Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Palette Cleanser: Starting a Secondary Project

I think the title says it all.

For the past few days, I've been throwing code at the wall trying to make sense of the physics needed for "Off the Wall" to work.  It's getting kind of monotonous.

I'm not giving up on the game,  I just feel I need to refresh the creative juices.  So, I'm going to get started on another concept I had been planning well before "Off the Wall" popped into my head: "Depth".

See, one of my hobbies for the past few years has been photography.  One of the things that I liked to think about is the focus of objects in a photograph related to the depth of field.  I was trying to figure ways to implement that into a game, at least, a game I knew my entry-level smarts would be able to program with GameMaker.

And so, depth was born.  I had spent a bit of time sketching out mechanics, objects, enemies and the like onto paper:

The basic concept of the game is that it is, at heart, a platformer.  The only main difference will be a "focus" mechanic.  Imagine if we had re-done the original Super Mario, only we added layers.  One layer in front of the main level, and a layer behind.  You would see various blocks and objects that are out of focus and may be different sizes depending on the plane they reside in.  However, the only way you would be able to interact with these objects is by turning your focus away from whats in front of you to whatever is in either the front or back plane.  If you think about it from Mario's perspective,  it would be as if he is looking left and right as opposed to the blocks and Goombas directly in front of him.

Now, I've had a few different ideas of how to apply this mechanic to make a game actually fun:

  1. Timed Runs:  Get to the finish point before the avalanche behind you catches up.  In other words, it imposes a threat that you need to get through each stage as fast as possible and be able to "focus" on the fly.  This could result in the challenge being: identify the proper path of blocks/objects to get you through the course (be it over a gap or over a mountain or something such).
  2. ...actually, now that I have written out the other ideas and deleted them, I don't think they're really worth following up with the first idea.
So, for the time being, it looks like the game will revolve around timed runs.

Since I'm getting the basic code of platforming down, it seems the only really new venture is the mechanic, which I'll imagine will just involve switching from an object without collision to an object with collision and having the corresponding sprites (probably just throw em into gimp and add a gaussian blur...).

So that is the new project.  I'm not giving up on "Off the Wall", merely taking a creative break and refreshing my head.  I'm hoping that a little time away will help me to better figure out the physics code I'm aiming to have for the game.


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