September 1GAM – Ascent Part 1

This month I’ve cheated a little. Although I’m passing it off a game its more a of a playable prototype. Truth be told this is the beginnings of a much larger and more ambitious project. Initially I had grand plans about getting that whole project done in a month but I quickly realized that that wasn’t realistic if I wanted to keep my job, keep my wife, make some progress in my other projects and also get some sleep and maintain a basic level of personal hygiene.

One fairly cool feature that I did get done is the automatic generation of the cave structures. The code is based on a tutorial on gamedev.tutsplus.com. It’s pretty neat. Partly because it provides some replay value and partly because it spared me the task of manually creating levels.

It’s possible for the cave generation process to create a system of multiple caves that are completely independent ie not connected at all. To make sure that the player is not being placed in a cave with no possible path to the exit I’m doing a non-recursive flood fill. If the exit and the player do not cohabit the same cave the level is thrown away and regenerated. Simple but not super efficient.

To provide a little bit of challenge the cave is populated by UFOs who charge the player. Right now their AI is abysmal. This will definitely be improved. I haven’t had much experience with game AI but now is as good a time as any to learn.

I think that’s pretty much it. I still have a few more months to go before I have completed my twelve month run in One Game a Month. Many months ago I made a commitment to produce something every month for one whole year and I intend to stick to it. However my attention is increasingly being drawn to projects like this one that I intend to revisit after the year is up. Projects where I can see the potential to make something I can really be proud of. For the rest of 2013 I’ll be sticking to the one game a month format but after that I’m looking forward to picking a larger project and sinking my teeth into something more substantial.

Oh yeah, the game… Here you go. Ascent Part 1.

Credits

The art, music and sound effects are not my creations.

The fighter and UFO graphics are from Open Game Art.

The UFO attack noise and the explosion noise are from Freesound.

The music is from Incompotech.com

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