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Author Topic: Star Crew Solo  (Read 1102 times)

Sowelu

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Star Crew Solo
« on: March 02, 2009, 06:26:36 pm »

So TIGSource has indie game competitions every so often, and they put out some pretty awesome stuff.  The current theme is 'cockpit games'.  I'm using the competition to make a Puzzle Pirates-type game, set in space.  You fly your ship and shoot things with abstract puzzle games.  All operated in first person from the bridge of your ship.  The competition version is probably just going to be head-to-head two player, so only one player per ship, though.

So far it's eight days into the competition, and we get five weeks to work on it.  I think I'm doing pretty good so far:



I'm currently doing all the code, and have a modeller on my team...Somewhere along the line I need to find a musician who likes string instruments and MIDI, and a better texturer than me.

(yeah, I've posted about this game in another topic or two >.> I'm excited though.  I want to make this into the capital ship game I always wanted to play.)
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mainiac

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Re: Star Crew Solo
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2009, 07:21:11 pm »

Pretty colors, pleasing to the eye!  But will that console be too small and finicky for play?
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Sowelu

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Re: Star Crew Solo
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2009, 07:40:32 pm »

That's a concern, but to alleviate it somewhat: When you're using a console, you'll be sitting at it and the view will lean forward, so you'll be pretty close (and the distance you sit from a console is game-defined so you can't accidentally stand too far back, really).  I'm defining an adequate distance as "console takes up 2/3 of the vertical screen space".  Also, the puzzles are keyboard (or even joystick!) control, while looking is mouse, so at least you won't lose focus on the puzzle (plus you'll get locked to that puzzle when you sit down).  You can still look around the ship while playing, and most likely when you get a weapons lock (that is the half-finished weapon puzzle right there), you'll be seeing the lasers fire out the front of your ship.

I'm aiming for those pastels giving a not-QUITE-star-trek look, but close.  And for gameplay, it's one of those 'swap two horizontally adjacent blocks to make a pattern' games, with some heavy twists.  For one thing, when you clear blocks, new ones don't drop--instead, the cleared blocks are disabled for a few seconds and then re-randomized (and you can reset/randomize whole rows at will with a time penalty like this too).  Also, pieces don't get cleared automatically, you manually fire your 'target locks'...which gives you a chance to build up more elaborate structures before you fire.

Yeah, it's a twist.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2009, 08:06:52 pm by Sowelu »
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Some things were made for one thing, for me / that one thing is the sea~
His servers are going to be powered by goat blood and moonlight.
Oh, a biomass/24 hour solar facility. How green!

Tahin

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Re: Star Crew Solo
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2009, 10:56:36 pm »

This looks really interesting. My only concern is it looks like the puzzles aren't going to feel "connected" to what you're trying to accomplish. However, that's a pretty minor issue. Also, will you be able to take direct control of the ship, steering and choosing which targets to aim for, or will it be more abstracted?

I'd love to help with the music, but my composing skills are a bit limited. I can write pretty decent melodies, but I've never been able to successfully figure out a MIDI program, and I don't think you're looking for poorly-recorded acoustic guitar.
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Sowelu

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Re: Star Crew Solo
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2009, 01:25:59 pm »

I think I got someone to do the music over at the TIGSource forums.  But thanks!  I had a particular style in mind, which made it a little frustrating finding someone who worked in that style, but I think it'll all work out good.  :)

I *think* that my puzzle design should actually make you feel pretty close to what you're doing, and in some cases the mechanics are directly connected to the actual 'physics' of the game.  Let me describe the shields, for example.  You've got an 8x8 grid of light blue squares.  Squares nearest the top-center are your 'front' shields, etc.  Whenever you get shot at, that hit gets assigned to some shield square within about 120 degrees of the angle you got hit from.

When you get hit, some pattern of those squares go from 'light blue' to 'darker', something around three levels to indicate damage.  When shields go away, you start taking hull damage, which can't be easily repaired during a fight.  To protect yourself, you can make any number of shield rows, or any number of columns, start scrolling (and wrapping around top to bottom, etc).  They scroll a little slowly, so you have to keep somewhat of an eye on them, but you have at least a little time to check out what's going on around you.  Ideally, if you are expecting a hit from the front, you want to move all the 'holes' in your shields to the back or sides.  Every twenty seconds or so, your shield generator spits out a tetris-like piece that lets you fix a small cluster of shields up to full...so if you just took a small number of powerful hits, you can align the holes and patch them all, but if your whole shield system is worn down with smaller shots it's a lot harder to fix.

So, shields at least are a very LITERAL puzzle.  Not all the later ones will be that literal, but a lot of them will be.

As for taking direct control, the least puzzley 'puzzle' is the navigation helm.  Some simple controls to define where you want to go, what direction you want to be pointed when you get there, and how fast you want to travel.  Designed to be partly a reflexes game (giving orders quickly is important), but you don't have to keep steering while you're still on course--useful when you want to turn back to firing or working on shields.  And in the competition game, there's only one enemy anyway...
« Last Edit: March 04, 2009, 01:29:17 pm by Sowelu »
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Some things were made for one thing, for me / that one thing is the sea~
His servers are going to be powered by goat blood and moonlight.
Oh, a biomass/24 hour solar facility. How green!