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Friday, February 02, 2007

Dev Diary: Loops

Sometimes it's helpful to think of games as a series of loops of varying sizes. Epic developers used to talk like this to mod teams. An inner loop might be the action and reaction between pushing a button and having a gun fire. An outer loop might contain overall combat mechanics. Way outer loops involve things like UI beauty and pretty logos. The outer loops are related to your inner loops (that pretty UI might describe the gun you were firing) - but it's a lot more distant than the delay the firing animation is given.

I've been playing mostly with setting up Dreadnought's inner loops. I've got melee combat, basic ranged combat, a concept of movement, health, energy, loot drops, loot pickups and crates (chests). I just started thinking about the loops outside of that - choosing weapons and attacks, setting up player menus, etc.

Right now I'm at a bit of a crossroads. I could keep moving outward and start flushing out the editor more, build some better test maps and starting modelling out the crafting functions. Or I could keep focusing inward on try and get the combat basics down really tight.

I'm leaning to the latter. My worry there is that I'll tinker so long on finer details and eventually get weary. However, combat is key. It's really, you know, the game. I'd like to make melee more interesting than just bumping characters around. Plus, how combat actually works will directly impact how crafting works.

Probably inner. Then ... the Bears are in the Super Bowl! Maybe I'll just nap until Sunday.

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