Current Set Of Updates

2011/11/30

A while ago I had put up a list of features that were left to be done before I try publicizing the game again (you can see that here if you’ve forgotten). As I mentioned then and mentioned again, the final exams of the semester are going on and so development is even slower than normal. Sadly, I cannot just stop thinking about the game due to the minor concern of failing this semester outright. So, I shall try to expunge these pending features from my mind by dropping them here for now. I just want to see these in my game so badly.

Endless Mode

I wanted the elements to appear in waves so that the player would have some time in between waves that can be used to build gadgets. I want the game to feel more like a tower defense, mainly because I feel there to be more strategic depth in this game. Currently it is a busywork game. This is a fine core to have, especially for a game that can so easily be ported to the smartphones. Practically by definition however, it is mindless and that is not a term I wish applied to my games

Less idealistically, it is hard for another busywork game to stand out and I am not going to get bonus points for my art style the way so many do. Also, if people categorize this as a tower defense, then it is an innovation in a genre that is pretty much all one of three games (although Gratuitous Tank Battles is certainly something new). I am worried that giving players downtime between waves will break flow when there is nothing to be made. Busywork games are so addictive because they can be done on pure automatic and so give your hands something to do as your mind works on something else entirely.

The timed mode though remains pretty much unchanged by this though. The problem with the timed mode was that once you have hit a reasonable score it is hard to see what you should do to improve that score. Adding in the ability to boost your difficulty and so your rewards gives the player something that can be done, but practically just results in another plateau. We have all had that experience of just falling in the flow and notching an incredibly high score in our favorite game, this mode does not really allow that. Even in flow, the score I seem to make is the same as when not really thinking at all. Hence, I wanted an endless mode as the primary mode and waves give the ability to make one. However, the elements still come continuously in the timed mode.

The wave mode functions like this:

  • Fill a progress bar on the right by serving food.
  • If the bar is not filled by the time the wave ends, then the game ends.
  • The wave progress can be seen by the player through the spill cleaning bar. It is a thin strip that goes up the screen, pauses for a breath and then goes down the screen. Any spill that it passes over is cleared from the game. When it reaches the bottom again, that marks the end of the wave and then it stays there for a few moments during which no new elements come.
  • Note that just because no new elements are coming during the pause right after a wave does not mean that there are no elements on the screen. The ones that have still not been finished from the previous wave linger.
  • When the wave finishes, the bar resets and becomes slightly harder to fill and the difficulty increases. The game gets slightly faster, more and harder to cook elements start appearing and the wave becomes slightly longer.
  • If you manage to finish the bar for a wave early then you get bonus points for everything else you serve in that wave.

Gadgets and Elements

The first thing is that elements are going to be separated into more classes of health and speed. Currently, there are three; raw elements, small cooked elements and large cooked elements. Everything has the same health, but as the later ones are slower, they take longer to cook. I would like more classes for raw elements than just the one.

I also need to make more gadgets than just the two and vary the distance and strength of the dots they use. I would like one which works well against low health elements, where the dots would be close together but each would reduce less health for instance. Also, I was thinking about adding status effects. The grill could leave a burn for instance.

I also want to completely decouple gadget building from the scoring. Currently, I plan to tie the side bar to the gadget bar. Every time the side bar fills the player gets a number of build points which can be used as wished. The score cannot only be added to.

Finally, the change that most excites me. I shall divide the screen into sectors. Right now, I think each sector should be 160*160. I shall set the canvas size to 640*480 which would give twelve sectors. Each sector can have at most one gadget. Instead of the old circle of effect the gadget will now work on things in its sector. This just feels better. It seems as though it would add strategy. It also solves a couple of lingering problems like what to do when two gadgets can affect a single element, which now cannot arise, and a bug where if the circle overlapped with the bottom bar things started crashing.

Projected Schedule

I cannot stick to any sort of schedule while my exams go on. Doubtless, I will end up working a little, but I cannot commit to any definite amount. I really am in serious danger of failing and that would be unfortunate to say the least. After that I will be home, where theoretically I should be able to get good work done. It never seems to work out like that though, somehow distractions abound at home as well. Mostly basketball. I never seem to get as much done there as I could either. Besides, I do have a couple of other things that must be dealt with while I am home, like a medical check up. I suppose we shall just have to see what gets done when. I really want this game to be finished. There is too much to make.

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