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Battlesuit Dev Diary #1

Apologies in advance, this is going to be a rambling post with no discernible point or structure.

I haven't successfully kept a dev diary since 2008. And I haven't successfully released a full length game since then, either. I do really want to make significant progress on the Battlesuit project this year (to the point of releasing a "Shareware" version before the year's out) but I'm lacking anything resembling creative drive. So maybe at least talking about the project on the blog on a regular schedule, and getting feedback and peer pressure might actually help.

So, as I think I said last time, there isn't a line of code yet. I did a couple of experiments in Monkey, but I think I'll begin prototypical development in Blitz3D before moving to a more modern platform (I've actually been considering XNA, perhaps with a Monkey codebase).

Almost everything that's been done for the game exists in a Zim wiki, comprising a few story drafts (including last year's ScriptFrenzy entry), character and vehicle profiles. Not all of it's entirely textual, Anthony's done some sketches of the mecha designs (12 distinct models with several variants) and I used the Anime Face Maker to whip up some prototypical character portraits.

The game is going to be a mecha first-person shooter, I briefly entertained the idea of making it a 'Sin and Punishment' esque third person shooter but have since dropped the idea. Battlesuit will have a gentle learning curve geared towards accessibility over complexity, but will nonetheless incorporate tactical thinking rather than relying entirely on reflex.

I played through 'Shogo' as research for the project (also because it's a good game) but it didn't closely resemble what I had in mind. I really enjoyed Shogo's accessibility (controlling the mecha is more or less identical to standard FPS controls), and I do want to have highly accessible controls in Battlesuit (something I pride myself on) but I don't think it really had a good "mecha" feel. The mecha's don't have a "weighty" sensation to them, they're not hugely different to each other and the GUI is almost featureless. Mecha-to-mecha combat didn't really feel right either, you could easily plow through dozens of enemy units one after the other so it I never had the illusion that they were piloted by intelligent foes. The story was also a bit hard to follow at places and I never got that interested in the characters.

Even though it's a "flight" (I use the term in the loosest sense) simulator, the 'Wing Commander' series might be a better analogy to what I have in mind. Although the various craft fly with no regard for Newtonian physics, they somehow "feel" right and distinct from each other. The cockpits are highly detailed and add a great deal to the atmosphere, especially when they begin to be damaged. And the enemies were never a pushover; in fact, even though the enemy craft have inferior performance to those enjoyed by the player, sometimes a single one-on-one dogfight with an Ace pilot was a challenge. While the plotting was a bit weak in the first game (vastly improved in the sequels), the story was always well presented and extremely easy to follow. Another thing I liked about the game was how the levels were generally short but quite difficult, although not quite to the extent of Super Meat Boy this was nonetheless addictive.

500 words, enough rambling for now, I'll do some more next weekend.

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arran4
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Shogo?

 

Earok
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Shogo: Mobile Armour Division. It's a late 90s first person shooter, available on Good Old Games and definitely worth a look (despite my criticism, overall I thought it was a great game).

arran4
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Got any intentions of finishing it? Watching some youtubes of it now. Please don't tell me that this is the actual opening: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC4S8zXMxUM

arran4
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Hah. One of the "featured" youtubes from one of the ones I was watching was: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WxyNkWTTcY&feature=fvwrel NSFW

Earok
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I finished it (on one ending at least, I need to go back and play through the other ending). And yes, that's the opening.

I saw that Shadow Warrior video the other day for some reason. The game was completely tasteless in parts, but was probably one of the most impressive usages of the Build engine (along with Blood). I need to get that game again sometime.

Also, Shadow Warrior had some interesting pop culture references.. I remember a secret area with a cave where there's a dead knight and a hellishly difficult to kill Rabbit.

arran4
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Joined: 05/05/2009

Were you given a gernade? :P

Earok
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Unfortunately not, I don't think the holy hand grenade of Antioch makes an appearance.

You do have a portable nuclear missile in the game, however.

Joshua Smyth (not verified)

Woot. first shareware game making attempt! Good luck.

And yes, I had a lot of fun with Shadow Warrior.

Earok
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Cheers mate. Hmm.. I wonder if Shadow Warrior has a co-op mode. Might be an interesting theme for a future retro game night.

Joshua Smyth (not verified)

I have a copy of Blood from GOG thats some fun multiplayer. 

Earok
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Ah, sounds great. I should pick that up myself.

Sucks that Shadow Warrior is nowhere to be seen on GOG.

arran4
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Joined: 05/05/2009

Hah. We still have to get our Duke 3d game on the way!

Earok
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Touche. Maybe once the 2012 global game jam is over and done with.

arran4
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Joined: 05/05/2009

Hah. That's as much my fault as it is yours. :P Don't think of it as a task, but some fun we could have some stage!

Earok
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Joined: 02/06/2009

Fair enough. I feel I probably should just schedule a date and time and stick to it though, otherwise it might never happen!

arran4
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Ping me next time we are both on gtalk and I am not.. crossing a street.

Earok
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Reminds me of a Chuck Norris fact I heard tonight:

There was once a street named after Chuck Norris. They had to change the name after they realised that nobody crosses Chuck Norris and lives.

arran4
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hah. I wonder if we could play multiplayer duke 3d... On portable devices...

Earok
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Funny you mention that, I have the Mega Drive version of Duke 3D on my portable mega drive console (which I still need to review..)

arran4
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Does it have MPer?

Earok
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The console or the Mega Drive version or Duke 3D? Neither unfortunately.

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