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Friday, October 06, 2006

Colliding Squares And Rectango

There's so little news to snark about today it's actually unfunny. The big thing seems to be something about the PlayStation 3's controller not having rumble ... which is something I can't even fake caring about. I've turned rumble off most games since the N64 invented the darn thing. So few games use it properly enough to justify the annoyance ( and battery drain ) that I'm mostly of the opinion that it's a good thing.

So instead I'll blab extra long about this iTunes thing I've been working on. Last night I got the player's square (now blue) to register when it hits an "enemy" square. When this happens the enemy square turns green and stops. This means I've got animation, user control and collision detection. In other words - the most basic building blocks of a game.

What game is something I've mulled over quite a bit. I know I want to start simple. I'm also under a few constraints - iTunes imposes performance issues and apparently doesn't like to pass down key up events. That latter is actually pretty bad since most control schemes assume key up means "stop doing that". Currently the player "scoots" from one position to the next for a predetermined length, but I'll probably change it to a velocity scheme where pressing key downs increase speed from either the left or right.

So here's the basics of what might turn out to be Rectango:

- The basic framework will be the player(s) on the bottom moving left to right and squares falling from the top.
- Squares should appear and animate in sync with the iTunes music data.
- Player(s) will move left to right by pressing one of two keys. Repeated pressing will increase speed in one direction. So two left key presses and one right key press - the player is still moving left.
- The game will consist of a series of minigames conformed to the above specifications. The game will score each player per song for five songs. Players will not run out of lives. If a minigame has a death mechanic the penalty will be a paused respawn.
- Additional keys will be an activate button which may be multi-purpose according to the rules of the minigame and a drop out/join key which add or remove players.
- "Wild" squares may be defined for a minigames. These squares may have properties beyond the normal framework like exploding or attracting other squares.

These are the minigames I've got in my head right now (they will all appears kinda familiar...) :

Rectango Connect: Activate key will "tractor" the square directly above the player (or turn the tractor off). The square will continue to fall but will follow the player left to right. Connecting four squares of the same color will result in a score. Squares may be stacked vertically, lined up horizontally or placed in a grid. The player to place the last square to meet the four limit will receive the score.

Rectango Stacker: Activate key is defunct here. Players will "catch" squares by being colliding directly with them. Squares that are resting on players will "stick" with with unstuck squares. The player's velocity may shake squares off. Squares which are stuck to a player's stack cannot be effected by another stack. Wild squares may include blocks which can't be caught and blocks that explode and knock off stacked squares. Score is based on the number of stuck squares at the end of the song.

Rectango Invaders: Activate key will fire a small missle. Players receive points for destroying falling squares with the missle. Squares may fire missles back. If the player collides with either a missle or square they are removed from the game a brief time and take a score penalty. Wild squares may include "boss" squares which attract other squares, "kamikaze" squares which home into the player, and "powerup" squares which will upgrade the player's missle.

Rectango Breaker: Activate is defunct. Squares only fall to half the screen here and stack on top of each other. A widl square will bounce off the player's square. The wild square will break squares stacked on the upper half, resulting in a score for the last player to have touched the wild square.

Rectango Tangler: Activate "holds" a square directly above the player (or releases on second press). The "held" square will not move downward but will stick other squares to itself. Those squares will in kind stick to others. Unlike stacker, stuck squares (but not the held one) can be knocked off by another player's stuck squares. Score is based on the number of stuck squares at the end of the song.

I'm so open to suggestions on more, however. Sadly this will be Mac only at first ... and I have some concerns with the Windows iTunes SDK which might make it Mac only - but I'll cross that bridge later. I know this will sadly mean that most of the gamebloggers I know won't have access to until I can figure out a Windows build. Also, to make matters worse, I'm not sure about getting a Intel friendly build just yet so some Mac users might even have to bear with.

The Girl has to run off to Vegas this weekend. I get left behind with the dog and cats. This is largely because of a organizational disagreement between myself and my job. My job thinks it knows how to organize its time. I disagree. Since I'm the one who can't take time off this month - I think I have facts on my side. Regardless I hope to lock myself in the study and get some of this actually running.

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