Project: Little Robo Climber Update (Project Goals)

Hey readers! I was thinking about today’s post and decided that I needed to talk a little more about the Little Robo Climber project and talk a little more about what I’m doing with it an why. Unfortunately, some more sudden deadlines arose, so I haven’t been able to work on this project much in the last little while, but that doesn’t mean it’s dead.

So what’s happened so far?

Well, the game is still in pieces, coming together slowly. Central to this project are two key engines; an animation model control/collision system, and a generated map engine.

What I’ve been working on first has been the map engine, which will go through two major phases: first is reading map data from a file, second is generating map data from a file.

The key goal of this project is to produce a simple, fun platforming game that can keep you guessing. One of the things I like to implement in to many of my projects is variants on procedural generation — the idea of using an algorithm to create content.

A lot of people dislike procedural content because of its tendency to produce bland, generic content. A great example is with Nethack, a popular rougelike that creates random levels — the levels are generally uninteresting, and don’t produce particularly exciting interaction on their own. The game relies much more on other elements to produce it’s entertainment value.

However, another rougelike game, Dungeon Crawl, came to an interesting solution to this problem by two methods — first, it added more generation algorithms to produce more variety in it’s generation, and second, the game added a feature called ‘vaults’. Vaults are predesigned chunks of level that get placed in larger, generated levels. This allows the game to use carefully designed portions of levels without having the team behind it having to design every level. Since most games feature mostly generic territory connecting more interesting sections, we can allow designers to create only interesting segments and let the code handle the less interesting portions.

With the Little Robo Climber project, my goal is to have the game use something similar to vaults. The game focuses around climbing towers. By creating single screens of stage, I can have the game create a tower dynamically in layers. In the final version of the project, the game will randomly recombine a series of layers in to a tower, based on the appearance of the layers and how tricky the layers are. (All manually set)

Right now, the game is capable of reading from a file, which is great; it’s the first step. So the next step is getting the animation model implemented, and then finally modifying the generation engine to produce random results.

More on this as it develops.


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