In Which I Really Should Have Taken Some Screenshots

4 02 2008

Unexpected SLness this weekend.

I’ve been trying to think of game ideas, because games seem to be “my thing” and I’m even more dried up on non-game ideas and if I’m not producing things my value to society plunges and all is wrought with chaos and despair. But, as noted, I’m tapped for ideas.

So lately I’ve been toying with the notion of clones — using my old codebases and concepts in new games. More touch-target shooters, more rhythm games. It’s the rut EA had fallen into (I say “had” because beyond their sports titles they’re actually starting to get a clue), so I was hesitant to start down that path. Still, it was worth a shot. I figured even though I can’t fathom why people like the Freestylers games, a guitar-based one might be nice…

…cue to 36 hours later when I have a VERY NICE looking and playing Freestylers:Rock game complete with a redesigned user interface, improved controls, actual synced background music and player instrument sounds, and a spectacular texture job. Holy cow. What started as a cheap knockoff clone became the crown jewel of the FS games.

What’s more, the technical approach to putting music into FS:R was plenty applicable to Freestylers:Groove and Freestylers:Scratch. Groove’s already up and running with full music support and Scratch will be up within a few days, with free updates issued for both. In a single weekend I got a new game done AND revamped two old ones to give them the feature sets people have been clamoring for. Whoa.

Best part? These were building jams. Everybody pitched in. Keiko’s probably gonna do the guitar work once I get some technical details cleared up, I mixed the backing beats, Jen did a sculptie guitar object, Meissa handled the guitar strap and display pieces, and I hired an animator in SL to do some rocking out animations for me. End result is a pile of collaborative awesome.

Other noteworthy SLerisms — we took part in a “salon” style discussion about our projects and philosophies which Jen has written up in her LJ, and I did a DJ session last night which had a lot of horrible euro pop tracks I probably won’t be keeping in my lineup.

Also, if City of Heroes is still made of network fail (I was locked out of Virtue for a few hours) during next weekend’s Double XP event in which I might actually make some progress despite having other hobbies that need attending to, I will be a sad panda.

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3 responses

4 02 2008
jengagne

I’m glad to hear you’re warming up to the idea of building new variant games. It’s really not a “cheap knockoff” to your audience. :) What do they know or care about the code behind it? Yes, intellectually you know it’s in the “hit keys on time” genre, but people like themes too.
And yeah, if you find yourself upgrading code as you go, then so much the better in terms of being satisfied with the process, eh?
Plus as you go, the process might help spur on other fresh ideas for less-related games. Ya never know.

4 02 2008
cmdr_zoom

My network fail is rather more local, but I very much sympathize.
Cool that you’ve found something else to do, though I remind you that the set of games which actually work in SL is limited by the underlying architecture, and finite. It’s not going to be a perpetual source of creative affirmation. You will run out of games that can be (practically) made.

4 02 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

And that’s the core problem, really. There’s only so much that can be done given SL’s framework. Touch targets, very limited timing games, turn based, and.. that’s kinda it.
But within those styles I think I have enough room to manuver to make fun things, even if they are largely clones of each other. I mean, Whack-a-Mole and Zombie Meltdown are basically the same game! Targets appear, judge hostile/friendly, take the shot. Yet they’re unique experiences. I think if I take what I’ve already done and BUILD on it, rather than trying to invent something wholly new, I can get more mileage out of these.
(There are some genres I COULD do but simply choose not to — RPGs, for instance, because they don’t fit the casual/arcade gaming style and they involve a backbreaking amount of combat balancing work. I got out of that particular madness long ago.)

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