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Why Do I Even Bother?

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The other day I was crawling ModDB (IndieDB?) and I came across a quizzical mod. ?A mod? can barely service to describe it accurately, perhaps if the standards for the term were set in 2003. Its screenshots look like a Quake mod, and in fact the title of the mod seems into indicate that it?s a Quake port of Left 4 Dead, with some other odds and ends thrown in. They claim they?re developing it for the PSP and their most recent post indicates that their team has broken up and they?re reorganizing with some slightly different and altogether over-optimistic goals. Okay that?s fair, I can?t say I was never involved in some unrealistic, overengineered project that was doomed to failure. I hope that when the project dies they find themselves on better ground and learn from their mistakes like I did.

What really irks me about this game is that they have over three hundred watchers on ModDB. Digitanks has been around as long as these people and it only has 79 watchers. How the hell did he get over 300 watchers for a game that looks like Quake with half of the game torn out? Is there some kind of marketing guru genius behind their operation? Do they have a djinni caged in some arcane container, imprisoned as he does the bidding of his watcher-hungering masters? Or does this speak to the kind of person who frequents ModDB, who prioritizes an unoriginal de-make over a good-looking authentic game? It all begs the question, ?Why do I even bother?? I honestly can?t decide if it?s something that I?m doing wrong or if it?s just the forces of the world going against me. I?m trying really hard to get people interested in my game, because I think it?s a damn good game and I want to make a living making more of them, so I guess I have to figure out if I stand to learn something.

Anyway, there?s much to report on the development end of things. I?ve been hard at work doing a number of things, and I thought I would share some in-development screenshots with my crowd.

There?s a number of things going on in this screenshot. First and most obvious is that large blue box, which is a stand-in for the ?CPU.? The CPU will be the command center for the player?s base, it allows him build more structures and support his units. It pumps out ?data flow? into its environment, which can be seen by the light purple tendrils around it, which mind you are also stand-ins. This marks the player?s territory and is the mechanism for supporting units and buildings, anything inside that tendril area gets improved fighting characteristics. There?s also a smaller translucent blob near the center where the player is constructing his first building, a ?buffer.? Buffers serve to help the player extend his base by increasing the data flow in that area.

You can also see some new units in action, namely the artillery in the very center of the shot. They?re aiming at the yellow team off in the distance, and they?re sure to rain down some hell fire in a moment. The advantage of the artillery is the ability to wear into your enemy at extreme range, at the cost of mobility. While the artillery is deployed it can?t move, it can only fire within a small cone, and turning is rather costly, so finding a good vantage point for attacking the enemy will be a must. In the future, there will also be a fog of war that the artillery won?t be able to see through, so they?ll require a spotter if they?re to fire effectively. Lastly, the artillery lacks any short-range weaponry, so they need good protection from the other Digitanks, or they can get ambushed rather easily.

Next we have our Mechanized Infantry. You may recognize their tank design from the failed designs of the main battle tank, I think they?re much more suited for this job. These are highly defensive units make the enemy think twice before attacking your base. In this screenshot, a couple turns after the previous, we can see that the enemy is closing into an attacking position on our base. However, our infantry has dug into their fortified position, so they have a significant defense and attack bonus. You can see that the smaller blue square (the buffer, remember?) has now been completed, and it?s supplying those infantry with additional attack and defensive support, making them ready to take all comers. However, the downside is that as long as they?re fortified they?ll be unable to move or rotate. To attack a well-fortified Mechanized Infantry unit, you?ll need a good supply line, a number of strong well-organized attackers, and a little bit of the element of surprise.

On the top right you?ll see a number of yellow lines coming back from the enemy units from the direction of their base. These lines are those unit?s support lines. As long as they remain intact, those units gain an advantage with bonuses to attack and defense, and additional health and shield regeneration. However, if I were to move one of my units into an interception with those support lines, the enemy units would lose that advantage ? sounds like a good time to attack!

I hope this gives an insight into some of the neat things I?ve been doing. In the coming days I plan to make another post describing the process of how I decided on all of these mechanics, so stay tuned.
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What can I say, looks like social networking is the evil.
But think it in perspective: they can chat and promote their work or they can get it done. I'm frankly sure the PSP can deliver quite a lot more juice than that and looking at the site, I am somewhat positive they're doing the former.

Think at it. After all, 300 ppl isn't much in this perspective!

Digitanks looks spiffy. The art style is definitely well thought. I'm taking a look at the site now.

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