My current project lacks a cohesive title, and I'm having trouble digging up something pretentious enough, so we'll give it the working title "Spacebot" for now, as that's what the game's source code is saved as.
I'm building a platforming shooter. It's a basic notion, and it's been explored (almost to death), but I'm okay with that, as my design focus has shifted from being completely original to doing something that's fun and that players can enjoy. I've been struggling to gain ground with a reasonable shooter game, but I think I came up with a set of mechanics and overall feel that I like, so I'm going to try to press forward.
The basic notion is rooted in the game I built for an honors research project in college, "Linear Proportional Control in Dynamic Level Design for Computer Entertainment Software" (I know). That project analyzed the idea of tailoring a game's difficulty level to the player's skill capability, which was a blast. I'm not carrying that concept over to this game; that can wait for something a little more complex. But the plot and basic premise is the same -- I don't have much in detail yet, but I'll get there as I go.
The player is an agent or mercenary of some sort, tasked with investigating the termination of communications signals from a distant space station. As it happens, the station is under control by the robots and drones that worked on it, turned rogue, which have killed (presumably) all human crew members. The player's goal is to reach the central computer system and shut down the AI coordinating the drones' efforts.
The game I created for the LPC project used a mouse-keyboard control system, reminiscent of modern shooter games. I wanted to do something a little less detailed for this game, so I'm going with a pure keyboard control scheme. For simplicity, the player can only shoot forward, up, and down. The weapons each have a base capacity, and can be reloaded through magazines -- more detail on the weapons and their behavior systems will follow in a subsequent post.
I've been doing some thinking and digging on possible game scenarios, and how to balance platforming and shooting, and I came across a good example of how I want the game to operate -- Super Turrican 2 on the Super NES. There is a significant amount of solid platforming, but the game's core is in shooting everything in sight with an array of weapons. It's that sort of balance and speed that I want to recreate in this game.
There is much more to say about the design decisions I'm looking to make, but those can wait for now.