Huge Game in Dev: ROBOT GARDENS

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by noahbwilson, Jul 22, 2016.

  1. noahbwilson

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    I commonly sit in my office at home and crank out games without anyone else telling me what to do. Please take into account that I am 34 years old and grew up playing the original titans of video games: Mario, Zelda, Mega Man ... ya know, the good ones. So I'm going out on a limb and lifting up the curtain and doing other metaphors to bring you a behind the scenes look/continued development of my next HUGE game: Robot Gardens. If you steal my idea, so be it. I'm going to have this game done by the end of the year, so you better get your little team together and hurry. I don't make games like other people do, and I mean that in both good ways and bad ways. Maybe you can take some of my good ways and help me fix some of my bad ways.

    I think it is important to note that I develop in Flash/Animate and port to iOS. Don't tell me to change. I lived through the great days of Flash, and I don't plan on changing that. As long as it ports to iOS, I'm using it.

    Robot Gardens is almost every genre of game rolled into one: it is a simulation game, an action game, a puzzle game, a PvP game, and an RPG. The concept of the game is to 1) grow robots 2) use robots to go on quests to find treasures and 3) pay off your debt to the mob. Gameplay will have you tending/watering your robots (yes, they grow like plants) during the day, and then gathering up your little robot army (of 4 robots max) and going out into a super-expansive world in search of treasures. Of course, the world outside your farm is riddled with monsters. Adventure elements are akin to Legend of Zelda. Fighting elements are akin to Smash TV (look it up, kids). RPG elements akin to Final Fantasy. Sim elements akin to both Sim City (you can build a few things in the adventure world to fight other players) and Farmville (I hate that game so much, but...). You can also trade/sell robots you grow to other players.

    Today's insight involves Level Design. How I am going to make a GIANT WORLD fit in a ~70MB game.

    Now for those of you who like to make RPGs, let me dive into a little trick I use for level/world design. Some of my current games (Six Pack Man, Waffle Time) use a level editor system I built. I won't go into the details of making it, but the concept can probably be translated by good programmers. Basically, I create a grid (any size as long as the number of squares is < 2500, just a number I picked) which each square possibly being anything I need (a wall, coin, monster, ladder, bla bla bla). The editor is a drag/drop style that allows me to place the objects, each object with a corresponding # attached to it. I go crazy and build the Level, and include "doors" to other Level. When I click SAVE, the editor generates an array which looks something like this:

    2_2_2_2_3_1_5_6_7_1_1_1_1_1_1_1_2_3_4_3_4_5

    ... for 2500 numbers. That string IS the Level, and it contains code to connect to other Levels. This string is also ~4k in size, making the Level itself ~4k in size. The game then loads this saved string (as a variable, a .txt file, a .php file, or even stored on a MySQL database), parses it, and then builds the entire level from that string. 2 = walls, 3 = coin, 4 = monster, whatever. SO ... based on this, I can make 1000 Levels and only use 4MBs of space. Plus if they are externally loaded from the internet... the load times are almost non existent. Link all these Levels together... and you got yourself a gigantic RPG world. Store these Levels on a MySQL database... and you can even let the player CHANGE the level for everyone else (ie. Player B could chop down a tree, and when Player A players their game... they might just see a stump).

    Here's a demo video of A DIFFERENT GAME (The Viking Bunnies) I am developing as well that uses this concept. This demo was played online by loading the levels from the server. I'd like to get this game out this year as well, but it really is my baby and I'm taking my time with it.



    I'll post again with more updates on Robot Gardens. Ask questions, make fun of me, call me stupid or a genius, makes no difference. I'm just a guy who makes games.
     
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  2. noahbwilson

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    I have been working on the Level Editor and I hope to share it on here soon so other people can play with it. Eventually, I will be posting this editor online for my Level Designers (who work all over the country) so we can make a giant RPG world akin to original Legend of Zelda. If anyone would like to test it, use it, or even become a Level Designer and make some cool levels/dungeons/mazes, let me know! I don't have money (yet), but I'm very fair and can offer non-monetary things like credit, ad space in the game when it is done (sponsors), or ... idk ... beer?
     
  3. noahbwilson

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  4. metateen

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    Hmmm, its pretty clear you're still in the early phase of game development simply by looking at the development progress you're already cranking into this.

    I can forgive because early footage never usually sits well compared to the finished product. This game looks good so far.

    Noticed the button layout, nothing like the generic apps, gives me a more emulator like vibe. Which is great!
     
  5. noahbwilson

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    Oh the video is of a different game I'm working on : Viking Bunnies. It's on hold cuz its ... well too big. Also it is part of a 'group of projects' including books and cartoons. And yeah, it needs more enemies types, power ups, and voice acting.

    Robot Gardens is still... very early. But I hope to show off a Level Editor VERY soon that people can actually use and play with.
     
  6. metateen

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    You got a lot of plans for this little game now don't ya? I hope you can have all of them be succeeded
     
  7. noahbwilson

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    Thanks. Both Viking Bunnies and Robot Gardens are my "mega huge game". Basically if original Legend of Zelda met original Grand Theft Auto met and had a baby. Viking Bunnies has more exploring, voice acting, and cartoons, while Robot Gardens also has some Sim City/Farmville elements. Only time will tell. Both of these games have been in my head for years.
     
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  8. noahbwilson

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    I may be rushing things... but I'm excited. I have been tweeking and testing my custom, Flash-based, RPG maker, and I gotta say ... it's working nicely. I've been focusing on getting the backend working properly, so I didn't spend a lot of time on the graphics or the variety of things within the editor itself. All the graphics are stuff I just grabbed off the internet, and will all be replaced later.

    However, ANYONE can play with this thing, make a little 'maze' of sorts, and walk around as a little robot. The editor might be a little tricky as I don't really have a manual... but I tried to keep notes on the screen to help. Here's a step-by-step tutorial to get you started on making something.

    1) Click CREATE NEW AREA.
    2) Name it anything. Remember this name if you want to come back later and mess with it.
    3) Click BASIC ZONE to add a Zone. Think of a Zone as a single screen in something like Zelda (only much bigger and it scrolls). Add a bunch of Zones anywhere. Preferably connected in a blob. I usually try to make something centered.
    4) Click OPEN ZONE and pick any Zone.
    5) In each Zone, you can adjust the size, but 44x44 is pretty standard. You can just click CLOSE, or reshape it and click UPDATE.
    6) Click WALLS to add some walls. I only have some ugly bushes and a tree. You can also click FLOOR to add some dirt or pavement. As mentioned... more to come! (NOTE: Some things may overlap weird, but they will be adjusted during Testing into different layers.
    7) Click DOORS and add a TEST DOOR. This is where you will start during the test.
    8) Click TEST and walk around using the arrow keys. Fun music will be one of the main tracks for the game.
    9) Click EXIT TEST to go back and make changes, or add more Zones.
    10) Zones can be connected to each other with Zone Doors. You MUST have a matching set (a Left Door on Zone A must be connected to a Right Door in Zone B).

    Play around. Let me know of anything you can think of to make this easier to use. I plan on having a few people all over the world making Areas and Zones in the future.

    http://www.smileycrewproductions.com/robotgardens

    Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 8.41.59 AM.png
     
  9. noahbwilson

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    I drew a WORLD MAP last night, but its on my whiteboard and not digital yet. I post this because I wanted to brainstorm 'types of areas to explore'. Here's what I got so far: (Maybe I'm just talking outloud...)

    - Grass Plains
    - Forest
    - Jungle
    - Wet Cave
    - Desert Sand
    - Desert Rocks
    - Lava Cave
    - Swamp
    - Mountain Rocks
    - Mountain Snow
    - Forest Snow
    - Beach
    - Spooky Castle Ruins
    - Spooky Factory (Robot Parts)
    - Working Factory
    - Factory Mines

    I'd appreciate any other ideas I forgot. Remember, this is a 'top down' game, so cool views are not really happening. Also the game takes place on one giant island (so far), so I probably need to consider that I can't have too many wildly different climates in one area. I'm already pushing it with snow and desert about 5 miles apart.
     
  10. noahbwilson

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    World Map v1.0

    The really cool thing about Robot Gardens is the fact that I can update the game Live without the player having to download a new version of the App. However... the World Map is something I can't change on the fly. Need to make something concrete. Here's v1.0.

    Red Dots are Towns
    Pink Dots are Levels (linear adventures within the sandbox)
    Neon Green are potential Farms. You pick one when you start your game.

    Excel can be a helpful tool! (seriously, I do love Excel)

    Capture.PNG
     
  11. Osmosis D. Jones

    Osmosis D. Jones New Member

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    the map seems cool :) not to complicated but not boring, reminds me of the pokemon red map and makes me want to explore it^^
     
  12. noahbwilson

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    Thanks!

    There is much more to the map than meets the eye. Robot Gardens, while not going from day/night, will follow the calendar and days of the week. I have added a dozen 'hot spots' to the map where, on specific days, various things or events might appear. These could be special stores, special mini-games, and my personal favorite: The Hot Air Balloon.

    The Hot Air Balloon will offer to take you to new areas not on the map, basically like tiny islands that you can explore, find secret treasures, and then come home again. This will allow me to add new content and areas to explore without having to update the App as a whole.
     
    #12 noahbwilson, Aug 14, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
  13. Osmosis D. Jones

    Osmosis D. Jones New Member

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    cool, this events will help keep the game interresting in the long run.

    nice trick ^^
     
  14. Totestold

    Totestold New Member

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    Hi! I really cant understand why you call it huge.
     
  15. noahbwilson

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    Not much I can do about that. I mean, I did say each level is ~4k in size... so... ya know... math. 1000 levels would only be 4Mbs.
     
  16. Osmosis D. Jones

    Osmosis D. Jones New Member

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    I thought you (noahbwilson) talked about a huge project not because of the memory it takes, but because its a huge concept, with a lot of mechanics and details etc. . I would say this concept contains a lot of details and so will take some time to be programmed. For a one man project i would say this definitely not a small project.
    If you only say unrealistic or lifetime projects are huge than you have a different scale XD

    PS my comment feels a little wird but i think this is because it is related to a post, which doesnt seem constructive in any way.

    greetings Os
     
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  17. noahbwilson

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    Yeah all that too!
     
  18. noahbwilson

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    ALL THE THINGS.

    Since the basis of this game is "make money so the mob doesn't kill you", there are going to be a little "industries" you can do within the game. While the easiest/best way to make money is to complete Quests, you can also:

    1) Mine for Gemstones
    2) Fish
    3) Grow/Harvest Food

    I'm working on a few other little industries. Ideas?
     
  19. Osmosis D. Jones

    Osmosis D. Jones New Member

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    *lumber, maybe growing and chopping. Maybe to make a difference in game play between food and wood. Food/Crops are raised from seeds and wood is raised from spreading, so the player needs to find a wild tree, than create a garden around it (or just leave the place empty) then take care of the tree (with water ...) and then the new trees start to grow around the first one. And than its about keeping space in between the trees by chopping some, so that new trees have place to grow (not only at the border but also in between) and so to optimize the lumber production.

    * breed one sort of animals. You need to get to into contact to spawn new ones. Maybe with an aspect on choosing the best to reproduce to get bigger or stronger animals (i would just do one race, something which you invent) would be a possibility to give the player the possibility to breed some kind of fighting animal. I dont think this breeding complexity with different characteristics is not need, just thought about it.

    * as it is robot gardens: maybe something with electricity, harvest lightnings or build powerplants. The could generate energy from rivers (the player could need to do something with them: create them, keep them clean...) or from wood or something like a plant which generates energy.
    (every robot needs his good energy plant in his garden so he can cook good power-soup or something like that XD )

    hope this is helping :)

    greetings
    Os
     
    #19 Osmosis D. Jones, Aug 22, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2016
  20. noahbwilson

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    I do kinda like the animals one if I can figure out something fun and simple... like "Butterfly Breeding" or something like that. Then you can sell some fancy butterflies.

    Lumber COULD work as I did want to try and add some kind of aspect where the world is a 'shared world'. Certain trees can be chopped down, and if I chop the tree down, everyone else sees a stump in their game. It would grow back later on. There are going to be hundreds of these 'shared points', so this might work. The downside is that these trees just become 'treasures' to be sold. Maybe its just a matter of using this 'shared spots' to leave prizes for people to find. They could be trees to chop, treasures to open, or giant scary monsters.

    Another idea is based on Totems, only I want to try and apply the concept to something very generic and simple. Basically you can collect different 'objects', and in certain combinations, they make something 'valuable'. So therefore you have players trying to swap these parts with other players. Maybe it's building mini-robots. IDK.

    Another another feature I am planning on having is that each player has 'land' to use like Sim City, and you can build your own powerplants to recharge your robots. It's a mix of Animal Crossing (setting up furniture, lawn ornaments, and trophies to show off to passer-bys), and Sim City (actual functionality).
     

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