Chameleons, Cupcakes & Sharks – Oh my!

After the frenetic workload that went into my last game Kyobi, I needed a break from development. Add to this an insane pile of “real life” coding work and I was finding it really hard to motivate myself to get on with something new. Working until 3am in the morning day after day does that to me.

So my own personal game projects bit the dust. I tried mocking-up an overhead tank shooter, but that didn’t get so far because I didn’t have a firm vision of where the game should go. I even tried doing a co-op breakout style game and failed to even finish this yet. But I’m not posting here to bitch about my lack of motivation. I’m posting to say what I’m doing about it :)

The answer can be summed-up in the picture below:

wip-games-2009

Here are four very different games. Top left is Robotz – a tactical / puzzle style shooter based on an Atari ST classic. Destroy the generators, this lets you destroy the robots (which are constantly chasing shooting at you). Destroy all the robots and the exit appears. It’s very simple, but actually really fun. The graphics are currently being pixelled for this, and I should have some level mock-ups to show next week. I’ve already done the level designer, mapped out 30 levels and have the soldier running around happily shooting at generators.

Bottom left is Shark Hunter. This was an awesome 8-bit MSX game. You had to mend your fishing nets, while fighting off the sharks and try to survive a whole year. Another nice simple game mechanic, but it has stood the test of time well, and I feel it’ll convert into Flash with ease. And hey, who doesn’t like spearing sharks? Concept graphics work for this is under-way, although no code has been written yet.

Top right is a cup cake. I have a really nice and innovative idea for a time-management game, that I have not seen done before. So I can’t give out too many details at this stage. But I think it could be a real success. I’ve got some awesome graphics through, and I’m actually toying with the idea of doing several games using the same assets – the time management one being the core, and then some simple spin-offs like a “spot the difference” style game, or a “cup cake dress-up”. Hey, you never know :)

Finally bottom right is a wonderful game that I loved on the ST. It was called Color Clash and was a PD game by Animal Soft. I doubt I’ll keep the same name as I don’t feel it does the game justice. You play the role of a chameleon who (as you’d expect) can change colour. Different colours have different actions. The yellow one can jump. The green one has a tail that he can flick to smash blocks / baddies. The red one inflates and floats and the blue one has a tongue that shoots out and can slide blocks around. I’m taking this core mechanic which works so well and tarting it up big-time.

40 levels have been designed already, and I’ve got the chameleon charging around the levels happily. Jumping, falling, sliding. Still need to do the baddie logic and colour changes. I want to do the original justice, but it also needs bringing up to date, so I’ll be refining and tweaking as I go. Still trying to track down the original author for his blessing on this project. Wish me luck.

I am working on Color Clash and Robotz at the same time. I quite like having the two projects to swap between. The other night I was stuck in getting my chameleon to jump-slide properly, and rather than admit defeat (for the night) and fire-up Left 4 Dead, I hit Robotz instead and got the shooting rebounds working smoothly. I’m also finding as they’re both similar 2D styled games, that I can share quite a bit of the code between them. Always a bonus.

So which will come out of the gates first? Honestly not sure. Right now Color Clash is the most complete, but has a lot of graphics work to be done to it. So Robotz may head it off at the final strait. Time will tell …

Posted on May 29th 2009 at 12:28 am by .
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9 Responses

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  • May 29th 2009 at 5:36 am

    The cupcake looks yummy and it seems influenced by PVZ 😉 … Hopefully it could make players craving for cupcakes!

  • May 29th 2009 at 8:30 am

    Haha on the motivation point im exactly the same Richard, after a long hard project its hard to get back up on your feet again. I find the best way (as you seem to have too) is just to jump into something, anything, to get your appetite for coding back.

    Oh BTW I mentioned you and Kyobi on my blog: http://www.mikecann.co.uk/?p=513

  • October 21st 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Hi Rich, did you ever finish Robotz and Color Clash? I remember them both fondly from my ST days. Two great games!

  • Mark Summers
    February 23rd 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I loved color clash. Brilliant little chameleon with a sticky tongue and a whippy tail and super complex mazes, wasted hours of my life! Keep me posted, especially if you release one for PC. Mark

  • February 23rd 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Color Clash is very nearly finished – keep an eye out for it Mark :)

  • February 23rd 2010 at 2:30 pm

    woo-hoo!

  • chris
    April 2nd 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Hi, any news on Robotz? I have been looking for this game for years – it brings back so many memories. Please let me know if you have any news. Chris

  • June 11th 2010 at 5:23 pm

    I’ve also been working on a tribute to Robotz :)

    WIP build can be found here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4426238/RobotzDX.zip

  • July 3rd 2010 at 7:18 pm

    …And it is finished! http://www.rgcd.co.uk/robotzdx/

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