Planning for the Weeks Ahead
Published on August 10, 2006 By ScottTykoski In Game Journals

As a natural procrastinator, game development has never been an easy fit with me. There are deadlines to meet, multiple timelines to juggle, revisions to make, and, when it’s done, you have to ship a fun end product. There are hundreds of places to fumble, so a plan must be in place to keep the wheels running smoothly.

The process of planning, as a procrastinator, blew my mind. I never realized what great friends ‘Waiting ‘till the last minute’ and ‘gross under-estimation’ were.

Before falling in love with schedules, I’d plan for a project to take a night or two, when…in reality…it would take a hectic 3 weeks. And, wouldn’t I know it, as my projects got larger in scope, so did the time needed for completion.

Who knew?!


Some of  'The Usual Suspects': costumed foes, arctic monsters and robotic fiends will keep you on your toes.

So this week I sat down compiled a list of 95% of what I needed for the game to be created and be enjoyable. The finished schedule required the creation of 2 heros, 18 enemies, 5 NPCs, and total 8 levels. This is 4 less levels than my original estimate, but will allow for more detailed and interactive environments. Here’s a sampling of what kind of levels you’ll be exploring, and what art assets need created the final game...

Level 1: Northpole Greenhouse

                -Outside Entrance

-Lobby

-Candy Forest

                -Alphafalfa Gardens

Level 2: Santa’s Castle

                -Hall of Names

                -Castle

                -Roof

 

Level 3: Zoo and Big Apple Streets

                -Inside Zoo Assts

                -Outside Zoo

                                -Jungle Room

                                -Polar Room

                -City Streets

Level 4: Wigglebee’s Coco Factory

                -Lobby

                -Factory

                -Wigglebee’s Office

Level 5: WigglebeesAlphafalfa Fields

                -Outside Field

                -Inside Grain Silo

                -Wigglebee’s Hideaway

Level 6: Abominable Zeplin “Tempest”

                -Outside Tempest

                -Engine Room

                -Corridor

                -Bridge

Level 7: Northpole Downtown

                -Downtown Streets

                -Indoor Buildings

                -Reindeer Stables

Level 8: Transformed Castle

                -Transformed Santa’s Castle

                -Transformed Hall of Names

                -Final Battle Platform

 

So the plan is to have each level consist of 3-4 'styles'...allowing for expansive environments that beg the player to fully explore. I’m looking forward to really bringing these levels to life with extra animations, destroyable elements, and lots of subtle effects (both graphical and audible) that should make the game world feel ‘alive’.

 

  

  

  
Level Concept (Clockwise from upper left: Greenhouse Outdoors, Alphafalfa Gardens, Reindeer Stables, Hall of Names)

 

As for my programming duties, the “Coding To-Do List" is considerably shorted than its big brother, the ‘Art to-do list’, so I didn’t spend as much time working on the engine as last week. What I did do, however, makes a big difference in how the game feels….


Current State of the game, now with a scrollable map (a necessary component for a 'Side Scrolling' video game).
Arrows to move, W to jump, D to attack.

 

That's about it...some enemy concept, some level concept, and a level that scrolls around.

 

Sorry for the short journal this week....but now I have a schedule nipping on my heels, making each hour precious.....though there is always tomorrow.

 

- Previous Journal Entries -

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Comments
on Aug 15, 2006
This is great news!  I really enjoyed Stack N Stack, Elves Incorporated and North Pole Show Down.  Actually not just me but the whole family.  So I'm very excited to what your next game brings.  Bring it on!
on Aug 15, 2006
I'm working hard to get a 2 player mode in for you and your son

Nothing more enjoyable than teaming up in these kind of games to kick some butt!
on Aug 18, 2006
Hopefully I will be able to kick butt. He's getting too good and generally kicks my butt these days.
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