After the disappointing sales with BOT, it took a while to feel that enthusiasm again. For over two months, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with my game development projects. I struggled to come up with a new idea for a game. There was a great feeling of futility. How can I compete on the iTunes App store, when so many developers are simply giving away their games for free? Today, that changed. I was excited about a new game project. That project is called “Arch Fiery”.
This morning, I had to make a tough choice. Which of the four incomplete projects would I work on today?
- Arch Fiery — A side-scrolling platform game, like Super Mario or Sonic, but this game stars the Fiery Orb from BOT.
- Boroughs — This is a collection of NYC street games.
- Stencylworks Book — This software is supposed to include iOS publishing soon. I think that makes it a great topic for a new book.
- Corona Book — This software is also a great topic for an educational book.
I was tempted to simply give up on game development, but there’s a big upside to this work. Even though my games may not be best sellers, they’re great research projects for my books. With each app, I can learn something new.
While I wanted to start using new software, Arch Fiery is not actually something that I could easily make with Corona or Stenclyworks. That’s because GameSalad has a great particle system. I started with the idea of a burning fireball, and then I attempted to build a game around that concept.
Arch Fiery actually started out as a Pinball game, but I think that’s a bad idea. I wanted to make a game that’s fun to play, but not just a remake of what’s already out there. The idea of controlling a giant fireball seemed like a unique idea for a platformer. So, I set up a test level.
Without too much work, I had a burning orb flying around a city scene. I was pleased with the look. The deep-blue background had twinkling stars. The parallax scrolling added a nice sense of depth. I thought it looked quite professional. I had fun watching the fireball swoosh around the screen. Yet, I wasn’t sure what to do next. I was trying to make the game easy, but this was too easy. What could kill a fireball?!
For many weeks, I couldn’t answer that question. That’s why Arch Fiery went on the back burner. But today, I figured out a way to make the game fun — Wall Jumping!
Instead of having the orb fly freely, I decided to make it a jumping game. But without wall jumping, the game was pretty boring. Once the orb could spring off the side of walls, the game felt more quick and alive. Wall jumping also created a bunch of new level design options too.
The controls for Arch Fiery are simplified… left, right and jump. On the Mac, this game can easily be played with three arrow keys. I think I have a unique combat system that will work too. Instead of jumping on an enemy, the orb can simply burn right through. But in doing so, the orb will lose power. That’s how the game can be challenging. The orb shrinks in size as it burns through enemies. If power-ups aren’t collected, the orb will run out of power and explode. Falling off the screen also results in death.
So far, this feels like a productive project. Some of the techniques used in this game could be a great addition to the “Platformer” chapter in The Unofficial GameSalad Textbook. I’m planning to keep this game under 20 MB and to finish it up quickly. Maybe it will be ready by the end of the month.