#OneGameAMonth - Update 1

Time to discuss my plans for the One Game A Month challenge. Today is January 1st and the competition is officially under way. After this post, at some stage today, I will write another with more specfic details on my goals for the first game. For this post, I want to discuss what I want to achieve, some of the cool things that will hopefully come out of this, and some of the rules and goals of the competition. The spirit of the comp.

Firstly, lets discuss some of the rules. Basically, there aren’t many. The idea is to publish a game every month for a year. That does not mean make a game in a month. For instance, I intend my first two games to be quite small, and fingers crossed, take a lot less than the allocated month. This will give me time to start working on some of the larger games I have planned for later in the year. The spirit of this challenge is to finish games, not start them. So the plan is to finish a game every month. Simple as that.

Now these games don’t need to be completely original. I don’t intend to make any money off these games, so I don’t need to worry about copyright or infringement. Each of these games is an exercise and learning experience. Some of them will be mechanics pulled form other games, some will be bare bones and under-featured.

That’s about it for rules I believe.

Next, let’s list my game ideas. These are in no particular order and definitely aren’t the order they will be made in. They also definitely aren’t final. Some of these may well be dropped for others.

1 Herding game based on flocking behaviour

reasons:

– A chance to write some AI again.

– Should be quick and easy to write.

– Gives me time to test and setup various publishing channels. Accounts have been set up for IndieDB, Kongregate and Newgrounds, so I’ll need time to figure out how to get a game on each of those.

2 Turn based fighter (think turn based Street Fighter)

reasons:

– This is the game that I used to write over and over again as a kid. They were text based, and intended to be RPG’s eventually, but I never got past the fighting. If I can find an engine that is easy to learn and good for text based games, I’ll use that, but I’m keen to try writing one of these again.

3 Endless platformer

reasons:

– I want to have a go at writing procedurally generated platformer levels and I want to finally nail 2D platformer movement. I’ll be using the Principals of Virtual Sensation to define, test and iterate my attempts.

4 Hex Battle (Think the combat from Heroes of Might and Magic 3)

reasons:

– This is for a couple of reasons. I love turn based strategy games and this one can be done very simply to start with, just one “army” with a few units available for different points. Allow players to build armies of equal point value to allow for player strategies and variation. Many, many options for expansion in the future if it’s fun enough.

– The second main reason is I want to test out the tile map solution I bough on the big asset store sale. It handles hex and is supposed to be very fast to set up. We shall see.

5 Tower Defence

reasons:

– Ok, I’ve never made a tower defence, so it might be fun to make, but I’m not convinced I’m going to do it. The main goal here is to use Unity’s built in nav mesh generation and see just how easy it is to set up and use. But if I can think of a more interesting game that would use it, I will.

6 Rhythm game (based on patapon)

reasons:

– I love patapon, though I haven’t played it as much as I’d like. I’ll be borrowing it from a friend shortly to get some play time on it and analyse exactly how it handles it’s mechanic so I can have a go at replicating it. Basically you are given simple, small combos of buttons to press. I think they are in threes at the start. One is for movement, one is for attacking. You have a couple of stylised tribesman and you must maintain a rhythm of repeating the movement combo to march at a steady pace. When you are in range, you must switch to the attack pattern to attack wild animals for food. If they run, you must switch back to movement to catch up, and then back to attack on the right beat before you lose the animal. It’s a great dynamic, fun, but hard to master. I’m yet to see it in any other games (though that doesn’t mean a lot, I don’t see a lot of games) so I want to have a go at applying it somehow. I’m not sure how my game will manifest exactly, but I’ll post about it when I do.

7 Shadowrun Matrix

reasons:

-I’ve always wanted to play this. It was my fave part of the Shadowrun pen and paper roleplaying game. No doubt it will be in the new Shadowrun game that recently was funded on Kickstarter, but it hasn’t existed as a proper port from the tabletop game before now as far as I know. If you don’t know how the Matrix (they called it that long before the movie despite the parallels) and hacking works in Shadowrun, you could look it up, or keep an eye out for my post on this game in the coming months. I’ll probably do this game early on as it should be a fairly simple one to make.

8 Sea Battles

reasons:

– Another turn based game. This one mainly based around movement and steering, like the flocking game. A simple pirates ship battles, with cannons and what not. It’ll be multiplayer to begin with to avoid writing AI for it, but if I have time I would very much like to have a go at this type of AI. I’ve never written it before.

9 Japanese Garden

reasons:

– This one will be a point and click. My first, despite having wanted to write one for years. This one was inspired by a recent discussion with my brother. He put me onto some Japanese aesthetic concepts. One of which was Yugen. Yugen refers to the deeper mysteries of life and existance that are felt, if not understood, when certain scenes are witnessed. An example might be watching the sun sink behind a flower clad hill or to stand on a shore and gaze upon a boat as it disappears over the horizon. So I am going to attempt to create a point and click that is a series of these types of situations set in a japanese garden. There will be somewhere to get to, an end of sorts, but it’s more about the exploration. It will have a day/night cycle hopefully, which will result in multiple Yugen experiences in each part of the garden. The music will be a big part of this one so I’m relying pretty heavily on my good friend Andy McLucas. Originally I was planning on just doing it in traditional point and click pixel art, but I have rethought that. I’m going to attempt to convince a very good friend of mine, who’s also a very talented artist, to create much higher fidelity art for this game. This is by far the biggest scoped game and will quite possibly be my cressendo, my piece de resistance released in December.

And that leaves a few empty slots. Two of those have been taken up, but I have no idea what they will be. I have come to an agreement with some tweeps (that’s twitter friends that I haven’t met in person for those playing at home). One of them is composing some music for myself and the other tweep. We are going to create one game each from one track (that is we’ll both interpret the same track individually) and then be given separate tracks that are from the same “album” and together decide on a theme and make a game each that are meant to feel as if they came from the same “album of games”. I’m looking forward to getting these tracks and figuring out how to interpret them as a game.

OK. I think that’s about all for now, it’s late, much later than intended. I won’t get a chance to write the post on the flocking game tonight, or get started on that game like I was hoping, so fingers crossed I get to it tomorrow night.

If you have any questions, thoughts or feedback on my ideas, or even the challenge itself, please feel free to leave a comment below, I’m usually pretty good at replying quickly.