Thursday, November 29, 2012

Free-Writing Challenge - Tom Gammarino

The brilliant author Tom Gammarino offered a challenge to choose a topic and then write about it non-stop for 10 minutes. I chose the topic of Christmas and away I went. Reading it now, though, it's interesting to see  how I veered off-topic a few times:

 Given the season, for my freewriting I decided to write about Christmas. The Christmas season is upon us and it is a beautiful thing. I think the fact that I am Christian and have an 11 year-old daughter makes it even better. We always kick off the holiday season during the Thanksgiving school break for her by watching Home Alone and Home Alone 2. Those movies always make me think of Christmas. I wonder what happened to little Kevin McCallister’s acting career? He seemed to have a promising future but I guess not. I honestly cannot remember any other movies with him in it. The movie had Joe Pesci. I loved Joe in those movies, Casino, and the Lethal Weapon movies. After watching the movies it’s on to Black Friday. I always wondered why they call it Black Friday. Black usually denotes something sinister or scary like the Black Death or black out of a football game. I guess White Friday doesn’t have the same ring. I’ve never waited in line anywhere though because I’m too lazy and the discounts don’t seem to be worth it. If Porsche has a 50% off sale I will go. Until then, it’s mostly showing up late in the day to get something small. I wish I was in the mainland during Christmas. It’s too warm here in Hawaii and doesn’t have the same feel. I want a white Christmas and to build a snowman. We went to DC to visit my sister at Christmas the other year but no white, just cold. The cold means hot chocolate, though, so still a good thing. I also found my old transformers that year. I had most of the original ones. They’re in my living room now even though the wife doesn’t really like them there. Says it messes with the theme. Our theme is Japanese and they’re Japanese so I don’t see the conflict. I guess that’s why I never get to pick anything out for the house. The house is really windy tonight. The howling of the wind is distracting me while I write. I really need to focus harder, but it’s hard because I’m trying to just let my thoughts flow wherever they want to for 10 minutes. Oops actually it’s been 12. I definitely need to learn how to type faster than I just did.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Prototype 2 - Portal Through Time

I made a few changes for the second revision. Many of them had to with the collision system, as I wanted it to be usable on all levels with minimal changes (the original was done with no regard for any type of scalability). A few graphical changes were made, too.

The biggest change was adding of the second level. It is still under construction and the animations should be ready tomorrow (I'm hoping) so it will look considerably cleaner. Once those are complete the collision and second enemy can be added. The plan is for the second level to take a few screens, with the next screen being part of the storytelling element. This is why the graphics are critical, because without them the theme of the game is lost.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Prototype 1 - Portal Through Time

The initial version of the first level of Portal Through Time is complete. The first level is very simple, as intended. The idea is to increase the difficulty on the following levels.

 The concept of the first level is simply to avoid the Tiki Guardian, grab the torch idol, and then reach the portal at the top left corner (which is animated in an attempt to make it obvious that reaching it is the goal. One thing I'm considering changing is how going too high kills the player. It seems to be one of the "stupid AI" items that Richard Rouse mentions. I also want to add some text in case a player tries to reach the portal without first grabbing the torch, as it will not let them through. This will be done before revision two.

Finally, I need to finish the graphics for the hero. As I am not very graphically gifted, I spent countless hours trying to get it done. In the end, though, for this prototype, I ended up using images from one of the Construct 2 tutorials for time reasons. I need to get the real character in soon, though.

The first version is located here -

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Focus: Port Through Time

Port Through Time is a side scrolling 2D game where the player will be Dirt McSplorer, the son of a famous explorer. Dirt never lived up to his father's lofty expectations while he was alive, but after finding an old map hidden in the attic, Dirt can change everything. It's a map to the mythical Port Through Time, a place where time travel is possible. However, no one has ever found it. As Dirt, the player will encounter numerous obstacles on his way towards solving the mystery of the cave. The game play will be the typical "ladder" adventure game style, with different levels to explore.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Pirate Life for Me

I have always felt that the pirate genre was one that should be expanded. Besides Sid Meier's Pirates!, there are not too many offerings out there. There are games related to Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean series (which are great movies), but they are not focused on the "pirate lifestyle". This something that needs to be fixed. Ever since Chunk and the gang went after One-Eyed Willie's treasure in The Goonies, I've been hooked. The idea would be to have an RPG game where you could live out the life of a pirate on the high seas 500 years ago. There would be the looting of ships and ports, battles with the authorities and other pirates, sailing, treasure, and lots of rum. I picture this as a multiplayer game where gamers could create alliances to achieve goals, all the while being ready to backstab their "friends" because that's the pirate way.


A genre I have always been interested in is hunting games. They provide a more casual type of shooter fun than the more immersive and time consuming military shooters. One big change I would like to make, though, is to switch the prey. Instead of hunting game animals, I want to use mythical creatures. The reason for this are two-fold. One, I think it offers some product differentiation and will be easier on the young ones, who may not like the idea of shooting Bambi and Thumper. Secondly, it will allow me more flexibility as far as their intelligence and behavioral patterns, as they are not as clearly defined in fantasy. The game would feature different environments, weapons, and skill levels. The true challenge would lie in making the game not too repetitive and not too difficult. I'm off to sample a hunting game or two on the 360 to see how the experts conquered this potential obstacle.

Port Through Time

I love side scrollers. I think this game style is perfectly suited to adventure-style games. I also love everything that deals with time travel. From the Back to the Future series to Quantum Leap, the idea of exploring different time periods is something that I find fascinating. With this in mind, I want to combine the two, creating a side scroller where each level is in a different time period. The idea will be to find a particular artifact that will beat the level and allow you to "port" to another time, where the process will repeat itself. Along the way, there will be villians, creatures, and natural hazards to overcome.

The hope is to bring back the simple joy of a game like Ghostbusters from the Sega Genesis era (pictured) combined with a storyline that changes enough to not be repetitive.