Monday, 6 April 2015

A Sort of Amateur Dev Diary Thing, I Guess - Part 2

Now, as I said in Part 1 - and as implied by the title too, I reckon - I'm trying to make a game. I should probably talk about that, if the rest of this diary is to make any sense. It's a bit hard to judge how I'm getting on if nobody has a clue about what I'm trying to achieve.

Personally, I love reading interviews with game devs. What I've found is that, when it comes to interviews, the big devs will chat about techy stuff more, and the indies will focus on concepts. Techy stuff interests me, but it's the conceptual stuff that I really like. Games like Papers, Please or Braid are of more interest to me than the latest Battlefield game (I can't even be arsed searching for a link).

Now, seeing as I have little coding ability (something I want to change, though), anything I create is not going to be super-shiny tech-whizzy. In a way, though, that's a blessing - without aesthetic bells and whistles, it'll have to depend on gameplay and concept.

Either that or it'll be a steaming shitpile with no redeemable qualities, but let's discount that possibility for now.

So, back to the point, my game. It's still a work-in-progress, but the central idea started off based on the influence of media on the general population. The player, as a smaller media outlet, had to influence the public and hopefully eventually have more people "on-side" against the larger, better-resourced corporate outfit.

After I spent some time thinking about how this might work in a game, and how the idea might be boiled down to it's bare essentials, I realised that what I was thinking about was really about ideologies and resources. An ideology with limited resources trying to expand it's influence against a larger, more widely accepted ideology. That situation can apply to a lot of real world examples, but I guess, in my mind, I was thinking mainly about capitalism and it's opponents.

In terms of the game itself, I see it as:

  •  Abstract. People will not be shown as people, everything will be shapes or icons.
  • 2D, top-down map of a city or town.
  • There will be buildings.
  • There will be people, who start off in a kind of neutral state.
  • You have to influence these people by spending time near them.
  • Influence is a resource. You spend it on influencing people. It then needs topping up.
  • Influencing is done as a kind of AoE thing - it's more efficient to do it where there's more people in range, eg a crowd.
  • One building will periodically spawn a kind of "antiplayer",  which tried to convert people to their side. It can also do this to ones who are on your side.
That's the basics. There are a few other things that I've been considering as well, but aren't certain yet. These include:

  • the ability to place a kind of immobile influencer that will influence those who happen to be within range.
  • Regular buildings may spawn people.
  • I would like to have some degree of herding behaviour in the game, where followers of one ideology will tend to gather together and move en masse. If a person has the ability to radiate influence once converted, this would make for an interesting mechanic as a mass of likeminded people would be harder to influence to the opposing side, as they would effectively be reinforcing each other. Seems to me that this is pretty similar to real life. Yup, the more I think about this, the more I think it's a must...
One thing I probably need to figure out is win states. How do you win? The obvious answer is that you win once you've influenced everyone, but I'm not sure how possible that is. Maybe you just have to hold out for a certain amount of time? Surround the opponent's buildings with your followers? I think I may have to just get the basic systems in place first and then see what feels right for a win state.

Ok, it's nearly 5:30am now, I reckon I should probably wrap this up and head to bed.

Progress report: I have some stuff moving on a map. I have a movable player. I've buildings that cast shadows and act as obstacles for people and the player. I have people, which so far move around randomly. I've placed a "HQ" and "enemy HQ". There's a health bar and influence bar (the resource is provisionally called "Light"). Not too bad for one day, I reckon.

To do next: Need to create non-neutral people (objects and sprites). Need to add the code for spawning people to the building objects. Add some code to the people so the game can tell how influenced they are and by what side. Figure out why it's possible for the player to run off the top screen edge and fix it.

Last but not least, a screenie!

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