Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Unresolved questions, resolved*

*subject to change

In my last post I had two unresolved design questions that I’ve tentatively come to a conclusion with.  That is to say, I’ve decided which direction I’m going to move forward with but as always that’s subject to change:

1. Will this be an iPhone or Windows Phone game first?

An iPhone game first.  Besides the obvious (marketshare), here are some main reasons:

    • I will be ordering an iPhone 4 tomorrow, which means I’ll have physical hardware to test on much sooner.  For example, I can test the motion-control difference between the iPhone 4 and my current iPhone 3G.
    • The Windows Phone toolset is very rough at this point and the performance of the emulator is lacking at best, frightening at worst.  I can theoretically complete the iPhone version with plenty of time to spare to get the Windows Phone version done when the toolset is more mature.
    • The iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 support custom shaders, which is a feature I may support in this game if I want to achieve some exceptionally cool effects.  Windows Phone does not support custom shaders.

2. Will the levels be random or fixed?

I stressed about this in my head for a long time, but I’ve come up with a compromise that I’m happy with.  Rather than create fixed levels (which would necessitate a level editor – which itself would be a large obstacle to tackle since the levels would span humungous distances), I can have fixed themes with randomly generated levels on each theme.  For example, I can have a starbase level, a planetary cavern level, etc., and each could be completable (as opposed to a never-ending “Canabalt”-style game).  The difficulty of each playthrough would be about equal to any other, but the random variance would keep things interesting.  (I realize I’m rationalizing a bit.) 

I was wanting to avoid a never-ending single game in which your only accomplishment is the amount of time you stay alive before blowing up.  After all, the premise of this game is that you’ve just destroyed the enemy HQ; it’d be a shame if your heroic act always ended in tragedy (though I’m sure I’d get some emo indie points if I designed it that way.)

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