Introduction and Pre-alpha Content
My first post is going to cover as much as possible to get up to speed with where i am today. So it is going to be long. You have been warned! About five weeks ago i had the idea to create a video game. Because it was going to be my first official game that i intended to release publicly and commercially. I would start small, so the first decision i made was to restrict the game to just handheld devices. Over the past couple of years handheld and casual gaming has become more mainstream and almost everybody has a game on their mobile device. With that in mind i decided a platformer would be interesting to make and suit the device well, and off i went. Unfortunately because i have decided to start this blog late into the development of my first game, there won’t be much covered about asset creation. Fortunately i can however discuss my game concept and ideas that i began with and what has changed. The game idea is simple, normally when playing a game you are encouraged to kill monsters and collect loot. While almost everybody (including myself) finds this tried and true concept fun and entertaining i decided i wanted to approach this idea from another angle. What if instead of killing monsters, you were to help them. It sounds simple, but i wasn’t trying to reinvent the wheel. Instead of the player gaining points every time they killed a monster, in this game they will lose points. So how does the player gain points? With Trash. Instead of collecting gold coins or other forms of currency, the player collects trash. Very quickly, based on these core and simple gameplay ideas a concept was being formed. My platformer was a game about cleaning up trash and avoiding monsters. But how do the two relate? Well i decided to illustrate my point.
The game was going to be about the Eco-system and environment. You would help clean up Trash to eventually move towards a greener, healthier planet. This meant i had to change the idea of avoiding monsters, to avoiding animals. I decided to use spiders because people are generally afraid of them and i wanted to demonstrate (albeit trivially) how even the smallest of creatures help balance our Eco-system. The meter has a sliding marker represented as the sun and every time the player cleans up trash it slides towards the green healthy tree.
Every time they accidentally steps on a spider it slides towards the orange dead tree, each side of the meter represents a healthy or unhealthy planet. Of course the player will still receive/lose points based on their actions and they will be tallied at the end of each stage for a high score. So at the end of all of this, the game is a platformer about saving the planet, one trash pile at a time. What do you call a game that is based on such a clean idea? Well how about TRASHTASTIC. These are all the core game ideas i had and a very streamlined version of my thought process for creating them. Again i’m sorry this is a long-winded catch-up, and most of the asset design is over, but there is always my next game, which i will be blogging about from the very first day.
TRASHTASTIC is well and truly on its way to becoming a commercial application on the googleplay store. As of today it has a fully functional test level with over 25 spiders and 25 trash piles all bug free, animated, reacting and working as intended. The playable character has been modelled and animated. BGM music has been implemented and sfx for the player’s jump, spider’s death, button press and trash collection have been created and implemented. A basic save state feature has been implemented to allow the player to exit the game and continue from the last level played. Everything is falling into place and with just a few more features to be added the game is almost at the code freeze milestone, which is exciting stuff. Some features that still need to be implemented are sticky spider webs and bouncy mushroom stools.
There are still a number of points i need to address before i move on to alpha. I plan to re-sample the sfx as i’m not quite happy with the noises at the moment. I need to script the BGM to start and stop at the appropriate times. Currently the high score is calculated as a percentage i need to change that back to a base number so it more understandable, then need to add a script that changes the tile texture HUE based on current game score. This effect is to visualise the levels Eco-system changing based on player actions. Typical stuff, the tiles will change to green then bright green when the player score is high and brown to dark brown when the player score is low.
Although almost all the assets for TRASHTASTIC are finished, there are some more concepts that haven’t been created yet so i will be able include asset progress updates. Assets i still plan to implement:
- Cardboard cut-out style effect of objects in the near-background. (trees, rocks, boulders, trash piles, etc)
- Sticky Spider Webs (both assets for webs across the floor and on the back walls)
- Bouncy Mushrooms (3D) (will need to be animated with a squash effect for when player jumps on top)
- Flash Animation (for the sun marker)
Implementing some of these assets will be interesting and make for some exciting posts (if you enjoy looking at code). The sticky spider webs will slow down the players movement. While the bouncy mushrooms will spring the player up into the air. Writing the code for texture changes based on current player score will probably be the trickiest part. For my first update i am going to include the pre-alpha build. This is most likely the last pre-alpha build i will make of the game, everything after this is alpha+. Some notes: I am aware of a few bugs in the game, none of which are game breaking so i will be leaving those alone until i reach beta. This way i am able to continue working and pushing the project forward without have to slow progression to fix minor issues. All of the issues are recorded so i don’t forget a single problem. Once TRASHTASTIC reaches beta stage it’s just a simple matter of cleaning up the code and fixing bugs. Until then i “just like make game”.
I will only be including the Android apk build today because the Windows PC build is highly unstable and only useful for testing code. It wouldn’t make for a very good demo or showcase. To install the apk your android device needs to be version 2.2+ You can download the apk directly from my dropbox link below for free!
So this is the end for my first update! I’m very impressed if you made it all the way here it was very long and didn’t go into much detail about anything very exciting. I just needed to get the basic and boring introductory stuff out-of-the-way. The updates to follow will be short and sweet, full of pictures and videos. I’ll be talking about all the 3D modelling i do and art i create as well as the scripts i write. It’ll be much more game-development orientated and much less introduction.
Until next time, just like make game!