I recently took 4 days out of my busy Little Big Mansion schedule to create a prototype for the annual Norwegian Championship of Gameplay. The game is top down tank shooter, but every time you get hit or fire a shot, your Core Temperature rises, which causes decreased accuracy, severe glitching and ultimately death. If you stop shooting and don’t get hit for a little while your temperature will go back to normal. Edit: I almost forgot to thank my collaborator Martin Kvale for the awesome music and sound work!
The game are inspired by two things: the old NES game Battle City which I played with my girlfriend and some friends of ours over christmas, and this talk by Jan Willem Nijman:
This talk is just amazing, and it has already had a profound effect on the way I make games.
This is the first time I used Game Maker for a real project. My conclusion is that it’s great for rapid prototyping! Recommend trying it out, especially if you are working on 2D stuff.
I really love how this prototype turned out, especially the graphics. After Little Big Mansion is done I think there is a decent chance I use the same graphical style for a different project, I already have some interesting ideas on how to use this glitching for something completely different. Hope you guys like it as well!
Poster art from our stand at SpillExpo last weekend!
The classic Another World is available on Steam 75% off. If you’ve never played it, I definitely recommend checking it out, it’s a classic that has inspired game developers everywhere. Another World is definitely proof that even development teams consisiting of only one person can accomplish incredible things. Eric Chahi did an excellent post mortem at GDC which is available on video for free at the GDC vault: http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1014630/Classic-Game-Postmortem-OUT-OF
Fez, which I recommended as one of my top 5 games of last year, is also available at 50% off!
Lately I’ve been playing this gem of a game. You play as an immigration inspector in a fictional communist regime, which means cross checking all the paperwork of the people who want to cross the border at your checkpoint. This might not sound like the most compelling thing to do in a video game but the game is incredibly compelling and the setting and subject matter fits it perfectly.
I’ve only completed it once but the ending I got was brilliant, and there are 19 more waiting for me to discover. I recommended it for absolutely everyone! At times it can be every bit as emotionally engaging as blockbusters such as The Last of Us. Get it here!
Lately I’ve been working on the cutscene system for Little Big Mansion. I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from the old SCUMM engine used for the awesome adventure games from Lucasarts, so the structure of the scripting is very similar. You can find an interesting article/comment on SCUMM here. It’s an explanation by Ron Gilbert, the architect behind SCUMM and the creator of some of the best adventure games ever.
My script is pretty similar, it’s basically just some lexical analysis identifying each string, followed by parsing the text using a set of rules. Usually a line starts with ‘actor name’ identifying the object in the scene which should take an action, and then follows it with a verb with a set amount of parameters according to which verb is used. Example: ‘actor player walk 30 30’. Here the player object will walk to the point x: 30, y: 30. The walk verb is a special case, as it takes 2 parametres. Most commands take so far take 1 or no parameters. Another important command so far is the wait command. It basically just sets up a timer and stops script execution until the timer runs out. Example: ‘wait 3’. Here the script will stop executing for 3 seconds, and then do the next line.
The cutscene system has been fun to work with, and I think it’s reasonably powerful. It’s by no means done yet, and I’m sure it will go through a couple of revisions during development, but it gets the job done so far. Maybe I’ll release an Impact plugin in the future if there is some interest and it becomes generic enough.
This summer has been dominated by contract work and some weeks of vacation, so I haven’t really had a lot of time to update the blog. This is about to change, as I’m going to be working 100% on my own projects in the foreseeable future. That means more posts about Little Big Mansion, and maybe some shorter Ludum Dare entries and stuff like that.
I’m really excited about being able to focus 100% on my own things again! Today I started off slow, just refactoring old code that has become a bit musty, in preparation for some cool prototyping of new objects in the weeks to come. I’ll be posting some screenshots and WIP stuff, and also probably talk a bit about failed experiments down the line. I already have one pretty extensive idea that I’ve scrapped due to it not being interesting enough. Expect a new update next week!