Dev. Journal Entry 03 Last Updated:
August 13th, 2012
Vectorzone --- Development Journal
And now, it's August...
I've been racking my brain trying to come up with ways of re-envisioning the game. My first attempt was actually turning out really well... until I finished the conceptual screenshot and realized it didn't look like vector graphics anymore. It was still a great idea for a game so I'll probably end up making it after Vectorzone. :)
As for Vectorzone itself, I've been going through multiple design re-writes and re-implementations. The simple fact is that much of the draw of the game was its unique movement and turning algorithms, set in a world-building, dungeon crawl environment, but by fixing the camera rotation, those elements lose their uniqueness and it all starts blending in with other similar games, Terraria being the most obvious one. Plus, there was only so much variety I could add into the game before it started feeling like much of what I was creating was redundant.
Through all of this I've recognized that the most important aspect of the entire game is the weapon system, and that when all is said and done, the way the weapons work will be what draws players in and keeps them playing. To that end, I've decided to focus on developing an addictive, customizable, yet easy-to-use weapon system before anything else, then build the game around this system, whatever it ends up being. This means the game could change radically depending on how the weapons work, since certain kinds of systems will be better suited to certain kinds of gameplay.
Basically, the game's going through some serious redesigning, which is why there hasn't been much to talk about and no updates to test out. Remember, I went through months of design work before I even started coding the game initially, so this massive delay due to having to redesign virtually the entire game is to be expected. I know, people getting sick off the movement were the minority, but an uncomfortably sizable minority, and fixing the camera rotation eliminated the one trait that made the game feel unique and helped it stand out. If the camera's not gonna spin then it needs to feel unique and stand out in another way.
There is some good news from all of this though. I've taken a cue from old 8-bit consoles such as the NES in how they perform their background rendering and have conceptualized a much more streamlined rendering system than what I had before, which will allow for much higher framerates for low-end PC users and a very cool background rendering effect that will give the game its own personality compared to other vector-based games. It should also be possible to run the game on very low-end hardware with the detail and resolution settings turned down, as this would cut all the texture sizes in half, which effectively drops video memory usage by 75%. (It will take 128 MB of video RAM to render the scene at maximum detail settings, but only 32 MB at the lowest settings. This is not counting the textures used for the ships and map tiles and such, just the back buffers, glow buffers, etc.)
Lots to do of course, though with the second season of ADG drawing to a close I should have lots of time to work on Vectorzone during my time away from the show.
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