Author Topic: Bots  (Read 3132 times)

eric22222

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Bots
« on: 2006-05-20, 09:52:15 PM »
Surprise! I'm still alive!

I'll go ahead and confess: we haven't done any real work aside from planning since those graphics I posted. I have, however, managed to do a little in my spare time. I'm here to announce my game "Bots." It's currently five full levels and a sixth map boss battle. I decided I'd do this one on my own, so you'll see... not-as-good graphics, but I'm proud of the level design. The game has save-state to make things a little easier. I'm not sure on the difficulty; I know all the little tricks to the game, so I guess it's biased towards me.

The game goes something like this (my equivalent of the "story" section of an old NES manual): you play the part of a robot working in a factory. The factory's gone under new management, leaving our hero a bit disgruntled. Since the change, safety measures have been completely cut out leaving rampant fires and uncovered spikes. Now he's gone out to find his way to whoever's in charge and try and set things back the way they were. (What do you want? A good story or a good game? ;))

I've got it set up so that the robot can swap to alternate forms (color-coded for your convenience). Each one has a power allowing access to different areas. I guess you get the idea. Basically this was just a little side-project, but I'm proud enough of it to let it loose on the internet.

All I have left is to add a bit of music and it's done! Expect it within the next week.

durnurd

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Re: Bots
« Reply #1 on: 2006-05-21, 07:31:10 AM »
Wow, those safety measures must have been really good if they leave rampant fires and open spikes in their absence! ;)
Edward Dassmesser

eric22222

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Re: Bots
« Reply #2 on: 2006-05-22, 03:48:17 PM »
Oh yeah. Top notch safety. You know, uncovered spikes is the number one cause of death in factories across the nation. Not to mention video games as a whole.

Anyway, I sent the game to a few friends of mine to see if they can't find anything that slipped my mind. The main thing they notice is the permeability of my box sprites... kind of annoying.

I've gotten three songs done (and re-assigned instruments on one to make a 4th). I'm closing in on the finish line!

eric22222

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Re: Bots
« Reply #3 on: 2006-05-24, 01:07:01 PM »
Well, I'm glad I sent it out for testing! My friends have already found minor things that could have trapped the player completely.

Oh, and I don't know what I did differently, but I've finally gotten sound effects to work without lagging the game! Hoorah!

eric22222

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Re: Bots
« Reply #4 on: 2006-05-31, 10:09:30 AM »
Sweet! Four stars on my first submission!  ;D A sign of things to come, I'm hoping. We've picked back up on our old project, and now I've got some experience. Any suggestions (aside from the ones posted on the project listing) that can make this better? Here's what I've already got:
  • More levels and introduce some new graphics and features
  • Too much instant death
  • A little more story
  • Lack of inventory
Lemme know what you think. We've already solved all these problems in our next game, so get picky! We want to make this next one perfect!  ;)

durnurd

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Re: Bots
« Reply #5 on: 2006-05-31, 08:01:11 PM »
That was a really neat game (or what I played of it).  I really liked the way you used the same areas differently every time I went into them.  It did get a little frustrating sometimes with all of the spikes, like BlueMonk said.  One other thing is that the music doesn't quite fit the game.  I would expect the music to sound maybe a little more industrial.  This music sounds like something that would go in a more happy-go-lucky child-type game.  Not that it's bad music, just somewhat misplaced.  And the same theme repeated did get a little tedious.

But I still really liked the game a lot!

As for suggestions for your next game, aside from the music, do something more with sound effects.  What you had was good, but I'd like to hear more, and less MIDI.  Just get a microphone and see what kind of sounds you can make.  As an example, I just whacked a cupboard door against a chair that was too close and came up with this sound that sounds kind of like a ratchet or a gear.
« Last Edit: 2006-05-31, 08:13:25 PM by durnurd »
Edward Dassmesser

bluemonkmn

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Re: Bots
« Reply #6 on: 2006-05-31, 08:06:24 PM »
It might help to review some of the ideas I've mentioned before in what I think could make a game good:

I listed some general features that I like in games here:
http://gamedev.comdel.net/index.php?topic=622.msg2061#msg2061
They were:
  • Lots of room to explore with lots of different choices
  • Hierarchical arrangements -- If you can pick a planet, pick a country, and pick a city -- seems like there's a whole lot of space to explore even if only a few cities are fully filled out with lots of detail.
  • Freedom to travel anywhere the player wants within the bounds of the story/rules
  • Lots ot variety in the area available to explore
  • A connection to real-world concepts that can lead the player to understand a much deeper reality that you don't have to spell out in detail (a library full of books for example... people generally know that each book can contain a whole world even if you don't spell it out in your implementation)
  • Secret passages -- player never knows if they're done exploring or if there's more that they haven't seen
  • Nice detailed graphics where it counts.  If you have good graphics in prominent areas that the player will notice, it can affect the player's opinion of the overall game even if not all the graphics have that much effort put into them

I also suggested some specific implementation ideas/tricks here.
http://gamedev.comdel.net/index.php?topic=650.0

bluemonkmn

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Re: Bots
« Reply #7 on: 2006-05-31, 08:32:39 PM »
Ugh, it's just so hard to put my finger on what makes a great game, but I must mention one more thought that really makes a game stand out in excellence, I think.  If you're after that, I suggest trying to really take the player into another world and another mood.  It might be risky to try to do that for a whole game, but I think it can be effective even if only for part of the game.

So how to do it?  Well, I think a big part of it is the music.  If you are expert or lucky enough to dabble successfully in experimental music, you should be able to find something that really is unique and music has a way of setting the mood.  Ambient music, if used correctly and combined with the game in a way where the player's attention isn't all wrapped up in playing (they have a chance to appreciate the music too) can really pull the player in.

But there's more to it than music.  Just put some really out-of-this-world elements in your game.  Don't base your game on the usual model or on common real-world tasks.  Have you heard of "Katamary Damacy" or "We Heart Katamari"?  I think part of the attraction of this game is just the truly odd style and goals of this game, and the strange dialog leaving you wondering what world this game is from and just how crazy those Japanese are, but what a wonderful game world they can create :).  Another thing in particular that comes to mind is Princess Mononoke... those tree spirits with the strange sideways heads that kind of vibrate or rattle on top of their bodies.  It's something completely beyond explanation, but mesmerizing in the slow-paced environment in which it is set.

I think one way to try applying this idea in GameDev is to start breaking "rules".  Since so many GameDev games are bound by a pretty strict standard of behavior since they all use the same engine with similar default behavior, it should be pretty easy to break these expecations and make a game stand out.  For example, most games are all about moving a character around on a scrolling tile map, but what if you shatter the player's expectations with a small section of the game where the player finds himself sitting at a terminal able to type commands at a command prompt.  You touch a computer and suddenly you're looking at a command prompt with instructions on what kind of things you can type to progress to the next step.  The player will think "What's this?  This is not the same game I was playing a moment ago; it doesn't even look like the same engine; how is this possible?"  And yet when they type they realize just how diverse the game can be.  (This would require some extensive scripting, but some of it has already been done -- there are scripts to prompt for user input strings.)

Like I say, it's so hard to put my finger on it, but this is just an example to try to outline where you might explore for further ways to improve your game beyond the boundaries of expectation.  We all want a game that "exceeds expectations" :).  The trick is to find ways to make the game unique, but still make it coherent enough that it's not just complete nonsense.  The elements of the game should relate to each other in their own unique world, and not just be unrelated and completely random elements.  Ooh... one more title -- Abe's Oddyssey.

Not sure if this is helpful or practical, but I figured it was worth at least one more try to help nail down what makes a spectacular game.