Friday 10 January 2014

The Road to Grelox

The genesis of Grelox was in early 2011 when I wanted to do a Metroidvania style game for the PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16. Like most people, I found Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night truly influential when they were released and they still mark a pinnacle of a certain type of game design. However, it soon became apparent that this would be quite a difficult and lengthy  project, especially given the very limited time that homebrew developers have to spend (and on top of that there were many other games that were already waiting in the queue to be made).

While programming on other projects was underway, I began messing around with some sci-fi based graphics for fun, which eventually led on to a more straightforward platformer design. I envisioned a futuristic Bonk's Adventure/PC Genjin where, as well as completing levels in a linear fashion, you could have several optional goals (like the Mario-esque collecting 5 red coins or finding particularly tricky hidden objects buried in the maps). It would also involve levels having multiple paths - one normal and one a real challenge. All this was considered to increase replay value and longevity. This idea sat stewing for some time.

After going back and playing some old 8-bit titles like Draconus, I went back to my Metroidvania idea, but with the focus on a designing a game for a short development period. This project, which for the moment must remain secret, had a more dark, fantasy tone - meant as a companion to Aetherbyte's MSX platformer Inferno. Without compromising fun, I had to look at this from the programming standpoint. Cutting out things like attacks, complex enemy AI and even scrolling could mean cutting the development time significantly. But development on old hardware can be painfully slow, and even so it could be another few years before we could get our teeth into this game.

With Andrew learning the ropes in Unity, we decided it was worth leapfrogging the project over to the PC - taking the best core elements from the game design (such as the puzzle system), the original sci-fi theme and adding more action and adventure. The flexibility of PC development means that we can still create a retro themed action adventure, but we can now do it quicker and with more flair and deliver a far more compelling finished game. I'm really excited for our plans.

LATEST DEVELOPMENT STATUS: Basic mapping is pretty much done. Working on art for the initial rooms. I plan make simple, block-layout maps for most of the rooms so we can have something to test the room design before dropping in finished graphics.

1 comment:

  1. FANTASTIC! Can't wait to see this in development. Please do share notes, sketches and behind the scenes stuff!!! :D