Friday, January 25, 2013

Dan Fast - Intro

Hi, I'm Dan Fast, a Williams College Alum and a previous graphics lab kid. I focus on k-12 education technology, worked at a nice little startup called Memrise, and am now developing educational games on my own dime. This jam sounded like an awesome chance to see what Williams students have been up to and to work next to some great programmers (although I don't think I'll be able to make it up to Williamstown).

I'm afraid my C++ was never very good, so I'll be working with javascript and codeheart. It also takes me a while to get into a coding groove, so the 48 hour challenge sounds like the right way to go.

As for the game design.

I have been obsessed with the idea of timelines in games after learning about the simulation loop oh so long ago. I want to design a fighting game (like street fighter) where instead of each player choosing actions in real time, they instead inject their actions at any point into a timeline. Each player has a limited number of actions (10?), players make actions simultaneously and cannot make a new action until both have moved, actions can invalidate future and previous actions (but precedence goes to the earlier action). 

To speed up development each player is going to use the same fighter. To make the limited number of actions more viable (and to borrow a note from Dota 2, my one true love) each action will have a long cast time and refresh time. Health is going to be low, maybe even one hit to kill, because dying doesn't actually mean the end of the match. The player could theoretically inject an action earlier in the timeline to avoid or invalidate their death. 

The only action that doesn't really fit into the timeline view is x-axis movement. This action is continuous, which kinda sucks for the whole design scheme. Instead of continuous x movement, I'm going to try letting the players teleport to x-locations for their movements. I don't know if it'll be a step function between x-locations, or linear, or whatever just yet, going to test and see.


I'm having a lot of trouble imagining the game play. Balance is going to be a serious issue. Maybe the players will just dodge each other the whole time.  Maybe a dominant strategy will appear immediately. The GUI is going to be horrific... I would love some thoughts on the matter, but when it comes down to it, what better way to spend a weekend then to see what happens?


I have spent a lot of time teaching little kids lately. Have you ever seen two boys get into an imagination fight? 
"I use my laser gun on you!"
"Well, uh... before you used your laser gun I turned on my invulnerability shield"


I have 5 hours to make some assets and to familiarize myself with the codeheart code base before the hacking starts. After that, it's all timeline and GUI work.

I hope to see a lot of blog posts and Google Hangouts. It'll be great to have some other hardworking programmers for inspiration.

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