Space Grunts 2 DEVLOG #5 – Creature Creator and pixel-pushing

A bit of a slow week due to the heat, but that doesn’t stop our pixel-pushing wrist and fingers from working! A bunch of new graphics and as I plan to have a nice collection of weird little aliens stomping around the levels, I needed new aliens but also a better way to handle the data attached to those creatures.

As mentioned, and shown, in the video I created a quick little editor to manage the, growing amount of, properties that control my aliens. I know there are much nicer ways to maintain all that data, using json or xml or some other easily-readable data file, but I’m old-school!  and a static array has the advantage of being slightly faster (at least in my old school brain, that’s still how it all works). As with my level-editor, this editor is build into the game itself, so it has access to all the game-data and code, but I made it flexible enough to be copy+paste-able to the next game.

I’ve also been diving into the card-handling code (again) as I wanted to have the option of playing multiple cards. So for example you have a “hyper-awesome-cool-thing” that will add 2 attack points and 1 defend points AND lets you play another card.  Of course, when I wrote the original code, I figured this could eventually happen and I would do a quick and simple fix of the code later on… yeah.. it’s never a simple fix, so it took me a bit more time to solve it all, because in the recent weeks I’ve been adding so much code that there’s now a lot more stuff linked into the card system (duh).

On the topic of cards, and this WILL be a returning topic in these blogs, I also had to rethink a bunch of things. I had given the player a “Fist” card, which are basically your fists and could be used to punch 1 hit-point in anything. Since they are your first, I decided that it would make sense to always have that card as an option.. and that was easy to build into the game..and I thought it worked.. but after some more gameplay sessions and trying a few without the Fist card, I found out that the fist-card upsets the whole tactical element you normally have when interacting with aliens. It was too easy to just use the fist-card a couple of times and save your weapon-cards making it less of a tactical game, and more boring!

The biggest problem is that I don’t really play the game at this stage of development, I just boot up the game, test the few things I’m working on, and exit out of the game. Never getting a full experience of how and what I’m working on.

So I sat down for a few real gameplay sessions, ignoring any bugs, not exiting the game until it was game-over, and this gave me some clearer ideas on what need changing, what works, and what doesn’t.

I also started player Space Grunts 1 the daily challenges (on Android) to be reminded how great that game was but also to figure out what worked great and where to improve on it.

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