With the first week down, I was hoping to have a few more things under way. But of course, development doesn't really work like that. I thought I had fleshed out my game design document as much as I could, but there has been a few hiccups i had never really thought about.
The first hiccup was the controls. I knew I wanted an on screen joystick as the main control, and a 'tap' mechanic which would slide the player to quickly get out of harms way in the direction of travel. Now the tapping mechanic wasn't the problem. That was actually quite simple to set up; basically, I just needed two different ID's for when the player has their fingers down on the screen. The first being the movement, and the second being the tap mechanic, since, well, you need to be moving in order to dive, I figured the movement would be the first ID and the tap being the second. No, the tap mechanic wasn't the problem, the problem was the movement and the joystick configuration.
I initially wanted the joystick to be fully transparent when the player presses the screen. I wanted to have as much game space as possible without crowding the stage up with the controllers. In theory that sounds good, but the problem is that the player would have no clue where they initial pressed when moving the character around. If they wanted to turn the character back in the opposite direction, they would have to essentially 'guess' or 'remember' the initial location of when they first pressed on the screen, which, for a game that requires an incredible amount of concentration, is something you wouldn't want to care about. So, I decided to drop the transparency of the joystick to a point where you can still clearly see it, but not too much that it crowds the game stage.
The second problem I had was deciding whether or not to have the joystick move to the pressed location, or to anchor it to the corner of the screen (either left or right). I thought about this a lot, but ultimately decided to keep it anchored to the bottom corner of the screen. I thought "nobody would really tap in the middle of the screen in order to move the player around right?". Players who have used joysticks in the past are used to having it in one location, whether it be on screen or on a controller, so why change something that ain't broke.
Once I "kind of" sorted out my controls, I decided to move on to implementing a background. Now I know it's way to early to implement a full background at this stage, but there is a reason for this. Since I'm trying to accommodate a number of different devices with a number of different dimensions, I needed to make sure that not only the background was still visible, but the game mechanics weren't out of the screen bounds. So I decided to make the background larger than it needed to be, and center the games camera to the middle of the background. This allowed me to know exactly how much screen space was needed for the smallest screen dimension, and build the background out from that. So far, it seems to be working well, but I need to test this on a number of different devices, so stay tuned, this still could go up in flames.
The last thing I struggled with was the walls of my background. The ground was fairly simple, since I knew the style I wanted. But the walls of an 'orc' arena are actually quite difficult to think about. Not only did I need to consider consistency with the style, but I also had make sure that it wasn't to distracting, nor was it too bland. That it wasn't too dark, or too light, and consider what an actual orc arena would look like. These things were hard to think about, but I eventually found a style of wall which I like. I may change this later down the track, but for now, it's a good placeholder. Handy tip; Referencing is your friend!
Besides these tedious hiccups, I've managed to actually get the ball rolling with this. I hope that in the coming weeks I would gain a little more momentum. The goal next week is to implement the character animations for 8 different directions. Again, ambitious, but do-able. Until then, enjoy!
Lindsay is a solo game developer, designing and creating games that he hopes all will enjoy.