The beginning of a project, everything is new. This is the first news, so I guess I should probably explain what's going on and what this project is going to be. Now if anyone has played any of my previous games, then I would like to make sure you understand that this is going to be nothing like anything I have made before. Maybe you have seen my other games. In this case, you may wonder why you should believe that this game has potential and may even have the slightest chance of being good. So, let me explain:
As I mentioned before, this game is going to be a good game, but why?
1. Graphics - Unlike previous efforts where I used the built in image editor of Game Maker, I am instead relying on external sources. What does this mean? Well, I am still making all of my graphics; however, I am instead making all my images with either GIMP or Microsoft PowerPoint, or a combination of the two. Now, seeing that I'm using PowerPoint may look bad, but the images I am able to create do not. I assure you that I am really good when it comes to doing stuff with PowerPoint. If you don't believe me, then look at the images for this game.
2. Scripting - If you are familiar with Game Maker, then you will doubtless know of its Drag & Drop interface. In the past, I have relied almost wholly on that interface. However, Game Maker does offer and alternative called "Game Maker Language," or GML. Using GML, I am able to do a lot more stuff. For one thing, it is less restrictive. There are many GML functions that have no drag & drop alternatives. Therefore, this gives me a lot more freedom to do what I want with my game. Secondly, there can be a lot of conflicts with drag & drop. I may want something to do one thing when created, or another depending on the circumstances, either way though; I want it to do a third thing. I want it to do that third thing no matter what. Well, that is kind of hard to make it do. You can start sections and end sections, but that seem s to be more visual. With GML, I can script it to do this or that, and then separately make it do the third thing. Therefore, this makes a lot less work around and thus a smoother game. Also, with GML scripting, I am able to make a lot more customizable. This brings me to number three...
3. Customization - Somewhere on Reddit, I saw some guy saying that every time he gets a new game, he has to manually re-map everything to accommodate the fact that he is left-handed. I don't want people to have to do that. Therefore, I am going to take advantage of setting variables with scripting to make it so that one may choose which hand is their dominant hand. (The one they use the mouse with.) So that they may enjoy a better game play experience. Since the controls won't be too complicated, I'm not going to make a configuration file to set every single key function. Perhaps in future games, however, I will. Another big thing I am going to let a player customize is the resolution. Now, this is harder than it seems. Technically, Game Maker lets you only have one resolution to run the game in, I think. What you can do, however, is set the size of the room, and how it is viewed. Taking advantage of this, I have made a game with set-able resolutions that worked flawlessly. However, I've played older games that don't support my resolution of 1366x768, and there are other resolutions that are hard to find. For this reason, I am working on making this allow for any resolution one would like. If you have a 60x2000 resolution, then you are in luck... Well, kind of... I don't know what you'd do with that screen... The point is, however, that you can actually set it to your screen whether your resolution is the same as everyone else's or it's a one of a kind! This however is causing me some trouble as I need to set not only how the game views the room, but also where the mouse is, and the ratios. I have done it with set resolutions, but this is a little different. This is one of the few things I am still in the process of working out for the engine. The only other big engine tweak I am working on before I can focus more on the actual game is how you set the settings. Right now I have a screen that starts up when you start the game. Here you can set the resolution, your name, your gender, and your dominant hand. This saves all that information as variables. However, once the game has exited, it clears all those variables. The system I have tried tries to load a game called "Config." If it can't it continues to the settings screen. Once you launch the game, it goes to the menu and immediately saves, saving the variables with it. Now, when you start the game, it will load the save and bring you straight to the menu. Unfortunately, I am having trouble with this as well as it's not working smoothly. The other system I may try implementing is saving those variables to a .ini file. In this case, it will also create a variable as to whether the game has been set up yet or not. If so, it will go to the menu, if not, it will go to the setup. I think this method should work, I will try it later. As I mentioned above, you will also be able to set your gender and name. These, I have perfected, or so I think.
4. Story Line - Yes, this game has a story line! Although I don't want to spill too much information, you are a young child and you have just seen Kennedy's moon speech. Inspired, you decide you want to be that person on the moon. As you drift off to sleep, you wonder off into a dream. Here you will build your spacecraft and fly to the moon. But... it's not that easy. Also, getting to the moon? What do you do there? More is in store...
As I stated above, I am still tweaking the engine to perfection. I think that I am nearing completion of the engine. Afterwards, I can focus all my efforts to game play. There will be different parts of the game, and a whole lot of artwork to produce. It may seem that I am making good time, and I am. However, there is always that one thing that gets in the way of the greatest developments; Life. Soon school will be starting back up. I am going to be learning some programming, which will be useful in the future. However, I will have little to no free time during the week as I will be quite busy. Therefore, progress will be slow. I can assure you though; I will try my best to keep this game from dying!
I decided I should put my game up on ModDB/IndieDB, and for that I needed a name. So, I came up with the name, pretty much, on the spot. Therefore, I'd kind of like opinions on it. Does it seem like a good name or should I pick something different?
I hope that this has been insightful on what this game is. I do hope you'll pay attention to it, and if you have any further questions, feel free to send me a message!
-Peter A. Miller
Developer of A Trip to the Moon