Friday, 12 March 2010

Engineering SoulBear -Anthony Littlewood Developer's Blog

As my first set of blog posts I'd like to document the development of a new collaborative project a freind and I have decided to take on.

Chris Nichols, is a fantastic artist, and good freind and I am honored to have the opportunity to work with him again.

This is a brand new project, of Chris's imagining, and as such Chris is taking the lead design role.
I am heading the Engineering and Technical side of developent while Chris is also taking care of the Artistic Side.
we have both spent quite some time going over the idea on paper and discussing priority features, recently I felt it was time to actually get started, while I dont want to go into too much detail about the core story of the game, we do have some great ideas, and are allready making good progress.

The game is a 3d platformer with a 2d side view perspective.

The game has a heavy focuss on puzzle solving through lifting and carrying, for this I designed a "telekinesis" system, in function it behaves a lot like the gravity gun in half-life 2 allthough it is designed to be a lot more tempremental, the unusual ability will force the player to learn, in order to solve problems that are otherwise impossible.

We are not long into development but we allready have some fantastic features, and after looking at some of Chris's design work the game will look fantastic aswell.
I would like to post some screenshots showing how things have developed so far (note: all current art is made with placeholders):

 This image is from the point where we had the absolute minimal system requirements inplace:

  1. An animated character
  2. A character controller
  3. Keyboard input
  4. Collision with a static body
Once we had these foundation features in-place we could begin prioritising certain more complex features over others.

After discussing certain gameplay mechanics with Chris, I had an idea for a "push-ball", as you can see from the size of the ball, the player cannot get over it and on a 2d plane cannot walk around it, forcing the player to deal with the obstacle, this provides a perfect means of teaching the "push mechanic", in a simple and stable environment.

After getting the minimal application working, I started adding some more intuitive code, mainly taken from my previous games.

I also developed a new event manager, this was neccisary since the game will feature some quite complex options, only realistically possible with a more advanced event manager.

The massive advantage of developing a game with an event driven focuss is that all problems essentially boil down to structure and event modeling. Once key objects have been designed their interactions tend to repeat themselves. it does however have the drawback of requiring specific conditions to be explained, where other approaches could make autonomous assumptions. 

 This screenshot represents the current stage of development, the "test-crate" behaves as one would expect it to, while the actual game would probably force the player to push an object this size, for testing and because its fun, I have allowed the telekinises to effect objects of this size also.

here the player is presented with the problem of a pit, the sides of which are angular, while the player can jump over the pit, the suggestion is made that they could push the crate into the pit neutralising the problem at the cost of the crate. 

This could be chained with the ball rolling mechanic to present the player with the problem of rolling the ball over the pit to accomplish an objective.

I hope you have enjoyed the first of what will hopefully be many updates following the progress of "SoulBear", as much as I have enjoyed development so far.

As allways if you have any questions or comments feel free to email me.

Thanks -Ant

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