• Andrew Jonhardt

Back on track

SXSW is coming next month, and I now fully intend to attend SXSW Gaming. I'd actually forgotten when the event was until this past weekend, and now that I've got it on my calendar it's become something of a deadline.


I won't be bringing Psychic Scrap Racers to SXSW. The game just isn't ready yet. However, given the continued progress I've been making on the game (even during the weekdays where I was burnt out and didn't have alot of time), I believe I can get PSR to a "playable" state before SXSW Gaming starts. As of now, that's about 5 weekends to get to playable.


This is my criteria for "playable":

  • The AI can play cards.

  • The AI has a hand of cards.

  • The AI can activate cards.

  • The cards can be activated.

  • The cards can be played.

  • The cars on the score tracker can move.

  • There is a way to win the game.


As of now, the AI can play cards, draw cards, maintain a hand. The player can do the same. However, the ability of the AI to evaluate the board is still pending, cards have no effects, and the Distance Track isn't working at all.


There has been some confusion and missteps. I'm trying my very, very best to avoid making multiple scripts that reference card information. I've been less than successful due to how the systems for reading mouse events (mouse over, drag, etc) work in Unity. At this point, I'm planning to put individual scripts on each of the prefabs I've created for every single card in the game.


It's a mess, but it's a prototype. I have to keep reminding myself it's just a prototype.


In other news, I'm surprised and happy to say I may have another board game in the works. I've been attending a monthly board game design meetup for a while, and the group has monthly design challenges to coincide with meetings.


This month, the criteria for the challenge was

Theme: Code

Style of Game: Racing


For the uninitiated: A racing board game is one where you're trying to be the first player to meet a goal. The game doesn't actually have to be about cars, or anything you'd traditionally associate with racing. The focus is on pacing, and there's usually mechanic to increase the pace as the game goes on.


The style of game didn't really hook me, as PSR is already supposed to be a racing-style game. However, the theme did.


I've been trying to think up a coding or a hacking game for a while. I'm a huge fan of cyberpunk. It wasn't until this month's challenge that I finally came up with a game design that was both cyberpunk and fun to play.


My new design doesn't have a name yet. It involves 1 board, up to 4 players, and hands of cards composed of letters. Players construct words, hide the constructed word, and then take 1 action per turn to try and score said word through movement on the board.


The result has been surprisingly engaging. I can't go into much detail yet, but I can say the first tests with strangers have been positive. There's a huge issue in that whoever goes first will always win. I'm going to keep working on the project a few days out of each month, and eventually I may actually try to publish it.


Plans for my next videogame project have also come into focus. I need to learn how multiplayer works in Unity. To that end, my next project will be the one of the easiest things I can think of: a multiplayer-only fighting game.


Yes, I did just say this would be easy. I don't mean from a balance standpoint. Whatever I make will be horribly unbalanced. However, we're talking about 2 characters in a small space with limited movesets. Technically-speaking, I can't think of much that would be simpler.


I already believe I have a good idea of what information will be sent between players. I'm going to try sending only 4 pieces of information: the name of the opponent's chosen character (at the start of a match), the location of the opponent's Hand-point, the location of the opponent's Foot-point, and a location for 1 core Body point. All else would be extrapolated by the computers at both ends from the x and y coordinates of 3 of these points combined with profile information associated with the 4th point (the character name).


This design philosophy will inform every possible action in the game. I'm very much aware this may cause problems, as I have no idea how Unity's online tools will handle this and whether speed will be a great issue. However, I see no better way to try and learn these things at this time.


None of this future planning will be allowed to interfere with PSR. Expect more updates next week.

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