Post news RSS Dev Week #5: An Introduction

An intro to the project + I've implemented a handful of new mechanics and graphics, so check them out!

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Well, I've had this profile up for a few weeks now, so figured it's time to write something meaningful!

Project History:
Apathy Goat is a one man project that has technically been in development for 12 months as of writing. Initially I was planning to make it a casual arcade Facebook game and it was pretty much complete, but after spending a few months abroad in South-East Asia I came back to work with a grand new vision for it, so there was a total reboot last December!

Troubles with Design:
The design phase of this project has been particularly hard, as typing mechanics are a pretty delicate thing to work with. I'm acutely aware that just a splash too much typing would turn the game into into a chore, and stripping too much away would just make it a not-very-good adventure game. It's a real challenge trying to think up inventive ways to work in mechanics!

The Interesting Parts:
But I *did* think up interesting ways, and now we have a game. In the last 6 weeks I've been actively developing it full-time. The initial prototypes of the driving & sidescrolling levels were completed within one week each, and since then I've mainly been working on assets and mechanics, as well as having fleshed out a general level & story plan.

I'm working entirely on the first level of the game (a sidescroller in the desert) at the moment. I think the level in itself is about 70% complete now, but I haven't done any real end-to-end gameplay testing (haven't finished hooking in stuff like score, death, checkpoints or the UI).

But here's some of what I *have* achieved in the last couple of weeks:

New Effect: Apathy Goat now smokes while idle and while walking

Apathy Goat never got the memo about lung cancer. Like all self-respecting anarchist goats he can't read anyway. Reading is tied too closely with ambition, and ambition is dangerous territory when you live day to day.

New Enemy: Eastern brown snake!

No-brainer. Comes at you. Type it before it gets to you. I also think I'll open the level with a sequence a bit like this, camera tracking a snake.

New Enemy: Flaming sheep! + New Mechanic: TNT

When aliens invade, the sheep are always the first to go. This particular guy isn't typable and he runs just slightly faster than Apathy Goat, so the play will need to work out that they have to go back past the TNT barrel and use it to blow him up. >=) Not that the sheep is evil or naything, he's just panicking and likely to start some serious bush fires.

New Enemy: Dropbear!

Oh, it looks like I broke the dropbear's falling code when I implemented a new pathing system. And he's in the wrong layer. Hmm.

Seriously, drop bear. You had one job. You can't even drop properly? What even...

New Obstacle: Molly, the formerly living cow!

Molly. Even in death, she was still in the fucking way. What is it about cows and roads? As he stepped daintily through her remains, Apathy Goat wondered what had killed her...

New Mechanics: Wireless Signal Detector & Pizza

Still working on it, but the idea is that the mouse cursor controls your keyboard's wireless signal receiver, and you can use it to detect typable objects in the level (in this case a very obvious barrel).

Here the barrel contains pizza, which Apathy Goat's owner dangles from a fishing rod on the far side of the screen, motivating the goat to run faster!

New Mechanic: Edible Stuff

Some obstacles such as beer, ashtrays and school children will cause Apathy Goat to stop and eat them rather than just being bumped. You'll have to stop and watch him eat and chew while you wait (and as a time-based game, this sucks for you). So, ideally, you'll get rid of 'em before he gets to them.

Other new stuff:

  • Destructible rocks, logs, barrels,
  • Added rippling lakes & trees to the background
  • Added hay bales, pitch forks & truck tyres to the foreground
  • Added rocky hills to the level (previously it was entirely flat, which is actually realistic for the desert, but uninteresting for a game)
  • Improved visual separation of foreground & background layers by adding a rough lip to the top of the foreground
  • Improved the quality of the dirt textures (both foreground & background)
  • Improved the bases of the termite mounds
  • Revisited the graphics of the background windmill & watertank
  • Adjusted the tree colour palette, but still not totally happy; think I need to improve the shading on it. But I don't know if I will. >=)

Aw yeah. I love typing games. Grew up playing Mario Teaches Typing and recently played Typing of the Dead: Overkill (or whatever the new one was called).

I'm a bit confused about the general gameplay. In this update you posted a bunch of new stuff, but what's the basic gameplay? Do I need to keep typing "go" to keep the goat moving? Why do I care if apathy goat stops moving? Am I being chased by something? Am I go for scores based on time to finish a level? Do some obstacles insta-kill me or do things just slow me down? For the wireless signal -- is this a main mechanic? Do I always have to mouse over things to interact or is it just to find additional hidden things?

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raventhe Author

Nice. I've never seen Mario Teaches Typing actually, I should probably take a look.

Thanks for having the patience to ask! You're right, I have some clearing up to do.

Firstly, below applies just to the sidescrolling levels (30% of game). I think they'd get seriously monotonous so mixing them up w/ other styles & splashes of humour.

Also, all W.I.P. Will finish making 1st level, see how it feels, adjust mechanics accordingly until it's fun. :) Tough to balance typing game...

- Yell (type) at goat to motivate him to move. Each yell=go faster. Slows down again over time. Needs some tuning; won't have to type him as frequently as seen above, as it's kind of annoying me already.
- Change goat's direction left/right with arrow keys to help dodge some stuff, but for now no way to actually reduce his speed.
- Level of course gets harder if you go faster, so player must balance according to their skill level
- Level is timed by goat's cigarette. Too slow=he has to go back to get another one (restart level). Faster finish time=better score. Reach platinum score target = platinum skill point to unlock little game-changing skills like aixelsyD, allowing you to type words backward for big score bonuses. :3
- Skill system under revision; more info later
- 3 platinum scores achieved necessary to unlock final chapter of game & real story conclusion.
- Some obstacles slow you down, some hurt you, some insta-kill you
- Speed mechanic does work nicely for chase scenes too of course. Boss of 1st level = mammoth dropbear that you must outrun whilst also "typing" him to slow him down until you get to the car.
- "Wireless Signal Detector" controlled by mouse used to find hidden stuff like pizza (speed up) & cigarettes (bonus time). Not vital; just a bonus for the hardcore. Vast majority of obstacles=automatically detected.

Okay, I think that sums it up. Thanks very much for your interest. :)

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