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9:21 AM on 03.17.2010

DevLog: evolving a concept

So I'm currently working on a little indie shooter I'm calling goRe houNds. Right now its following the path of a minimalistic, retro, arcade style shooter. And it involves zombies...

Oh, of course, zombies! That hasn't been overdone at all! (/sarcasm)
However, I originally had no intentions to create a game about zombies. It evolved from a prototype of something that I started for my multimedia class. Now it seems to be evolving again, I'm beginning to experiment again, messing around with game play styles, characters, and story telling methods. I already have an alternate slime mode that replaces the zombies and I want to see what else I can get away with...

above: slime mode

The game started as a prototype for a game revolving around the half serious concept of relations between boys and girl. Basically the idea was you were a girl and you had to manipulate guys in order to get them to follow you and give you what you want, as well as get them to protect you from other girls. Pretty ridiculous.

As I worked I found that the reactions of the boy characters were very zombie like and since I was still in the concept stage I decided to maybe try out a zombie game.
The first variations of the zombie theme were a slower paced, survival horror style game. It had large, mazelike areas, and slow shooting.

When working with all the initial concepts I used basic shapes to represent all of the characters. This helped me focus on working on gameplay as opposed to graphics. It was not until later in development that I began to create the minimalistic graphics that I now use. By that time I already had players getting scared by the appearance of the red square (the stand in graphic for what would eventually become the fast zombie variant).

My next step in development was to add new characters to the mix. However, I wanted these characters to be more than just a different skin for an existing character. Instead I took a fighting game approach to the characters, where each character has the same basic controls but different characteristics and abilities. That way each character would provide a new experience, not just a different face.

Tricia is a psychic character that can make enemies explode into gore bombs

This approach provided an alternate to a common convention of shooters. Its been established that you start off with something weak, like a pistol and eventually upgrade to more powerful weapons. The problem with this is that it takes quite a bit of time to get these weapons, and more often than not you don't get much ammo for them, severely limiting their use. Instead each of the characters in my game have different weapons, strengths, and weaknesses. One character has incredibly powerful weapons that can destroy groups of enemies. But careless use of these weapons will have them ricochet back and kill them. One character has short range attacks, but moves very fast and can command survivors to attack enemies and protect him. Of course I'm still working on the balance of each characters weapons, but so far each character provides something different.

My most recent addition is what I call the BLOODY DIE! system. Basically its a small addition that randomizes locations of objects and elements to slightly change the layout of the areas. I added this when I felt that enemies and arenas were getting predictable. A little randomization helped a lot with this.

That's all a for now. I'm finishing up the next version of my game at the moment, so expect to see it up sometime soon. Some more discussion on the creation of the game, and game design in general will follow.
For those interested in playing the last version of the game, try the link below. I've changed quite a bit in the new version, but it should give you an idea of the basic gameplay.

(just so you know, it has the old title screen and name)
left click- primary fire
right click-secondary fire
middle click/f- knife (places movement cursor with Ben, which survivors rally around)
Q-command survivors to stay
E-command survivors to follow
SPACE- open/close orange doors, break brown walls.

9:41 AM on 03.12.2010

Something about Sex: why beat-em ups are sex in digital form

You see what people don’t realize is that beat-em ups are more than just a dying genre, they are the most many games, the videogame equivalent of sex. If we all realized this sooner, I’m sure it wouldn’t be a dead genre. The following is evidence:

They’re all about violent thrusts
This is what makes it the most obvious. The genre at its core is all about violent thrusting, and all real men know that’s what makes sex good. A good violent thrust is the most essential technique in bring pleasure to a mate. Beat-em ups are all about violent thrusting, be it punches, kicks, or shoving a 2x4 down opponent’s throats.

Repetitive actions
Some say that beat-em ups are dying because they are all repetitive and by nature that will tire itself out. Well those people are wrong. All good things are worth doing multiple times. That is why we have genres and videogames. And there is nothing more satisfying than violently, and repeatedly thrusting. Anyone who has actually gotten laid can attest to that.

Timing and control
Again, the subtle art of bringing a partner to a climax requires careful timing and control. Varying the degrees of pleasure, speed, and location. Beat-em ups require the careful timing of thrusting punches and kicks, and control of the crowd. Sounding similar yet? You bet it is.

Tons of phallic symbols
This is the final and most undeniable evidence. We all know that many weapons are nothing more than phallic extending symbols. Swords, pipes, bats, guns, hell even a 2x4. I mean come on, it’s a freakin piece of WOOD! And guess what games prominently feature all of these? That’s right, beat-em ups! Beat-em ups give you all these phallic extending weapons and let you violently thrust and throw them at your opponents. Again, and again, and again….

On the other hand…this could make beat-em ups some of the gayest games ever. I mean, a whole bunch of guys waving phallic symbols at each other and smacking each other around with them? Yea that’s pretty gay. That would make the ‘90’s Alien Vs. Predator arcade game the gayest of them all. Because as Jim Sterling points out in the his “How Aliens are Blatantly Better than Predators” article, Aliens are giant phallic symbols, and you beating hordes of them with your violent phallic extensions only makes it gayer. Pretty much a giant cock slapping contest.

Oh yea, this also makes all first person shooters gay. A bunch of guys waving around their penis extension guns and shooting them at each other? Very gay. That’s right, Modern Warfare and Halo are gay.   read

6:13 AM on 03.10.2010

Devlog: a question to you Dtoiders.

I would like some quick opinions from you faithful Dtoiders. I am thinking of writing blog entries which shall consist of stories relating to game design and my own experiences creating games, as well as updates on the status of my own games.

I would publish it on another site such as wordpress, but i feel that it would receive much less attention, if any at all. I'm thinking that publishing it here in a hardcore gaming community might be a much better idea, and could be interesting to others in the community as well.

Anyone have any opinions on that?   read

4:39 AM on 02.16.2010

yo! introduction!

I'm a newbie here so i figure introductions are in order.

The name's iconstyle, though sometimes i work under the alias of "cigarettes". That said lemme hit you with a few quick facts 'bout myself:

-i dont capitilize my "i"s. Just cause.
-i consider myself to be an artist. i work with pen and ink, pencil, sharpie, paints, computers, and the good old craft of writing.
-i love every part of videogames, from the design, creation, discussion and playing.
-i dig retro+old school games, and i'm always on the lookout for fresh new experiences in games.
-i consider myself an indie gamer.
-i MAKE games in my free time. Its an on off experience and i'm just starting to learn the craft.
-i'm working on a retro 360 degree zombie shooter , with some dry humor and slime killin' for good measure.
-some of my favorite games are MOTHER 3, LOZ:Link's Awakening, Darius, Gradius, Super Mario World, Spelunky, and Shadow of the Colossus.
-i think games can be art. and i liked Passage. so there.
-always open for chat about games, art, music and stuff.
-i enjoy any music with something original to bring to the table.
-my videogame knowledge is so seriously intense most people have no idea what the hell i'm talking about when it comes to games (probably cuz i play games that are 20 years old...)

that's all for now. i'll probably be putting up some updates 'bout that game i'm working on, 'ta 'till then.   read

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