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Unfathomable Shades Of Days Ahead

Though my last post was pretty much a rehash of what's been going on over the past few years, it was an important milestone in that I had reached a slightly higher level of perspective as pertains to my game development endeavors.

Moving forward, Construct 2 was looking like a good way to go because was it the only one I tried besides BYOND to include an interactive tile engine (the tiles in Game Maker being non-interactive) and the best automatic code completion mechanics of any of the engines mentioned here.   I have said it before and I will say it again: Construct 2 is a joy to work in.

Yet, when I asked a question on the official forums about dynamic map creating, loading, and saving, I got no answer.  This confirms my suspicions that this is one thing it cannot do and I am not entirely sure a Javascript extension could get around that given the HTML5 sandbox limitation.  This throws Construct 2 into being just as limited as any of the other choices in my eyes... but it's still a lot more fun to use.

If there is no reasonable middle path to be found, then there is only two ways to go from here:
  1. The easy way: Compromise my creative vision enough that I could use any old engine to make it happen.
  2. The ideal way: Make my own engine so I can do all the weird-ass stuff I want to do with it.
It is not as easy of a choice as it looks. We would all do the ideal thing in an ideal world, but mortal limitations often intervene.  In this case, the limitation is time, creating your own engine is reinventing the wheel and taking responsibility for making sure it can roll, even before going where I want to go with it.  I may not be a complete slouch at coding, but I do not want to invest that kind of time unnecessarily.

Of course, making a game is hard, regardless of your methods.   But I am not so sure it is the effort that is proving off-putting so much as the fear that all my time will be wasted because the thing I want to make cannot be done on a given platform.

I am anticipating Construct 2 will go on sale sometime around the end of the year, what with all the holiday festivities to be had.   Why spend $130 today when it could be half that tomorrow?  Steam has trained me thus.
Such frugality is proving costly.  Prior to this, I had been working hard to stoke the fires of creativity.  Now, that energy is failing to find outlet and being absorbed by my psyche instead, destabilizing it, perhaps out of remorse about my failure to realize something.  To take my mind off of it, I am procrastinating, which makes things worse because I am wasting more of my preciously limited mortal coil time to not making a game.  When Construct 2 does go on sale, it will probably be around 33% off, is that really worth the wait? 

Now Playing: Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead.

This is not the first time I played this glorious post-apocalyptic zombie survival roguelike, perhaps the only one worthy to bear the title.  However, with version 0.B Brin out, there has been quite a bit of changes.

For me, the foremost change is that the temperature system has been balanced enough to be survivable.  I can also see a lot of cars on the streets of cities, which means there is a lot of parts available to work with, and some of those cars may be able to be driven immediately.

They also added a bunch of cool new start options.  You can generate worlds without the more dangerous monsters, monsters that are "fast" or "slow" compared to the default, and so on.  You can choose to take a profession, which is basically an archetype for skills and equipment you have when you start.  For bonus points, you can choose to start in perilous situations such as a burning building.  Alternately, if there is a favorite kind of store you prefer to start in (military surplus stores are mine) then you can choose to do so now.
Though Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead is typically a very hard game, it allows enough freedom to create monstrous twinks like this.
The game seems a little harder than I remember because static spawns are enabled by default and, with the special infected mobs, this will make cities absolute death for most starting characters.  Zombie Hulks move faster than you can run and smash you through walls with the power of their blows, making them so incredibly powerful that I opted to turn off completely the special infected in my world generation.  Even without, the Z-9s (infected police dogs) are pretty likely to kill most starting characters.  Some of my characters survived all this only to blunder into firing arcs of murderous military automated defenses!  In these ways and others, Cataclysm puts a heaping helping of "unfair" in the mix of its survival simulator, but what do you expect?  It's a roguelike.  

In the long run, "static spawns" seem to backfire a bit because, if you defeat enough zombies and chop them up into bits so they can't revivify, your opposition disappears, and you get free run of the town, and that is sort of boring.  All that city loot without risk leads large surpluses of food and water and long, monotonous days reading skill books.  Eventually, boredom will claim you, you will go and explore some abandoned labs or something, and run across some kind of hideous post-apocalyptic monstrosity that will end you.  Then it's back to scrabbling for basic necessities with your next wasteland newb!

Ultimately, I am thinking Cataclysm needs to turn up the heat some more.  If you simply hole up and live out the rest of your days in relative safety, it is kind of boring, especially with static spawns (since that means you will not be encountering any more opposition once it has been eliminated).  Cataclysm also needs to provide an end-game goal, some way to do more than "survive," to "beat" the game, thereby giving the player a greater goal.  Of course, it could be that all of these things are already in the game, but I have yet to encounter them.  I will say that Don't Starve provides a good example of how this could be done.


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