Let’s take a break and talk about other game once in a while =D
As some of you may have known, I’m participating in OneGameAMonth (check out the website to find out more). In short, it’s a community that encourage people to build and release a game each month. Me? Well, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to flesh out various gameplay ideas that I have and also to try out new platform and tools.
For January I want to keep things simple, so I used a tool that I’m already familiar with, my own game framework for Android. As for the game itself, I want to try out an idea that I toyed around months ago:
Player must defend a spaceship by placing black holes on the map to pull away enemy bullets. The longer the ship survive, the higher the score will be.
The project is codenamed Holes for now (black holes, got it?). And the plan is to work on it every weekend or so during this January. And since I’m only aiming for a fun and playable prototype, 4 weekends should hopefully be enough time =D
In the first weekend I only fiddled around with the game concept, sketching out a quick mockup of the game, and drawing the game assets. I kinda liked the style of my sketch, so I tried to experiment with the art style and came up with a nice black-and-white sprites. To be honest though, I think I spent too much time polishing those sprites. But then again, drawing spaceship is really fun 😄
Last weekend (second weekend of January) I started to code the game. I managed to implement the basic game mechanism and made the whole thing playable. I was doing it much slower than I had hoped though. I suppose it’s hard to suddenly change my mindset after working for a while on my main game which requires polish and planning.
Anyway, here’s what I have so far:
Note that the black hole (white shuriken stuff) is created on player’s tap.
As can be seen on the video, the “pulling bullets away with black hole” mechanic is already working even though it’s still very rough. And, truth to be told, I don’t think the game is as fun as I imagined it would be. This could be caused by a lot of things, but one of my suspicion is because the mechanic feels very “loose”.
What is “loose”? Well, a loose mechanism is a mechanism where a slight difference in input could have a totally different result. For example, Angry Birds is a “loose” game while Temple Run is a “tight” game. So a game with a loose mechanism will have a smaller margin for error.
Looking at these black holes, we can see how loose they are. When a player drops a black hole, the player doesn’t know how it will change the bullets. The hole might just change the bullet’s course slightly, or just made the bullet revolve around it, or it might even be too far away to change the course at all! I feel it made the game not fun because a lot of times the bullet will hit the ship just because of a stupid mistake. It’s too punishing.
Hopefully I can come up with something to make the game much tighter =)
Speaking of which, the original plan is to have a “black hole” that pulls in objects and a “white hole” that pushes objects away. Well, after playing with my current prototype, I feel that a simple black hole has made stuff complicated enough. Adding a “white hole” is just too much so I decided to remove it, at least for now.
Tune in next week for another progress report, I’ll hopefully also have something for you to listen to =D