New Computer Gaming Initiative / Plans for the Future

At this stage I suggest that you download the current developer's version and have a little look so what you are about to read will make more sense.

The main thing that's going on at the moment in NCGi is the implementation of the grid (currently manifested by those fixed squares that your ship bounces off).   I'm going to try to make better use of that by distribution 3 (d.3), perhaps to add in blocks that can be moved around by shooting at them so you have a puzzle to work out as well as things to shoot.   [Actually, as of 06/2000, I have added in these blocks, which can be moved by nudging them with your ship.   They disappear on contact with identical blocks.]   I'm also going to colour-co-ordinate the foregrounds with the backgrounds and have pre-set rather than computer-generated levels.   FYI, d.3 is probably going to be complete some time in May/June of 2000.   [Oops! It is June 2000 now, so make that some time in September.   [Now it's November and - this is getting embarassing.] ]

Other than that I can see all sorts of things that I could do.   I'm thinking that maybe I could attempt what I call "Arcade Fusion", that is, to combine several arcade games together into one big game and have them interacting with each other all the time.   I have already started a form of this with the "sub-games" that I have (as of 02/2000) started to add in.   But as another example, I was thinking of including a region of the screen in which the spaceship turned into a "Pac-Man" and started running around the grid having to eat dots.   But then there are also ghosts to contend with and the region of the screen that was colonised by Pac-Man could change shape depending on what happened in the game.

These sub-games that I've been talking about: they're like bonus levels are in normal arcade-games, but rather more-so.   I quote here from an e-mail that I wrote that seems to explain this all fairly well:-

OK, sub-games are like the bonus games in other arcade games, and they'll be activated by collecting letters in the main game.   There will be four letters in NCGi3: none other than N, C, G and I.   Each will go to a different sub-game.   Now things start to get interesting: when you enter a sub-game, you have to make a certain amount of progress before dying/leaving, otherwise you'll revert back to the main game only to see your ship exploding and you having lost a life.   So they're more risky - like bonus levels with teeth.   If you've completed your 'quota' for the level before you die/leave, however, you will not lose a life on exiting (or "dying" in the context of the sub-game), but will just revert back to the main game.   Also, these sub-games will each have their own ladders of levels, so if you get your quota on sub-game N level 1 (N1 for short), you will enter into N2 the next time you collect an N.   But there's also a "short-circuit" way to get to higher sub-game levels and that is if you keep on playing for a long time after you have achieved your quota, you will progress directly from, say, N1 to N2, without exiting.   Now, here comes the really cool part: you can activate sub-games within sub-games and sub-games within those and so on ad infinitum.   So the game could get rather fun and rather wierd with many different games being played inside each other.

Now, the first sub-game, N, that I've just started to put in is a seemingly-simple game where there are many balls/particles bouncing around and you have to catch them in a bat before a red one hits the floor.   The particles go redder every time they bounce and miss your bat so eventually you get red ones which you have to catch or you die.   The game will be improved by a selection of levels that have different odd features in them, such as a gravity source in the middle of the screen or a place on the screen where you cannot see the balls.

There is a lot more that I could talk about here, but I have a game to write, so I shall just add more whenever I get the time.

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