Point of Contact Blog 1 – The Beginning of the Adventure

As you can probably tell i’ll be documenting and discussing my progress throughout the creation of my game “Point of Contact”. While creating the game i’ll be blogging at the same time my thoughts on the subject and hints and tips for any games you may be creating. I’ve decided to take Point of Contact out of the demo version which is it’s current state and add many, many, many more features, a back-story and a very deep and intricate storyline as well as online multiplayer if I can get the 39.dll working. So read on and follow me through the creation process and pick up some useful tips and tricks for your games!

Now at first there’s not going to be many pictures to show because the first blog is basically about setting up folders, putting all my resources into one folder and basically preparing for the process of creating a game. I’ve got a story-line jotted down in my Point of Contact notebook which is highly top secret so I may post a few pictures from that if I feel it won’t spoil anything, also i’ve already chosen the music and sound effects that are going to go into the game and they are waiting in the folders for when I need them along with the sprites.

What I’ve done so far in the game is set the game identification number, which I have no idea what it does but I set it to “6339493” which spells “fluidic” if you use the following algorithm: A = 1, B = 2, C = 3 and after 9 you add the two numbers together until you get a single digit number.


 

The next thing to decide is the screen size used in-game, now I won’t be able to change this later so I spent a fair amount of time deciding it. The demo version of the game was 544×544 pixels, a little strange huh? Well I derived that number from an adequate looking size that would fit even on a 800×600 pixel screen nicely for people who still have tiny CRT monitors. This time however I want the player to be able to see more of the in-game action so i’ve decided to go 704×704 pixels which is divisible by 32 which I need for the sprites to be placed properly. Below is an image of the actual size of the demo game’s window, followed by the new version’s size:

Now as you can see there’s a pretty big size enhancement, I would however like it even bigger due to owning a 27″ monitor at 1920×1080 pixels, but i’ve got to think about the players with smaller screens. I don’t want to let the player customize the size of the screen because then the pixels become stretched and look dodgy and that’s something I can’t stand with other games, therefore i’ve decided to go with a fixed size. Interestingly I went with a 1:1 aspect ratio for the demo version, mainly due to not needing to see anything extra out on the sides and it had a line of sight so anything that you would be able to see with say a 16:9 window would be dark or invisible. It’s a hard decision between 1:1, 3:2, 4:3 or 16:9 as each has it’s own advantages and disadvantages.


 

Below is the screen resolution of 1152×768, I feel it has the right dimensions for the game window as it’s not too long and will still fit everything I need to show in the game. The size shown below isn’t accurate so if you click on it the picture will open in another window showing it’s true size.

Another important feature to decide on is the Software Versioning of the game so people will know when there’s a new version out and they have to upgrade. Here’s a link to wikipedia on what it is:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_versioning

I’ve decided to go with 3 values such as 1.0.0 mainly due to the fact that there’ll be a lot of bug fixes in the future and i’ll just be able to increment the last value after I fix them. The middle value is for new small features i’m adding such as a new bullet type or adding a different style of movement. The first number is the actual version number so 1.2.5 would be version 1.2 and this will be changed when a significant lot of updates have occurred such as new vehicles, game modes or more story line content.

After asking various people on the Game Maker Community forums about their resolutions and after a few tests I’ve concluded that a resolution of 1152×768 3:2 would be an ideal resolution taking into account that a few of the resolutions had a height of 768 and when run cut off the top. Below is the link to the topic I started:

http://gmc.yoyogames.com/index.php?showtopic=529203

And below is the final resolution with the HUD included, don’t forget to click it to open the true sized picture. The Darkest and the second darkest blue sections are the main HUD that players will be using, and the two smaller ones are for additional space such as when choosing what unit to airdrop to a location. The pictures of vehicles will appear there such as tanks, planes, helicopters or jeeps, and will only be visible on rare occasions as well as when creating your own maps for the game.


 

Still with me? Well this blog is going to be pretty long due to the fact it’s the first and there’s hepes of features to discuss and add to set up the game properly. Anyway now that the resolution and HUD size is out of the way, it’s time to work on the size of the menu’s, which I’ve decided will be 752×568 which will be plenty of space for the name of the game, and the options your able to select. I typically start making the actual game first before all the menu’s and settings but i’ll be doing it the proper way this time so ensure I don’t forget or miss anything, and to make it easier navigating to the level I want to test later. Here’s a picture of the old menu I created:


 

I’m going for a similar feeling overall with the storm clouds, however I want to be able to see more of the ground and units fighting away or sections of the map with the people going about their daily business which would be cool. I’ll also be removing the theme color changers and the text above it to increase the available space for my disposal. I liked the idea of having shortcut keys which, from the main menu let the users create their own game types by pressing a combination of keys such as: 2,4,4,5,1 which hypothetically would create a multiplayer game with 3 bot enemies on a medium difficulty. This could lead to people sharing these numbers for unique, easy to create games with no fuss. I’m currently multitasking at the moment listening to various pieces of music to determine which suit the game and which I don’t need, as well as working out what the games menu music will be. I’m not going to use the songs I created for a few reasons, one being that it just doesn’t quite fit the theme of the game, and two, they REALLY doesn’t fit the theme of the game, the game’s set in a medieval time with guns… A little weird but i’m still going for medieval music and techno just doesn’t make the cut.

Well that’s about it for this blog, look below for a hint of what to expect in the second blog. There’s a big watermark to stop people ripping it as well as decreasing the opacity on the vehicles:

About fluidicice

Queensland, Australia.
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