Building an XNA Game Studio XBox360 Indie Game.

[page 0051] ~ Home Sweet Xbox:

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The theme this month is RESPAWN.

And what kind of small game can I build as my January Web Game 2014 and how can I use last months game “Flakey Kitten” as the base template for this month.  I thought I might be going to the Global Game Jam 2014 and then get a game finished there, but, my car battery died.  I wasn’t going to leave my car outside in -10 to -15 degree weather and then hope that it would start after I had just charged it back up.  So getting stranded at the GGJ 2014 was a no-go.  But what goes along with being able to respawn.  What needs to happen to have a need to respawn.  Why would I think it would be to my benefit to get someone or something in a video game to respawn.  Many things respawn in a video game.  And if you want to get technical about it, everything in a video game respawns, all the time.  Each time the screen is redrawn that part of the game has been respawned.  But like it was said a while back in this One Game A Month adventure, Keep It Simple Stupid, and use the KISS methodology to demystify the uncertainty of the quest being taken.  And that is what I will be doing for this game.

The name of this new game is “Bone Hunter”.  Once again the Hero of this story had died and has left the party behind.  Maybe others will be following shortly?  But this Hero, having been laid low, is now a ghost and has been taken one step further from the party.  As a ghost the Hero still has a chance to get back to the fight and rejoin the party.  The Hero’s ghost must gather the bones of its past corporeal being to be able to return and carry on.  There is one small problem.  The Netherworld is forever calling all ghosts to enter the light and lose all chances of returning in its abandon of forgetfulness.  The feat here is to collect the bones of your former self and avoid the spots of light that seek to consume you.  If time runs out or you cannot avoid the light it will be your final quest.

This little game is kind of sappy, but it’s just something to shake things up and add some diversion while still keeping on a coding track but to also be less serious than I might need to be while working through something for my Xbox 360.  For starters, it builds on my last game and uses the same ideas to move the main character around the screen, that is, just hold down the left mouse button and the main character will move toward that point.  The last game had a cat that needed to evade the snowflakes to keep from being frozen.  In this game, a ghost needs to collide with its bones as they move about the game screen.  The last game was avoid collision while this games objective is to move into a collision.  The last game used a bunch of lines, rectangles and ellipsis to draw pictures on the screen while this months game uses more computer built pixel drawings to generate the ghost and its former lifes’ skeleton.

The coding in this game is by far the most messy unruly bunch of unarticulated gibberish that I have yet thrown together and still have it do what it was intended to do.  Find and Replace was used to change the names of the variables from Kitten to Ghost and there were some other very unorthodox less than kosher practices that even by my standards makes me chuckle and hmmm at the same time.  It has nearly no comments nor remarks to give much if any guidance as to what does what or why something happens because it is where it is or needs something to do something somewhere sometime.  But I did keep the collision bar at the top of the screen.  Above that bar is a timer and now, in this game, below the bar is a label for what Level the player is on.  This game also relies heavily on RND, randomize, random() whatever in what ever language it might be known in or as.  The idea is for the ghost to capture the bones by colliding with them as they fly by.  This means that for a greater part of the game things will be moving toward the edges of the screen and them off the edges of the screen.  So to be mindful of this but not being quite too attentive to this predicament, when in doubt, give it a new random location.  Keep the action going and hope for the best.  There really is no assured way of winning this game, it’s more of a fly by the seat of your pants kind of deal.

So anyway, the way it goes is, with the levels, capture the skull, chest, pelvis, arms then legs, in that order.  Also for each level, the skeletal piece when it has been hovered over, (I don’t know if the ghost is chanting over it, casting some charm, or trying to eat it), will add time to the collision bar.  When the bar reaches its capacity the skeleton piece pops off the board and into place in the upper right hand corner.  Getting all of the pieces into the coffin is what is needed to RESPAWN and bring the Hero back to life.  But there are three endings to this game two losing and one winning scenarios.  As mentioned, collecting all of the skeleton pieces is the winning scenario.  Then there are the other two, losing scenarios.  While playing there is a timer at the top of the screen that counts down from sixty seconds in one second increments.  Each skeleton piece needs to have a spell cast on it long enough to fill out the bar at the top of the screen.  But as that bar is being filled the beckoning light also grows making it more difficult to hunt down the skeleton piece and complete the chant.  Being in the light fills the same bar with red and if it is completely filled, the Ghost has spent too much time in the light and is drawn into the NetherLand, and the game ends.  The other scenario is that there are seven levels to this game because there are seven sections of the skeleton that need to be collected.  With each level the skeleton piece can move faster, the Ghost can move faster and the light will grow faster.  The time remains the same, sixty seconds per piece, and is reset at the beginning of each level.  If time runs out before collecting the given piece for that level, the game once again ends.

Now all I need to do is get this little game onto my website and see if it runs from there.  Then hop on over to One Game A Month and check it in, get this bit of scrawling into WordPress then call it a day.  Then I can get back to thinking about where I’ve been and where I would like to be doing what with this upcoming year.  PS: The arms and legs of the skeleton have its central collision point at the top rotator balls, not at the elbow or knee which is central to the arm or leg as a whole, oops.  But to continue.

Last year at this time I had no idea of what I would be doing in 2013.  As it turned out I took a complete hiatus for the year from my Xbox project solution building process and turned my attention to building web games for my website because of One Game A Month.  This was very fortuitous because just after reading that sites creators book, “The Game Jam Survival Guide“, that creator built that #1GAM site and the invited was sent out, but everyone seemed to join him in building one game a month.  And so I got in and started building web games.  At first my jump out of the gate was more than a little rough.  I began with a Global Game Jam and posted that for my first entry on my Far_Niche channel on OGAM.  As I built my games for each month I would keep the code build from the previous month, take the theme for the current month and try to bend the logic to fit the narrative of that months theme.  It worked pretty well as the year progressed and now I have a bunch of completed web games on my site that anyone can play for free.

Now for this year, 2014, I am to run off and begin excavating that old Xbox site and begin to mine what is mine, the treasures of Xbox Live Indie Games.  I’ll try to keep up with the short game entries for One Game A Month, but my main push will be to go through my old Xbox project stubs, trials and tests so I can consolidate what I have built so far and archive the rest.  There is a bunch of junk that has taken up residence on my hard drives and that space would be better served as empty space rather than clutter.  So this year will be a reclamation and consolidation time for all of the stuff that I had previously build to get me to this point.  Art assets, 3D model assets, half baked project code, semi-inspiring logic paths, incremental builds that are no longer pertinent, copies of copies just in case something got overwritten, a whole slew of nuts and bolts from all over the place, everything that isn’t done and will more than likely never be finished will go into storage, not deleted yet, but just eternal storage, the black hole.

But unlike a black hole, I can choose just what I would like to go past that event horizon and become lost from the realm of information existence.  And so I start with my pinnacle of game creation, HUDOn, (Heads-Up-Display On).  This game uses many parts from the Xbox 360 Education Catalog.  With these many parts from this content catalog I have put together a myriad of game stubs, each becoming a further progression that stabilizes a greater test environment for forthcoming additions.  The best thus far are a 3D game HUDOn and a 2D game SpaceWar II both built to run on the Xbox 360.

Play Bone Hunter Here.



February 1, 2014 Posted by | 2014 [0050] to [00??], The Process | Leave a comment