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The objective is to move quickly, dodge deadly obstacles, and get to the end before the timer runs out. If you collide with a red object, you will reset to the beginning of the level and the timer continues to count down.
In the beginning, my focus was on developing a character movement that must be mastered. I wanted the game to be hard, but I wanted the controls to feel good.
At first, the controls were drifty and frustrating. The character would accelerate and decelerate slowly. This created a drify experience where I found myself sliding into the death zones constantly. Also, you couldn't change directions very easily. Once you were moving in a direction, it was very hard to stop moving.
It was not fun at all.
After many code rewrites and play tests, I found a way to have acceleration, drift, and responsive controls all in one. The trick to my development was building obstacles that were difficult to move through, then refining the controls until they were fun to move through. Instead of making the controls difficult to move, I made the obstacles challenging to move through. Spunky moves quickly, but you are also able to stop quickly. I intentionally design portions of the level to come out of nowhere, or have tight corridors to move through.
Instead of being frustrated with movement, I found myself trying to master movement. It was easy to control Spunky, but I had to master dodging objects.
In the next post on Spunky, I will talk about the timer and how I leverage this to create more objectives.
This is a week one update. Development started on 9/28/2019. The next update will be on 10/13/2019.
For the last 2 years, I have been working on a large, overwhelming dream project called Morpheus. I have a team of roughly five individuals who also care greatly about the project. I continue to work on it despite how large the scope is. We have simplified, cut features, and refined core game play. It has taught me a lot about game development.
However, I felt I was ready to try my hand at a smaller project and see what I could create by focusing on much smaller ideas. With this project, Race to the End, I want to develop a core game-play loop and build fun mechanics that support it.
In order to keep the scope and my time manageable for this project, I created a Hack N Plan board with 4 different sprints. Hack N Plan is basically a kanban board like Trello, but with some extra features. It's tailored for Game Development and I think it is a great tool.
I designed my first sprint of work around a MVP, or minimum viable product, and made sure I scheduled my time so I could complete the work.
The game I am creating is simple: race to the end of the level within the time limit and dodge obstacles that set you back.
I started with movement. I spent a lot of time tweaking and rewriting the physics to move a little ball around the screen. Most of my time was spent actually moving the ball around the screen and debating if it felt right. After trial/error and some level design, I settled on something that feels fast, but controllable.
The next items on my list that I needs to complete was the obstacle and the goal. I did the most basic mechanic and created a death box and a goal box. One touch of a death box and the character will reset back to the beginning of the level. With the movement, death boxes, and the goal object, I was able to design some levels.
For now, I developed three levels. Easy, medium, and hard. The hardest part about designing levels is getting good at your own game. As I continued to play levels over and over, I became increasing good at my own controls and the levels became easy. Thankfully, I have some people who were able to play-test the game. The levels will have to continued to be polished over the course of development.
After working on the core, I decided to add a leaderboard to track the fastest times in each level. This added a layer of fun to the game. I found myself trying to 1-up myself in each level.
The coins are not exactly necessary, but it added some extra intensity to the movement. You just want to pick up every single one. Also, I just enjoy putting them near the red walls and watching other players suffer.
Thank you for reading my post. The next update will be on 10/13/2019.
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