stuck around and read. :)

Here’s another link so you don’t have to scroll back up
Sean Howard’s Room Conveyor Belt Conecpt
Saturday’s completed
Sunday’s completed prototype