So unfortunately I’m going to have to chalk up one in the “fail” column for my February #1GAM, which was to be titled “Enter the Catrix”… I had until this evening to get it submitted, but after over a week of computer problems (complete drive failure) along with some Unity quirks that waylaid me, I’ve decided that despite a last drive for completion I am not comfortable releasing this thing. It just wouldn’t be something I want people laying hands on at this point.
It’s a shame really… It took some effort to turn a couple of cats into the animated characters, and then casting them in this point-and-click combat system. The idea was for the player to choose between slower free movement on the floor and speedy movement from “perches” as he maneuvered the ninja to the right angle for slaying the robot cats.
The original concept for this thing was simple… Make a fast, mobile combat experience with some flavor similar to what we created in X-Men Legends… dashes, knockbacks, walls getting destroyed… Of course I knew what I could get done in a month would be rough, and I’d be at the mercy of the animations I created, but I still thought I could capture some of the mobility I was after.
One of the core ideas was the idea that the map was filled with “perches”… These were ninja-style balance points that the cat could hop on crane-style and move quickly from point to point, hopping down for a quick fight. This provided the possibility that the player could dash to these points for a quick maneuver around the back of an opponent, but these points were not always available, requiring the player to hop down and run around instead.
My choice of perspective was one of my first problems… I needed objects with height to be perches, and yet I wanted some really fast horizontal movement when on the ground. For an easy point-n-click interface it was okay, but making things look tall and having them easy to hop onto was a bit of a pain that could probably have been solved with time, but was non-ideal since it forced me to move the camera more to a 45-degree angle rather than using a simple top-down perspective that worked with my 2D-animated characters. I got the characters to orient properly to the camera, but I didn’t manage to get the collision and controls to quite feel like they were going exactly where the player wanted them to.
In a more practical sense, I also wanted to use a modern or future city, or perhaps an industrial complex, merely because of my use of “robot cats” as enemies. (I didn’t want to create a game about my cats actually killing each other, as you might imagine). However, I didn’t manage to get a lot out of the Unity store, so I was working with a lamp post, mailbox and a fire hydrant as perches and not much else… Not a great method of immersing the player. Briefly I just littered the world with Iron Monkey-style poles and assumed it would just be a natural part of the world, but tall objects failed pretty hard.
I would have loved to consider this point-n-click method for iPads and touch devices, although I did use a right-click mechanic for throwing shurikens. However, I needed to make those more important for specific situations, so that melee, maneuvering and projectiles all had a part in the combat tactics.
Anyway, I don’t think this particular experiment is just a dead end, but I’ll need some time to re-explore it. With only a month to create the whole thing, I didn’t create the robust animation state machine that I really wanted, nor the proper input and physics… the push to finish resulted in more prototype-y things which can fall apart easily. I hope to work on it later and get some more crisp systems that I can leverage into games at a future date.