MAGS Day 2 – Off to a good start

Today started off a little slow but I made good progress in the evening.

I decided to really embrace the 24 tropes and make a parody/homage game out of this. This has the added benefit that I don’t have to spend time fleshing out characters since eight seasons of 24 already did that for me! Now I can get right to the meat of writing the story.

Building on the scraps of story I penned yesterday I wrote the full scenario for the game today. I’m trying to avoid what I did with Coyote where I wrote too much story and not enough good puzzles. The first half of the scenario started to feel a bit like that after I wrote it, but I managed to fill it up with more interactivity later.

To keep things simple, I limited the number of locations to 4. I have enough complicated stuff to put in as is, I don’t need more backgrounds to draw. From experience I’ve noticed the art is usually the main thing stalling development, since I get more instant satisfaction from creating and testing a piece of code (a slightly worrying development for an illustrator…). So this was probably a wise decision. And after writing the scenario it turned out one of the four locations was only really needed in a cutscene, so I don’t have to spend as much time on it as the others 🙂

So now the game needed a working title. My first hunch was to name it ’12’, possibly referring to the number of minutes you’d need to complete it. That might be a bit too short thought, so I upped it to 15 minutes.

To start things off I decided to recreate the 24 title sequence for the start of the game. I tracked down the fonts and downloaded some 24 soundtracks, then fired up After Effects. I’m pretty pleased with the result of some simple masking and a few keyframes. I could have made it resemble the source material even closer, but that was not the point of the exercise.

[vimeo 21895542 w=520 h=260]

Now it was time to tackle the biggest feature of the game – the realtime clock. Thankfully Monkey_05_06’s Countdown module could do most of the work for me (I like it when that happens). I slapped it on a GUI and man, it works like a charm. I already experimented with triggering some events at a certain point during the countdown, and so far it seems to work just dandy. The only problem I had was with sound files being triggered more than once (since I check the timecodes in the rep_ex).

I then imported my custom dialog engine and repurposed a few bits to suit this game. Seeing that ingame got me really excited!

My next challenge will be to tackle the splitscreen – another staple of the 24 show. I have a few ideas on how to do it, we’ll see tomorrow which one will work best.

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