Wanted to share a very early look at my upcoming game Puzzle Empires.
The game is inspired by the match mechanic popularized originally by Dungeon Raid (and later Puzzle Craft) where you create chains of resources, in order to gain resources/perform actions.
Puzzle Empires is about building your civilization throughout the ages. You'll research technologies all the way from fire & tool making, to genetics & cryogenics. Each technology will provide some passive benefit (+1 wood when collecting wood, for instance) or an ability that you can trigger at any time. Some technologies will allow you to unlock buildings which you can produce, such as farms and guard towers, which can influence the playfield and provide some interesting effects.
Like Dungeon Raid, Puzzle Empires is primarily an endless "see how long you can survive" type game, with a high score at the end. It will be possible to win, however, through the production of a certain end-game technology -- possibly something like the shuttle to in Civilization (not sure yet). As you're trying to survive, you'll need to balance food production -- to prevent starvation -- and military strength, to defeat invaders. Invaders appear on the screen and march down the screen at the end of each turn. If they reach your settlement, it becomes damaged. While it can be repaired, if your settlement's HP reaches 0, the game is over.
Sunday, August 19
The latest game is still very early in development, but is based on the matching mechanic in my favorite iOS game of all time, Dungeon Raid. I haven't fleshed out all the details yet, but it will be a Civilization/Age of Empires style twist on the formula where you build your empire.
I've also been playing the hell out of Puzzle Craft, which has some new, interesting ideas on the formula Dungeon Raid created.
at 8:51 PM
Tuesday, June 5
Pictured is a (very) rough work in progress character select screen. The player will pick from a large roster of characters, forming a team of 4 heroes. Each hero/class has different abilities, which will be described here.
Once the player has selected their team, they'll be able to begin the game.
at 12:01 AM
Wednesday, May 23
- Map 'doodads' (rocks and trees)
The totems are a unit that appear with Orcs, and providing an area-of-effect healing effect to nearby allies. Obviously, the player should aim to destroy these totems as quickly as possible.
I'm not happy with the tree or rock that I've sprited, so expect that look to change. I did, however, want to start pulling the graphical style together, and figure out how things will probably look in the end. Currently, the doodads don't block bullets, but the idea is that the randomly generated maps will provide some small difference in strategy -- providing cover against enemy fire (or vice-versa).
The other part I've been struggling to get right is balance. It's still early and so I don't want to spend too much time on it, but there's so many variables to tweak. I think I'll probably do Alpha/Beta testing as early as the game is playable, and start to get feedback on the balance.
Next up is probably weapons for the characters, and the Witch Doctor enemy. I'd like to do a multi-phase boss soon as well.
at 11:26 PM
A lot of the work right now is still going into configuration. Usually when I start building a prototype game, I hardcode many of the aspects that I later need to make configurable. This helps get things up and running quickly, and the expense of flexibility.
For starters, I've defined 4 basic classes (pictures in the screenshot) -- Mage, Priest, Rogue, and Knight -- and their base stats. I'm trying to work through the formulas to make the game seem fun and balanced. It's actually a lot harder than it seems. At the same time, I'm tweaking the size of enemy waves, tweaking enemy health/attack values, and more.
In the short-term, I'll be spending more time on balance. I also hope to implement weapons soon, which will have unique projectile graphics, and will boost the equipping hero's stats. I also plan to implement some new enemy AI behaviors, and some map doodads to keep things visually interesting.
at 1:34 AM
Wednesday, May 16
Obvious the environment is really simple right now, but there will be more coming.
I've also been working on a simple weapon system, and have begun implementing stats for the different classes in the game. Keeping in mind my original goal, I'm trying to get something that looks and plays well as soon as possible.
at 7:11 PM
Sunday, May 13
Did some initial work in Graphics Gale (a fantastic spriting app) to try and nail down a style for the game. All the sprites here are still totally rough, but it gives a better idea of what I'm going for. It's also much more interesting than looking at a black background with some colored squares!
Currently, I'm doing a lot of work on the non-visual part. For each 'level', I want to have a randomly generated set of 'waves' or 'spawns' of monsters. I've defined a format that determines which monsters spawn per level, and how many of each. Every couple of seconds, the level spawns a new wave of monsters based on one of the wave 'configurations' available to that level. I just implemented it yesterday, but it seems to be working pretty well.
I'm also working on an extensible set of behaviors for each monster. A monster can have multiple behaviors, which together, define how that monster acts. For instance, some monsters may charge the player. Other monsters may dance randomly, spraying bullets everywhere. By combining these behaviors, I hope to produce some interesting enemy behavior quickly. For instance, a monster that charges and then continues to dance around in melee range, vs. a monster that charges the player, but then backs off until it's ready to charge again. We'll see how the system works.
at 11:31 AM