July 29, 2014

Sunchasers Developer Diary #1

Hello and welcome to blogging day #1 of the developer diary for Sunchasers, my first real attempt at actually creating an honest-to-God release-worthy game.


Partially, I want a record of this so I can easily look back and see how much time I've spent and how far the game has come.

Partially, it's motivation to keep working at it and not get quite so easily distracted.

Mostly, though, it's to overcome the hump of trepidation I feel when sharing any creative work. I figure, if I do it often enough, I won't be so hesitant about sharing and I can stop being afraid of feedback, using it instead to make the game better.

This blog begins with the development well underway, because I didn't think to start blogging this until just now ;) My goal is to release new web-player builds every time there's a meaningful contribution (hopefully weekly?).

So what's the premise behind this game? It's actually straightforward (more than you'd expect if you know the sorts of games I like to play): You play a character who's on vacation and looking to relax as much as possible.

You start the game in the morning and try to fill your relaxation meter by spending as much time resting in chairs as possible. Relax in a chair and your meter goes up. Spend time out of a chair, and the meter goes down. If you fill the relaxation meter before the day ends, you win!

Along the way, however, you'll face some impediments:

  • You have hunger and bladder meters that fill over time. If either gets too full, your relaxation meter goes back to empty. Each level has snackbars and washrooms at which you can drain the hunger and bladder meters, but to use those you have to get out of your chair, causing your relaxation meter to slowly drain and possibly losing a good seat.
  • There are other beach-goers who are also looking for a relaxing day. They'll lay down in empty chairs, and in general make it tough for you to find a spot to relax. Some will even kick you out of the chair you're in!

Luckily, you'll also have some help:

  • Power-ups such as drinks appear at random and will add a little boost your relaxation meter or decrease your other meters.
  • Some chairs are especially luxurious and increase your relaxation at a faster rate than the regular chairs.

An epic RPC to save the world, it isn't. But it's kinda fun to play ;)

Now that that's all out of the way, onto today's release:

The core gameplay (insofar as rules are concerned) is already implemented. At this point, I'm focusing on a couple of things:

  • Making the game feel more fluid by messing with movement speed and improving the control scheme.
  • Ripping out all the half-assed, ugly programmer art and replacing it with whole-assed, ugly programmer art. I'm a huge fan of pixel-art, so I'm basically redrawing my hastily thrown-together sprites with some lovingly hand-crafted ones. I'm not an artist in any way and thus learning how to make this stuff as I go. Expect lighting, perspective, animations etc. to be 'off' or just plain missing for awhile.
  • The level design needs adjustment in terms of chair positions and other beach-goers.

There are lots of other bits missing (music, new levels, persistent scores, all that social junk, etc.), but for now the focus is on the art and the gameplay.

Want to give it a try? Click here to play today's release.

Also, the git tag for this release is available on GitHub.

As always, please leave feedback to let me know what you think, what you like, what you don't like, etc.!