Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A shift in direction, along the Z axis.

My project will now use Python-Ogre. Why? Because I'm insane. But more realistically, because Azure Dreams has infected my mind and I must steal as many design elements from it as possible.

I don't have any real progress to show, as I've just been learning how Ogre works, reading tutorials, messing around, etc. I am prepared to take a beating from everyone, particularly SDHawk, for this decision, but I don't give a shit. I must pursue what I want to do.

Suck my ass.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

On storytelling.

My story will be told from the perspective of several characters and divided into chapters, each character having a certain amount of chapters dedicated to his branch, probably spanning a great deal of time and not in chronological order at all times. In addition, each of these characters will have his own unique party of friends/followers, with some characters leaving, rejoining, and possibly joining other parties at some point.

One character's actions can potentially affect another character's available actions. And in tandem with that online puzzle game thing, the characters' actions on their puzzle grids can affect some other character's puzzle grid, the same way that an NPC's actions can.

The story and setting have also changed. (See? I'm not doing nothing.) The timeframe is now a bit further in the future. On the planet is a cluster of smaller, more traditional societies who all pay tribute to a church run by scientists, sometimes not voluntarily. One day, the denizens of the world awaken to find a giant metal wireframe shell covering their planet, obscuring the sun. Its purpose and origin are unknown (to you, at least!).

For the record, I posted an idea within the first week, and SDHawk has only posted ideas up to this point, so I feel like I've fulfilled the once-a-week requirement just as s/he has.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Just call me Fred Thompson.

"where's the post" wah wah wah

I won't consider myself up and running until I make some big decisions that need to be made. You all already have some progress done, so it's easy for you to put up new versions after working a bit. I have to make the very first progress in one week, when some of you have had 8 years? Come on.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A surrogate title.

If you want to have a fancy game title to use when linking to my blog, use...

(I totally didn't make that up just now)

Did I lose yet?

The short answer is "no". Yesterday, while helping that bastard SDHawk, I had a few ideas regarding character backstories and a particular minigame/sidequest that I've fleshed out a bit, and the connected nature of stories has inspired several other branching ideas. I haven't decided yet whether I want to spill the beans about all of my ideas on this blog, as it kind of ruins the surprise. The game will most likely heavily emphasize story and characters, so I don't want to compromise any twists or dramatic events or anything. It's probably safe to reveal the sidequest thing, so here goes:

Like I said, this is virtually a rejected idea from planning for SDHawk's game. My game takes place in the near future, (not super-sentient robots and hyperspace and aliens and all that nonsense, but the beginning of the space age. Think a Front Mission setting, but without the giant mechas (probably)) so computers and some kind of global network are a vital part of everyday living. The sidequest will be a sort of "online" cooperative puzzle game that virtually everyone plays, in which you move your avatar around a node-filled grid, opening doors/flipping switches/what have you, and winning real-life rewards. The idea is that, with computer technology burgeoning, the game's servers are capable of auto-generating an intelligent world for every player, and also connects them to the arenas of other players at various points. What you have to do is talk to NPCs in the game and convince them to help you in the puzzle by opening some switch only they have access to or something like that, in a sort of Lost Vikings way. Some people will do this simply by you asking them; others might do it as a quest reward or something. I haven't worked out the exact mechanics of it yet, but it will probably be pixelated, cute, and hopefully challenging.

I feel I've maybe dropped the ball a bit by not having any sort of tangible progress, but it's unrealistic to start working on the game's guts before I've planned them. There are a few things I could do, but planning is in such an early stage that those ideas could change easily, as there would be no consequence, and I don't want to waste time and effort on something that I won't keep anyway.

But now it's back to playing Legend of Mana. This game is a lot better than I remember it being.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A short project introduction.

I've been thinking about this project for probably around 2 years, in various incarnations. The core ideas haven't changed, but some of the particulars have. As my mindset changed and I realized I have as much time as I want to work on this thing, its scope ballooned. After letting a long-term project (MV, for those unfortunate enough to remember it; I won't go into more detail) die after rolling it around for 4 years, I found a new joy in entering the game compos with Your Mother, a veritable team of all-stars (as far as these communities are concerned, at any rate). But alas, the relatively short nature of these projects left a hole in my heart. Er, not really, but for the sake of argument, sure. Anyway, I needed a new pipe dream! So I found one.

Around the time, I started to really enjoy tactics RPGs -- FFT and its ilk. But I realized that they were always... pretty inferior, with regards to, y'know, tactics (and several other things, but I can't fault them for making quick games that appeal to only a small portion of the gaming crowd). So I set out to make the ULTIMATE TACTICAL EXPERIENCE. Except I wasn't really going to make a tactics game.

Originally, the plan was to make what would basically be a Phantasy Star 4 clone, but with tons of skills that did more than increasing amounts of damage. Unique effects and conditions for using them would be my milieu. In stupid developer fashion, I felt that this wasn't EPIC enough, so I decided to make it a multi-party story! That's right, split it into chapters and have it take place from multiple perspectives. A ludicrous idea for someone who is too lazy to make a full game, to be sure. A final tenet was that enemies would behave (gasp) intelligently! The old games were so easy because nothing was ever unexpected. I hear you saying "oh but so-and-so boss had an ability that hit your entire party for 278462 damage and thus killed you instantly! how's THAT for surprises?!" to which I say, "not very surprising." You kind of come to expect that in a game where numbers get tossed around in wanton.

But over time I realized that the system wouldn't be enough. I needed more ways to make the battles creative. So I decided to make it a tactics game at heart -- grid-based combat, using position intimately in the skillset. It will take place in real-time, with skills having cooldowns/delays/action times, but you can pause at any time and reissue commands, at the price of interrupting whatever you were doing and losing whatever you've put into it. I also expanded upon the idea of good enemy AI by having every enemy require a specific strategy (to some extent) to defeat it, and nearby enemies being aware of their allies' thinking methods and needs. A complex system of give and take, that will have to be different for every location.

Add on top of that multiple parties, each character of which having their own unique skillset and role, item crafting, blah blah blah, all the typical epic RPG fare (except done more intelligently, I hope), and you'll see why I called it ridiculously ambitious.

An underlying tenet is that if you go into battle expecting to bash the shit out the enemy until it does not move anymore, heal your damage, and move on, you'll be severely disappointed (and crushed into pulp). The tactic might work in the very first dungeon, so the player will be slowly acclimated to THINKING about combat.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Money doesn't taste good.

Get it? Putting your money where your mouth is? Well, I guess it doesn't explicitly mean putting the money INSIDE your mouth. That would be silly. Think of all the hands it's touched. And other assorted body parts. Eh, why do I bother...

Anyway, if you're as obsessive compulsive as I am, or just as bored, then you've been reading all of the other blogs of the competitors in the GRUEDORF CHALLENGE (just go to one of the blogs listed there and follow the links around), so I'll save you the effort and sum up my melodramatic story in a few words. Ahem, here goes.

I make games, but not very often, and that's bad, so I'm making a game now.

Yeah, that's about it. See the aforementioned link for the rules of this contest. Oh yeah, and Overkill and SDHawk are gay. Totally. Also, something about eternal shame.