Developer Diary: Tuesday 28th September 2010

Chimera Supervision

I had a pretty grim day at work today, so it was vital that I didn’t let that affect me in the evening. It did. It slowed me down and made it harder for me to really focus. I didn’t let it put a halt to proceedings, I know that’s fatal.

So I cleaned up the code as best I could. I put cross-hairs up so I could get everything aligned. Can’t believe I didn’t do that before. Now everything is drawing where I want it to draw.

I think I need to do collision detection tomorrow.

Now, I promised I’d talk about design, so here it is.

The Good Stuff

There are three essential themes to this game:

1) Conservation of Energy

2) Materialism vs Energy

3) Constant feedback

“But it’s a maze puzzle game!” I hear you say. And so it was. You also know the subheading for this game. And I do indeed aim to get it right, this time.

Energy Conservation

Energy conservation is an important theme in any game, so that’s not new. What I want to do in this game though, is make it very explicit that everything you do costs energy, except when you’re in the Energy state. (I’ll explain that shortly). Moving forwards costs energy. Rotation costs energy. Retreat costs energy. Climbing costs lots of energy.

You will get opportunities to replenish your energy when the game is in the Energy state.

Materialism vs Energy

I want there to be a constant interplay between the two states or phases of the game. On the one hand, when the blocks are solid and material (as are you), energy use is expensive, but material effects are higher. For example, if you trigger an explosion, it will cost you some energy, but it will also destroy blocks and therefore have a big material effect.

When the ship is in the Energy state on the other hand, you too are Energy and you can freely move into and out of form and merge with the objects of the game. You can then “possess” the objects (some of which will actually be characters, like robots) and do what you will with them. Be careful though, because although you don’t use energy in this state (in fact you recuperate), if the phase turns to material, you are destroyed if you are merged with another object.

Constant Feedback

I want the game to always make it very clear when you are doing well and when you’re doing badly. The game has an intrinsic rhythm of play, indicated by some kind of visual indicator (undetermined) and audio (probably the heartbeat from the C64 version or similar). If you play to the rhythm of the game, the scoring multipliers are massive. I want scores every time you spend any energy, every time there is a composite side effect, and negative scores every time something hurts you. On the other hand, in the Energy phase, things are a lot more chilled, and there is no scoring, only contemplation, recuperation, reconfiguration and reimagining.

What do you think of this?

(Oh, yes, I did a version of Chimera for the ill-fated SuperVision handheld in 1991 or thereabouts. Powerful, nice 6502, but bulky. And no, I didn’t have anything to do with that cover. Why do they all think it was a robot? It screamed! Robots don’t scream!)

 

 

 

 

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