Sunday 14 April 2013

Editors and Economies

It's easy to throw together a quick and dirty editor where the user has to memorize 300 keyboard shortcuts and there's no undo, and for some games that's the right thing to do because it means you get to spend more time making a fun game.

But for Blackshift I want the editor to be a core part of the game, and to encourage users to make and share their own levels, so I'm taking the time to do a nice GUI (and boy does that take time!)

I've got a few ideas for ways to take what at its heart is a single-player game and give it an online bit. One thing I'm definitely doing is integrating a usable editor, and letting users browse and play others' custom levels from within the game.

If I've got the time, though, I'd love to experiment with some of these ideas:

The level pit — Watch other people beat your level or fall into your traps. Rate, comment & follow level creators.

An economy — Players spend coins to put unique and interesting things in their levels. Put a bounty on your level, giving other players money when they complete it, to attract punters. Or, require an entrance fee for them to try.

Deathmatch — Two, three or four players playing the same level at once, trying to kill each other instead of finding the exit.


  1. Something along the lines of the first, you could have the ghost feature. Once you finish the level once, you could see the ghost of the player who made it in the least time, or the ghost of the creator of the level doing it, so you see if you've done it the way he/she intended, or maybe you found some other way.

    I love that deathmatch idea =)

    1. Ghost is a good idea. I'd just have to make sure it wasn't confusing; the ghost would appear to go through walls and blocks where the original player had shot or pushed them out of the way. The idea works in a racing game where the track itself doesn't change but it might need some tweaking to work here.

      As for deathmatch, I just hope I can make time to do it. It'd be a lot of fun.

    2. Yeah, you're right, it might seem confusing. But in Blackshift (at least the previous version, I don't know this new one you're making), the 'track' doesn't change that much.

      All this remembering made me want to replay the whole game :p I think I'll do it :D

      How's the support for different OS? Will it be Windows-only?

    3. I'm maintaining Mac and Windows builds as I go. I'm having some trouble with my GUI library on the Mac right now; hopefully I can get it sorted. Certainly I don't want to leave anyone out :)

    4. And Linux? I can play the old one with Wine without a problem, but if you're adding more and more improvements, it may not work :(.

      I hope it does =)

    5. I've compiled a build for Linux without any graphics for the server, so a full Linux version shouldn't be too difficult. I'll see what I can do.

    6. Personally, I'm more excited about the "level pit" idea. I can't imagine what deathmatch would be like, but it kind of makes me think of bomberman and the like (which I'm not that good at).
      Anyway, I really like the idea of adding hidden second exits or items, like the nukes you put in some blackshift levels. Sure enough many players would just go on to the next level after simply getting through, but I still would try to provide extra challenges for those who like my levels.
      About the currency idea: That sounds nice too, but I have to agree with Xindaris here. I also fear that players could get quite unreasonable if they want something, so I'd be careful with that.
      I'm sure this game will be worth the wait!


  2. Not sure I like the idea of currency. Depending on how the stuff described worked, currency could change it from "be creative and make a great, clever level" to "make an incredibly frustrating level with a fee to play it so you can afford to put fancy things in your other levels and impress people with them".

    1. Hmm, good point. Maybe I won't have entrance fees.

  3. RGA - you are killing me with this suspense! You will have a hard time making it purrrrfect! Because the destroyers of Flash know secrets! And your games are awesome! Why do you have a .ca on this blog? Are you moving to Canada? Either way, whatever editor you come up with, I can deal with it.


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