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Week Of Awesome III Competition
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Guess what week I find out my Unity install is corrupted?
That's right! The same week I don't have the spare hard disk space to re-install all 6 GB of it (x2; download and final installation). Not so long as I *want* a page file anyways. And the same week I only have 35 hours to sink into a contest project. And the same week I find out the 3-month deadline on a project at work is actually a 3-week deadline because the client doesn't know how to do "week of completion" math modulo 52, and instead did it modulo 48.
First time I put my damn neck in the contest pool, and life chops it off. Sorry, guys; I have to bow out.
So, this year's theme. "Death is Useful". Lots comes to mind immediately, but I have to pick something.
I'd prefer to do a Strategy or Puzzle game. The former requires semi-smart AI and the latter requires either procedural generation or authored levels. I'm not sure I have the time to do any kind of planning AI, let alone do it in a framework which I don't have that much experience in yet (Unity), so I pretty much have to rule Strategy out by default.
So, Puzzle or Other?
Games I think I could do with this concept:
* A puzzle/platformer like Karoshi, but with bodies lingering after death. You have to kill yourself in creative ways or specific sequences in order for one of your respawns to escape.
* An action/puzzle game, where you have to kill creatures in specific ways, or at specific times, to accomplish goals. Inverse Lemmings. I'm thinking there's a rolling deadline (ball, creature, something that moves inexorably forward) that you have to protect or shepherd, and instead of using special ammo to create or modify the terrain in front of it, you have to manipulate creatures into its path to have their death create those conditions. Give the player time bombs, repelling sonic devices, freeze rays, etc.
* A kinda misanthropic project-planner game. Imagine a NASA planner game where instead of your resources being Funding, Time, and Popular Opinion, they are instead Funding, Time, and Test Subjects. When people die, they do so in incidents that you learn lessons from faster than by careful project planning and the expensive isolation of worst-case-scenarios. Therefore: have the players identify a set of safety criteria, scoring them on Test Runs and Test Subjects, letting them optimize how to learn the most safety lessons in the lowest number of sacrificial lambs. A puzzle is failed if a test subject survives the experiment, but sees another test subject die.
... I like that last one. Has some elements that I love about Zachtronics Industries' games, and can be done in a simplified, cheesy art style. I'll post some concept art at next availability.
So, with my entry to the WoA III, I plan on polishing up my skills in preparation. I haven't done any real game work that actually had a end-user-like UI in a few years, just lots of backend stuff and non-game-like UIs.
I'm reinstalling Blender, reviewing my old Unity experiments, and experimenting a bunch with what Unity does and doesn't give me "for free", because I never plumbed those depths in my prior experiments. Turns out, not only does Unity import UV texture materials quite easily, but it will also import an animation timeline and play it back with zero effort.
Things to master in the next few weeks, so I know them when I need them...
* Figure out how to create multiple named animation sequences in Blender,
* How to access and drive them in Unity,
* Whether Unity imports empties, so I can attach objects to them,
* How to swap out textures used by a given model,
* and how to do parameterized shaders, so I can do "palette swapping"-like effects.
And of course, get my hands wet in Blender again. I may have been using it on and off since 2001, but it's a pretty complex moving target to keep track of. There's probably some new tricks in the latest version, that weren't there when I last used the software for more than two hours in a month (which IIRC was 2011).
Naturally I'm not producing resources or even a game concept ahead of time. I'm just cracking my knuckles, stretching my muscles, and recalling how this bicycle's seat is supposed to fit.