Prototyping: minizo…wait..what?

prototypingAh yes, the prototyping stage, where a game can look like a jetpack, alien planet, fly and survive type game on one day… and like a run,jump,adventuring temple trasher the next.

Remember that Minizoid prototype I talked about about two weeks ago? Fast forward and it now looks like the screenshot you see up there.

People often ask: “how do you start on a game?”  and there are a lot of different ways from: having the image of the main hero, to wanting to create a specific game genre, or even just having a “feeling” that you want to recreate into a game..  and in this case working on a procedural level generator was the basis.

The level-generator, which was used in the minizoid prototype, is still there but it got improved a lot so that it now creates proper levels that can be actually run and jumped around in.  I originally added jetpack dude because it was the only way to go from room to room safely (as in: having everything reachable by the player).

Tinkering with the level generator started to created a much better layout and actually didn’t have the need for a jetpack anymore. So I slowly replaced the flying with running and jumping, and before I knew it I had a “meganoid” style level shaping and forming.  Imagine that, infinite torturous levels to run through.. wish I had that when I created Meganoid 1 and Meganoid 2 and all those hundreds of levels..

On top of all the procedural level stuff, I also (finally) figured out how to do a proper “seeding table” or what ever the technical term is.  Basically it means I now fill a table with “random” numbers, and I use that table to create the level from, walking through the random numbers until I reach the end of my table, then I start at the beginning again.

The random numbers come from a little math calculation based on 4 starting digits and bit-shifting, xoring, or what ever makes you tickle.

With this it means that, even tho the levels are randomly generated, we CAN dictate what the numbers in the table are based on using those 4 seed values. If these starting values are always the same, then the created level is also always the same.  Now this opens some interesting ideas!

We can still seed these four numbers with random values (usually based on the “time”) but we can also base these four numbers on the year,month,day all players the same level on the same day, while still being a randomly generated level.

It’s really cool to play around with, and I’ve already been running around random temples for a few days trying to reach the “treasure” at the end of the temple.

Now that’s it for this entry, but also for 2014 as tomorrow is December 31st and that means in just a couple of weeks I’ll be releasing Gunslugs 2 and I just got word that it passed through Greenlight so it will be available on Steam along side Humble Store, iTunes, Google Play, Chrome Webstore, Ouya, and a few others… busy times!



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