The prototype is very restricted so only friends we invite in can play. In order to play it, Ryan or I will have to invite people to the group “FixiGames”. But when you are part of that group, the Experience is right on the group page. I try to make any build I push up to the server be playable, so I am developing in small chunks and pushing it up, then moving to the next task.
The prototype is coming along nicely. The game starts in the intermission stage, players get an automatic broom weapon in their backpack (normal equip to use), the broom has a sweeping animation (albeit a bit lacking in width – but is that a good thing to make it harder?), and you can run around the whole land area. The broom is set to not damage players to fit our goal of a non-violent game and to encourage teamwork.
Lands each have a specific landmark that will be used to identify them. So when the game says “BiiBiis are attacking the PLAYGROUND” it will be clear that the land with the playground is under siege. I need Ryan to define a few more landmarks that are very clear and easy to understand (and for him to let me know if the ones I have are clear or not. Needs to work for a 7-year-old!)
Level 1 is just rudimentary at the moment. It will last 60 seconds, BiiBiis will spawn in random places in only the Playground, and you can use the broom to sweep them off the land. GET OFF MY LAWN! Again, not killing, sweeping – non-violent, fun. (Technically, they “die” when going into the ocean, but since it is “off-camera” we are good). That use of a built-in game mechanic (death) but for a different purpose is important to keep development time down. On “death” each BiiBii will increase your score for the level.
BiiBii behavior is not worked on yet. So, for now, they all move towards the SpawnLocation (“Home”) and when they get there, they stand at attention. The BiiBiis are also just a model I grabbed to use for now, obviously making a custom monster with animations is a very important part of the game.
HuDs (Heads Up Displays) and RJ Bucks Buff System
I have in place two HuDs: one for the level and one for the player. The Player Hud shows a thumbnail of the player, their name, and their total “RJ BUCKS”. That is the in-game currency we will be using (with Ryan’s namesake) for buffs players can use to overcome difficult levels.
Players earn RJ BUCKS only when a level is complete. Then their total RJ BUCKS are modified and stored – so they accumulate always, not just during one run of a level. They can then be spent during any level to get powerful buffs such as a “power broom” (4x more powerful sweep) or a “bomb” (place to push BiiBiis very far and very fast). The design is to allow players to run any level they have unlocked multiple times to accumulate RJ BUCKS and then use them to power through tougher levels.
A key strategy here is to avoid encouraging players to spend real money (“robux”) and instead reward playing the game itself. If and when we add “gamepasses” keep them out of the core game loop so they are 100% optional, not required. Our top priority is fun gameplay. I really dislike games that you barely get to know how to play and their hand is out every two steps you make.Key Strategy: Reward Playing the Game First (not paying to play)
The Level Hud will show the various buffs and allow players to purchase them during an active level. The choices and spend of bucks is saved to the server, but I put a 20-second decay queue on it so we don’t bang the server too much (it seems to really dislike that). But that is fully hidden from the player.
I am also pretty happy with the visuals I did so far, when you buy a buff, it then shows a timer which is both how long the buff will last and when you are allowed to buy it again (you can’t spam buy). I also did one buff as event-wide (so if any player buys Power Broom, then everyone gets Power Broom for 30 seconds while buying a Bomb gives just that player a Bomb weapon for 30 seconds).
I’m pretty happy with the prototype so far, some key things like data storage, buff systems, etc are working well. Next up is getting the BiiBii behavior working – they should sit on a land and slowly eat away at it and after destroying that land, moving towards the SpawnLocation.