Not Quite There: Run

May 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

Welcome back to another “Not Quite There” I’m Troy McClure, you might remember me from such musicals as “Planet of the Apes” an-  Wait, not, never mind.  That’s all wrong.  Well, mostly wrong.  The first part’s right.  I’m here with another game that I’ve thought about, and which has never gone anywhere.

Run, it’s not a very good name, as I just came up with it, this is yet another game where I thought I’d leave the name to last, and as such it’s left with a crappy title here.  Other ideas for it were “Dash” where it would tie in to another game “Bash” but then, those are terrible names too.  But I guess you’re asking, what is “Run”?

Run was the first game where I bothered to sit down, and to start programming it.  I got to my very first hurdle(making the character jump) and promptly gave up.  Run was a game in the same vein as Canabalt, or Robot Unicorn Attack, designed for mobiles, and running in the Unreal Engine.  Visually, I was aiming for a more open version of Trials HD, with part of the environment constantly moving, though not what you were actually running on.  I designed a few different characters, all of whom would start moving in their own… explosive manner, but they were all to have the same control, at least at the early stage of design.  “But how would this game actually be interesting, rather than just being an ugly 3d version of Canabalt?” you ask.  Well, I, sitting in my own creative bubble, actually thought this through.

In Canabalt, the only scoring system is how far you run.  If you make it to 300m, no matter how well, then you’re better than all those chumps who made it less far.  Though you’re still worse at it than me, which is saying a lot.  In Robot Unicorn Attack, you get a multiplier going by destroying stuff consecutively, and then destroying other stuff to give you points.  This means that if you are a better player, you can make it less far, and still get a better score, by being good at hitting stuff.  The idea for my game, was more similar to Robot Unicorn Attack, but with a proviso, as you got more points, the game got harder.  Okay, that doesn’t explain it properly.  Whenever you increased your points multiplier, the game would also increase, by a lesser amount, the acceleration multiplier.  So, for a basis without testing, let’s say both number start at 1.  You run 10 metres, you get 10 points, and accelerate by “10” whatever that means.  If you do the multiplier boost 5 times though, then the point multiplier might be 1.5, and the acceleration one at 1.25, so you’d move the 10 metres in less time(and continue to go faster afterwards), but you’d get 15 points for moving that far.

The other design point here is that of a natural skill cap.  The game would have in it a set number of “structures” each structure would have an easy path, and a hard path.  All you need do to unlock the multiplier, is to take the hard path.  As such, when you’re going too fast for your reactions and memory, then you’ll naturally fail at gaining the multiplier, without necessarily failing the game.  This is similar in design to the star crystals in Robot Unicorn Attack, though if you fail to dash through them, you lose, which is a rather hard punishment, and a little like the boxes, and similar debris in Canabalt, which slow your character down, which can be both a good thing, and bad, when you fail a jump because you’re going too slowly.  The slow factor is the main difficulty I’d have with my game, which is one of many elements which would need a LOT of testing and tweaking, all of which sounds like far too much effort on top of coding, thus why the game has ended up… Not Quite There.  *X-Files Theme Plays*

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