Monday, February 4, 2008

Progress Update #2: Intuition has a Podcast

"Hey, we're back!"

No, it's not Dr. Katz, but instead a much drier, less-squiggly version here to bring you our next segment: way more recent stuff. We haven't been showing as many pretties as we should, so above, I give you the very unofficial, unfinished Dinowaurs logo. It'll probably resemble something like that above.

Design Changes
Throughout development we've tried to implement the agile attitude into our process. For those not hip, we've loosely interpreted the milestone system into what many would call a bastardization, but it's been working. By staying loose about the design and not adhering to waterfall type milestones, we've allowed ourselves freedom to completely change the design of the game. Now this doesn't come without a price, and it may kick us in the behind, but we think that this is the way to go in the web-games space. Iterate and push until we can convey the best version of our game's high concept possible within the time-frame given. Credit Johnathan Blow's recent speech on Conveyance and Pushing at the Nordic Game Jam.

Now onto the changes to Dinowaurs. Basically since hitting "alpha" we've decided that too much of the game goes on in the middle of the map in the very first encounter, ultimately leaving the other, stronger tiered villages to collapse given the upgraded weapons awarded to the player overtaking the first, and their fourth, village. To aid this, we've decided to change a number of things. This makes our third complete overhaul of the game's mechanics, and each time we've done this, we feel better and more excited about where this game is going. Change is good. For our country too ;)

  1. Resources - They're back and they accumulate at a rate based on the amount of villages the player has (represented by "gold" or the like).
  2. Tiered Weapons - Tech tree for weapons is now based on the village the dinosaur is at, instead of the amount of villages taken.
  3. Village Tiers - Each construction site is intrinsic to it's original tier level. No other level village can be built there.
  4. Ammo - Ammo is no longer unlimited, but tied to the resources and charged against the total value with each shot, at a value determined by the ammo type.
  5. Weapon Production - Weapons are purchased with resources (e.g. gold) when the player chooses to produce them.
  6. Upgradeable Village Guns - Villages can be equipped with more guns (or maybe upgraded existing guns) to propagate more of a defensive strategy.
  7. Shooting - Removing the pause after shooting a weapon. The shot can cost resources now, forcing the player to consider each shot carefully, and besides, it will speed up the game.

Also, we've been talking a lot about weapons since a great portion of the game's fun factor relies on them...

Four basic weapon types, upgraded with tiers (keep controls/weapon properties fairly consistent throughout tiers)

  1. Trajectory - hold to power-up, let go to fire
  2. Strike - hold to choose spot along terrain, let go to fire/drop
  3. Deploy - launch from dino
  4. Jetpack - use trajectory control to "launch" the dino and then float down
  5. Special - One special weapon, chosen as a dino's "special move" in the profile menu. This will be available via the third and final village tier.

Well, we were hesitant to add this feature, but quickly swayed after playing Off-Road Velociraptor Safari and noticing the community response to a casually-mentioned, fictional game "Jetpack Brontosaurus." The monocled raptor screen shot and a few posts on the TIGSource forums convinced us that this feature would not be too intensive and would add a much needed, mobilizing function to gameplay. After thinking for a handful of milliseconds, Mike came up with a way to use our current system to power the jet pack, which should work just like any other trajectory based weapon. We are in the process of implementing this now, but we're all excited to see our favorite Gov. Skittles, the stegosaurus, careen through the air dropping grenades o'er her enemy windmills!

Lately we've found ourselves tossing some ideas around the ol' water cooler ("What's the scuttlebug?") about Indie Dev podcasts, or lack thereof. All of us love listening to podcasts, mostly NPR and game industry stuff, but nothing that sates our thirst for independent game development.

Nothing official just yet, but we plan to cover the latest in indie dev news, indie games we've played and loved, and anything those topics might spawn. We like tangents, those were always our favorite teachers in high school. Not the circle kind, you know, the kind that go off on an unrelated subjects only to find themselves lost in a wood with no lesson plan to guide them.

We've recently recorded a dry-run podcast, testing how the recording setup works and getting our feet wet with talking like we know things. It's harder than you may think, but in the safety of our own homes, the insurance policy of audacity's editing power, and Mike's sexy chocolate vocal chords, we're going places. Maybe not fancy places, but places nonetheless.


The Rhythm of One said...

I'm sure I wont be the only one using your podcasts as a nightcap of sorts. I've found that only Mike's smooth tones can ensure a nightmare-free sleep. :)

Steve Swink said...

It is real.