I realized I was procrastinating this post, partly because I don’t know what to write here. I mean, this should be a teaser, so I don’t want to give away all the details, but I also want to be honest about giving an insight into the work I’m doing, both technically, and from a game design perspective.
There was another reason for not writing, a personal one that I normally wouldn’t go into here, but since I said I was going to have this post done a couple of days ago, I figure I should at least mention the real reason it’s later. The short of it is that I haven’t gotten anything done the last couple of days because my 2-year old daughter has been sick. The doctor thinks it might be whooping-cough, which despite having the silliest sounding name of any child’s illness, is actually fairly serious, and can lead to death in very small children. (Fortunately, she’s beyond that age, but it hasn’t been easy, and the most frustrating symptom is coughing until she vomits or gets very short of breath.) Anyway, it’s been a rough first week as an indie. I keep reminding myself that this is at least part of why I wanted to do this. I have the freedom to drop everything now and take care of her as needed. Yes, I might be delaying a product launch by a couple of days, and maybe I won’t make as much money in that time or whatever, but those are tradeoffs I get to make now.
Moving on… Lets start with the basic premise.
Here’s the current mockup of the game screen for Oppo-Citrus. The first idea I had for this is still intact: you drag a bar of colored squares into the column above, trying to position it such that you make a shape with four (or more) of the same color. You get points for every unique tetris shape. Right now, you get 1 point for the first one, 2 for the second, 3 for the third, etc. I thought about making additional shapes a multiplier, but since it’s fairly random right now, it seemed like that might be too rewarding. There is skill to it, don’t get me wrong, but a lot depends on getting the right combinations of colors.
The red shape and faded red squares around it are because this screenshot is mid-animation of removing the shapes made from placement of that top row from the gameboard.
As you can see, this first level is just two colors (lemons and limes), and as you might imagine, it’s actually fairly easy to make shapes. The real question is whether you can make enough shapes before filling up the board to progress onto the next level. That half-filled yellow bar below the row at the bottom is the level progress indicator. As you make shapes, it fills up, and eventually you get a screen that asks whether you would like to continue on to the next level or keep playing this one for points. I’ll leave what happens on subsequent levels up for a future post or posts, but in addition to the obvious (adding more colors), I have lots of ideas for powerups and additional game mechanics that actually change the game pretty radically while sticking with the original premise.