A question that has been playing on my mind a LOT lately is “at what point do we start to show you guys some of the stuff we have been working on”. It’s a question with no simple, straight forward answer. On the one hand, I really want to share what we are doing with you as soon as I can – it ensures that interest in the game is sustained; we can get real world feedback on what looks good and what doesn’t look so good, but on the other hand, I don’t want to show you everything too early on in the games development. It’s important that some elements of Blast! are kept a surprise for the people playing it. Who wants to play a game where they know everything about it under wraps for when you are actually playing the game.
It really is a dilemma for us, but I guess with all these things, it’s something that you learn from. This is our first project, and so it’s a learning experience for us all, and that being the case, we need to accept that we are going to make mistakes along the way and the only way we will improve is by making mistakes and learning from them. So with that in mind, we have released our first assets to the world – check out our website at www.adarakion.co.uk, then click “Games” and there is a link there to the ships that are in the game – let us have your feedback!
As I have been banging on about for a while now, our main focus with Blast! is the “fun factor”. The entire ethos of the game is that you can put it on with your mates, have a few beers, play tournaments, leagues, or a quick 1v1 game etc. The main focus and vibe throughout Blast! is to make it fun to play. I want to get back to the days of local multiplayer where you and a friend would be in fits of laughter whilst blowing 7 shades out of each other.
The scope of the game is growing on a daily basis – there are SO many different systems/items to code. The game engine itself is devoid of any weapons at the moment – I have been focussed on getting the actual “flying” mechanics spot on and the map interaction/collisions working properly. Having said that, over the last day or so I have been coding in a basic “machine gun” type weapon which seems to work quite well and I have also implemented a very basic terrain destruction system too (these maps are gonna look a bit of a mess by the time you have finished with them!).
As another big part of the game is customisability, I’ve been coding in things like keyboard support, gamepad support, different split screen styles and different control methods so you really can play this game how you want to and how it feels best for you. Combine that with being able to fiddle with gravity, weapon load-outs, ship type, ship stats, and map types to name but a few, you can see that we are trying to produce code that will work under any combination of circumstances. I’m not saying that the game will be fun with gravity set to 0 (I’m trying to figure out how you would land to refuel etc!), however if that’s what you want to do, then go for it, just don’t come crying to me when both players have run out of fuel and are floating aimlessly around a map trying to die! (actually, that might be pretty cool floating around randomly taking pot shots as and when your ships meet, I’ll have to try that one)!
Another issue I have is starting work on one system and moving onto another before I have actually nailed the previous one, however I do tend to make notes as to what isn’t working correctly so I can go back at a later date and fix it, so a fair amount of my time of late has been fixing these errors with varied success. What I tend to find is that by fixing one bug, another rears its ugly head and its only going to be through hours of play testing that we nail them all!
Whilst on the face of things Blast! is a simple game to pick up and play, it’s a complex coding project and with only 2 developers working (very much) part time it does take a while to come together. What has been playing on my mind more and more of late is the question “could we make this work financially if we went full time?” Another question with no simple answer. For starters, we would all need paying to support our families etc. but having all that extra time to dedicate to Blast! would be fantastic. It’s something I need to take advice on, and will be doing so. Imagine going to work with a smile on your face and a spring in your step… Is that too much of a fantasy? My mind is so set on making this a reality that is becoming an obsession. Its not often I become this obsessive about something, so I’m taking that as a sign that yes, I do want to make a serious go of this, others do it, why can’t I?
For more on Project Blast! check out www.adarakion.co.uk