Monday, 12 December 2011


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Sunday, 4 December 2011


ARGGGH (Adelaide Really Good Gathering of Gamedevs, H is silent) was today. It went swimmingly, but now I've crashed after all the coffee I had in the middle of the day.

In any case, it is my solemn duty to inform you of the past week's game design. With distractions now limited to civilian leisure, we have started regular face to face meetings to draw up maps.

We've had the master world map for a few months when we finalized the plot, so the next stage is to draw up a web connecting all the overworld levels in the game. Since exploration is one of the things we want to focus on, we are now planning how the player can explore the world. From the starting point, they should be able to move in any direction and after fighting the elements and their foes, they should arrive at some cool places. This requires some freedom of movement but also challenges to block the player, because afterall the challenge is what makes it a game. Sightseeing tours don't have the same sense of adventure.

We've completed the webs of levels (not the levels themselves mind you, just maps showing how they connect to each other). Levels are represented by squares, and a line between two levels indicated a link between them. Across these links we will place symbols to indicate barriers that need to be overcome with a certain tool or quest.

With the level webs done, we are currently placing obstacles to the player's exploration, either to be unlocked with progressing through the story or gathering new equipment. We should be able to draw zones the player can access at each stage of the game.

Terrain includes mountains, volcanic wasteland, the tunnels and caverns of the dark-dwelling Selenites, the rusty Ferrite zone, mud flats filled with sinkholes, grassland, riverland, icy high plateaux, gorges filled with fast moving rivers, tropical islands and storm-lashed cliffs on the edge of nowhere.

I'm excited.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Allies and Enemies

Over the past few months our main concern has been developing the game world and story enough to give us a good clear background to design the actual levels. We have the main plot, or its outline, a geographical map of the game world and a lot of descriptive worldbuilding of places.

There isn't much left to do on the codebase. One of the last major tasks is to implement the diplomatic stuff that the player will have to deal with while exploring. There are a number of different factions that control a mishmash of different garrisons, barricades and encampments. Some will be friendly, some will be neutral and others will be hostile. Creating combat NPCs that are other than 'hostile' is my job at the moment. Today I had fun pitting the two NPC sides against each other.

Allowing the player to command allies might be useful; at the very least I think the player should be able to order them to follow him. NPCs aren't very active on their own.

Factions in Project 7 are more than just descriptors though. The most ambitious part of the design calls for the player to have influence rankings with each faction. By doing missions for them, you gain influence. By messing their stuff up, or going into unauthorized areas, you lose influence. The snag is that factions will often want you to fight a rival faction, and some covert elements are in the pipeline for this. The key is to avoid witnesses. Kill a neutral? Better do it out of sight.

As well as normal NPCs spotting you, there will be Sentries, special troops that act as reconnaissance and commander. If they catch you, they can alert in all their comrades and call in reinforcements via dropship.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Updated upload

We've made some adjustments to the tutorial, and there is now a flag that will turn the particles off and on through the F12 key.

Here is the download for the updated version

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

August Days

Well, the AVCON exhibition was very tiring, and getting back into the life of an academic was, as always, a massive blow.

Things have picked up again now. Ben is mapping out the game world and we're starting to worldbuild regularly. The improvement a map can have on worldbuilding cannot be underestimated.

Names are annoying; we want names that not only sound good but fit the setting. Things like 'Flint' for a mining town, or 'Splinter' for a logging one. Naming ports has proven harder.

Given the effort that went into just the twenty-levelled AVCON demo, I shudder to think what it will take to complete the full thing - but we have time, and we want to get this right.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Project Seven Test Version Up for Download!

Hey everyone, Ben here!

AVCON finished up yesterday - a big thank you to everyone who came and played the game, we were overwhelmed with the positive feedback we received and thankfully didn't run into too many bugs.

I want to extend a huge Thank you to Ben Kilsby from Holopoint Interactive, the man who runs the Indie games room. We would never have had the chance to show our game without him! Another thank you to everyone else who made the IGR possible, sorry I can’t list everyone’s names.

Anyway, enough about that - on to the real News! A downloadable test version of the game is available here. It's the same version we had at AVCON, and features 22 levels of varying sizes to play though, as well as most of the weapons and tool-keys in the game.  However, it is a test version and we are looking for feedback - if you come across any nasty bugs or just have some general feedback Feel free to e-mail me at

Again, the download link is Here, so why not Give it a try and tell us what you think?

Thanks - Ben, Nightfall Studios. 

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Levels are done, plus thoughts on multiple campaigns.

It was a tough two weeks, but the demo is now complete. I just finished the Front-End a few minutes ago.

We will be showing this at AVCON, and soon after we will host a download for you guys to see.

The demo consists of a small game world that goes light on the NPCs and worldbuilding. The goal is to go east into the mountains and run a gauntlet across a pass to safety. There is one town and one dungeon. Five out of the seven tools are present, along with all of the weapons. These are scattered across the world, and the player will have to find them on his own.

The heavy weapons, ie the machine gun, anti-tank gun and mobile bunker are concealed in a secret area.

One of the cool things about P7 for us is that all the enemies, tools and terrain can be used to make a bunch of 'campaigns', 'stories', 'adventures' or whatever label you prefer. This means we can release multiple 'games' (or expansion packs) using the same resources, which makes the development time for new content a whole lot shorter. This was how Nintendo was able to get The Majora's Mask done so fast and so cheaply - much of the resources used were sitting there from Ocarina of Time. Another example is the open source game Battle for Wesnoth, which comes with multiple campaigns from a variety of different authors.