The Open Beta is now on the Scirra Acarde:
https://www.scirra.com/arcade/puzzle-ga ... ining-7671
*Edit* Changing this post into a reproduction of the breif history of MAD posted at the link in the first post.
This blog will be mostly about the early progression of M.A.D.
From itâ€™s humble beginnings as a thought bubble
to what it is today.
N.B. that the thought bubble most definitely did â€œNOTâ€, in any way, shape, or form, occur while high on a certain substance that occurs naturally in a wonderfully useful, underutilised, plant. That plant was demonised and made illegal thanks to a few powerful industries, racism, ignorance, control of the public and fear politics. The interesting history of that plant however is not the subject of todayâ€™s blog post.
The thought bubble was something like this: A game where you program a robot, through a maze, as fast as possible.
I was instantly excited about it. It was a simple concept for a game, which, to my knowledge, has never been implemented before and therefore would have original, unique gameplay. It fit very nicely with a touch screen control system and so would work well as a mobile app. I also thought that it should be fairly simple to program, which was definitely a plus!
Different elements and gameplay ideas, like tiles that effected the robot in various ways, also started streaming into my mind.
I set about looking into how to make it. It was/is my first foray into game development. I had played around with programming all my life, but was definitely not ready to start programming games from scratch. Plus Iâ€™d never had an idea for a game that I thought was worth bothering with.
Before the night was over my friends had already decided they were going to get a cut of the millions I would surely make ðŸ˜‰ (Flappy Bird was still fresh in our minds and I must admit, I was excited about the possibility of making enough money off the game to live.)
I should quickly mention that before this I had never really had something I wanted to do as a â€œjobâ€. People would ask what I wanted to do as a career but I often didnâ€™t have an answer and was non committal. I had no clear idea about my future (still donâ€™t really, but itâ€™s for different reasons nowâ€¦) I had things that I was good at. Things that, luckily for me were â€œhighly valuedâ€ in this world of ours. My computer skills, â€œentrepreneurialâ€ aspirations and aversion to a 9-5 lifestyle led me to start my own computer business at 19, but I donâ€™t think I ever really saw it as something Iâ€™d spend my whole life doing and subsequently never really committed to itâ€¦
The point is this, this game and Indie game development was the first time I was really excited about a possible career/work choice. The first time I felt like I had something Iâ€™d want to keep doing. As one of my best friends put it, my ex would have very happy to see I was finally excited and engaged about doing something with my life. (Not that I agreed I was doing nothing with my life of course).
Anyway, back to M.A.D.
v001 was 3 levels, built on the 19/10/13. The control system had all the buttons in the bottom left.
v0015 was built later the same day, it had 4 levels and tested a different button layout, this was the version I first showed my friends:
The next step was a level editor, which included a switch to a tile based level design system and therefore a quick look for open source tiles was needed. A few hours googling to find what I needed, then learning how to build it in Construct 2 and v003 was finished 4 days later on the 23rd:
During all this I was scribbling ideas all over the place, most of it went into a notebook but whatever was easy and accessible at the time (including sticky notes, random envelopes and notepads) was used to jot down new gameplay elements or flesh out solutions to problems I faced.
Things like how to store the levels, new tile ideas, what sorts of arrays I was going to use (1d,2d,3d), what each of the locations in the array was going to storeâ€¦ Here are a few examples, gameplay concept on the back of a receipt, The LevelData Array on a notepad and a doodle on a scrap piece of paper (this one is actually fairly recent, youâ€™ll recognise the robot from Susanâ€™s concept art):
The biggest challenge of this first crammed programming and designing phase was AutoTiling. A Process where the correct wall tile is automatically worked out and the correct version of that wall is placed. That way the level editor can use just 1 wall tile, instead of requiring me (and my players) to manually select which wall fits in each place. (A very useful feature considering there are 47 possible wall tiles that need to be placed in different locations depending on which tiles are surrounding said tile). If you donâ€™t quite get that, read on and hopefully it becomes a little clearer.
Pages of the notebook and hours of my time were dedicated to finding a solution to â€œAuto Tilingâ€ the most efficient way possible.
To do so with just the four surrounding tiles is easy. Assign a value of 1 to the top, 2 to the left, 4 to the bottom and 8 to the right. Check surrounding tiles and if there is a wall above the current wall then current tile = 1. Top and Right, CT = 9 which looks something like this = â”” CT of 14 would be bottom, left and right = â”¬ :
To work out the diagonals as well and therefore pick from all 47 available wall optionsâ€¦ Well, thatâ€™s what took the pages and hoursâ€¦ Here are a few pictures of a couple of the pages to give you an idea:
Finally after 12 days I had the solution and a build with fully implemented autotiles: (Bit messy ay?)
In the next part weâ€™ll cover how my focus then shifted to better graphics, the many variations the tutorials have been through, and some of the reasons behind why I stopped working on it for about half a year.
Iâ€™ll also be opening M.A.D up to early access beta testing. Beta testers are going to get to play with the level editor for free, something that most likely wonâ€™t be in the final public release for free, so be sure to sign up and check it out.
This will all happen on the first official #MADMonday, next week (9th May 2016).
Thanks for reading and following along on this journey of ours,
I look forward to sharing the rest of the story on Monday,
See you then,
P.S. Remember that we now have a twitter account so if youâ€™re on twitter follow us —
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