Week 4 – Planning & Scheduling

Lessons learned from last week:  Playtesting is worth your time.  Difficulty in a game should be progressive, I noticed that when I was playtesting Week 3 I had gotten better at it and may have made the game too hard at the beginning.  The importance of scheduling is not to be overestimated.

Week 4 is here.  I wanted to do something radically different this week to push myself.  I bounced around the idea of making a trivia game for a bit.  It didn’t interest me enough though, and for now that might be for another week.  What I have decided to make is a puzzle game.

The premise for this game is touching tiles of the correct color, as displayed at the top of the screen.  There will be a grid of tiles of random colors spawned on the screen that the player can touch.  At the top of the screen is a random color tile displayed.  The player is to tap all of the corresponding tiles on the grid that match the one displayed.  After all acceptable tiles are touched a new grid will appear and a new random color tile will be displayed at the top of the screen for the player.  This will continue until either a timer reaches zero or a set number of waves have been completed.  There will be two game modes, a “campaign” mode where there will be levels to choose from that progressively get more difficult and teach the player how to play the second game mode.  The second mode is an “endless” version of the main game.  This will be a culmination of all the lessons taught in the campaign version.  A main time will constantly be ticking down to zero.  Each wave completed will add time to the main time.  Once the main time reaches zero, the game is over and the amount of correct tiles will be shown as a score for the player.  This score will be reported to the Google leader boards, a new feature I’m incredibly interested in incorporating into my games.

The following screens will direct the flow of this project:

A Title Screen with the name of the game and a button to progress forward.

A MainMenu Screen with the choices of levels or endless, as well as the High Score for endless.

A GameScreen that operates appropriately to the game mode chosen (a level or endless).

I think that’s it.  Designing levels will be the toughest part I think so I want to dedicate a lot of time to it.  Going with my two hour block plan as last week, this project will be broken down into 11 blocks.

  1. Write the Title/MainMenu/GameScreen skeleton. // Fill in with appropriate buttons for transitions.
  2. Create a grid of 4×4 tiles to display on the GameScreen that fill with random colors (of Red, Blue, Green, Orange, Purple, Yellow).  At least 1 of the appropriate color will have to be available to be picked.
  3. Generate 1 working level where a Tile is shown at the top of the screen and the Grid spawns correctly and completes when the player selects all of the correct Tile.  Have Level select from MainMenu tie into this.
  4. Create levels based on teaching the player a single new idea/color. (Clear time will be the goal)
  5. (continue block 4…)
  6. Create endless mode (which should be easy after making levels), that incorporate all the ideas learned in the levels.  (Points will be the goal)
  7. Implement Google Leader board scores.
  8. Fix any loose ends and have game running and working as a rough draft.
  9. Playtest game and take notes
  10. Modify game based on notes and additional playtesting
  11. Release game.

I think I’ve really let myself fall into a trap with block 4 and 5.  That’s the least amount I wrote in my schedule but the part that I think will take the most time.  I figure one level to introduce each color, six levels.  In addition to that we’ll have the endless “level” so seven total.  At four hours for the six levels that’s 40 minutes to write up each level and with two hours allocated for the endless mode that I could potentially eat into, I would have a little over 50 minutes for each level.

Well, I think I’ve got a lot to get down and we’ll see how it turns out by Sunday night.  I plan to post and update sometime by Saturday this week to document some more about these projects.  Hopefully I have something cool to show off by then.

Here we go!

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