Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The making of Gloop Troops - part 2

Disheartened by our failed epic game we thought it best to try going back to basics. We'd both recently seen The King of Kong and loved the idea of creating a simpler, action orientated game, but one with a scoring mechanic which allows experienced players to re-play old levels and improve their score.

We stripped back all the excess code to leave a simple core which read the joystick ports, loaded the map screens and displayed sprites on the screen. All our game code was written in Z80 assembly language, which allowed us to maximise performance, but came with the cost of being more difficult to manage. It was our first assembly coded project and had got a little spaghetti like as features were added, tweaked and dropped as the game was pulled in different directions. This had make making changes to the code during the adventure game's development very costly in time.

We started on a new game initially nicknamed Stackies. The goal of which was to simply clear each level of enemies by picking up an enemy ( in the same style used in Super Mario Bros 2 ), and throw them at another enemy. If the enemies collided and matched colours then the thrown enemy would sit on top of the hit enemy. If the colours didn't match then the thrown enemy, the hit enemy, and any enemies stacked on top of that hit enemy would be destroyed.

The mechanic was solid, but didn't suit a single screened game ( particularly a retro one with a small resolution ). The problems we encountered were that you needed lots of empty screen space to allow an enemy to be thrown, else they just ended up hitting platforms.

We debated on whether to make each level multi-screened or the enemies thrown in a straight line rather than in an arc, but these didn't feel as satisfying a solution. We were still disappointed after our previous failing and wanted to get the core mechanic developed quickly, fitting within the confines of the tech we had developed and the spec of our game. To make a game with single screen levels and an interesting scoring mechanic.

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