Monday, August 08, 2005

Work on holepit continues.

Work on my shareware game holepit continues. After about a year break from it, recently I have decided to continue to do things on it when I have time.

The premise of the game is to move blocks into a hole. Every other part of the game comes from there.

To make the game more interesting I am adding a number of incentives to keep playing. One of them is this tunnel special bonus stage. It is kind of like a few different games have used before, where you run down a tunnel collecting things.


I am also adding another character modeled by Geoffrey Bantle. The transvestite cleaning lady. Complete with vacuume, and eventually stubble. She should add a bunch more game-play opportunaties, and make it more interesting overall. She will be the fifth character in the game. As the game involves playing against the other characters, there really does need to be more of them for holepit to be fun.

The character still needs a lot of work. Maybe another five hours painting. Then another 30 hours animating. Then I have to work on the characters AI. Which may take ten hours. Then I need to fit her into the character selection screen, as well as do any other graphical elements she may add to the game. All up, she will probably take a couple of months to get into the game in my spare time.

For the improvements I am listening very carefully to the advice of a select few people I think have a very good understanding of making games. Then I took this list of improvements and just started working on what interests me in my spare time.

An older version of the game got these review scores:
Graphics 69%
Sound 75%
Playability 33%
Longevity 20%

So with these review scores in mind I have been working on playability and longevity features of the game. The tunnel bonus round, and the extra character should make it a better game to play. I am also introducing scoring, and telling people which level they are on out of the total amount of levels. So that they have something to move towards. Not just playing the game for mindless fun. Instead they will have something to achieve.


Play testing the game has also been done during these changes. People play for the first time, and I watch them very closely to see what troubles they are having, and what game play options they like the best. Now I have chosen those options as the default.


The look of the game is one thing which needs improving a lot too. I have had a bunch of people tell me the game looks crude and not very well done. That the top down view is old, and does not provide a good look at the characters. You can't see much of them only looking at thier heads.

The top down view has been changed to a 45 degree view. Giving the player a much better view of the characters. I have also made the arena enclosed within the screen boundaries. This makes it easier for people to realise that there is a barrier there where the blocks will bounce off.


I am attacking each of the things which does not look so good one at a time. All these changes are small, and only make a small contribution to the look of the game. However when all added up they are slowly making the game look better. One of these things I have done is taken away the system mouse cursor, and replaced it with a cool looking 3D hand in the menu screen.


Another gameplay/graphical improvement has been to make the game play in window mode by default, and have the mouse cursor constrained to within the border of the window. By being in a window the graphics look better than full screen. I think this may have something to do with the way it was developed in a window. Windowed mode is the way I like to play it, so naturally I think this may be the way others like to play it too.

Many more things are needed for holepit. Lots and lots of polish. Then I *hope* other people will start to like it as much as me.

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