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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.

Terry Cavanagh's new year resolution

Terry Cavanagh (of VVVVVV fame) has posted his new years resolution, which is simply:

This year, I’m not going to start any new projects.

Brilliant! I think I'm going to have to steal that one myself (though GGJ, Nano, Screnzy etc can potentially count towards projects I've already started).

Goals 2012

Josh at Tiny Frog Software has posted his 2012 goals which has inspired me to do mine.

I only have one real goal - release something related to the Battlesuit project, which currently exists only as a 1st draft 100 page script, some prototypical artwork by Anthony and some rudimentary Monkey demos. Kirsty jokingly suggested interactive fiction as one possible outlet, which sounds kind of awesome when I think about it - probably the world's first mecha text adventure.

Time permitting, the Global Game Jam, Script Frenzy and NaNoWriMo are also on the horizon.

Milk of the Manwhore (NSFW)

My Goats will never walk again!

Captain Planet Rampage (NSFW)

Climate change is just a giant left wing conspiracy hoax designed to redistribute my hard earned wealth to... f'in.. polar bears

The Phoenix Wright movie trailer

What can I say? Looks awesome. Thanks to Justin for pointing it out to me.


The Kiwi's Tale level viewer

Want to have a random explore of all of the levels of the Kiwi's Tale? Now you can.

The Kiwi's Tale Level Browser

Press the cursor keys to scroll around, and space to cycle through levels.

It goes without saying this is the first step in porting the Kiwi's Tale to Monkey, but I'm probably going to put the project on the back burner for awhile.

Nando's advertisment: Last Dictator Standing

Writing quote of the day



Simply lower your standards.

(Seriously. Think about it)

Don Schenck

Game Updates

Just a couple of updates to announce:

The Kiwi's Tale is now available for Mac, once again. Thanks to Cobra Blade for compiling a universal binary of the newer, two player mode version. The app file is bundled with the Zip, so there's only one download for both PC and Mac.

WitchBlaster has had a few graphical fixes to the HTML5 and Flash versions of the game, to better take advantage of Anthony Lau's amazingly intricate, dynamic enemy sprites.