Thursday, April 7, 2011

The attack of Real Life, Dropping a Beat Like an Ugly Baby, and a 3d game concept I've half baked.

That may be the most disturbing title I've got so far for one of these blog posts.

Life has been keeping me pretty busy, and unable to get much done physically aside from a bit of Unity Engine studying and a few other things not mentionable just yet.

Well, there also is the fact I am having a bit too much fun playing the beta of 1...2...3...Kick It! (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby).  (A music driven Aaaaa type game, which is currently on sale for 5 bucks and paying that earns you the full version too.)  The title rocks, the game rocks, but is a bit rusty due to the whole beta thing.  I recommend picking it up anyway since if they can finish it, the full version will rock hard, and it's half off.

However, that hasn't stopped my designer's mind from working.  I've got a concept in my head of a simple 3d platformer in Unity starring a very special character dear to my heart.  You might have seen him in my avatar(I said my avatar, not the movies silly).  It's probably a good first project because it will be simple to program, unlike a lot of other random concepts me and my sister have been brainstorming.

So here we go, concept dump time.  This is more for me then you, but I figure it's unoriginal enough to be public:

A simple, level based platformer, along the lines of Mario 64.  Basic platform movement, simple mechanics(much more simple then Mario 64's Long Jumps and such).  Stuff to collect in each level, as follows:

-100 cherries, these are used to earn your way through doors, like notes in Banjo Kazooie
-10 Smiley Tokens, these are very much like Stars, but they don't end the level when collected.  There is actually 11 in each level, but one is very well hidden.

The platforming probably won't allow for more then basic jumping, if I can manage it, I'd like to do wall jumping or double jumping too, because such jumping mechanics make for some interesting level design.

As for levels themselves, I think it will work best if there is one main "hub" level, in which all the others are connected to.  The other levels will more then likely be very abstract and "floaty in the sky like", both to save time, and because it's easier to make challenging platform levels if you don't need to worry about being stuck in a lower part of the level.  They each will be themed.  To save development time, some levels will probably be themed the same, but use gameplay changes or clever level design to be different from each other.  The basic idea is that each level should be memorable as a unique area, to aid the player in collecting the remaining loot later.

The game engine itself needs to support some form of basic NPC text babbling.  I'd love to have it work realtime, while the player is still moving around, but that may prove too tricky to program for a first game.

Enemies will more then likely be pretty easy to fight, requiring either a bop on the head, or some other easy single hit solution.  I'm trying to keep the controls simple, so having no attack button is more then likely the way to go. 

Ideally the controls would simply be arrow keys(or joystick) and one single button for jumping.  Thus the auto-talking NPC support.  But if this proves too hard to do, and I need to add in a "talk" button, then that same "talk" button would be used to interact/attack things as well.

So far it's not sounding very original.  But it does sound fun, and that's what matters most.  Hopefully I can apply my good game design instincts to the levels so that they are challenging but loads of fun to play through.

And of course, like all things, by the time we get to the end product, it might end up so different the above concept doesn't even apply.  Such is the way of independant game development.

Most of my next work hours are going to be spent animating our hero of the game, while trying to learn how Unity does animations(so far it does it well and simple enough).  So far, all he does is blink, but it's a blinking animation that only animates his eyes and thus is easily mix-played with others.  Dynamic mixing of animations for the win.

See ya next post.  Maybe I'll have less concept and more solid stuff from one of my projects to show by then.

*dives back into the madness of Real Life Situations Becoming a Mess While Video Games Distract Me With Welcome Breaks*

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