I love writing tools. There's always one more nifty time-saving feature to add and the constant promise of the whack things you're going to make with it. Lately I've completed a fairly intense block of tool development and am reconfiguring my brain to shift back into creative content-manufacturing mode. So now might be a good time to show a few things I've been working on. Also to confirm to RSS subscribers that the feed is actually working (first post!).
Most of my tools are quite hacked together and behind the scenes. Voxatron's sound synth designer, music mixer, BBS code for sharing and previewing levels, and my trusty sprite editor are all gangly monstrosities that noone else should be exposed to. The thing I'm most excited about is the Voxatron editor, which is starting to feel like a user-friendly piece of software. Rather than considering it a peripheral feature that hard-core users can engage with, I'm hoping to make it a central part of enjoying the game. It should be possible for an average player to plonk some monsters, items and blocks into a level and still have fun playing it. Here's an example room that took about a minute to make:
The timeline at the bottom is for choreographing monster entry (and other objects). You can place objects either in xyz space, in time, or both. Any object can alternatively be triggered by a special event such as a monster being killed or an item being collected. Don't worry if this is starting to sound like hard work -- you can just ignore it and make dinky voxel models to shoot at.
The thing on the top left is a console in which you can type commands to access many of the gui-driven operations, if you're a mouse-averse person like me. To test it out I made the little ascii racing game that you can see in the screenshot.
In other news, I modified the BBS recently to improve security. I accidentally made it way too secure -- impossible for anyone to log in and post. Sorry about that! The BBS is still a work in progress, so let me know if you notice anything weird (joseph @ lexaloffle)
You can get extra strength and speed from external powerups, but most of them are quite temporary and the basic robot character stays the same. I think levelling up would work better if the game was a more pure random action game (like Robotron), but I've been going more down the designed, context-free levels road. Hmmnn.. I do like levelling up and persistent changes though. I'll have to think about that.
picco -- I don't, but I have an approximate date for an approximate release date announcement! My current plan (which is likely to happen but not certain) is to make an alpha available for pre-orderers along with the level editor. I should be able to say more about it around mid-August. (Ping here or subscribe to the newsletter).
Nice! I just saw a link to this project on Elecorn's page, looks very retro-chique... I think it would be cool to have some kind of inventory... like when you pick up the sword, you have it forever... or maybe you choose the weapons you start out with (with only weapons you already encountered being unlocked)
And I agree that this game would be great with co-op!
lol @ "I have an approximate date for an approximate release date announcement!" Thanks for the feedback lex. I hope my suggestion doesn't cause major scope creep (which translates to major delays). But it would be awesome to have 3 stats (defense, offense, speed). I think this would keep it simple enough and maybe serve as base-work for Voxatron 2 !! :) Keep up the great work!
@zep re: leveling
Why not build in some tools for the editor that'd let creators build a system to their liking? (well, other than the obvious answer of "That's way more of a challenge than you're making it seem like! D:" heh)
By the way, another question I had. What voxel engine are you using? There aren't a lot out there, from what I understand. Are you completely building one from the ground up?