Developer Aspirations

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Friday

01

October 2010

October Challenge, The Beginning

by Colin Miller, on Android, video games

In a stunning display of continuity, I'm going to be talking about my progress on completing PoV's Challenge. Since it's October, the challenge is in full swing. I've decided to take on this challenge, and it puts a time limit and completion goal in front of me. So to start off, I'd like to discuss a bit about the eventual mechanics of Stat Game.

[caption id="attachment_294" align="aligncenter" width="336" caption="Here's the only screen I have so far of Stat Game, my first Android game and hopefully the first game I'll sell. It's ugly, broken, and doesn't do much. This screen was created to test some combat logic."]statgame[/caption]

This is Stat Game, running in an emulator. Isn't it grand? Can't you just smell the potential? It's like the smell of bacon in the morning, or the air just after it rains, or a new piece of paper that a seven year old scribbled on in crayon... but you know, in smell form. Anyway, it looks bad, has no real functionality, inconsistent persistance, and no ability to create a custom character. However, you can hit a button and do combat with a bat which, luck willing, will eventually die.

Unfortunately right after the bat dies it respawns and kills you. You do not respawn however, you just die again and again every time you attack. And the bottom 2 buttons don't do anything. But THAT DOESN'T MATTER. I've started the game.

You're going to have to use a lot of imagination to see what this eventual game will become. The basic idea is to take the combat aspects of any good turn-based JRPG like Dragon Quest or the older Final Fantasy games. Forget about exploring the world, talking to NPCs, and viewing cutscenes, this game is about killing shit, leveling up, and gaining stats.

In most JRPG style games you have a set of stats like strength, dexterity, constitution, hit points... etc that increase as you level up. Some games even let you customize what stats increase as you level up. Stat Game is going to take it one step further, and not only let you increase stats as you level up, but acquire new ones. Leveling up will actually allow you to unlock stats you did not have before.

To start, you have only the most basic stat: Hit Points. You also have a level and experience points. As you kill things, you gain experience which raises your level. Once you level you get a certain number of development points that you can use to raise any of your stats or buy new ones. For example, at level 2 you will have the ability to buy the strength stat. Having a strength stat means that when you perform a melee attack, strength will be considered in your attack accuracy along with damage. Having the stat will instantly make you hit more often and for more damage than if you didn't have the stat. You can also spend points to raise the stat higher.

Later you can buy other stats like magic points, dexterity, swords, luck, seduction, timidness, and others. Each stat will give your character more potential to become better in different areas. While you can use a sword without a sword stat, having a sword stat will make you more effective. Leveling up your sword stat will make you more effective even more. There will probably be some sort of dependency tree involved on the order you can unlock stats in as well. For instance, you can't unlock the sword stat until you have a strength stat.

Different stats may potentially unlock additional actions. For instance, having a Sword stat could unlock the ability to perform a special attack that has a lower chance of hitting but does more damage. Your list of actions you can perform are based on what actions you've unlocked. Some actions might be more effective against certain monsters, etc.

[caption id="attachment_304" align="aligncenter" width="432" caption="This is a picture of my fiancé with a bottle of juice. It has very little to do with development or my android game, but I love her and she's pretty."][/caption]

To start with, the game will be single player against a (probably bad) AI. By the time I release the game there will be probably a very small number of stats and basic leveling mechanic. The idea is that the game will be flexible enough to add additional stats easily along with new monsters and items. But to start with, I'm going to think small. I have a lot of interesting ideas for the future of this project, but none of that matters if I can't get the basic game working and released.

My current self-set goal is to have an αlpha build of the game ready by Friday, October 8th. I probably won't release that version to very many people (only those with a really high interest). The βeta should be done by the following Friday, October 15th. My self-imposed release date is on Wednesday, October 27th. I'll then have 4 days to sell one copy for $1 (ok, probably 99 cents).

It shall be an interesting month, and I plan to do mostly posts about the project during that time. I hope to be able to release something.

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