Devlog #1 – Introduction. Project “Panic Attacks”

At first, I wanted to reflect a bit on my past failures (following one of the previous posts), my way into game dev and so on, but I decided not to bore you. If somebody ever wants to hear it, I’ll tell. But not until then.

Last week (or the week before that) I was in search of inspiration for a new project I could do in a limited amount of time. Problem is, I do have a very limited amount of time I can work on my projects. Usually, it’s only 2-3 hours per week, sometimes a bit more. And I didn’t want to make anything too simple, because I always get bored while making such games.

At first, I wanted to make a fast-paced linear first-person shooter game, something with an old school Quake/Doom vibe. But then I thought that I’d really like to add platformer and/or puzzle elements into the mix. I’ve started looking at other similar games, and that’s when I found SEUM: Speedrunners from Hell. I really enjoyed its fast pace and the puzzles it offered.

Root idea

So the first idea was to create a game, where you have a series of levels that you have to complete as fast as possible. You’ll have only one life, so if you fall down/get hit – you’ll have to start the level over. There would be standard platformer mechanics like moving platforms or “spikes,” and also enemies, that will either prevent you from progressing further (blocking platforms/exits, etc.) or shoot at you, knocking you down.

The idea seemed simple enough, so I’ve started prototyping. At first, I was afraid, I was petrified I was using the First Person template from Unreal Engine, and this is what it looked like:

I quite enjoyed the feeling it gave me, the fast movement, platform jumping and the shooting combined, so I was sure I’m heading in the right direction.

But then I decided to ditch the FPS template entirely and started from scratch (the Blank template) to have more control over… well, everything. For the first iteration, I wanted to focus on movement and not spread myself thin between it and the shooting, so I’ve made a fundamental movement system: running, jumping, looking around.

To make things more interesting in terms of moving around, I also added wall climbing and wall running. I’m still deciding how I should go about it and wether allow all walls to be runnable/climbable, or only specific ones. For now, I lean towards the latter.

The result

I’m not entirely happy about how the wall climbing looks and how wall running works. Wall climbing has something off about it, maybe it’s because I put the character too close to the wall, or perhaps it’s because there’s no finishing ‘head bob’ when the character steps on top of the obstacle. And with wall running there are a couple of things that should be fixed; like the game doesn’t really understand whether you try to wall run or just jumping near the wall or when your head tilts too abruptly. But I decided to put the polishing aside for now and save myself some valuable time.

In general, it actually feels good. I’ve given it to some of my friends, and they say the controls feel pretty natural and intuitive. And I believe that to be true, because they didn’t fail miserably and completed the test level, so I believe I succeeded to some extent.

By the way, these devlogs won’t be as frequent as on Gamejolt page. They will be more like a summary/reflection on what I’ve done, rather than frequent updates. So be sure to follow there.

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