A retro themed Helicopter game for mobile (and possibly PC) that combines Choplifter and Crazy Taxi. Players get to tackle a large city where they pick up passengers and try to get them safely to their destinations. Sprinkle in some story missions and an upgrade shop, and you have Helicopteropolis!

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Blog RSS Feed Post news Report abuse Latest News: Testing A.I. with the 'Man Cannon'

7 comments by ScottTykoski on Jul 7th, 2011

Hey Everyone! I was hoping my next dev journal would finally get us to a playable gameplay prototype, but alas...I got bit by the polish bug.

For anyone unfamiliar with game development, there are (basically) three major stages: Invention, Implementation and Iteration. "Invention" is the design phase, "Implementation" is the "get it in and working" phase. The final step, the "Iteration" phase (or "Polish" phase) has you tweaking and improving your game 'till it sparkles with awesomeness. This often includes implementing smaller systems that add that extra bit of 'sexiness' (technical term).

Smart people use the above cycle to stay on track and organized. I, however, am an easily distracted idiot...so here I am working on passenger AI stuff (pure, undeniable polish) that's a good 3-4 months too early.

The distraction came from YouTube videos of the original Choplifter...specifically, the P.O.W's you were saving. They didn't just stand there, waiting to be intersected by the Helicopters bounding box. No...they ran around, gesturing for help. If you landed close enough they ran into your chopper safe embrace. When you dropped them off they would occasionally turn with a thankful wave as they ran to the safe-house.

These are very simple feats of logic, and thus my ire was fueled. I COULD NOT let Helicopteropolis's virtual citizens stand there with a trickle of drool meandering down their chinular region. So code was written...AI Rules, Brains, and Motivations. Data driven reasoning skills were breathed into my pixel people...and it was good.

Anyways, to test their new-found 'smarts' I hooked up a cheat weapon that spawns NPCs instead of bullets. Regular citizens (guys in blue) should pick a random location and do there best to reach it. Clowns should do the same, but if my chopper lands, they should pick IT as their new destination. And rare Buisinessmen show an icon based on their AI Motivation...getting dropped off at their bosses kids' pizza party.

Time to put the Man Cannon...and my new AI....to the test!

So the AI seems to be doing as I've commanded them. This doesn't necessarily get me closer to my necessary 'core gameplay' test, but at least it'll be more polished than the rough prototype I had planned. And now that my AI itch has been scratched, it's time to put away the Man Cannon and get back to some proper gameplay Implementation

...Until the next polish bug comes biting. :)

Next Time: I stop stalling a get a good old fashioned prototype up and running. Have my calculations been correct? Will the marriage of Choplifter and Crazy Taxi result in a mangled dud of a game, or will it pave the way to something truly fun to play?

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Post comment Comments  (0 - 10 of 13)
onionman Jul 31 2011 says:

Haha, this looks pretty good!

+1 vote     reply to comment
ScottTykoski Creator
ScottTykoski Aug 11 2011 replied:

Thanks Onionman! I'm hoping it can be a 'from under the radar' type success... mostly since Choplifter clones are a dime-a-dozen in the flash portals.

ps. I tried to give your post karma but my finger slipped :( Hope that dosen't have negative consequences on your profile (not sure how karma works on IndieDB).

+2 votes   reply to comment
Dotdroid Jul 28 2011 says:

Hey Boogiebac whats your XBL Gamertag maybe we could hang out some time online what you thin? My gamertag is Freakfaces or Mortal Jokerz but you should add Freakfaces!
P.S. Nice update!

+1 vote     reply to comment
ScottTykoski Creator
ScottTykoski Aug 2 2011 replied:

Ok, I added you but, fair warning, the last XBL game I really played online was that free Doritos Crash Course game...so I doubt you'll want me jumping into a Modern Warfare skirmish with you. ;)

+1 vote   reply to comment
Dotdroid Jul 21 2011 says:

How is the progress going I hope this is 80MSPoints whern it is released I will buy it and also will it haveonline compatibility?

+1 vote     reply to comment
ScottTykoski Creator
ScottTykoski Jul 21 2011 replied:

It's coming slowly...lots of engine work to do, and you really don't want to rush that kind of stuff :)

I hope to have a prototype dev diary up in the next two weeks.

+1 vote   reply to comment
Dotdroid Jul 7 2011 says:

Nice job not only does it look awsome but you're a great illustrator!

+1 vote     reply to comment
ScottTykoski Creator
ScottTykoski Jul 8 2011 replied:

Thanks Luke :) Any illustrations done are really just for fun...you can see what happens to any concept art when you only have 8x8 pixels to work with.

+1 vote   reply to comment
ScottTykoski Creator
ScottTykoski Jun 22 2011 says:

Thanks guys! I'll keep the updates coming...having people that are interested certainly helps to motivate :)

+1 vote   reply to comment
architectts Jul 28 2011 replied:

Great game deserves great fans.

+1 vote     reply to comment
architectts Jul 6 2011 replied:

Yeah, I have a soft spot for retro.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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Released Feb 1, 2015
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