I've been invited to join a team working on a game for the 7 Day FPS Challenge, which started a couple of hours ago.
The idea is to rapidly produce an interesting and polished "first person" game within a week. The hope is that this challenge will provide a learning experience for people new to game development, as well as challenging constraints for experienced developers, whilst encouraging both to explore and reimagine what an FPS can be.
The project I'm working on is a sci-fi themed ice skating combat game (at least for the moment, I get the impression that things can change pretty rapidly in such a truncated time frame). I've been involved in some gameplay brainstorming, and I'll be working on art assets during the week (right now, I'm sketching up some NPC concepts).
I'm not sure how much time I'll have for writing about the process as we go, but I'll definitely do a recap once the week is over.
Wish us luck!
So, contrary to what I said earlier, I have found time to get a few work-in-progress images up. I'm going to try to keep this post updated with links to everything. There are a few bits and pieces that I've thrown up onto Twitter that I probably won't bother putting up here, but if you're interested, go have a squiz at the two lof bees Twitter feed.
It's been a lot of fun to work on so far. the other two people I'm working with are hammering away at their own tasks, and after nearly two days of work, something recognisable as a game is starting to emerge.
At the moment, one of the most interesting aspects of the game is the movement mechanics. During our early brainstorming discussions, I was inspired by a speed skating mini-game in a Winter Olympics game I used to play on my Amiga, which involved moving the joystick from left to right in a slowly increasing rhythm to pick up speed. If you went too fast too quickly, you feel over, and if you took too long, your opponent would get ahead. We've tried to adopt something similar using the A and D keys, which when alternated between whilst holding W, will accelerate the player forwards. It's still very early and needs some polish, but it's already fun to try out.
There's now a downloadable version of the in-progress page that can be downloaded from the 7DFPS project page. Windows and Linux builds are available!
We've just hit the halfway mark, and the game's really starting to take shape. I put together a bunch of sprites to enhance some of the special effects, and we're starting to put some thought into environment and setting. We've also been tweaking out movement mechanics, adding in jumping, dodging and better turning mechanics. There's now AI for the enemy skaters, and they fire off exciting energy balls :D
Coincinding with the halfway mark, we've managed to get the game compiling under MacOS, and we should have a test build up soon!
Well, somehow it's three or so days after the end of the 7 Day FPS Challenge, and I'm only just getting around to updating this blog post. As the final three days of the event counted down, I found myself under a pretty hefty workload. Using 3D models to create our in-game 2D images had turned out to produce great results, but render times slowed down iteration significantly. I managed to keep myself busy whilst renders were happening, though. In addition to the character models, there were plenty of other bits of art to tweak. I also recorded some temp sounds and added keyboard look controls that would eventually make the game accessible to MacOS users (an Allegro bug prevented us from properly capturing mouse information on OSX). Crunch time had taken a toll though, and about 5 minutes before the countdown ended with only two nights' worth of sleep across the entire week, I nodded off, leaving my team mates wondering what had happened, and slowing the release of the Linux version by about half an hour.
I don't recall much other than uploading some files, saying sorry and going to bed, but apparently the game made it up more or less in time, and seemed to have gotten a positive response.
With my team mates showing signs of burnout and needing to tend to other commitments, I've spent the past couple of days rummaging through the source and making gameplay adjustments and minor enhancements. It's been my goal to tie up loose ends, and add a little bit of extra polish whilst not moving the game beyond the scope of a 7 day game. I've concentrated on things like adding sounds to aid player's understanding of and reaction to game events, higher visibility effects for critical gameplay items, and background imagery to help with player orientation. My team mates have been supporting me in this where they can, dropping in and out to offer suggestions, feedback and even fix up my messy code in the case of the background element renderer.
The project's at a point where it now feels like a game (though it's still rough) and is fun to play. I'm about to go over and make a blog post with updated downloads on the FLAT 7 Day FPS project page (we ended up sticking with the name).
If you get a chance to try the game out, we'd love to hear what you think!
I'd like to extend my thanks to SteelRaven7 and Johannes for their efforts over the past week and a half. It's been a fantastic adventure to share with you guys!