Hello Destructoid. It’s Friday and I have another update for your consideration. This week, I found that it only took a few hours to get something going in Unity3D (our development tool). Thanks to the help of some of my friends, we now have a good starting momentum and we have a place to put my game online for you all to enjoy. Sure, the game is super boring right now, but at least you can play around with it a little bit.
I picked Unity to develop in because there may not be a better choice out there for me right now. Unity provides the tools I need to get you more updates faster. That way I can spend the day working on finding a job, and the rest of my night developing. It means you and I get more bang for our buck. Not even a buck is given actually. The software is totally free which is good because I get to spend time on my hobby without going broke, and you (the player) get to play my game for free.
Unity scripts can be coded in C#, which I have been coding in for some time now. Again, this will mean more speed for game features being developed for you, and I will be able to keep my skills honed for interviews. Unity provides us an easy way to develop a 3D game. It has plenty of packages that people have written already for things like path-finding. So we won’t have to keep re-inventing the wheel. And the best part is: Unity will give many people on here the chance to play the game as it is being developed.
This week in development: Character Movement
• Make a plane for the player to walk on.
• Make a placeholder for the player.
• Make a directional light so we can see the 3d objects.
• Make the player move around with the keyboard arrows.
• Make the camera follow the player.
• Make a box to give the player a sense of movement.
• Put a development build online.
Like I said before, these things were quite easy to implement. But the point was to get something up on the screen for you guys to mess around with right away in the first week. At the very least I wanted you to be able to move an avatar.
I provided a few things to make it easier for the player to see what is going on in the level, but I think we need a little bit more for next time. I might even be able to find some placeholder animations from artists that are giving away some assets online. I doubt I will find characters that look like I want them to, but at least we might find something that is better than a cylinder with round edges. I’m also thinking about adding a decent floor texture. With a full character model running around the level and a textured floor, we might have a better sense of what the game will look like.
As you can see, the movement for the character is based on the keyboard arrow keys. That feature will be changed almost immediately. What we really want is something that resembles the Diablo control scheme, don’t we? In all of the adventure RPG’s out there, and especially in the single player oriented ones, the isometric view and Diablo’s control scheme always seemed like the best to me. With the addition of parties and the ability to control more than one player, this becomes problematic. So if we do end up building a party based system, character movement will have to change yet again.
The system also has to be somewhat ready to take on my ‘always pause’ system that I mentioned in my first intro blog. We have to be able to take the game on frame by frame and pause the action whenever we want. Players should be able to pick every move they make with precision and they should have as much time as they need to think about their next move.
So here are some of my goals for next week:
• Make a texture for the floor.
• Find a 3D model for our character as a placeholder.
• Add a point and click ‘Diablo-style’ control scheme.
If this list of things to do is shorter, it’s because I know that the list will get bigger because of the details involved with getting the ‘point and click’ movement implemented. I may have someone to help me in this process, so I may be able to get to more than this. I could start trying to implement some sort of path-finding so that the player can find their ways around obstacles on their way to where you have clicked. But either way – I’ll give you guys the full details on it next week.
The next few weeks will be a lot about refining the movement system. But I have something else to talk about too. With these blogs - I have a few things to offer you. From me you will receive weekly updates. That, we have already covered. You will be able to play the game as it is being developed. That, we have also covered. And at the end of these blogs, you and I will be able to talk a little about game design. For those of you who find the details of the updates boring, but want to have insight on potential game features, you could almost skip straight to the last few paragraphs. Also, I hope everyone will be so kind as to leave some feedback in response to ideas they like and dislike as we move forward.
Random Game Design Thoughts:
There is a certain game out there that showed me something important about what games are capable of. I’m not going to mention what game this is because I basically don’t want to spoil anything. So I’ll just say something about game design in general. A great game designer once said, “…we could never hope to approach the subtlety, the nuance, the fine detail that characterizes the phenomenon we call reality. Because the detail in reality is infinite.” And I may be taking his words a little bit out of context, but it made me think of the connection between reality and the game I am refusing to spoil.
Some games have the amazing ability to take things one step further, to add more layers of complexity that no one really even thought was possible. It’s like Castlevania: Symphony of the night and the reverse castle. It’s like figuring out that you can out-think the final boss in Planescape: Torment. There are games out there that really take things to the next level. And one of the ways to do this is through Easter Eggs. Perhaps there is a little phrase written on the wall telling you that the cake is a lie. It may not quite be an Easter Egg, but it may brilliantly foreshadow another game event. The game I am talking about is chock full of Easter Eggs, enough that it is hard to beat the game without finding a few of them. Some of these Easter Eggs are puzzles, but the puzzles were not defined by the way you played the game – they were defined in the game’s world. It was written all over the walls.
These kinds of things make me smile. Imagine my disappointment in the final episodes of LOST. They really built up a lot of content there and had very little questions answered. And most of it didn’t lead up to anything spectacular. In fact it was almost a bit cliché. It didn’t matter too much to me that this had happened because I was such a fan of the show, but what a shame it was, right? Can you imagine if LOST actually ended up forming an ending that had tied up loose ends and had some great epiphany at the end? Perhaps it could be a pearl of wisdom of some sort, or a statement about humanity and life. Perhaps it could have been a metaphor or something that we could take with us to think about after the show ended. It’s such a shame. Maybe I am missing out on something crucial to the plot?
I think my point is: that the Easter Eggs and clues throughout a game are some of the easiest things to implement! These strange messages are hidden in art and audio, and usually those things just plop right into the game. As long as artists can paint cryptic messages onto a 2d texture, we will be able to put interesting mysterious things into our game. We all love mysterious messages that have us saying, “That HAS to mean something, RIGHT?” What if there is a light at the end of the tunnel? What if that weird message is a clue at the beginning of some mysterious trail to treasure, wisdom, truth, or even companionship! What if it solves a transcendent problem? What if it answers a question? Do we dare ignore it? Or will the lack of answers drive us mad?
Here’s a link to the game designer I’m talking about.
He’s one of my idols. You won’t regret reading his speeches. If there is an option, try to watch a video of his or an audio track. He’s a better storyteller on stage than I am to myself in my own head.
Here is a link to the online game.
It is browser based. If the keyboard arrow keys are not working for you, try and click on the screen to give it keyboard focus. Also, the game isn’t terribly exciting yet – but I hope at least a few of you will enjoy the fact that the project is started. Special thanks to Knutaf for providing space to put my project. And special thanks to my ex-boss Chris for helping me on the development side. Thanks for the enthusiasm guys. And thanks to the Destructoid community. You may not know it yet, but you are the wind beneath my wings. Thanks for keeping me motivated by being so awesome.
I do not fear the monsters and demons
I fear that I am awake.
I have the weight of the world on my shoulders,
No way out, and I am alone.