Wednesday, June 3, 2015

No Man's Sky Mixtape Game Jam

Yo! It's been awhile since my last post, and I thought I'd post a bit about what I'm working on now.

Recently, I joined an indie game jam "mixtape" that has a bit to do with the upcoming indie game, No Man's Sky. The theme of the mixtape is exploration, but rather than do something like a Metroid-like or another kind of typical exploration-based game, I decided to try something different.

The game will take place from a top-down perspective and will be about actively solving and completing "rooms". You'll start at one door of the room, and your goal is to reach the other exit door in the room. These rooms will have various hazards, traps, or puzzles in them that will challenge you, and the goal of the game is, of course, to get through as many of the rooms as possible.

I started the game in BDX, and it's been going pretty well. It's only been a couple of days so far and I've spent some time writing and improving maze generation algorithms to generate some rooms for the game, as well as some time on a bit of art.

A random maze generation in the game. The weighting can be
adjusted to make for more straightaways, for example.

However, after playing it a bit, I'm not sure if I'll use them. I want to try some different, well-defined gameplay mechanics, and random generation doesn't play so well with that idea. I might use some random maps, but I think I'll go with pre-made rooms that are randomly placed and chosen as you progress through the game. The idea is to continue moving through as many rooms as you can. Perhaps it will end after so many rooms, but the core gameplay loop is pretty simple, and will hinge on a couple of types of exploration:
  1. Spatial Exploration - Exploration of your surroundings. On entering a room, you see where all objects / interactables are and what they do.
  2. Logical Exploration - Exploration of thought and gameplay mechanic. You explore how, where, or when to reach the room's exit. Some rooms might be simple, but rely on puzzles, while others will be more action-based.
  3. Linear Exploration - Exploration of the entire game. When you complete a room, you move into another one that is physically revealed to you as you enter. This will hopefully give the effect of each room feeling fresh and unique, but also unknown, in a sense.

What the game looks like as it is in the randomly
generated maze.

I only have a couple of weeks to get everything done (the mixtape ending on Sunday the 14th), so I'd do well to hurry it up, haha!

'Till next time!

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