Art, scope, level design…

Last post, I mentioned my personal debate regarding the art in Automute.  After googling for some images, I found some fairly nice photos I’m going to use.  I just like that idea for some reason, instead of trying to go all pixel-art.  We’ll see, I have yet to try it, but I think it might work well.

That said, the other point I made about going into absurdity.  The more I think about it the more I’m going to spin that off into another game.  Maybe similar mechanics (tap to destroy), but instead moving left/right and with audio as part of the elemental concept, I’m going just go hog-wild and not even worry about “plot” necessarily.  I’m just gonna get nuts and do crazy shit.  Each level should have a consistency, of course, so a desert theme, ice theme.  Picture Mario’s levels or whatever…  You know the stereotypical stuff.  But just get nuts and see what I can throw in to make it as silly and weird as possible…

Scope… This leads me to my original point.  Automute was supposed to be a simple game.  This means I need to get back to that point.  In fact, even easier than my original concept.  I was going to make discrete levels and plot it out, but I think I’m going to go back to programmatically spawning the objects.  I will have “levels” but that’s really just going to be more like Super Hexagon style, after you hit a certain point a new level spawns, with more faster objects, maybe time speeds up, etc… but there won’t be separate points.  Just faster and faster.

Of course this leads to the question: what is failure in this regards?

I don’t know, I’ll have to think about it.  Maybe X missed hits (or x vehicles escape to the other side).  Is this the threshold for movign to the next level – X total vehicles, must destroy a minimum of X to get to the next level, if you miss X you fail the current level, if you destroy more than X through you get bonus stars which you can use as multipliers? or???  Maybe they count towards your future fails, as a “save”… Like, you miss but your previous level you had gone beyond the minimum, which gave you a star to basically blot out the failed shot.  The better you do in early levels, the more you can “spend” to cancel failed in later levels.
Anyways, dynamic generation, not planned levels, I think this makes the most sense for quick gameplay.  Once I get that in, and the vehicles in, I’ll just have to play with the speeds, rates, spawn rates, vehicle types per level and once that’s done, build the menus/UI/high score table, and release 1.0

Scope: Killing Horizon… Going back to scope.  I realized that maybe I should just say fuck it to the deep plot of killing horizon.  Or rather, the deep mechanics.  Forget the achievements concept, the scoring choice system.  I may still keep the Research points, but instead of 4 separate types, I’ll just give one basic point type.  Then the “tree” will just be a set of options each level to pick a new power.

Scope, simplify.  Reduce unnecessary comlexity.  Occam’s Razor shaving all the crud off the games.  Get that shit pushed into the world  No more fucking around, no more playing around, no more wasting time worrying about this or that perfect design concept.  Fuck that noise.  Make a game.  GO!

Radifying the game into absurdity

So – I’ve been debating a few things for Automute.

The first is about the art, do I spiff up the graphics I have already?  Do I create my own pixel art?  Do I hire an artist?

Well the artist is a bit absurd, the whole point is to whip something up fairly cheaply.

I was thinking of just continuing down the same road for level design.  More vehicles, maybe a few interstitial silly plots (frogger, police chases, etc…) but essentially the same components just faster.

And that will be a part of it.

But thinking about one aspect that a friend thought was funny (vehicles going backwards – in particular one of the vehicles that just looked silly), it got me to thinking: why not surprise the users with more and more absurd things coming in.

Start out slow, like, maybe a hells angels.  Not too shocking, but it adds something to just “vehicle vehicle” then the level with frogger and such.  Then add in maybe, a truck hauling cattle.  Then maybe the truck crashes and the cattle escape and are wandering around.  Howler monkeys, Blue Whales in giant tubs hauled by a truck.  UFO.  Parades.  Protest Marches.  Start to show the machine “cracking” – the land scape grows darker, more twisted.  Things start to appear IN the landscape – christmas trees.  Toes growing out of the ground.  Just weird shit slowly happening over time.

Use voiceover to make it clear that the AI is going madder and madder, perhaps alluding that all the “crazy” things you’re seeing are really hallucinations.  Hmm.  I have an interesting plot idea, now, to even expand on this, and it fits in with my isolated and alone theme of Killing Horizon…

So to get back to the art… I think I’m just gonna use shitty images.  I’m not going to try to turn them into a base for better looking pixel art, I’m just gonna cut/copy/paste into a collage of stuff.  A visual mashup, and no concern about “art” or “style”.  Something like the collage style of Vaporwave art.

Moving Vehicles, Barking Dogs, Driving Backwards and code video

Well I just tried to upload video and add a video player to WordPress and it seems to work, so yay!

Below is a brief clip of my code along with the latest run.  You can see and hear what the basic idea is now.  I’ve got the vehicles moving…

You will notice, of course, backwards moving vehicles, and that’s because I have not implemented the code yet to flip the bitmaps along their y-axis to make sure they face the opposite direction when I spawn them.  That’s fairly simple, I just wanted to get the basic functionality working.  One line of code in the spawning/setup code for the vehicles and it’s done.  That said, now that I think about it, I should make sure to flip it to the proper orientation either way, otherwise when I deactivate an object and then recycle it, it may be facing the wrong way if it spawns next time on the opposite side.

Anyways, enjoy some barking dogs and squeeling tires YEEEEEEEEHAW LOL.

Let’s just say I have some interesting ideas for level designs including but not limited to Frogger homage, dueling banjos, police chases, zombies/ghosts, and more.  But one step at a time!  It’s already come a lot farther in one week than I expected I would. 🙂