What's the Word?13 May 2016
Happy Friday the 13th!
So, I suppose the first thing to talk about is what I'm working on. Obviously, since I do strategy games, that be a word game, right? Right? ...What? That makes no sense, you say? Who's writing this blog, me or you?
Well, okay, there are a couple strategy games in the pipeline. EM16 needs to be updated, and I would do that right now if I could, but honestly that's in "hurry up and wait" mode, because the next "major" (okay not really that major) update (with the 2016 scenario that's, you know, in the actual name of the game) is waiting on events. The problem there is that I don't know who the candidates are yet, and won't until the conventions. I mean, sure, it looks like the Donald versus Hillary, but there are vice presidential and third-party candidates yet to be selected, and the last (of the four biggest) party conventions isn't until early August. So that's on hold for the moment.
The current plan is for the next game to be a cross-platform rewrite/sequel to TSC, but that's the next game. And so that leaves the word game. But why write it in the first place?
A couple of reasons: one, I've more or less decided to switch to Unity as a development platform (the previous games were written in Cocoa/Objective-C, which is limited pretty much to iOS and Mac), and I wanted something straightforward to write for a first project. Mind you, as I designed the game, the scope has creeped up a bit. What was originally probably going to be a weekend project (realistically a bit longer than that, but still quick) has turned into a full-fledged design that no longer resembles the original idea all that much. Still, I figure it won't take more than on the order of a month or so to finish. I suppose there's no reason the first thing I write in Unity has to be simple -- the first iOS program I ever wrote was TSC, after all. Though to be fair, the design of TSC is a bit muddled, and the code's a borderline mess. That doesn't really have anything to do with it being my first iOS program, though, it's more because I didn't really design anything before I started, I just kind of jumped in without knowing where I was going.
The other reason is that (to be completely honest) I want something to play on the pot (or, if that sounds too salacious, for quick periods of time, like waiting at the dentist or at the airport or before I go to sleep or whatever). And I wasn't really happy with anything I had that filled that role before. Because, one, I do like word games, but they have a tendency to be either boring (to me, anyway, generally lacking in depth) or timed (which I find awful for a couple reasons — one, I like to take my time, and two, that tends to tie me to a game until I finish it since dropping and picking up timed games "hurts my score" when I have to re-orient myself on restart). So those were key considerations for my design. (As an aside, I like 数独/sūdoku as a game, but the only real way to score that is by timing it — scores are a thing, aren't they? — and that has perverse incentives.)
So... A non-timed, strategic word game is where I'm going next.
As for how ambitious it will be... Well, I'd love for it to be multilingual, but there are a bunch of practical roadblocks there: getting word lists, localization, etc. We'll see how it goes.
These are Doug's bloggish thoughts on game development, specifically on the games he's writing for Lensflare, or on Lensflare-related topics more generally. Or whatever he wants to write here, really, but those are the sorts of things to expect. Doug has strong opinions (loosely held) about many things — he could claim that he doesn't speak for Lensflare Games, but that'd be silly considering that (for all practical purposes) he is Lensflare Games. Still (for what little it matters) he's not always wearing that hat here. And yes, this is an actual picture of Doug (okay, not really, but the story behind it is too long to go into right now).
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