Blog Post 5: First Playable

Our game is called “Necromancer”, but it is a working title. I originally was going to have the main character be a necromancer who summoned the dead enemies in the level to fight for the character. However, as time started to run short I did not have the time to do the whole summon undead to fight for you thing. What the alpha turned out to be was a action jumping game. The wizard (the player character) jumps from platforms while shooting fire balls at floating eye things. You character can take only 1 hit and he dies. He can also die by falling into one of the pits in the ground. and when you die the level starts over. At alpha there is really no point to the game other than trying to get to the end of the level which will start the game over again.

Image 1.png
The beginning of the Alpha Level

My roll in the creation of the game is Designer and Programmer. I came up with the idea of what the game could be and my partner and I refined the details. As I started to build the game however, I quickly found that doing what I wanted was not going to be super easy. I had to learn how to use game maker and how to get my ideas into the program. This was a long process and burned through most of my time. I had to make  5 versions of the game until I finally had some of the tools down to make the alpha. My first first attempt at making a level had the player sprite not be able to move at all. All that happen is that he would stretch himself out in whatever direction I wanted him to move. Not being able to fix this I had to scrap everything and start over. My first working prototype had just the player character and some walls and platforms. I used this room to play around with the controls and try to tweak his movement until I was happy with it. After I had my character not floating around like he was on the moon I made a whole new room which would be the level for the alpha play.

The alpha level was long with several platforms to jump on and pits to avoid. During the creation of this level I had to tweak the controls some more to get the jumping and movement to act right. With the physical level complete I had to work on shooting fireballs and the placement and movement of enemies. The two biggest issues I ran into was the animation and movement of shooting a fireball and the movement of the enemies. I was using Game Maker’s physics and the tutorials I was reading were not. What I was doing was trying to move my game objects in a non physics way which does not work in the physical game room. Once I figured out my problem a quick google search got everything to move and act correctly.

Overall I found that making a game is not very easy and the more polish I wanted meant a lot more time tweaking the game. However, after watching a number of tutorials I found a number of ways that I could organize the game objects and sprites to make development a lot easier and faster. I was able to take what I learned and make a game room for the alpha in relatively short time.

Because the alpha of the game is not mechanically what I want as of yet, I would ask people who test the game to focus on the movement of the character and the attack abilities. Does the character move too fast? Too slow? Does he jump high enough? not high enough? How is the shooting? Right now you can shoot your fireballs as fast as you can click the keyboard. Is that too fast? Should I slow it down?

Once I add the abilities to actually summon something and put in place puzzles in which you need to use your summoned pawns then I will start to ask questions like is this ‘fun’ and does this work for a game? But until then I just want to focus on the movement of the character as that is extremely important.

Game can be found here

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