Monday, 14 October 2013

Tying a ribbon

I've been putting the final embroidery on the my next game, entitled "The Prettiest Ribbon".  It's snake..but on a cube.  This began as an amnesia fortnight project toward the end of Last Chapter of Man.  XNA is great for 3d rendering, and I think taking a classic game type like snake and fitting it into a three dimensional space actually adds quite a lot to the experience.

The core technical trick was keeping the drawing of the ribbon, the input and the camera all in sync as you move around.  You have a bunch of vectors tracking the way things should face, look and behave...and when you move from face to face you change this frame of reference suddenly, you then have to re-orientate them all to respect this new frame of reference, but do so in a nice smooth way so that the player doesn't lose their bearings. That core gameplay and renering was all nicely solved by the end of the fortnight and it was a fun little game.

So once 'last chapter' was done I returned to this and decided to build it out a little more.  I added in splitscreen for local multiplayer which is really neat.  Then I started to think about more levels and unlocks, go check the main page for the sales pitch version of that, 32 levels etc.  The non-sales pitch version is I kind of wish I'd stopped at that point with just the plain empty cube, or maybe just half a dozen simple cubes, with just a little work on tidying the menus.  There is a purity to that layout that I think gets a little lost when I added more elaborate levels with moving walls and switches.   When you start building this stuff out you find you have to revisit code to make loading and parsing more workable, and then more code for controlling how to unlock them.  So it becomes a fair bit of work but I'm not sure it added a qualitative difference to that core gameplay.   It is nice to give the player some goals and it does provide for a bit of single player structure so not all bad.  Plus it did give me an excuse to create a bunch of nice palettes.

The game is done, check out the trailer on youtube. Like 'Last Chapter' it's pay what you like.