Monday, April 21, 2014

It is all about perspective

First Level - Simple Actions

    I thought I would post an update on what our game is looking like so far.  The game only has a first level and a pretty simple one at that.  The Gingerbread Man (GBM) is now walking to different way points on the map and the towers attack any walkers that enter its attack area.  GBM has been a good sport about this and now reflects the damage caused by each tower.  I have been able to use the few models that I have created, like GBM, to try and get the game basics to perform correctly.  I am pretty sure that I will be replacing all the current towers and models with betters ones in the next month.  For now, it is nice to get some of the basics out of the way.
    An interesting thing about building a game is all the little pieces that you have to build in order to have something that works correctly.  Although I sketch out a overall design and game concept early on, I really don't sweat the details at this stage.  If I really do try to capture all the various tasks to get completed, it can get pretty overwhelming.  It is easier to set some goals for the week and month and then plug away until these tasks are done.  It helps to keep my head down and focused on the task at hand as the project slowly comes together.  It is a matter of perspective.  As long as I can accomplish these goals, then the other things will fall in line in time.  
    Last week is a fine example of working on certain goals and ignoring the complexity of the overall project.  I put together the 'Heads Up Display' or HUD panels to allow information to be always available to the user during the game.  This involved some custom widgets and a few more images, like my bad 'ant skull' at the bottom of the screen.  I was happy to get a skull-like model created, but Rebecca pointed out that it really was lacking some skull features, like a nasal cavity.  It is all about perspective.
    I also worked out a solution for the various screens sizes that the game will run on by using a lot more screen percentage based system.  I created an atomic size or unit to use in creating the correct scale for the objects in the game.  This way the walkers, towers, and even bullets will have the proper size.   Rebecca also pointed out my trees were too small compared to the walkers and the towers, which I had not really noticed.  She was right and I modified the maps to reflect this.  The trees should be taller than the walkers and the towers should be at least close to tree height.  It is all about perspective.
    This week will be more of the same, but with more concentration on the game phases and refining how the towers and walkers will interact.  I have a lot of work to do to get some of the firing and dying effects in the game, but will have to tackle one thing at a time.  I can't get too elaborate in the graphics, but want the game to be visually appealing to the user.  A compromise or two will always have to be made, but the getting the project done in a reasonable time necessary.   I want perfection, the user wants excitement and great graphics, and we don't want this project to eat up the entire Summer.
    It is always about perspective.

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