• Andrew Jonhardt

Ghosts and Psychic Scrap

My Ghost experimental project is going to take a little longer than I thought.

As I may have mentioned, Ghost was not and probably will never be a finished game. It's intended as a test of a text-based movement system in Unity. However, I do want to get the project to the state of being a fully playable game.

This is what I've currently got:

I've taken this opportunity to set up a YouTube channel and test out OBS. OBS is awesome.

Anyway, Ghost is clearly still in an early phase. I have a main menu, which is fantastic, but I want to add sounds, possibly music, a pause menu, and a 2nd level before I declare the project "Good Enough!" Also, as may or may not be clear, I've still got several bugs to work out.

The movement system, typing the direction you want the ghost to go, has been more compelling than I expected. I hadn't originally planned on making a 2nd level. However, new gameplay possibilities have presented themselves to me (something akin to the DROD series being the most obvious, though I suck at making puzzles), and I'm excited to push this experiment as far as I can.

On the board game front, I must report that the idea I mentioned last week hasn't panned out. I've not yet reached the game design peek of being able to construct a solid project foundation even before testing. At the same time, I've found an idea that I'd really like to make work someday.

The best way I've found to determine if an idea is worth my time is to test it and see how it stands up to criticism. There will always be something wrong with any new idea, and if the idea wilts under pressure I always let it go. Fortunately, my most recent idea hasn't wilted.

Last week, I claimed the game I wanted to make was about bluffing (and several other things I don't recall off hand). This is not entirely true. The game was actually about capturing the aspects of weapon combat that are so often removed from fantasy combat games.

Too often, combat in a sword or fantasy game is reduced to attribute fields. You've got your strength, your defense, your shield, and maybe a few other attributes. Then, your character and someone else's smash into each other like sexless dolls in a child's hands. You're either taking turns, or your successful hit means the other player doesn't touch you at all.

I want something more. I want to capture the feeling I have in Dark Souls when I'm forced to juggle my equipment while exchanging blows and looking for parries or backstabs. I want to capture the final fight in Princess Bride, where a wounded Inigo fences with the dastardly 6-fingered man. Most of all, I want to capture the feeling I have when I spar, but I'm not sure any game could really capture that.

I wanted something that felt ugly, messy, and brutal. The prototype I came up with was a good try, but it wasn't fun.

So, here's the twist. I'm shelving this fighting-brawling project thing and going back to Psychic Scrap Racers. I want to be "that guy who designed that racing card game" more than I want to be "that guy who designed that fighting game." I will be returning to the brawling project, but only after I've finished 1 or both of my current main projects.

Expect updates on Ghost and Racers next week.

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