Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Plague rewrite - your design thoughts wanted

I'm in London and unemployed right now, which leaves me with loads of unallocated time that I can use to upskill (and spend going for runs in the sun). I've started learning C# and XNA and am planning on releasing a new variant of Plague - it'll have similar gameplay but with different design trade-offs.

I'm concentrating on programming, with the game as an after thought (but also a concrete testbed in which to write lots of code). As such I'm happy to outsource lots of design decisions.

Here is what I am thinking at this point:
  1. Top down shooter
  2. Procedural map generation
  3. Procedural weapon generation
  4. Line of sight for game agents
  5. Hive mind for zombies (so they dont all have individual memories which was quite expensive)
  6. Tower defence elements
  7. RTS style controls for friendly agents
  8. Much less AI for friendly agents?
  9. Keep game fast (probably lose cellular automata fire and explosions)
  10. Open world gameplay (I really hated the confined maps of Plague) - not sure how I'm going to do this - any hints?
  11. Unlimited ammo?
  12. Recharging health?
There are about a billion design decisions to be made within this design outline, and I'd be keen to hear your thoughts. If anyone wants to help out, please let me know. There will be plenty of testing/balancing required.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Attack of the paper zombies

The excellent indie freeware game, Attack of the paper zombies can be found here:

It's a really fun tower defence/squad based RTS. Really simple controls and gameplay, but with enough depth to be interesting and very well executed.

Monday, February 15, 2010

No news is good news?

Nope, not in this case.

So in my last week of holidays I decided to add RTS controls to the game. But when I went to look at the existing codebase to add the new systems, I found a horrible "complexity bomb" waiting to go off (marginal improvements took exponenially more time to implement due to a design and construction of systems that dont scale up well). Which, if memory serves is why I stopped working on this a while back and started studying code design and construction properly.

With my new found knowledge, I decided that I could fix it, and so I started to with gusto, but as the days rolled on, I decided it might be better to start from scratch with a new clean engine designed to handle the complexity I want to throw at the game (no offence to myself, but its a terribly designed and constructed game engine for the amount of complexity I've added in. Not bad for a first attempt at programming though and a very good learning experience :P ).

So I started investigating Panda3D and BlenderGame (designed and constructed by teams of people who knew what they were doing), and thats when I ran out of holidays.

Right now I'm in the middle of a transition from happily employed in NZ to unemployed (hopefully short term) in the UK (hopefully long term). This happened right at the end of my holidays which is why there hasnt been an update since my last until now (haha). The transition of course doesnt leave a lot of time for other things, and so work on Plague is on hold, indefinitely. I might next get a chance to look at it in June. But even thats massively unlikely.

In the meantime, Plague is of course openSource, so if anyone wants to go and gut the beast and recode a new shiny engine, or better yet take the parts you like and put into an existing shiny engine, feel free. I've already got a sourceforge etc setup, so if anyone wants access, shout out. I'd just like to be able to contribute again in the future, as time permits.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Has it really been that long?

Wow. I knew I hadn't done any development for a while, but I didn't realise it had been that many months. Blame training for a sports event, too much work and a slew of excellent games culminating in (a much delayed but sublime) Fallout 3. That's the best game I've ever played (if quite buggy). Browsing the mod scene for Fallout 3 has lead to me a "28 days later"mod for Oblivion... I'll try to resist installing that and get back to programming with my remaining week of holiday but no promises :)