Got a month to waste, so..... PLATFORMER!

Got a month to waste, so..... PLATFORMER!

Postby bokononist » 08 Dec 2015, 21:01

So, since i have a bit of time and feel like coding I'd like to start work on something that's been running through my mind. I'm a big fan of story-driven games so i thought up something i'll probably never finish. Not gonna go into details yet, i have a tendency to get carried off on tangents so my ideas always get too big too fast... here's the basic idea tho:

I want to start building a story-driven platformer, the main focus being dialogue with npcs, not combat. The visual style i'm aiming for is something like this (I love this game) or this (love that one too) -- pixel art, scifi/noir setting. Starting off i'd like to spend as little time on graphics as possible and work more on the other aspects (building quests and dialogue). I have an idea for a combat system as well, but that's not high priority either. I'm already coding a prototype in python using pygame, but honestly i'm not really sure if that's a good idea... I'll ask some questions further down the post, i'm playing with the idea of switching to C or C++ (would prefer C for some reason. don't ask me why).

My goals for this month are pretty trivial and straightforward --- basic character control (keyboard only), loading levels and conversations from a file (JSON, XML, whatever really). Long-term goals are mainly concerning the way the story plays out.... I don't want linear story development, maybe i don't even want a singular goal for the player to achieve. I'm a big fan of RPG's and classic point and click adventures, and it is this spirit that i would like to create in the game. I want the conversations the player has with npc to significantly impact the options the player has and the way the story plays out. The problem is i really have no idea yet how to achieve this... One more thing i'd like to achieve is NPC's having a life, not just standing around the map forever. That also sounds like a lot of work...

So, even though I've done some programming in the past and am somewhat comfortable with python and pygame i'm pretty sure i'm fairly blind to the problems a game like this presents.
How worried should I be about the hardware requirements? I was really surprised to see how processor intensive Dwarf Fortress gets... it seems kinda silly for a pixel art platformer to require a supercomputer (and i guess it probably doesn't), but I wouldn't like to spend months coding the graphics, GUI, dialogue and the like, only to discover i have to restart everything because the computer can't process all the AI directives i want the NPCs to have... Python good enough, or should i just go C all the way?
Can anyone point me to open-source projects that might give me insights into coding structure? I'm doing some searching myself, but there's a sea of open-source projects out there, it's easy to miss things... Any links that you found interesting for any reason whatsoever are much appreciated.

I'd like to spend this month putting together a working prototype, and if i end up with something i like i'll be happy to post it on the web with a more detailed explanation of what the game is about, hoping for people to contribute obviously :)

Thanks in advance for any replies, criticism, anecdotes, jokes... If i can actually coerce someone to have a conversation with me about this i would be exstatic :P
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Re: Got a month to waste, so..... PLATFORMER!

Postby Julius » 09 Dec 2015, 12:36

So you want to make a (story driven) game or play around with programming a simple platformer from scratch?
If the former is the case, just use the Godot engine (that has a python like scripting language) which already has a prototype platformer included:
http://www.godotengine.org/
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” - Buckminster Fuller
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Re: Got a month to waste, so..... PLATFORMER!

Postby Akien » 09 Dec 2015, 13:07

Julius {l Wrote}:So you want to make a (story driven) game or play around with programming a simple platformer from scratch?
If the former is the case, just use the Godot engine (that has a python like scripting language) which has alsready a prototype platformer included:
http://www.godotengine.org/

+1, with Godot engine you would likely be able to do the short term goals you mentioned in two days (+ most likely some time before that to get familiar with the engine in itself of course).

Else, if you really want to make an engine from scratch in C or C++, you could have a look at The Legend of Edgar (https://github.com/riksweeney/edgar) maybe.
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Re: Got a month to waste, so..... PLATFORMER!

Postby bokononist » 09 Dec 2015, 18:06

I would prefer programmming from scratch... i feel much better writing the tools i need myself than learning about the way a particular engine works.... also, a big reason for the project is to learn, and from past experience i know that (for me) writing from scratch (while peeking at other open source projects) teaches me more. The part that interests me the most is coding the npc interaction. most games i've seen just have an npc repeat a certain dialogue forever(or until you finish a quest or trigger some change).. i would like to try to simulate real-world human interaction (well, i'd like to see how far i can get) - basically, have the npcs change their responses and relationship to the player based on his actions (this kind of stuff you mostly see in RPGs i guess... Morrowind comes to mind.. oh, and dwarf psychology in dwarf fortress is just amazing.)

But honestly, i don't really know what i'm doing... when i get an idea like this it tends to run around my mind a lot and i just keep getting ideas... 3 days of thinking about a game idea = a project for a full-blown team of developers, backed by all of blizzards finances... which brings me back to ---- yeah, i want to build a basic platformer from scratch :P, then use that to create a small level with a couple of npcs. if i write that, then keep expanding.. sadly, the projects i started in the past always just end up being forgotten so i'm trying to create anchors to keep my mind at it... one of those anchors is talking to you guys :P.. if the game gets to a certain stage, then posting it on the internet together with a roadmap would be another one.

thanks for the links, i can learn a lot from them, it's pretty much exactly what i need.

Anyway, I'll use this thread to post updates to what i'm doing... currently working on a basic UI (pygame for now), i think i can have it done by tomorrow or the day after.
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Re: Got a month to waste, so..... PLATFORMER!

Postby andrewj » 10 Dec 2015, 05:18

If a month is all you have, then doing everything "from scratch" will mean you will spend all that time doing low-level coding stuff, and there won't be any time left to experiment with your high-level ideas.
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Re: Got a month to waste, so..... PLATFORMER!

Postby bokononist » 10 Dec 2015, 09:45

well, it's not really like that... i just know that sitting behind the computer will be less natural for in january and february because of my plans... it doesn't mean i will be literally unable to code, just that my mind will be less occupied by programming. :) but, i'd like to use this month to create something i will want to come back to, as opposed to just forgetting about it, or starting a different project. thats what usually happens, and it's really starting to piss me off...
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Re: Got a month to waste, so..... PLATFORMER!

Postby palrogg » 29 Feb 2016, 21:28

Any updates :-) ?
How do you plan to build your levels? You mentioned Flashback. If you’d like to do a platformer like this, you could use a tile map editor. Tiled (mapeditor.org) is a very good free, GPL editor.
It builds XML level files for you. Then you can either write functions to parse the level files or use an existing library.
If you didn't finish, don't lose heart. I just finished a “small” platformer for iPhone, with a friend, and we started… in 2014 ;)
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Re: Got a month to waste, so..... PLATFORMER!

Postby HiroProtagonist » 30 Mar 2016, 19:33

If this idea hasn't died out, I'm interested in what you're doing for the story part of the story driven platformer. If you're to keep the project in check I'm curious what you're doing to simplify the story telling. What's the premise and how would it be reflected in the gameplay?
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