Saturday 31 August 2013

Progenitor - Tempo

Tempo is an analysis tool I first encountered applied to Magic: The Gathering.  It's a means to quantify the potency of a given card or play, a way to attach a number so that different cards/plays can be compared.

In M:TG you have several resources available to you.  Primarily you have your hand of cards and the mana you can generate in your turn.  As well as that you have your deck of cards, and your life total and your graveyard.  These different resources could be tied together using tempo.  A unit of tempo is a measure of making progress in the game: you could gain tempo by either causing a gain on your part, or making your opponent lose something.  In M:TG this worked out to being 1 Card = 4 Life = 4 Mana.  So if you were playing, and had a chance to draw a card by paying three or less mana, then that would generally be a good deal.  Attaching a value to a turn in M:TG is hard as you can do so many things in a turn.

In Progenitor we have it much easier:

Monday 12 August 2013

Progenitor - Synopsis

As outlined in my previous post, Progenitor is a deck-building card game.  This post will be a simple primer on it, so that when I write about design and balance decisions people will know what I'm talking about.

The basics are quite simple: in any given game there will be a several different stacks of cards in the middle of the table.  You will be trying to acquire these cards, to add them to your deck in order to improve it and allow you to win.

The resource used is called Energy: each of the available cards has an Energy Requirement which must be met in order to prime (read: buy) it from the table and add to your deck.  At the start of the game your deck is made up of a few copies of the most basic card in the game: a simple +1 Energy card with no other ability.  Energy Requirements for the cards on the table range from 1 to 3, with more expensive cards being more powerful.

On any given turn you may do one of three things:

Friday 9 August 2013

Progenitor - Deck-Building Card Game

Alternate title: Progenitor - What I've Been Doing Instead Of Coding.

I've spent a lot of time playing CCGs. A lot. From the original Star Wars game (Decipher), through Legend Of The Five Rings (AEG), to the industry mainstay that is Magic: The Gathering (Wizards Of The Coast), these games have* a big draw on me.  The (fairly) recent genre of deck-building games, kick-started by Dominion, draw on a portion of what makes those games so great, and so I had a go of them too.

What I found was that there was some good stuff to be found in them, great stuff in fact, but there were also qualities I really disliked.  Primarily two:

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Pigment & The Droid, Part 3

As foreshadowed at the end of Part 2, the optimisations described therein were not enough to get Pigment to run on the Motorola Droid. Pigment was still using too much memory for the Droid to handle.

So: to get Pigment to run on a Droid it needed to use less heap.  How to accomplish this?  It needed to hold less graphical data.  I'd already reduced image memory size as much as possible regarding format and storage options (such as removing the alpha channel);  I either had to load less of the assets, or generate less content as the game ran.  In the end I did both!

The first saving relies on how the user experiences the game; as they play and complete levels the game will send messages to them: the Win! message, the tip about pressing Back to undo, the Bonus Unlocked messages, the Congratulations on completing worlds / the game.  Of these: the Science  Unlocked message and the final Congratulations message on completing the game made a useful pair.