In my last progress report on the “Def mega update“, I teased that I was going to be a doucebag-indie-marketing-guru-wannabe and reveal some of the new features coming to Def piece-wise, spread over several dedicated posts. This is the first of those posts :)
Back when I began designing some of the later levels for the “Def mega update“, I started to feel that I needed something extra to shake things up – I guess it’s inevitable when the initial design was based around ‘minimalism’. I wanted something that would make the levels feel more multi-staged, so that new areas would open up as the level progressed. The solution was to add destructible BARRIERS.
Here’s a new game I’ve been developing on-and-off for a few months now. I’ve become pretty busy at “The Day Job” recently, and due to commuting time I haven’t found time to add all the features I’d like. I thought rather than sit on this game for many more months, I’d just release it as is. It’s polished enough to play … but you’ll need a friend (if you live in Melbourne … I’m happy to drop round and play it with you :) ).
Phobocore is a two-player hotseat game, where the aim is to capture all the planets onscreen by shooting them. It’s sort of a cross between Asteroids and Risk/Galcon, with a respectful nod to open field overhead shooters like Robotron, Bezerk or Gauntlet.
Download Phobocore (v.09 for Windows & Linux) [10.3 mb]
The experience of creating this game has been quite enlightening so far. It really got me thinking about aspects of game design I hadn’t thought deeply about. I threw around lots of ideas relating to ‘resources’ and ‘defenses’, particularly thinking about how RTSs like Starcraft require balance in play style between defense building, offensive maneuvers and resource gathering. Good players must multitask and proiritize to get the upperhand on their opponents. Key questions like “Should captured/neutral/enemy planets be solid objects or unhindering ?” occupied more than one dinner time conversation, bearing out all the ways these would changed the game. I had great fun testing the effect of different game rules, and how these changed the dynamics of the gameplay (with huge thanks to my long-suffering girlfriend for playtesting. The next best thing to writing an AI player :) ). If you are keen to fiddle with these game rules yourself, you can throw various flags in the phobocore.py sourcecode to test how these variations change the play style required to win.
I also spent considerable time tweaking things like fire rates and the “planets-held to ammo recharge rate” ratio to try and make the game somewhat fun. It works pretty well for players that are equally matched, but much like Galcon, once one player gets an edge, it can be hard to recover and things are over pretty quickly.
Big features I’d love to add in the future: an AI compurer player for single player mode, and maybe network play. I need to work on the collision detection, improve the graphics, add background music, and add a help screen / tutorial screen and slap on a license (probably GPL for code and Creative Commons for audiovisual assests).
Have fun & feedback is, as always, welcome !
I made a Towlr. It’s a puzzle. It comes to you without instruction and without explanation. Discover their secret for a delicious reward. It is possible. You may become frustrated. You may even have a minor hissy fit. This is quite normal.
(Thanks to Mike Kasprzak of Sykhronics Entertainment for hosting this monstrosity. Respect to the other Fathers and Mothers of Towlr’s)
Cursor*10 … some very smart design.
Another note to self. Remember to play Dyson. A winner of a recent ‘procedural’ themed TIGSource competition.
While I haven’t actually had a chance to play it yet, it looks really cool (couldn’t be bothered booting up the Windows machine or messing with Wine just at the moment … there is a ‘Linux patch’ here).