Thursday, January 26, 2012


Game Maker is often what amateur game developers that don't want to program use to make 2D games. I tried it, had a bit of success, but ultimately I didn't really like the interface. I tried out Torque Game Builder and liked it quite a bit more, so I shelled out a bit of cash for the indie license (I had done the same for GM as well) and that's what I've been working with.

I almost went back to Game Maker when I was having some scripting problems I knew I could solve with the graphical scripting stuff it has (which is GREAT by the way, if you really don't want to script anything yourself), but overall I have been happy with Torque so far.

Anyway, here are some other games that have been made with TGB:

There are a few semi-major indie releases there. I think I own at least one or two of them, but it's hard to remember sometimes with all of the indie bundles I buy.

I actually solved the problem that made me want to go back to GM just today. In order for a trigger to function in TGB, you have to have an object actually collide with it. If you have any code in said object that is tripped when you collide with things (like if it's a player character that collides with walls, for example) it will react weirdly with the trigger. I solved this by mounting an invisible collision volume to my character that activates the trigger. Worked out perfectly. Now if only I could have all those hours of trial and error back...

Yeah! Learning!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

First look at what I'm working on right now.

Over the last few years I have started and stopped various projects, with a lot of the problems coming from them being a bit too ambitious. I attended PAX this past summer, and during the PAX10 panels there was a very constant theme - keeping things simple. So I remembered back to the core mechanic of a concept of mine I came up with when I was attending the Art Institute (and wrote a 30 page document about), and decided that instead of using it for a 3D action/adventure game I'd use it to make a 2D platformer. And you know what? I don't even need nice art. I decided I'd just do it, use whatever crappy art I can slap together (mostly focusing on the art representing the game mechanics) and release it for cheap or free when I'm done.

So what is the game mechanic? In a word - colours. The environments are largely made up of coloured blocks, and you yourself play as a coloured block (this may change to an actual character later).  You pass through "gates" that change your colour, and depending on what colour you are you interact with the environmental blocks differently. This is based on a colour wheel made up of just primary and secondary colours. You stick to the same colour, bounce off the opposite colour, pass through adjacent colours and triadic colours are completely solid. The reason for the gates is so that the level design can dictate what colour the player is, thus allowing more compelling puzzles/challenges and less guess work on the player's part. I am building this with Torque Game Builder, which seems like a solid platform thus far.

Anyway, here are a couple of screenshots of my test room. Right now all that works is touching the gate to change colour (I juuuuuust got this working, so there's only a red gate for now... I also have debug keys that let me change colour at will) and all of the sprites changing each time you change colour (to represent how you interact with them). I have a lot of work left to do, but I'm making progress and I'm excited about it.

One big wake up call was just how long it takes to do simple things. Those bigger blocks are made up of 9 smaller blocks each (to allow me to create objects that aren't just squares). For some of them, they are 9 unique blocks. In order to make things customizable, I had to script all 54 blocks seperately. I spent a lot of time ctrl+c/ctrl+v'ing code last night and making little changes for each block. I can't help but think there might be an easier way, but I don't know it.

I don't have a title yet, but I'm thinking probably an alliteration that refers to colours somehow. "Chroma Castle" is a front-runner, since my only idea for a story right now involves it taking place inside a castle. I'm purposely keeping things simple so I can actually get this thing done, but I have ideas bouncing around in my head for a sequel/successor already.

Alright, time to stop talking about it and get back to work.