I haven't gotten a whole lot done, this time around. Didn't even bother to keep an organized list of highlights.
First of all, I had the idea of adding more features to the inventory screen. Since it's meant to be kind of an 80s sci-fi smart phone its being displayed on, I felt like it would be a little more true to life if it came with other things it could do.
Before I continue, I'd like to define what I mean by 80s sci-fi.
Way back in the good old 80s, their idea of future tech wasn't exactly realistic. It was based on what they had and what they knew was possible at the time, which meant more dials, buttons, and monitors = more high tech. Alien Isolation is a perfect example of that: oversized gadgets, pointless buttons and knobs, an excess of devices, seemingly random lights, display screens that center around a recurring color scheme, outdated and inefficient methods of operating these devices, etc.
Ahh, the 80s... things may have been super inefficient and their sci-fi even more so, but at least it had a hell of a lot more flavor...
80s-esque sci-fi science lab. I also love how each station looks like it specializes in its own unique task. And then in the background there appear to be life-support pods. There's a lot to see, much going on, you can almost hear the hum of the science happening.
Modern sci-fi science lab. Wow that's.... white. That is very white. Love those... robot arms. Think I even see a single computer-like thing...
Ok, I know they're not both the same kind of lab, so it's not really fair, but it gets my point across. In a fantasy science lab, complete automation and modernity makes it bland and tasteless, while adding pointless crap you know is pointless makes the lab scene more rich and interesting. I never was a fan of the sterilized, white, organized, clean lab environment. There's something appealing about the blue, disorganized, visually busy labs of the old sci-fi.
When I'm doing science, I don't want to feel like a boring lab technician, I want to feel like a mad scientist.
Anyway, that's a whole other rant for another day...
Back to the phone. It's designed to be a hybrid between the inefficient 80s idea of what futuristic technology would look like, and modern day smartphone technology. So I thought it would be kind of fun, and more realistic to add some apps to the inventory display.
As a bit of forewarning, there are some apps on the phone that don't work. This is intentional. There will never be any way of making the broken apps work. Why add apps that will never work? Because it adds to the esthetic I'm trying to give off with the main character's phone. It's old, it's beat up, its been through a long operating life and seen its fair share of drops, all sizes of pockets, years of fabric rubbing against it, maybe a botched repair or two, and now it just doesn't work like it used to.
But not to worry, the only apps that don't work are apps that are, well, meaningless in a game. Internet browser, MP3 player, camera mode, things like that. But not all the apps will be junk. This isn't a flash game on Newgrounds, where there are 20 buttons on the screen but only the two options needed to advance the game work.
That was a lot of writing for just one update... I guess the only other thing I can say is that I've gotten a good most of the way through fixing up the mistake I made in the walking animation. It's taking a long time because it's absolutely boring to have to do, and I have ADD so I get distracted easily, and even more so when what I have to do is dull.
While adding the apps, I had a fun idea. I know this should probably be a late-development stretch goal, but I honestly couldn't resist it. I have plans for one of the apps to be a games app, and for players to be able to unlock and play smartphone games sometime during the game.
"But Basten, who wants to play games within a game? It's redundant! Aren't people supposed to be playing the game for the game that it is, and not for the minigames built in?"
This is a complaint I see all the time. A lot of people think it's cool to be able to play a game within a game, because it gives you something to break the repetitiveness of the main game. Other people hate it and find it stupid, because they believe the point of playing a game is to enjoy the game itself, and not Easter eggs and other fun stuff.
Personally, I think one of the best things to ever happen to the game industry is the advent and popularization of the Easter egg and the hunt thereof.
Funfact: The "Easter egg" was likely a term coined thanks to a movie which had actual, literal Easter eggs in them. The story goes that in The Rocky Horror Picture Show the crew decided to have an actual Easter egg hunt on the set while the cameras weren't rolling. Unfortunately, they weren't able to relocate them all, but rather than completely tear down the set, they decided to just go on with the filming, and as a result of this set of decisions, some of the eggs make it on screen in the final production. Fans of the film made it into a game to try to find all the ones that made it into the film by accident. It's true, too! You can actually spot several eggs throughout the runtime of the film! This would go on to become wildly popular throughout filmmakers, movie buffs, game developers, and gamers.
Back on topic... Minigames have been in games dating as far back as Super Mario 3, that I know of. There may even be older games that had minigames. These games were useful in allowing you to swap turns with the other player, and dished out extra lives, extra coins, and powerups. Kirby's Adventure had the same kind of system. You had games that allowed you to gain some extra lives and some points (heh, remember when those things mattered?). Sonic the Hedgehog had bonus stages that were where you got the chaos emeralds, and some free rings until the 3rd game where they added in minigames that granted extra lives, extra rings, and even shields. The shields were the important part.
If I get to have my way, the games will both be fun to play, and also give out bonuses. (I'm thinking along the lines of ammo and money.)
And no, I'm not talking about Pac-man clones, Frogger clones, Snake clones, Fruit Ninja clones, and other boring junk like that, like other, uncreative devs like to do. I can't guarantee any and all games added will be completely unique and never done before, but they won't be direct clones of ancient laundromat-arcade classics. Time, effort, and care will go into each one, even if it means there aren't that many. (Though for nerdy reasons, it is tempting as all hell to clone Zork. Other supernerds should understand why.)
It may be a while before I give myself the green light to put work into something that should really be a stretch goal, but I'm really hoping to be able to pull it off.