Import Soul Wouldn’t it be nice if things just worked

21Feb/111

Weeks Unknown – Scaling Troubles

After many disruptions, holidays and general laziness i finally got around to doing some more work on Saga of Sol. To start off the term i had begun setting up the framework and basics of the local planet view. This is the view that when you are playing the game you are going to spend the most time in, building your armies and crushing your foes, and so on and so forth.

However not long into the programming i hit the barrier of software surface transformations. The simple effect being that when zoomed out a long way or scrolling quickly. Looking around at getting pygame to correctly take advantage of hardware surfaces, i quickly found that the general consensus is, dont bother and i got redirected to pyglet.

Pyglet is another python graphics library based around opengl and makes good use of hardware surfaces by default. In learning pylet i stumbled upon some basic guides on game desgin and another guide that provides a basic camera class for me to base my scrolling and zooming upon.

After lots of modification i have got to a point where one is able to zoom in and out towards a point on a map and scroll around in general RTS style. More difficult was trying to convert between screen and opengl (world) coordinates so you are able to identify whereabouts in game space your cursor is.

A screen-cap of the running trial, the scribble is made by moving the mouse to show correct conversion between screen and opengl coordinates

I will hopefully have some code up soon for those that are interested, as soon as it is tidied up and commented

13Nov/100

Week 2 – Survey Results

The Results

Part of the project was to do research in the form of a survey, the kinds of games people play and what they expect from them. My survey was conducted electronically  HERE (new results will not be considered). I now have enough results from the survey, with surprisingly round numbers, with 25 responses, comprising of 15 boys and 10 girls.

The most apparent observation is that most females classify themselves as casual gamers and play less than 2 hours of games a week where as males on average play around 4 hours of games a week. Another clear and more useful outcome is that almost all responses said that Game-play and mechanics are the most important aspect of the game, with graphics and story line being equal second and audio with no votes at all.

The things that people said they would like to see most in a game are interesting new mechanics, smooth graphics and audio that isn't irritating.

The plan

After ditching the falling blocks idea (see the prototype last week) I have decided to go with my idea for a space based RTS (Real Time Strategy). The aim of the game will be to build up your armies and bases around planets and expand your empire to, and protect it from other planets. To introduce a twist to separate it from other similar RTS games, all planets will orbit a sun, meaning that at different times planets will be different distances from each other effecting the travel time and fuel consumption. I plan on doing the graphics of the game in a simple line art kind of style, with mainly white on black and some colors to identify different factions and for special effects.

Overall the game will be a unique blend of Age of empires, Sins of a Solar Empire and Asteroids with some extra mechanics thrown in. I think this covers most of what people said they would like in the survey, having a unique new game-play mechanic, simple but effective graphics and hopefully some ok auido if I can pull it off.

Some things that I would like to incorporate into the game if I have sufficient time are games that can span multiple solar systems and some kind of content sharing system for people to share custom ship/system setups for people to play. For a name, the only one I have come up with as of yet is Saga of Sol which I think sounds ok.

For next weeks post I hope to have some screen-shots of a basic system viewer for showing an overview of a solar system.

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7Nov/100

Week 1 – Choosing a Project

At school we are just into our first weeks of year 12, subjects continue much the same as usual, but in Design and Technology (D&T) and Software design and development (SDD) we are required to do a major project.  While I am really keen to get started on my projects for both of these im getting stuck trying to decided upon one idea (for each).

For software design and development we need to design and document a video game and have been pointed at python and pygame to create it. As part of the project brief for our SDD major project we need to make weekly posts on the status of our project and what we have been up to.

With a bit of free time is made a little game prototype to warm up my knowledge of pygame and test the basic concept for a simple idea.

The aim of the game is to get to the green circle, this is done using the arrow keys and climbing on boxes, the boxes are dropped from the ceiling, and darker boxes crush lighter boxes.

For those interested it can be downloaded below
DropBlock - 0.2

If i developed this into a full game it would include other puzzle aspects such as blocks of differing sizes, and perhaps different properties. As well as this i would probably have a mode where you can see the order of all the blocks to be dropped.

The other main ideas that i am deciding between is an RTS revolving around interplanetary warfare, and a version of lemmings where the aim is to kill all of them.

By next week's post I hope to have decided upon a final project and started programming it, I will also include a summary of results from a survey that we needed to carry out as part of the project.