Project Eats (Not the actual title) is a great idea. It will be funny, fun, and go a long way towards selling itself. However, Project Eats (again, not the actual title) needs a lot more time in the brainstorming oven to be something I would be proud to release. So, Project Eats (Actual title…No wait, no. Not the actual title) has been put on the back burner for now and I am moving forward with Project Stuntman (…not the actual title).
Stuntman will be a frenetic, high-score-chasing, twitch (the skill not the streaming service) based game. It borrows heavily from some old classics with some modern twists. I will have some more details as well as some VERY early gameplay videos shortly.
Today, however, I will talk about the first 12 hours of working on this prototype:
I was once given a solid piece of advice. “When making a game, make it for one person. If that person loves it, others will too.” This lead me to making a game for my good friend and sometime colleague Jovan. And Jovan likes weird games.
We began with a simple idea like frogger where the goal is not not to cross the street but instead see how close you can get to dying… without dying. Scores are not granted by staying alive for a long time but by dodging out the way at the last possible moment. Kind of like a pidgeon or seagull standing in the road in front of your car. They never move until the very last moment, most likely just to be assholes.
I started trying to determine if I wanted a vertical or horizontal layout, ending up on horizontal to utilize the screen space afforded with 16:9 monitors. From there it was a process of determining the level layout, amount of lanes, control scheme, enemy spawning, etc. I decided to not spawn in waves, instead having enemies always spawn in every lane from game start. The game will start with only four lanes of variable speeds and will expand as the player raises their score.
The biggest difficulty so far has been trying to calculate points on dodging an enemy and notifying the player on the best time to dodge. I have settled on each enemy looking for a raycast hit on the player within a certain range. While hitting the player with a ray, the color on the enemy’s shader will change hue over time, reverting if the player moves out of the way. Once the player moves, based on the distance between the enemy object and the player, points will be added. If the players dodges at an extremely close range the game will move into slow motion. While in slowmo, the player will be able to continue to dodge close objects to extend the duration of the slowmo. The time control system was, thankfully, very straight forward since I utilized Chronos (Asset Store Link).
Once I had a VERY basic playable prototype I found that it felt static and uninteresting. This brought me into the camera. Originally, this was to be a straight down shot with an orthographic camera to essentially keep the game 2D. However, I have since moved the camera to a perspective view and have it following the player with some basic scripts to allow for delay, spring, and zooming/rotating during slowmo periods. I really like the feel of it now but, I think I will move my camera operation over to Cinemachine once I have some more of the basic portions complete.
All that is left before presenting Jovan with a playable build for him to judge is to add a death/restart system, high score tracking, and complete the enemy color change based on distance scripts. Once that is complete I may record some normal speed gameplay footage to post on here.
That’s it for the first 12 hours of work (spread out over a week). I will post again once Jovan can get his hands on the build.