Progress? More like “birth” actually.
Note: This is the third week of March, but this log only consists of the first two weeks.
As I’ve said before, this time around I’ll be returning to my home turf, which is mobile games, so I created a bunch of prototypes on my phone to decide which game idea I want to pursue. One of the initial idea is a game about managing a factory where player have to choose the correct machine to create the desired object. And so I spent the first weekend of March building a prototype for it.
The game turns out okay-ish. While it feels quite intense and requires a lot of concentration (like Super Hexagon), I feel that the game pacing is too flat. There’s no up and down, there’s no ramping up intensity. In the end I decided to abandon this idea and try another one.
At some point in the next week, a friend of mine mentioned a game idea about being a kidnapper who have to sneak around the neighbourhood and evade people. While the idea sounds kinda meh to me (because if I have to sneak around, I’d rather be Solid Snake), the control he suggested, which have the kidnapper keeps moving while the player control when to turn with swipe, piques my interest. Somehow I can imagine a game about a knight moving around in a dungeon avoiding monsters with that kind of control. And to be honest, Nimble Quest might have inspired me a bit.
On the weekend, as I started opening up Photoshop and Eclipse, suddenly it occurred to me that the game is kinda similar to Pac-Man where we have a guy running around in a maze evading ghosts. And so I decided to just go with the Pac-Man look for my game, which is black background and bright basic shapes. I went with green grid for the maze, light blue triangle for the main character and red circle for the enemy.
It’s kinda interesting that since I already have a visualisation of how the game would look (which is Pac-Man), I can just work on the assets without needing to sketch the whole game first.
On sunday noon I’m done with the prototyping. While I quite liked how the control turns out, the basic game concept apparently isn’t so good. The game feels like a weird mix of action and strategy where player have to pay attention to both his movement as well as the enemy movement. I tried tweaking stuff like movement speed or the number of enemy, but it doesn’t make the game any better.
Since the control is so fast-paced, I decided to make the game more action-oriented. My initial idea is to make some sort of racing game where the player have to race other people through a series of checkpoints in the maze. I dismissed this idea since it doesn’t rely on the player’s reflex, which is the control’s strong suit.
To properly test a player’s reflex, the player must not know the path in advance and has to react in time. The best way to do this is by having the player chase something, so he has to react quickly according to the target movement. I decided to pursue this idea further, and thus Project Chaser is born.
I simply modified some stuff and by Sunday night I got the game working. I also added some “coin-picking” sound effect when chasing the target to make the chasing part more exciting. And yay, this time around the game feels so much better since it’s now totally action oriented.
That said, it’s not like the idea doesn’t have any problem. The biggest problem is scalability, how do I make a full game from this chasing concept? I don’t think an endless version of this game is easily doable since it’s pretty boring if the enemy simply got faster and faster. Not to mention that I can’t figure out a good death condition for the game.
So that leaves level-based system, which is also annoying. Not just creating more maze is a pain in the ass, having a simply bigger and more complicated maze is also boring. What’s really needed is variety in the form of environmental obstacles, and while they’re doable, actually creating them will take quite a while.
We’ll see what I can come up with to overcome this problem.
Oh, and by the way, I think I have decided on the name of the game, which is Grid Chaser. The name actually comes from the racing game idea, which supposedly will be named Grid Racer (since it sounds similar to Ridge Racer). But since the game is now about chasing, I simply changed “racer” to “chaser”.
Well, that’s it for now, stay tuned for the third week progress on the next log (which hopefully will come out tomorrow)!