I made a mistake. I thought that I could step back from the project for a bit and all would be good. I was wrong. Mere hours after I decided to take a week or so off 2 things happened. First, the Team wanted to know what we are doing next and how I want things done. Of course this requires me to think about the project some more. It’s like when an Ex and you have all the same friends – she’s bound to come up. That’s not such a bad thing. After all, I’m not walking away, just taking a week (well, now it’s 5 days – probably less since I have an entire evening tomorrow with nothing to do) off.
The Second thing is the Thought Bomb that slammed my unsuspecting brain as soon as I walked outside the fallout mind shelter that is The Thief’s Tale. Ideas, good, bad, indifferent, indecent, and excellent stampeded in. I’ve not been so excited by the prospects since, well, I started this project. All kinds of ideas, all kinds of things that I couldn’t do before, things I didn’t know how to do, things that were holding me back before are now surmountable. The vistas available are awesome and frightening.
So I thought of the next project and have a design doc in my head for what it will be. It is nothing like the current project. Oddly, the thought was to make a different kind of platform puzzler, but the mechanics really, really want a faster yet more cerebral kind of gameplay focusing on multiple input controls and improvisation. Thief was built out of love, but I think the next thing, it’s going to be the thing. Not just to get me the job, but maybe to get me the Company. I think it’s that good.
-Still though, I want to finish what I’ve started and give it the attention that it deserves. The Brain Bomb didn’t leave anything alone. The fallout sprinkled down like radioactive, idea fairy dust onto all the little projects gestating in my head like face hugger larvae. Thief is no different. So here’s some of the ideas:
– Lots of new traps. I want to do more, a lot more with the moving rectangles and timing based puzzles.
– Animation system overhaul. The Character Artist really wants to have more frames and more stuff. After seeing the animations he gave me, I’m really inclined to agree.
–Gamepad support. The game works with a keyboard, but the neo-retro cool of the design really begs for a gamepad. I think that will change the dynamic of the gameplay for the better.
-The Skeletons are not depressed anymore. Now they eat skin. (Simpson’s did it!)
– Enemy types will have different skill levels. So I’ll have 2 kinds of Guard and 2 kinds of Skeleton and 2 kinds of Knight and 2 kinds of Fencers and the bosses. Instead of just one each. The next few levels will be bigger and will need more variation in enemies.
– More animations, maybe even fully rendered scenes. I mean, from a game perspective I was using individual sprites and animating stuff by hand, which sucks. I’m thinking that since the animations are already in Maya, the whole scene can be rendered using custom animations and so on. Then played back like the current animations are, but on a scene frame level. So in other words, just make a sprite 600X800 and then play them over the scripted bits. It’ll be smooth and easier and look a hell of a lot better. This will also allow me to make script changes and have more awesome and action oriented scenes. Plus, this will give the Character Artist something else to do after the main animations are all done.
-More level scripting. Not specific stuff, more incidental stuff like they have in Metal Slug. It makes the world feel more alive.
Right, and a bunch of other things that are just minor. But once again, I feel that The Thief’s Tale really can be great. I know what I have, and I know what I want, and now I know how to get there.