Screenshot Saturday #3 and Various Ramblings

I’ve realized I haven’t really spilled any beans on the first game I’m making. There’s a whole science behind how and when indie developers should announce their game and the general consensus is “as early as possible”, while the other angle being “if I now tell my awesome idea to the public, there will be someone ripping me off and releasing a clone of my game earlier than I can push it out”. Valid points, both of them – just look at the mess the awesome Dutch game studio Vlambeer has been facing. I gotta admit, I have a slight, irrational fear of losing the worth of my work by some a-hole cloning my game idea and releasing it faster than the original. I say irrational, while it is clear I have no real traction in the game development community (YET!) and who the heck would actually stumble upon my idea and decide to clone it. But the issue is a bit deeper than this – my fear is not so much a fear, but a realistic computation of when it actually makes sense to spill my beans. It has to do with the equation of how much I have implemented right now, and how much I have left to do: in case the game announcement gets traction in the press, I, just like anyone, would like to be sure I can push through and get the game out there in due time. Hopefully faster than any competitor. Another factor for me is the state of the art [sic] – I prefer to have the grand part of the graphics of the game finalized/near finalization before making the official announcement. Kind of “having something to show for real”. This could be a Finnish mentality thingy. And perhaps something I drag along from my previous work in a bit heavier financial IT projects.

But I’m sure the announcement and releasing of the next game will be different in the positive meaning. This slight irrational fear is bound to go away when I am more seasoned in game development, I am sure.

Well, the previous post certainly left us with hopes for a more informative blog post. Describing the developer side of the game making is probably interesting mostly to the fellow developers. And there was some features I forgot completely I had actually implemented when I posted the previous post!

Let’s take a look on a more recent screenshot. Please keep in mind that the art is still only mockups. And don’t mind the debug texts there, they are for testing the scene transitions.

The feature I forgot to mention is that red/black bonehead of a guy you see in the screenshot above. Yes, da Oggiput, he’s now in the game, and messing it up but only if you mess up first – he pops into the playfield when the player does an erroneous move. The usage of him has evolved a bit from the original idea: I think I will use him as “lives” in the game, in the traditional “three lives and you’re out” kind of way. That way the game gets a bit more dynamics into it – but rest assured, it is still very unforgiving about errors and will pop up that Game Over screen in no time.

There is only one finalized feature you see in the screenshot – the timer bar on the left. No, the particle effect on it is not finalized. The timer, or “burndown” as I also call it, has a few other uses in the game than just a timer. Surely it will remind you that the time is up once it burns down to the bottom, but if you pay attention to the gradient colors of it, you may see that the gradient’s color, order, and relative size seems to correlate with the Kisau Veelas on the playfield. Wink, wink. This was a fun thing to code, BTW.

Screenshot-level-up

Let’s treat you to another screenshot as I spoke so vastly about scenes and layers in the previous post. The “Level Up” is a feature I came up with while testing the initial prototype of the game and I think this feature gives the game much more longevity. We have, with Pietari, a certain minimalistic take on the game so I have to be careful not to overdo it with new features, but this one is certainly going in. Ta daa, hereby follows the official beanspilling of the goal of the game: to get a high score. Yes, how disappointing. All this just to get some points? Well, arcade games are quite often like that.

And for that purpose the Level Up is a good feature. With only the “Level Up” text and the Play and Menu button as finalized art, you can get a sense of leveling up meaning to get another Kisau Veela into play for the next round, thus making the next round harder. How many you will start with and how many you will end with is still up for tuning on my side, but most likely I’ll go for four Kisau Veelas to start, and six for the last round, thus making three levels in the game. So, in these three levels you’re chasing that highscore to brag with among your friends. A pretty pure gaming experience, in my humble opinion.

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