Monday, September 27, 2010

[MY GAME] What I've done so far

I actually have a good chunk of the game planned out so far. The best I can do here is a list with percentages, which I absolutely hate. How can you accurately pinpoint a percentage on something like game development? Anyways, I guess I can wing it:

  • Weapon Tree/Upgrades - 95%
  • World Map - 40%
    • World 1 - 95%
    • World 2 - 95%
    • World 3 - 5%
    • World 4 - 0%
    • World 5 - 0%
  • Characters
    • Main Character - 25%
    • Supporting Characters - 10%
  • Creatures - <5%

What You'll Be Playing With

The first thing I started working on when I got the idea for the game was the weapons, because the weapon selection was the first thing that came to mind. How it works is simple: double-tap the screen near the center and hold (FYI, for those who don't know, I'm planning on an iOS release). This will bring up your item selection screen, or the Weapon Wheel. From here, you choose your attachment, and a sub-menu opens above that, allowing you to chose your ammo type. After that, simply let go and you return to the game.

You'll notice I say "attachment" and not "weapon." Well, the weapons upgrade permanently, like Shadow Complex; if you have an assault rifle, why would you need a pistol? With that in mind, I do need to mention that bullets are infinite for your weapon, you just need to reload, like Shadow Complex. The attachments are more along the lines of Metroid, in that for your two attachments for the Assault Rifle with a total of 8 different ammo variants:

  • Shotgun - [SG]
    • Buck
    • Slug
    • Tazer
  • Grenade Launcher - [GL]
    • Explosive
    • Thermite
    • Liquid Nitrogen
    • Acid

I had an EMP ammo variant, but decided to drop it; it was too similar to the Tazer, however, it had a blast radius as opposed to a direct line of fire; this blast radius quality could be what happens when - or if - the Tazer is upgraded. Hell, it may be an upgrade to the Explosive round.

Sadly, I'm considering dropping the ammo variant for the [SG], as it's already proving to be too much in terms of item acquisitions. I've got a list at 16 deep, and that's just weapons alone. Super Metroid had 7 Beams (Normal, Charge, Spazer, Wave, Ice, Plasma, Hyper) and 4 Secondary Weapons (Missile, Super Missile, Bomb and Power Bomb), 5 if you want to count the Grapple Beam.

Even though Super Metroid had 11 weapons, the beams stacked onto one another (but you could toggle which ones you wanted to use from the menu). My [GL] acts as a hub for the ammo variants, much like Shadow Complex, which had the main weapon's upgrades stack, plus the 3 attachments (Grenades, Missiles and Foam). That was it. I'm already planning on a larger scale game - more on that later - so more weapons doesn't seem like a bit to-do. I mean, look at Insomniac: both Ratchet & Clank and Resistance have a plethora of weapons to choose from.

Even if do cut the [SG] ammo out, it brings me down to 13 weapons and whatnot, which will bring the [SG] down from "simple alternative" to "powerful, ammo-stripped weapon" that would be something you'd want to save up for certain bosses that are susceptible to something other than the alternate Grenade ammo, and effectively push it's acquisition further back into the canon. Unfortunately, with a reduction in this selection, it's removing the functionality from the Weapon Wheel and, effectively, destroying the one idea I had that began this entire adventure.

An RPG element to the ammo is being considered, which will allow for more powerful variants of these ammo types, however, only to the Grenade ammo. Focusing RPG elements on 4 instead of 5 ammo types would ease the burden and make the process much more feasible for myself, the only person working on the game. It's up in the air if I want to make it some sort of experience/level up system, or simply finding the power versions ala Metroid. These power items would act as the equivalent of an Item Crash from Castlevania, which would take up the entire screen and deal massive damage. The names are preliminary, but I do like where I'm going with them: Ice > Glacier Rain; Thermite > Lava Flow; Acid > Holy Rain; Explosive > Mini-Nuke.

The upgrades for your suit are still being tinkered with, as I keep finding new things that I would love to mess around with. In reality, I know most of them won't fit/work/be used, but I still want to make a master list and have things removed part way rather than not make enough and have to add more, which makes the process longer. For an idea, I'm thinking about that once the [GL] attachment for the Assault Rifle has been acquired, this will effectively replace Grenades, turning it from a lobbed weapon to a direct line-of-fire weapon with a very, very minuscule arc.

Where You'll Be Playing

The world. Lord, this is where I'm having the most fun. When the Metroid Prime 2D fan project was alive, I took it upon myself to take the maps they created - 2D replications of Metroid Prime's maps - and rework them into the style of a GameFAQs contributor, who I've become a fan of over the years, Zeric. I even created 2D versions of Chozo Ruins and Phazon Mines, but never submitted them. Sadly, I can't find them. So, I know my way around making a 2D map.

Metroid maps are incredibly large, and I'm not trying to make a huge game; probably 50% of that. I have World 1 (W1; Overworld) done for the most part (still figuring out which rooms are accessed by various upgrades and all that jazz). W2 (Technology) is another world that is this close to being done. During W3's (Fire) creation, I connected W2 and W3 together using underground tunnels rather than an elevator, so W2 could have some work redone on it. W3 (Fire) has barely been touched, so there's not much to talk about. W4 (Ice) and W5 (Water) have yet to begin, where W6 (Secret) was finished up before I started on W2.

I say "Secret" not to keep the element a secret, but "Secret" as in it's a secret to the player until they have to go there, similar to Tourian from Metroid. The element I'm contemplating is steampunk, but being one that hasn't done a damn bit of steampunk anything, it'll be hard for me to do so; the inspiration came from the Metroid Prime Trilogy when I was replaying Corruption and got to Sky Town. The world is a world itself, not just a small area like Shadow Complex. Of course, the planet will probably be small in size (think Pluto; yes, Pluto is a fucking planet, NASA!), where each world connects to another:

  • World 1 > 2, 3, 5
  • World 2 > 1, 3, 4
  • World 3 > 1, 2, 4, 5
  • World 4 > 2, 3, 5
  • World 5 > 1, 3, 4
You'll see that for World 4 and 5, the opposite is italicized; I'm still debating on whether or not connecting the two worlds. Although it makes sense, I don't see it happening. That could change, however...

Sizing the Adventure Up

I want you to think back to E3 2009 when Shadow Complex was announced. SeƱor Bleszinski stated that Shadow Complex was going to be "3 times the size of Super Metroid's map". We all thought "hot damn!" Here's the sad thing about that: Shadow Complex is far from being anywhere close to Super Metroid's size (it's 2/3 the size of Super Metroid). Let me share with you map sizes between various 2D games. I painstakingly counted the squares on every single map for the following games: Metroid, Metroid: Zero Mission, Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion, Shadow Complex and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. They're ranked by size, beginning with the smallest, give or take a couple of squares:
  • Metroid - 500 
  • SC - 780
  • M:ZM - 900
  • MF - 1,036
  • SM - 1,213
  • SotN - 1,890 (942 Regular/948 Inverted)
Let me share various information about my map's sizes. W1 comes in at 195 squares and W2 is at 245. These are the only maps that I have fully developed. Now, I'm going to put this into perspective. My W1 is similar in size to the Main Deck in Metroid Fusion (189) and W2 is close to Chozodia in Zero Mission (234). The 2 maps I have made are at a total of 440 squares. I'm already half the size of Shadow Complex, and I'm less than halfway done with the World.



So far, pre-production on Project Mercury is coming along incredibly slow, and there is nothing being done in terms of art or assets; all I have so far is a whole lot of SOP (that's "Shit on Paper").

I would love to post at least the Overworld map I have created, but considering I don't have a legal department, or at least a lawyer, I'm under personal obligation to not share any assets that I have created. Even though the site used to be under a CC Attribution/Non-Commercial License - which I recently changed to a CC Attribution/Non-Commercial/No Derivatives License, which I did specifically for the game-dev stuff - I still don't trust even that. So, until things I think are picking up and things are moving faster, then I'll start sharing more information than just a big ass tl;dr post.