Taking last week off worked out pretty well. While the results weren’t particularly pyrotechnic, it was a good way to get the majority of my Kung Fu Legends game engine out of the way. I managed to get the splashscreen working (even with multiple pictures, fade-to-black transitions and skip-ahead-on-keyboard-mash). MyGUI is a reasonably good GUI library. Sure some of the source code comments are in Russian and certain whole class hierarchies are only in the documentation if you know about them already, but all-in-all I got it working and it’s neat. Beats the hell out of programming all that stuff yourself. I also got to work on the details of the actual game Kung Fu Legends. Nothing to show for it yet but steady as she goes.
I also got a chance to do some major brainstorming on a board game idea I’ve had rattling around in my head for about a year. Now I have a pretty strong idea of how the game works (even down to minor mechanics like combat). I have to write up some event cards and stuff, mock up a map and I could begin playtesting. The board game is currently (not particularly imaginatively) called “The Day After”, being the day after an apocalypse. The kind of apocalypse is not fixed. I might as well start with ye olde Zombie outbreak, because people are familiar with zombie movies and the setting helps reinforce the aesthetic I’m going for.[1. I’m designing the game to be compatible with all sorts of apocalypses like alien invasion, wide-scale terrorist attack or something like Day of the Triffids.] Basically you’re in a band of survivors who are promised to be rescued in a few days’ time, so long as you restore power or gather up enough supplies. You each have roles, which fits you into a general stereotype like scientist, cop, politician or celebutante. Your role (and some extra cards you get dealt out in secret at the start) defines a bunch of goals. These can be anything from “Build shelter” or “Perform first aid on someone” to “Be the only survivor” or “Fight a group of enemies while the others flee” (titled: “You guys go, I’ve got this”). So everyone has a personal agenda which might encourage selfishness or selflessness. Meanwhile you have to do things before the rescue chopper comes. The game’s design goal is to have a good tension between these conflicting agendas amidst the general stress of trying to stay alive and get rescued. In short, a co-op game that encourages both altruism and greed, valour and sneakiness. Skill comes in knowing when to reveal your motives, how to convince your party to do something in their best interest and when to convince them to do something not in their best interest.
The one disappointment about my week off was that I was in such a programmer/game-designer mood I didn’t feel right working on my novel, Breathe. I certainly thought about it a lot and planned out sections, but no actual change to the word count. 🙁 I’m trying to make the writing not seem like an obligation or a chore, but still get stuff done on it. Get the words out, but don’t risk them coming out uncooked. Which is a silly plan, but it feels like the thing to do.