by, 04-22-2009 at 02:27 PM (309 Views)
You know those doors in expensive hotels? The revolving doors? The also have them in some airports as well.
Lately, I've felt like I'm stuck in one of them with no sign of an exit.
Part of it is hubris, part of it is chomping off more than I can chew.
Big Vision, Little Planet
It started with (shamed plug) "Simple Shooter" which was, as it sounds like, a very simple shooter using the MGS paintinator.
After some plays and some good comments, it was shoved off to the dustbin of LBP levels whose 15 minutes of fame expired some time ago.
But it really is a fun level.
So fun, that many people said it should have been longer. So, I thought, SEQUEL!!!
What We Need Is A Bigger Budget!
So, I decided that there would be "Simple Shooter Two".
I didn't have a plan, but I had an opening! A parody of the MGS opening. Looks really spiffy.
Then, like the horrid film "Vantage Point" my brain wandered all over the place. I was testing Fjonan's "Little Big Thief" at the time and was amazed at his game play. Aside from a few little places, it was a marvel. Very clean and crisp.
I was depressed.
When Doing Nothing Is Doing Nothing
So I did nothing. Literally.
Oh, I thought about it, but aside from a really good opening, I was stuck. Oh, I knew I wanted to have a lot of good paintinator stuff in it, but nothing was gelling.
I used a few of my custom objects (search @feloneouscat for turrets - there are some cool ones and they are free for the taking) - but other than that...
Everything Old is New
So I started thinking back on what I liked about the LBP MGS pack. And I realized "hey, there are some things I could expand upon".
One was something that I haven't seen people use (and now I know why - they are a ***** to make!) - the flip down platforms. Cool.
A month later and they are 99% perfect. Until the physics engine gets a little sparky and messes them up. Grrrr...
When Planning Bites
My latest disaster was a rotating group of three pentagons that you had to jump in. Basically, they were stacked so you jumped in one, when it's opening faced the next one you jumped in it, and so on. Sounds complicated. Seemed complicated. Was difficult to get a motor bolt to rotate the the exact same place on all five corners, but I did it.
Then I tested it in game play.
It bit. It was so bad, I tried to make excuses to myself why it wasn't as awful as it was (the true sign that you are deluding yourself). I pretended it was just me being good at it.
Fjonan Tested; Fjonan Approved
I invited Fjonan to test it and Vanemeira. Both zipped up it like it was nothing.
To be fair, they were both very nice about it - as in they didn't say "Ah, Cat... this really isn't very good".
Because they knew I would cry.
Bring in the Wrecking Crew
So I ripped it out. To be honest, it was with a sense of relief - it was ugly, simplistic (despite being difficult to build, it looked simple to the player) and wasn't much of a puzzle.
Instead I replaced it with something that took 20 minutes to come up with that is far more consistent with the overall section and far more challenging (at least to me!).
But, I realized later, it was based on a modified idea from the LBP MGS pack. Heh, isn't that funny?
On the Downside of Completion
So I have one more small section (the finale) and I am finished. I've got plenty (wince) of thermo left for the ********* so it should be really slick.
For something titled "Simple Shooter Two" it has been anything but simple. It has some of the most complex machinery (actually, the logic for it is what is complex, the machine is simple) -- aka toys -- and has some interesting game play.
But it has felt like a revolving door: create, play test, delete, create, play test, delete.
Almost like software engineering!