Thursday, July 26, 2012

Why aren't cubes cool anymore?

Good morning! This post is a bit late in comparison to my others. As usual, I was frustrated with a lack of progress, so I was up all night working. The upside to that, of course, is that I got a ton of work done!

I won't bore you with the details, but I have almost all of the features necessary to put together the first playable build of level 1. I've actually already started building the level; my plan, of course, is to work out the missing mechanics as needed in the level itself. From there, things should be ready to really take off.

Playable. Not pretty.
Of course, most of you won't get to see this initial build. I'll be showing it off to various dev communities in the hopes that its functionality will draw in a character artist/animator. As wonderfully supportive as I'm sure you would all be, I don't really want to ruin the image of the game for you by presenting little blocks, spheres and stretched textures in your first experience.

As with anything I do, I spend a lot of time doing research. In this case, I've been doing a lot of reading up on how to design good levels for platformers. While a general search for this turns up a surprisingly large number of results, I was actually disappointed to find that most articles on the subject are little more than personal preferences.

"Let me move left and right while climbing a ladder!" Really? I've always hated that. With old D-Pads and especially thumbsticks, I always found myself falling off the sides of ladders and getting really frustrated. I'm on a ladder! Obviously I want to either go UP or DOWN! That's really a moot point though, since Quig has no arms and, therefore, no use for ladders.

Either way, there were a few gems of knowledge out there, but nothing that wasn't primarily common sense. Its surprising that one of the oldest game-styles has such little real information available. If anyone knows of any articles on the subject that they've found helpful, feel free to let me know.

Brady (my artist friend) has been putting together more environmental assets for the game, which really helps things along. The programmer, however, has decided to not lend his skills to The Glow. I guess platformers just "aren't his thing". Which is perfectly fine. He's still being a trooper and giving me advice when I start swearing at my monitor.

One thing that programming is, and always has taught me, is to never become too focused on a single aspect of something. I don't know how many times I've spent hours punching my keyboard, trying to fix a runtime error, only to find that the problem was something incredibly simple and entirely unrelated to what I was trying to fix.

Programming is the nerd's path to enlightenment.

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