Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Zee Weekend Update!

Because I can hardly hear myself think over the din of hundreds of interested parties, I'll tell you my progress over the weekend.

First, a distraction! A birthday party. And I also studied Egyptian art. Although very limited, Egyptian art has a distinct appeal all its own. I can now do passable neo-Egyptian drawings. :)

But you're probably wondering about the game. I didn't get quite as much done as I wanted to, but it's still shaping up as a GAME. I've got to make a lot of changes - it's currently little better than spaghetti - but it's starting to be fun.

Here is what the game looks like now:

You can see two of the four kinds of ships I've implemented - bobbies and miners. Miners rush down the screen and leave a vertical trail of slow-moving bullets which partially block the play field. This chops the whole area up and creates an uneven playing field - it seems to work good.

The bobbies are my favorite, because they LOOK so good. They have these spinning 'sights' and fire barrages of bullets. Their combined spread of bullets is exactly what I want, although it's impossible to show the kinetic feel of them. Here, let me show you a version from before they were made somewhat prettier. First the spray of bullets (this is a HIGH difficulty level, and, yes, I died). Then, the look of their sighting mechanisms.

Here are the other two kinds of ships. The lightning, which is a standard chain of enemy ships that fire one shot each. The spinner, which is a stereotypical spinning gun-machine of death. Unlike the other ships, the spinner pauses and retreats off the top of the screen, as expected of its kind.

I've begun to come up with some really solid theories of gameplay. There are a lot of things left to do before this game is ready for release, though.

First and foremost, I need a feeling of progression. Although the game gets progressively harder, and you get points, there is only the one kind of weapon you can shoot. I need other weapons, bosses, and probably cute li'l cut scenes after each stage to tell some kind of story. Maybe I'll use that Egyptian style I learned. :) If I feel particularly aggressive, maybe I'll create a simple strategic game to hook into the battle sequences.

Second, I have to put the adaptive elements into the game. Right now, the only adaptation is the the difficulty is reduced when you die. Essentially, I need to put in a more full-featured PAC than the one I have now.

Third, I need more enemies. And bosses. In order to do that, I'll need to reprogram a good chunk of the game and make heavy use of 'eval'. Did I ever mention that 'Eval' is my bestest friend? I love code that writes code.

I even made a delivery calendar using code which writes code WHICH WRITES CODE. Admittedly, that last 'code' is HTML, but still, the thought is there.

Having Monday off let me get more done than I thought I was going to manage. Not as much as I WANTED to get done, though. And, unfortunately, I do NOT have this weekend available to continue working on it, so I'm going to have to put the project on pause while I deal with Massachusetts.

Damn, losing a week. :P

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