Gaming Your Way

May contain nuts.

The curse of the generation C64 ...

This is somewhat of a rant post (again), although, it might just become some sort of history lesson... we'll see where it ends.

My current game somehow managed to be a real endurance test (as you might remember, if not, read it here), a lot of things that I had never done before, or at least not very often. The combination of the specific genre and the "new" language ... well it took it's time.
As a minor update on this, the game now seems to become more playable by the minute (oh, and yes, I rewrote the damn movement routine, dropping about 50% of the code needed making more stable and of course working - yet again I wonder why I haven't wrote it that way in the first place ... well never know.)

So while coding I started to look ahead for my next project. One of the things I didn't want this time, was to re-invent the wheel, so I had a lok at the game-engines I had coded so far and I discovered one, that never had been used in a game before, but was 100% working. It lacked of course all the nice and shiny things, it was just a working, ugly game - but something a lot of people seem to like (looking around the casual game scene).

The decission was quite an easy one, ignoring the fact that this is just a "me too" game.

Let the ideas come ...

Think, think, think.

One by one the ideas came in, this usually a blend of things I like or like to use, but hey, we're just at the beginning.


This time I want something less bloated, slick, clean, minimalistic UI. Once again, I've spend a good time just hunting for inspiration, playing a few of some of the best minimalistic games I've managed to find so far, Tonypa's. They are slick, clean, easy to pick up and don't contain more than the barest minimum of visuals.

Great. Wait. It would be nice if I would add a hint of a background story ...
Oh, and for that I have a great set of visuals in mind ...
Hey, what if I let the player decide what to do next, even though it's just a puzzle game ...

Darn. That's for "less bloated, slick, clean, minimalistic".

Why do I think that this belongs into a game - trying to find the answer.

First of all, I don't like 99% of the mini games that are available in flash. this includes all the "tunnel games", "click as fast as you can", and even praised games like "filler" (which is a nice variation of the qix heme) leave me cold.
I think, it may be, because I've seen their predecessor in various forms on different systems before.
OK, so for me there needs to be some sort of substance attached to a game.

I grew up with a c64 and I collected games (as nearly everyone of this time did), I think my collection had over 2000 games, most of them well, not quite legally optained. But I also owned some original games and paid real money for them. (30 DM, which was a fucking amount of money for a 12 year old school kid).

Anyway these games pretty much defined what I like about games and what not, I like pretty visuals (ok, compared to today those old games look really shit), I like good sound (and I think it's essential for a game) and I like some sort of depth (just clicking and holding for creating a filled circle is it not), a simple form of variation ...

I even tried to add that to "Law of the West", which is a bit shallow, to be honest, but there is some sort of variation in it.

Most of the full price games had at least one or the other, even the low price games from Mastertronic had a lot more game to it than some of the hyped flash games.

Back to pen and paper ... and forget "quick and easy"

Just before I started to write this (and bore you to death) I grabbed a pencil and some sheets of empty paper and began to sketch things out, draw a few charts about the progression of the game and what kind of things I want to add in order to distinguish my "me too" game from all the successfull ones that are already out.

So far I like what I came up with, as I believe I have added some unique things to the core gameplay. Of course it is way bigger than what I wanted in the first place and for sure just as I write this, someone had the same ideas.
To make it even more ... well, use a word you like ... I decided to go with a Pirate theme (still very popular, and although my first idea was to make a third LotW themed game, but I couldn't fit in the ideas I wanted to add)

The basic tasklist so far looks like this:
  • draw a worldmap based on the Caribbean Sea around 1500
  • create a set of outdoor images for the menus and ingame screens
  • maybe create some 3d characters (so it won't look like Myst, ... yet I still want to do my own Myst-like flash based adventure game)
  • draw a map of the decissions a player could make
  • draw the level maps/playfields for the levels (I mentioned it's some sort of puzzle game?)
  • decide on extras that can be used to help the player
  • create a list of nice "medals" (more about that in later post, but right now, play the LotW Pinball to see some).
  • find a way to allow savegames, either over the server, or using a code or shared objects

I'll let you know where this ends, and maybe (if there is interest) I go into detail and post some of the sketches and early renderings.
It seems like this one became a bit more than a simple re-use of an already existing game engine. It also seems that I decided to go a good deal beyond the usual flashgame timewaster - and it clearly shows that I'm nuts. I don't even know if there is money in this one (either as license or (most likely not) as sponsored game (as I had my share of sponsoring madness so far).

stupid me.


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