I do a lot of work on the game. Pretty much, I do a little bit of code every day for the game. At least an hour or two every weekday, and a lot more during the weekends.
There's a lot of work involved in making gameplay feel like a game. When you have shooting mechanics, taking the easy way out and not making it polished and nice can really put people off your game. I'm a firm believer that gameplay comes before anything else.
I'm one of those guys who's disappointed about a lot of the current state of games. Games are too easy, games are too focused on providing a "cinematic" experience. They are too focused on trying to be "art". So many of these developers become so focused on making games into other things, that they forget why games are unique experiences. Games are not movies, they are not books. Games can be art, but art itself is subjective. I've seen a lot of paintings and sculptures that to me are not "art" yet to others, they are the epitome of it.
I am a firm believer that games can be art, but that the art of games is not just in how it looks, not just on the story being told. The real artistic element in a game should be first and foremost the one thing that distinguishes the medium from all other audiovisual experiences: Interaction.
Interactivity makes a game what it is. Gameplay can inspire deep feelings in a player. From fear in Amnesia: Dark Descent, triumph when you beat a difficult game like Demon Souls or Ninja Gaiden. Excitement about the prospect of getting a shiny new weapon. Gameplay can instill all these feelings and more, yet, so many games out there try so hard to impart these emotions through means they see in other mediums: Story and Visuals.
Don't get me wrong, a good story and great visuals are a boon to any game. However, why is it that people play a game like Minecraft when it has neither? The answer is gameplay. This is our focus for the game. Gameplay is king.
Now that you know a little about the design philosophy behind the game, let's open up a few more of the mechanics I have built in the last two weeks:
- Hunger: As time passes, your character gets more and more hungry. Hunger will be an important element, and it is there to serve gameplay. The design choice to have hunger is very simple: Hunger drives players to explore, rather than to sit still in some unreachable corner of the map for hours on end.
- Stamina: You can't run forever, can you? Neither can your player pawn. Stamina will be used as a resource you need to manage when performing physical actions. Melee combat, jumping, running, etc. Stamina will also dictate how much you can carry.
- AI: AI is pretty important. It will run the behavior of all of our enemies. As such, I have been trying to optimize it and make it easy to add new enemy behaviors to it later on. For those of you interested in technical stuff, I am using behavior trees to do this. The AI is still being optimized, with my goal being to have 50 to 100 active agents doing things at the same time smoothly.
- My goal is to design unique enemies that change the gameplay experience for players. So many games have enemies that simply require that you shoot them until you die. They don't really change the way you play the game in any major way. In Rebirth, the aim is to make enemies unique and memorable. We will have more about our enemies later, as we are still in the design stages.
- Weapons:I did a bit more work on the shooting mechanics for weapons, as there were some quirks that were bothering me. Shooting them now feels a lot tighter. I also added the ability to right click and aim your weapon. This gives you a slight zoom effect as well as a little bit tighter spread on your bullets.
I think this is enough to mull over for now. As always, please leave your comments and ask any questions on your mind. Suggestions and ideas are always welcome :-)