Oooh, two logs in a row? =3
Welcome to the second progress log for project Chaser. In case you don’t know, project Chaser is my March entry for OneGameAMonth. As I have detailed in the first log, on project Chaser player will control the movement of a blue triangle by swiping and will have to chase a moving target in a maze.
Despite that description, the design for the game is definitely not done yet, there’s still a lot of improvement that can be added. One such improvement is for the movement control. At one point a friend of mine complained that it’s not clear where the character (err, triangle) would go next, and I have to agree, it’s not clear whether the player input has been correctly received or not. To try solving this problem, I decided to add a set of arrows in front of the triangle that would give a preview of where it will go next to the future.
I quite liked the arrow addition since it makes the movement much clearer and it fits pretty well with the overall look of the game. That said, another friend of mine claimed that this arrow-preview-thingy is actually confusing, so… -.-a
Anyway, I didn’t spend the whole weekend just adding arrows, I also remade the prototype to be much more object-oriented and the movement system to be smoother. Now it feels more like a proper game. However I’m starting to feel that the chasing mechanism is kinda boring since I spent so much time doing it and the novelty already wears off.
So I was wondering, how could I make the game more fun and feels less like a chore? Previously I’ve mentioned that Nimble Quest kinda inspires me, so it is very fitting that the answer came while I was playing the preview of Nimble Quest too. And the answer to my question is reward, I need to somehow reward the player for successfully chasing the target.
While playing Nimble Quest, I realized that what keeps me playing is the fact that I’m going to unlock a new character each time I cleared a new level. In short, new character becomes the reward for playing the game. So what would be the reward for playing project Chaser? I don’t want to deal with the hassle of coins, upgrades, or other unlockable items at this point, so it has gotta be something else.
With that in mind, I created Crystal Farming as the reward for playing the game.
(pardon me for the stupid name)
So, what the hell is crystal farming? Basically, after the player managed to reach the target, the whole map will be filled with crystals and player just need to direct the triangle around to attract and obtain those crystals. It’s fast-paced, easy to do (doesn’t need full concentration) and quite fun. I feel that having an easy but satisfying activity to do is a proper reward after the hassle of chasing down the target.
It’s also worth mentioning that this crystal collecting mechanism is much more scalable than the chasing one. It’s easier to create an upgrade system for collecting those crystals, like having upgrades that can attract more crystals or doubling the value of each crystal.
Well, all of this comes only from my perspective though, how’s people actual responses to it? Fortunately, when I showed the game to a bunch of friends, the crystal farming part seems to get a universal positive response. So I think I actually managed to nail this crystal farming section.
That said, the response to the chasing mechanism is much more mixed. Even though there actually is this sense of escalating intensity, some people find the chasing part to be a bit too hard or takes too much time. And I tend to agree with those observations, I definitely still need to tweak the chasing sessions. The movement control seems to also needs a bit more tweak since apparently each person has a different way of swiping.
And to be honest though, I don’t think that the crystal farming stuff is the best mechanism for reward that I can do for this game, but it definitely is a step in the right direction. And for a game that must be done before April, I think that is enough.
Anyway, check out this video below to see the game in full action.
My emulator keeps crashing whenever I ran the game on it and I don’t want to deal with it right now, so I just recorded myself playing it instead =)
So, what’s next for project Chaser? Well, for starter, I need to start building other levels and additional obstacles for them. I think having 3 mazes is a good target for now. And there’s also that matter of creating a nice tutorial that can make people feel comfortable with the game control.
One other thing that kinda bothers me is how the chasing part and the crystal collecting part seems too separate. I really think that some sort of integration between the two is necessary here. One scenario that comes to mind is to have some random crystals pop out during the chase so the player has to choose whether to go after the crystal or chase the target.
Anyway, that’s all for now, see you on the next progress log!