Monday, 31 October 2011

Match Maker 2: Update 4

So another late update.  I didn't get much implemented over last week and last weekend I've been at Runefest for Jagex (check out the amazing smoking RuneScape cake below) so today I have been fully resting up and rehydrating after the eventful and tiring weekend.

So from the tasks that I listed last week I have:

  • Move the delete button to underneath the main board
  • Remove save button
  • Warn player about the letters randomly changing

I've also re-organised the Main Menu page to give the player the option of entering the Challenge or the Casual mode of the game.  Once the casual mode is implemented this button will work.

Lastly, I had a simple thought to encourage players to replay the game.  When the timer runs out or when the player unlocks and moves onto the next level (during Challenge Mode or Casual Mode respectively), the player will be shown a fraction indicating how many words they managed to correctly spell and how many remained during that level.  As I say simple but I think it's a good one.

Over November I'm calling a brief recess on development of this project but when December rolls around I'll be back to work on Match Maker.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Match Maker 2: Update 3

So this update is a week late.  Last week I added the following to my prototype:

  • Added a menu
  • Added a save a load function (but on after contemplation I think I'll remove this as it's not needed)
  • Add points to the player's score when they correctly spell a word
  • Add 5 seconds to the timer when the player correctly spells a word
  • Restart the level when the time runs out
  • Check off words that have already been found
  • Output a green, red or orange square next to previously entered word to indicate a correct, incorrect or already found answer (respectively)
I also changed the layout of the components like so...

I also tried the demo on 3 of my work colleagues which gave me some useful feedback and even pointed me to some similar games to study.

From the feedback I came up with the following that needs to be added:
  • Implement 'casual' mode - linear progression through new levels where more letters are unlocked every level.
  • Add High score board
  • When all words in the level are found/session ends/time runs out, save score in High score board
  • Implement in-game menu
  • Move the delete button to underneath the main board
  • Remove save button
  • Warn player about the letters randomly changing
So I still have a lot of work to do unfortunately, but overall I think that this project is moving in a good direction.

If you'd like to play the latest build of my project so far, you can download it here.

Send me all your feedback too.  Anything will be useful :)

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Match Maker 2: Update 2

So this week I have made considerable progress with one of my prototypes. The player can now click on the the randomly displayed letters in the grid to spell out a four letter word.  If the player spells a word that is on the list of words for the level they will gain score for that word.  As each letter carries an individual value (like in the game Scrabble) some words will carry more score than others so it is up to the player to try and work out which letters carry the most score and create words using these.

At the moment the layout of the board is at a very placeholder state where only the board, the empty spaces and a basic delete button are shown.  This is something I'll be working on this week to enable all of the important elements are displayed as well as adding a timer to create the Challenge game mode.

I'm hoping with these and a few other essential features worked in this week, I'll be able to upload my first WIP version to my site to get people to play and give feedback to this idea.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Match maker 2: Update

So, mid-week I sat down and worked on my prototype for a simple word creation game using Game Maker.  The game reminds me a lot of the the non-digital game Boggle that I used to play a lot when I was a child.  But the idea for this was actually derived from a previous idea I had for my 'mobile' game, Match Maker (this project is no longer solely a mobile project).

Over the past few months I have iterated on this idea so many times.   The main reason was that I was not convinced that enough challenge existed and that the game simply wasn't fun.  This led me to two different ideas but similar gameplay methods.

The first idea was a simple pattern matching game.  The player is presented with two 4x4 boards. One is placed above the other and the one on the top is smaller.  The smaller board will depict the pattern, using blocks of colour, that the player needs to match in that level.  Each block on the larger board will randomly change colour.  Once the level begins the player needs to select each block on the larger board to correctly match the ones on the smaller board.  The player will be timed and the faster they match the pattern, the more points they accrue.  As they progress through the levels the patterns will get progressively more difficult i.e. more blocks will need to be matched or a mixture of colours will be required.  So this was my first idea.  I'm still not convinced with it, but I figured if I make a simple prototype it will help to demonstrate my idea and I can get others to play it and let me know their thoughts.

So my second idea, is very similar to the first.  In this game you have a set amount of blank spaces (the amount depends on the difficulty of the level) shown above the larger 4x4 board.  Instead of coloured blocks, the board will randomly show letters.   The player will have to create i.e. a four letter word using the letters that appear in the larger board.  Once a word has been successfully created, the four spaces will turn blank again and the player can begin to create another word.  Players will be timed and will have to create as many words as possible within the time limit in order to score the most points for that level. As they progress through the game more letters will be added into the 4x4 board and the length of the words to create will get longer.

So far I have been dedicating two nights a week to my projects so that I can play more games, devote a decent amount of time to Take Initiative and work on improving my other non-game related skills.  I hope to post an update a week detailing how this is going. 

What do you think of these ideas from what you have read so far?  Worth developing prototypes for to judge their potential?  Or should I scrap them both and start another project?  Or have you got any questions for me?  If so, feel free to comment :)