Monthly Archives: May 2013

Game Idea: Grandpa’s Tale

Genre: Platformer or Zelda-style overhead adventure

Inspiration: The Princess Bride.

Premise: An old man tells his grandson a tale from his youth, but as always, he may be exaggerating a little..

Setup: The game switches viewpoints periodically; one view is in the family home, where the grandfather tells the tale around the fire. The second view is from the grandfather’s POV within the story; you control him in his adventure as he relates it to the grandson.

Hook: Every once in a while, the grandson will call BS on parts of the story; in the middle of fighting a werewolf, say, the action will be interrupted by his dialogue, asking a question or poking a hole in the story. When this happens, the view may switch to the home; your character becomes the old man, and instead of swinging a sword at a werewolf, you are instead swinging a cane at a coat rack; when the action resumes, you may be fighting a mangy dog instead. Three towering bandits become a single pickpocket, etc. This might be a player-triggered event – a given key might cause the boy to interrupt, changing the nature of the fight you’re in (and the difficulty of it).

Twist: Partway through the tale, the old man’s son (the boy’s father) walks in and contradicts parts of the story. The setting and characters in the action sequence change to reflect this, as the son remembers events differently. Where the battle begins with the old man’s memory of a valiant fight against a werewolf, when the son resumes the tale it’s completely different – the father thumped his head and fell unconscious, and the boy instead repelled a mangy old wolf by throwing rocks at it (you, of course, control the boy).

Not sure how this would actually play out, but I like the idea of details changing on the fly due to an old man’s faulty recollection and tendency to exaggerate. Might be a fun one to try someday.

LIV Redux

Got LIV mostly refactored so I can start assembling actual tilemaps – it was mostly hardcoded to 8×8 tiles, which wasn’t doing me any favors. Now I can load my new 16×16 tileset and play with it, which is fun; next up I need to build support for my map format into the engine.

The new tileset and working on LIV again makes me ponder biting the bullet and using Tiled – it’s already polished, fully-featured, and well-supported. I think I stayed away from the format originally because it was a vast amount of overkill for the NDS. All I needed was the tile index and V/H flip bits, and Tiled’s XML format was a lot of chaff to sift through for such a small amount of data; I similarly considered Mappy, which is a much lighter-weight suite, but while Mappy can support almost any format, it doesn’t really feature anything in the way of tile mirroring. The new tileset has upper-left lighting, though, so mirroring is a moot point – I think I need to ditch another habit from my NDS days and embrace better pre-made tools.

As a note, it’s incredibly hard to rework a tileset with Dawnbringer’s 16-color palette, if you didn’t create the art with a limited palette in mind in the first place. Probably not too difficult for a more talented artist, but I am very much a beginner..