Tag Archives: development

Role-Playing Games and Leveling Up – Day 2

It’s almost midnight.

Gotta get this post done before tomorrow.
So I can write one for tomorrow too.


Let’s pick up where we left off! Yesterday, I finished off by detailing some decisions the player could make regarding his character. He’s only five and hasn’t used a bow before. He knows how they work, of course, but it’s going to take some practice to get going. So, the player heads out to the back yard and starts looking from something to shoot. Maybe there’s a scare crow to serve as a target for them. We can make the young character’s learning experience a bit more novel, show him struggling to get the basics of using the bow the first few times.
Maybe he isn’t strong enough and can’t get the string drawn enough to propel the arrow to the target, or he’s unsteady and can’t aim well. Whatever the case, we can start the player’s understanding of their character here to give a broader contrast to how he will be after he has developed more. Use of a very heavy shift between two extremes in the game can give a sharp contrast and help to make the player feel more accomplished, like they actually did something.

So, the young boy is almost a mighty warrior, right? He’s getting there, for sure. Yesterday, I mentioned using events that are less-than-desirable to create a more memorable experience for the player. I demonstrated the smaller end of that spectrum, but I think we can touch on the very opposite of it today.

Let’s fast forward a bit. The player is a few hours into the game and his character has aged a few years, to represent the amount of learning and work the player has put in. One day, game-father asks the player’s character if he’d like to learn how to hunt. Heading out into the woods, game-dad starts talking about animal tracks and spoor, showing the player how to spot these things on the ground. To support this, animals would leave tracks and other markings behind. Supporting this character’s instruction with actual mechanics will go a long ways to tying the whole experience together.

While he’s showing you about the tracks, you hear a scream from the farm house! Game-dad takes off for the house, leaving the player alone. For the sake of my sleepiness, I’ll cover only the circumstance of following game-pa. He’s got a head-start, but as you come to the edge of the woods by the house, the player is given glimpses of the soldiers and has been able to see smoke overhead. As you get closer, you can hear the fire crackling and the soldiers talking. If the player breaks out into the yard, he’ll probably be killed. If the player doesn’t think so and tries it, they’ll find out quickly that the game isn’t going to hold back because of poor decision making.

So, they have a few options. They can evade the troops, try to sneak into the house. When they go inside, they find their game-dad and game-mom laying on the deck. Game-mother is already dead and game-daddy is bleeding out from a nasty looking stab wound. There’s a soldier at the opposite end of the room, watching out the window. The player can choose to kill him or to just lay low, with experience granted the respective skill sets, without notifying the player, just like before.

If they approach game-dad, he tries to talk, but only coughs up blood, rather loudly. The guard in the room, if not dead, turns around and sees the player, but hesitates. We can always tie him into later game events by giving him an identifying feature: a scar, an eye patch, something to that effect. But for now, we’ll just assume that he doesn’t really want to kill a little kid. He motions for you to run away. Game-dad’s larger-than-your bow is on the table and his knife. The player isn’t told to grab them, but they can if they think to.

The player isn’t explicitly told to run away, they can still draw their bow at him, which would force him to attack you. So, let’s assume the player runs out and heads for the little shelter the family horse is under, dozing off. Assuming the player had learned how to ride the horse in those couple of in-game years we so conveniently skipped over at the beginning of this post, they can take the horse and ride in the direction of town.

I’ll probably come back to this tomorrow and remember why I don’t write when I’m tired, but oh well.
Take it or leave it.
You’ll get something better after I sleep.

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Bootcamp Delayed, Back to Work

Well, I went to ship out on Monday. Was real excited, me and my buddies all set to go. Turns out that between my Marine recruiter’s office scale being broken and my having got complacent, I was a pound overweight. I pass the Initial Strength Test (IST) great, but weight matters too.
So, I’m stuck here for a month while I try to lose 20-25 pounds. I want to try for squad leader in bootcamp, so I plan on going for broke here this next month. This means some cool stuff:

1)     I get to work some more! Woohoo! I’m going to spend a good chunk of my free time this month working on Lurk, but not as directly as before. Here’s the low down, kiddies.
Now, I have a great mind for design and ideas and such. Problem is, I haven’t been programming long enough to be able to execute the games I want to. So, I end up with cool ideas and unfinished projects. I had the idea to fix this by making a number of small games that are finished, rather than one big one that takes years to finish, with nothing else for people to play.
However, this doesn’t mean I won’t be making progress on Lurk. I’ll be using the 2D engine I’ve got started to make these wee little games. Every time I need a new feature, like particles, maybe physics or lighting etc etc, I’ll just make a very small game out of said feature. This allows me to produce more games for people to gawk at for 3 seconds, get more experience and confidence in my coding and still make progress towards Lurk.
How’s that sound to everyone? Seem more enjoyable than seeing me get fed up with one big, slow project?

1.5)     More art and music and other stuff too! When I program a bunch and get burned out or stuck on something, I need to get my mind away from the code to recharge. I usually do this by writing music or fiction, making some art or sometimes just playing a game. The art and music and writing is usually about ponies so all you brony haters out there better buckle down. The gameplay is also good. It gives me a chance to continue finding what does and doesn’t work well in some games, or finding things that are awesome or that should be avoided.

2)     I might get to go to EverfreeNW. This is the first annual MLP convention here in the great Pacific Northwest and a few pals and I might get a chance to camp out there and attend! My favorite voice actress from the show, Tabitha St. Germain, will be there and it’d be awesome to meet her. Hopefully, a few of the game devs in the brony community might be there too. It’d be pretty freakin’ sweet to meet them and chat about nerdy stuff, despite my noobtasticness in game dev. If I get to go, you’ll all be hearing earfulls about it when I get back.

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Approaching Downtimes

Well, I’ll just cut to the chase here.
I’ll be having some downtime from around noon tomorrow until Saturday or Sunday. It’s a camping trip that was planned, then cancelled and then reinstated. I won’t be able to work on Lurk or anything, so any updates will resume later.

The next big one that is foreseeable is a bit larger. I’m leaving for USMC bootcamp later this month. My ship date is set for the 23rd this month, but there’s a small chance I could leave early. I’ll try to get another announcement out just before I go so that no one thinks that Lurk is dead or anything. Anyways, bootcamp is three months long. Then I come home for ten days leave. Not sure how active I’ll be during that time even. After that is combat training and then my MOS (Military Occupational Skill) training. I won’t be able to do much during combat training and I’m not sure how loose MOS training is.
But after all of that, likely a good chunk of a year, I will be able to resume work on Lurk in my spare time. The military is like any job and I plan on doing a good deal of college courses in the meantime, so Lurk will have to be done alongside all the other stuff. And that’s assuming I actually have time to develop Lurk while I’m in. It might actually end up having to wait until I’m done with the college courses or even until I discharge. Let’s hope it doesn’t have to be put off like that, but just be warned that it’s a possibility.

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