In hopefully the first blog of a (fairly!) regular series I would like to introduce the game I've been working on for a while now. With a working title of COG, the game is a 3D action adventure game with a Steampunk theme and strong platformer elements.
This is very much an indie project ... the coding of the home grown engine is done by me, the 3D modeling is (largely) done by me, the level design is done by me and ... well you get the idea! About the only support I'm getting is from my kids who are doing the 'QA' (and who are super critical when something doesn't work!).
So where am I with this project? The game engine itself is pretty much 'feature complete' and the game playable even if there is still a lot to do in optimising and polishing the different components. Most of the standard platformer elements (conveyor belts, lifts, moving platforms, spike traps, switches, etc, etc) are already working and available through the level editor with the 'levels' (more accurately map sections) loading on the fly to create a continuous, seamless world. Basic monster code is already in place with it being pretty easy to add new monster types as needed for the game. The lighting and particle systems are currently being reintegrated into the game (the code is complete, but was deactivated while creating the first builds) so hopefully the landscape will soon be full of splashing water and rising steam and smoke (pretty important to have rising steam in a steampunk game!).
The camera system is nearing completion - it allows the player to have full control of the angle of the camera with objects close to the camera position fading out to improve player visibility (this is the last bit being worked on here with the drawing order of semi-transparent buildings being tightened up and optimised).
Looking at the content there is currently some placeholder content being used with the worst offender being the player's character which is currently a (not very steampunk) Kiwi rather than what will eventually be a small robot. In addition, while the 3D models are almost all self created, the textures used are a mix of those I've created myself, that I've purchased and a handful of temporary placeholder textures. These placeholders have allowed for rapid prototyping (especially as creating textures is a slow and painful process for me), but will obviously need to be replaced in the near future. Fortunately this shouldn't be a huge task as I'm using texture atlases that allow for easy swapping in and out of new textures ... there should be relatively few cases where it may be necessary to tweak the texture mapping. For information the screenshots and video contain this placeholder content.
As a result of all this there is now quite a nice library of 'Lego bricks' available including a range of basic building blocks (platforms, towers, walls, pipes, etc), more exotic props (the already mentioned spike traps, barriers, lifts and switches as wells as the mandatory barrels and movable crates), plants, rocks and other landscape elements. Finally, there is a series of animated models including waterwheels, steam engine, pistons and so on whose clanking and whirring will helpful give the impression of a living world around the player.
So things are going pretty well at the moment (especially given the limits on the time I can devote to this) and COG seems to be getting to a stage where it is moving from a process of writing code to one where the current task is to complete the game - a pretty rare thing for me!
Please let me know you think of the screenshots and video - one of the main reasons for starting this blog is to start getting some feedback to help shape the remainder of the game ... all constructive comments would be very much appreciated. Also if there is interest in a particular aspect of the game development process I would be happy to share more details in a later blog entry.
Thank you for your time!