shawn's blog

We’re timing you…

Posted in MCE by Shawn on November 29, 2011

There really isn’t a “We” as this is just me. But “I’m timing you” sounds a bit creepier than “We’re timing you”. At least, it makes me feel less creepy. And that’s what’s important.

Of course, I’m really talking about Mr. Condyle’s Escape. Right now, for the demo, there are two level types. Goal levels, where you must reach the goal, and Survival levels, where you must survive until time runs out. So, it seems like it makes sense to add in a third level, which is a combination of the two. A Timed Goal Level.

A flag and a stopwatch? Clever! (not really)

The level type is simple. Reach the goal before time runs out. At first, this may seem weird, especially in such a fixed game. It may make more sense if you had direct control over the main character, where your direct move allows you to increase/lower your chances of success. This was the main factor to why I kept it out of the game for so long. I actually included this type of level within my code, but never implemented it in design until recently. But after thinking about it, and just mocking up levels, I decided to take the leap. Whether this is a good decision or not is not known.

The level in its most basic form has the player choosing moves they feel would be the best, as most levels do. However, in these levels, players must pick the most optimal solution, as opposed to the other level types. During any given Goal level, you could pause for a number of times, and still complete the level. Of course, your move count will increase dramatically, but that doesn’t negate the fact that you don’t really need to be move conscious. That changes a bit more with a Survival level, and even more so with a Timed Goal level.  It’s pretty much “Choose the best path, or lose”. And think of the stressful interesting situations you can be placed into. Let’s say the level you are in happens to contain Active Bombs (bombs that start ticking as soon as you enter the level regardless of whether you press play or not), then you’ll need to make the best decision quickly/right on time, depending on where the bomb is.

Quick note about Active Bombs. Just because they go off right away doesn’t mean one has to rush. Rather, they’re more about timing rather than rushing. You know this bomb will go off after ‘x’ seconds. However, when do you press the play button? Do you press play as soon as you can, or do you press play when the bomb is about to explode? Questions!

To bring that back into the whole Timed Goal aspect, this game actually gets a bit more complicated than I thought it would. You may have a timed goal level, where you need to make the right choices quickly, before that bomb blows up and destroys your path. Or, you may need to wait 5 seconds before you set out on your goal in a Goal Level with an Active Bomb. (Active Bombs add a whole new element).

Oh, and finally, there’s a new simple object, which I’ve neglected for some reason. It’s a simple switch. And it has the power to activate/deactivate certain objects, pieces of the level. There are a few level mockups for this switch, which should make the game a bit more difficult than it already is.

But that’s it for now.

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MCE – End of Iteration 10

Posted in MCE, Music, Unity by Shawn on November 28, 2011

So what happened this iteration?

Well, unfortunately, not as much as I would have liked. This past Thursday was Thanksgiving Day, so I do understand why some things may have slowed down. But, while I did not do as much as I would have like to, (I don’t have as many assorted tasks as usual since it’s mostly grinding out levels),  the work that was completed will make future work much easier.

I spent a lot of time messing with the Custom Editor API that Unity provides, and wrote a few things to help me out. My last Redmine instance crashed, and my data with it. On that machine, I had the solutions for the games levels. For play testing, I need the solutions, and rather not spend most of my time trying to beat levels over again, as I forget solutions all the time. So, having easy access to the solutions is key. They are written down in two notebooks, but the notes are very sloppy, and the levels are not in the right order. Sometimes, when searching through the book for a level’s solution, it felt like it’d be easier to just try and solve the level rather than search through the scribbles in my notes.

Anyway, in regards to the custom editor scripts, aside from making an easy list to spawn tools I need, I’m not documenting my solutions on an external file. Very simple, but still very cool. Basically, every time I beat a level, I save the solution to the level. Easier than writing them down, not as messy, and allows me to save time when play testing consecutive levels.

I also have a new song for MCE! I’m not sure where this song will go though. I was thinking this would be set for world 3, but I’m not fully sure what world 3 will be yet. World One is ‘TheCity’ and world two is ‘TheForest’, and I have a slight idea of where I should go next.

Speaking of more musical things, I set up a SoundCloud profile, featuring ‘Less’ and another piece that I worked on some time last year. I do plan to upload more MCE work on SoundCloud for easier sharing/access etc, but two for now will suffice.

But that’s it for now. I have to seriously think of what I’m doing for the next world. And make some more music.

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MossHawk: End of Iteration 1

Posted in MCE, MossHawk by Shawn on November 20, 2011

The first iteration for project MossHawk is finished. What did I do?

Well, since MossHawk is technically a somewhat ‘secret’ project, I cannot really give out too many details.

Although I already have in person to many people.

A few details about MossHawk:

  • It’s going to be another PC project
  • It’s another single player game
  • It’s mostly in 2D, although there will be some elements where you can change perspectice
  • When the main player dies, it’s not the end. Actually, in many situations, death is encouraged.
  • You can help yourself. A lot.

Good details, right? Well, because I’m also working on MCE, I can’t work as fast with this as I can with MCE….albeit, that wasn’t that fast to begin with. However, I’m back to my initial goal of trying to sketch out a level in MCE a day, or at least every two days. Of course, these levels will still need art & music, and will need to progress accordingly in difficultly, but before I can do that, I still need the levels.

That’s it for now, as I do not have much to discuss. Right now, I’m looking at a lot of development that needs to be done, and not as much time as I would like. Despite that, I still need to make due with what I have for now.

…..inspiring, right?

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MCE – End of Iteration 9

Posted in MCE, OriGamInc by Shawn on November 14, 2011

Looks like I’m going to have to append these in terms of what project I’m working on.

It looks like I finally ended Iteration 9. My problem was that I started working on MossHawk, and did get a bit distracted. Good news? A lot of the framework for MossHawk has been completed. The bad news? There’s probably bad news somewhere.

In regards to MCE, this past iteration had me building new levels for the newest tools that were created, such as the heat seeking bomb guy with the crazy eyes. That level is actually quite interesting, and I somewhat wish I managed to get these last three new items into my demo. Of course, this is my demo, so I can add this in, and release a new demo. Which I probably will!

This next iteration looks like it has me taking care of some new music. I am very excited to add new music! World 3 (which will remain unnamed for now) will need to have to continue my musical trend, which is….I’m not really sure. But it’s different, and if anyone would like to put this music into a genre, then go ahead. I’m not sure how to describe it. I already have hub music that I can use for the third world, so any more hub music will be devoted to later world hubs.

And I need to build more levels. However, the process at which I am going about it has me divided. I can just make level after level after level, ignoring which world I am working on, or I can progress, making levels that I feel will fit in world 3, then world 4, etc etc. Right now, I think I’m going to go a combination of the two, and first start out on finishing the worlds in order. Then, if I find I have a cool idea for a level of some kind, I’ll mock it up, make it, and leave it void of art, mostly because I do no know what world they’re going to go in.

For anyone who played the demo, and unlocked the secret world, you may notice that the art style is a mashup of the first two worlds, and that the traps and items in the level are pretty inconsistent. Well, this is mostly because those levels were built at random times, similar to how I was just describing my process. They will eventually find a home, somewhere in a later level. As for now, they’ll float around in World X. Similar to Dimension X, but no Krang. Fortunately. He(?) is somewhat weird.

But that’s it for now. I need to seriously start thinking of the task that I need to complete for MCE, as well as MossHawk. I do hope I’m not spreading myself too thin, working on two projects, something that I cannot even do full time yet. I can still work on adding, revising, planning, etc, when I’m not on my work station, and while planning is very very important, I want to actually put things together. Still, one should never underestimate the power of planning, something that got me to the point I am at. Actually, I think I’m going to grab a Resse’s Stick (I’m addicted!), pour a cup of Egg Nog (yay!), and start some planning, as I’m feeling tons of inspiration just thinking about planning. Which is good?

Okay. Really. That’s it for now.

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Day after Day

Posted in MCE, MossHawk, OriGamInc by Shawn on November 11, 2011

So, at this moment, there’s nothing new and exciting going on in terms of my development. At least, nothing that I’m sharing just yet.

Work on MCE has been the same. More level building!

I actually have a few fun things in store if the news for my game starts picking up steam. But, right now, I’m playing things a bit close to the chest, as I usually do. Well, I like to think that I do, but if you go through this blog, you’ll find a lot of information regarding MCE.

I have also been working on the Top Secret super project MossHawk. It’s not really that secret, but it’s fun to go about saying it is. This game is going to be a bit different from MCE. For example, you can control the main character in real time! What a modern marvel. Also, there will be bad guys! Another crazy new feature that hasn’t been heard of (except for 85%* of all games out there today). The game is still 2-Dimensional however, which shouldn’t take away from the fun. And the genre? Well, there are puzzles. And there are moments where it may feel like an adventure type game. But there’s also bound to be plenty of action! Oh, and this game has a pretty interesting story line at the moment. So there will be drama. Suspense. Tears? Only mine.

Anyway, this game is shaping up to be a really cool project. I may just have to tell more people about it soon.

I also need to get more into the local gaming scene. There are gaming companies in Philly, as well as gaming groups/meetups/etc, and I haven’t really been doing my part as an indie developer to try and attend these meetings or other events. My situation has become a ‘bit’ more stable right now, so this may change soon. There are a few events that I’m planing on attending over the next couple of days, such as an IDGA meeting and a local video game meetup. I’m really interested in the Philadelphia gaming scene, and I would like to see it become much bigger than it is. Not to say that there aren’t a good list of Philadelphia Game-related groups. Why….here’s a list of some! (I’m not on that list….yet?)

That’s it for now. I need to tell more people about this game of mine somehow….

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It’s Moves Just Like You

Posted in MCE, OriGamInc by Shawn on November 2, 2011

This item may be the last new element I make for MCE puzzles for a while. Unless I have some other stroke of…something, and figure out how to include all those other things that I have no clue how to implement….in any case….

There’s this orb. And it looks looks a lot like Mr. Zenbrack Condyle. It’s a bit smaller though. Oh, and surrounded by little bolts of something. Probably lightning.

It's Electric! (Not really though. It's just a good song)

Anyway, this thing will do what Mr. Condyle does. If he jumps, the orb will jump. If he moves left, the orb will move left. If Mr. Condyle grabs ice cream in the middle of January at a beach in New Jersey….well, let’s just hope that he buys two ice cream cones instead of one. Oh, and hopefully a jacket or two.

There’s one other thing about this orb though. It’s weak. Very weak. The only thing it can touch are the orb chambers. If it touches anything else, then it disappears. Which isn’t good. Because there are these special doors which only unlock when you bring that orb here:

It's a Chamber. For Orbs....only one type of orb though.

Once brought to the special chamber, the orb will unlock the special orb door. Simple, right? Just make sure you don’t let Mr. Condyle die. Oh, and make sure the orb doesn’t touch anything. Don’t even let you finger touch the computer screen. Why? Because the screen will probably get oily, and that doesn’t look good, right?

That’s it for now. Oh, I have a piece of music that I want to use for Project Code Name Operation: MossHawk. (Is that what I’m calling it?). Maybe I’ll post that later this week!

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