As we posted on our new year resolution post, we are trying again for the One Game A Month challenge this year. We had made an attempt to do so last year, but only managed to get through February. But even those games were not ones that we actually worked on that year.
This year, we are actually going to go for it. As such, we have finished our first game for the year, Dragon Canyon. Dragon Canyon is a game in so much as there is gameplay, a scoring mechanism and an end condition. It isn’t a complete game in that it is missing a few things.
Before I get into all that, I wanted to explain the history of this game. It kind of fits into the mold of my previous entries into One Game A Month. Both of those were dragon themed and fairly simple. Dragon Canyon is kind of a successor to Dragon Fire in many respects. It is a shooter and you play as a dragon shooting various flying monsters. But it is very different from it too.
For one, Dragon Canyon allows the player to choose which dragon they want to play. Each dragon has its own projectile as well. With Dragon Fire, the player was given a dragon at random and all dragons fired the same thing.
Additionally, Dragon Fire restricted the player to only left and right movement. The player was unable to travel vertically. This has changed with Dragon Canyon. Along these same lines, rather than a top to bottom shooter, Dragon Canyon is a bottom up shooter.
Finally, the enemy behavior is greatly altered. With Dragon Fire, all enemies appeared at the bottom and flew straight up. In Dragon Canyon, I wanted to add variety to the enemies, not just in looks but in how they act. So I have some very basic enemy behaviors in the game. There are four enemy types and each behaves slightly differently.
I would like to expand on this game in the future. I love to play shooters like this from time to time and it could be a lot of fun when improved. I had originally started the game idea as a test for Ouya development. So the goal is to add controller support as well as play for up to four players. I would also consider increasing the screen resolution to allow for full use of HD televisions.
I also need to add a lot more variety to enemies and their behaviors. As of right now, there are no enemies that shoot back and that is something that needs to change. There are also a lot more movement patterns to experiment with.
I also want to further differentiate the player dragons. While it is great that they look different and have different projectiles, I would love to add special moves that are unique to each dragon.
The background is something else that really needs to improve. I want to add a scrolling background to the game as well as different stages with their own enemies. Each stage could be themed around the different dragons.
Outside of all that, the other improvements to the game would include sound and music, pixel perfect collision detection and player health and lives.
Overall, it isn’t that bad of a prototype to be used as my January entry into One Game A Month. I look forward to working on my February entry.
Development, Goals and Deadlines
Dragon Canyon, OneGameAMonth
Years come and go. Game ideas come and go. But one thing is for certain, there is no time like the present.
This past year brought with it a lot of challenges and a lot of surprises. We entered the year 2013 with the idea that this would be the year that we completed Demon’s Hex and began looking forward to developing new games. We had hoped to take advantage of the One Game A Month Challenge to help spur that forward.
Sadly, that didn’t happen.
However, it is not all bad news. We entered 2013 with Demon’s Hex as merely a concept with visuals. It had no gameplay at all. But with some great motivation from local game developers, we were able to bring Demon’s Hex to a fairly playable state. You can actually play battles in the game and it is pretty fun. While the full game proper is not at all near complete, this makes a major milestone for us as developers.
With that success under our belt, we look forward to taking on the challenge of making Demon’s Hex fully playable. Everything will be done.
We also have a number of other games we want to start making. This year, we really want to achieve that One Game A Month challenge. It is a noble goal and one that we could easily do. We just need to sit down and do it. Just one weekend a month would get that done. Just some private game jams to get them done and out. They don’t have to be flashy or big, just done. That is all that matters. Completing the game.
That seems to be the gist of our New Year’s resolutions. We just want to complete some games.
With our technology pipeline pretty solidified this past year, that will make it far easier to complete. Now that I have my bearings inside HaxeFlixel, I can easily complete this challenge with the help of Willis. Together we can do it.
I can’t make any promises on what types of games we will create along side Demon’s Hex. I can just promise that we will try to do something different each time. While it would be easy to fall back on the same mechanics and genre’s it wouldn’t expand our minds nor foster creativity.
We were glad to make the strides we made in 2013 and look forward to making further strides in 2014. We hope that 2014 is the year that we make a name for ourselves.
With that, we wish you a happy new year.
Goals and Deadlines
Demon's Hex, OneGameAMonth, resolutions
I don’t know if any of you guys have heard about the latest craze hitting the indie game dev community. It is this idea of creating one game a month for 12 months. That is, by the end of the year, anyone participating should have 12 games done. It all started with a blog post by one Christer Kaitila, aka McFunkypants, in which he described his effort to make one complete game each month in the year 2012. This article sparked a lot of interest from fellow game developers and ended up becoming a thing. It is also a full blown website as well. Complete with a full slate of gamification to help prod developers along.
Needless to say, this has sparked something within me and I am planning to rope my brother into helping me do this. As you know, We are still working on Demon’s Hex. It is not as done as it should be and I feel ashamed. So hopefully, this will help. I am not sure if I can complete it all by the end of January, so I may split my time between it and another game for the first couple of months. It all depends on how far I get in the first couple of weeks. So yes, Demon’s Hex is my first effort, but my be pushed for full completion a little later, while smaller games fulfil my challenges.
The idea of completing 12 full games is kind of daunting. However, the goal is to just get in the habit of taking something from concept to completion quickly and simply. That means no filler, just meat. Take a simple concept and run with it. You will be surprised what can be done. Take a look at some of the current submissions for the project. For example, McFunkypants’ first submission is a clever use of A* pathfinding. Placing barriers in the way of the two AI characters is the primary goal. Simple concept and a number of maps to fill it out. That is all that is required. Can the games be bigger fare? Sure if you have time to work full time. However, for me, it will probably be something smaller. Not like Dragon Punch or Dragon Fire small, but something in between that and Demon’s Hex.
For example, I have had one game idea floating around in my skull for several years. This is a politically themed editorial game all about raising awareness for Oklahoma’s horrid ballot access laws. The object of the game would be to collect enough signatures to gain recognized political party status in the state. With a new legislative session coming in and signature requirements at a high point following the Presidential Election, now would be a good time to get people aware so that they can pressure the state legislature to pass reform. I would just need to come up with a clever gameplay mechanic to not only demonstrate the trouble new parties face, but also frustrate the player.
Other game ideas are a more fleshed out Dragon Fire that turns it into a full fledge vertical shooter. Or a board game inspired on the Lego Heroica games I got for Christmas. Who knows where the year will take me. Perhaps within all these games we will find our first mega hit that gets us working full time for ourselves.
Regardless of what happens, the primary goal is to build a games portfolio for us to show off as we expand our company and seek funding from outside sources. So cheer us on and follow our progress over at my One Game a Month profile page.
Development, Goals and Deadlines