Fluid

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Fluid

Controls are yummy. I was playing with the new bit I had built, and as part of the Miyamoto Theory (see New Plan) I was trying to make the levels work using only the Standard Jump (no Flip or Aerial Dashes) and the Climb ability (which is part of the collision system – so I can’t turn it off). I ended up noticing that I had previously used the Flip all the time without realizing it. After all, just push Up while jumping and everything is cool. What that had prevented me from doing was catching a bug. The Jump would sometimes get confused and ignore the left and right commands. Considering this is a Platform Game, and being able to consistently jump in, um, a direction is probably one of the most important bits, this had to get killed ASAP. So after looking at it and tweaking it, I found that the issue was that it would think you were hanging on a wall, even when you aren’t. I had previously set the system to ignore the left/right commands when jumping off of a wall, since it was doing a Super Jump – and adding the regular wall jumping distance to the pushing a direction distance. So, I fixed that and I discovered something – the game actually controls very, very well. Like, I can play it and not encounter a spot where the controls do something that I don’t want them to. Which is good news all around.
-The CheckPoint system works again, sorta. Now it keeps track of the Checkpoint, but not the spot, and sometimes it kills you again because it is hateful.
-Enemies are broken, and I don’t know why. When you get to an enemy, it works fine. The ThiefEd gives good info and the parameters are all where they are supposed to be. Then you fight and the Enemy Skill level that I set works. So, Yay. However, once I kill an enemy, it stays dead. Honestly, that’s not the worse thing in the world, but the loading system isn’t keeping up. So in effect, the game would have a single enemy. You would kill it, and then encounter a string of defeated enemies along the way, like if Solid Snake came in just before you got there. So that’s the plan for tomorrow. Well, that and build some more levels. I do have a lot of work to do.
-Yes, that was a MGS2 joke. Deal with it.
-If that doesn’t do it for you, replace the Solid Snake reference with a Master Chief reference. Happy?
-On other things, the artist thing is going well. I have 3 candidates and all of them are really talented and seem really interested in this little project. Since all of them are really quite good, I’m hoping that I can use all 3. The hope then would be the break the work up among them. Then they could each do 50 backgrounds each and the overall level of art would be better. I get the impression that each of them could do the whole thing, but the overall quality may suffer due to the sheer amount and lack of time. By splitting it up, then I hope that they’ll be happier with their contribution and the game will be that much better for it.
-Speaking of art, here’s my 2 cents on the whole “Are Games Art?” question. :

No, games are not art. But, they DO have art in them. I know, it’s a cop out, but let me explain. People mention games and say that they, like good art, create emotion. Hence, they are art. I disagree on a basic level. For example, in Sands of Time you experience the story of the Prince, hear the music that paints the scene and look at the 3d models. So, when somebody says, “That game is art.” they are wrong. The Game part of that is the platforming and sword fighting and by definition, it is in the control of the player. So the artist can give no specific meaning to the actions, since they do not have directorial control. However, the parts that they do have control over, the architecture, the music, the story and plot I argue can be considered art. The Game, is just a series of mechanics. They are the Laws that create the boundaries and the game space. In and of themselves, they are no more art than the canvas an artist uses to put paint on, or the rock that will become a sculpture.
To put it another way. Baseball is a game. The rules of which are simple. 9 innings, 3 outs, 4 bases. No one would ever consider the rules to be art. Rules are not art.
If we consider games to be the vehicle, then they still are not art. A museum is all full of art, much like I argue a game is. Inside the museum, exhibits are set up, art is categorized in some manner and someone sits down and works out a flow plan, to make sure that people walking through are likely to see most of it. However, the museum is not art (well, except for the Louvre – but Architecture is art – remember) since it is just the container for it.
Mind you. I am saying this as a Game Designer. I would love for games to be art, then I could call myself an Artist. But they aren’t and I’m not. As Game Designer I am a Systems Engineer and my only goal is to make something fun. I have a lot of talented people that provide the art to look at.