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Smashy Smashy12:14 AM -- Wed April 9, 2008

Today, I will admit to being unproductive, so in an effort to find some way to be productive, I came up with an interesting twist. I went out to the living room, dug through my PS2 games, and found every one that works as motivation/inspiration/research/rip-off material for Happyponygate, and I fired them up and played a bit. Here's what I played:
  • Simpsons: Hit & Run - I was looking at how driving went, but the general notion of driving around and then hopping out to do missions was appropriate. I think it helped me a little thinking about the driving, even though they obviously have a fully implemented physics simulation for their driving (and let me tell you, there is not a lot of stuff on the web - or at least not easy to find - about coding car physics). I'm definitely going to take a simpler road on that, but little concepts like "you turn faster while braking" are certainly the kind of general rule you can take from a complex physics simulation and turn into a very simple arcade rule.

  • Ratchet & Clank 2 - In this game, it turns out, your weapons only level up once! Well, I remember buying golden weapons or something later on back when I played it, but leveling them up doesn't go through a bunch of ranks. It just goes up to full, and it's done. Which is crazy, because I played for about 15 minutes and managed to level up 2 of the 3 weapons I had!

  • Ratchet & Clank 3 - This game, on the other hand, has (I think) 99 levels per weapon. Or maybe you only get up to V9 in the normal game, then go up to 99 in the second run-through. Ratchet games do a great job of making a second play worthwhile, let me tell you. Anyway, it is much more appropriate with its leveling. But the real thing I got out of both Ratchet games I played was something I hadn't even thought about, but is so obvious in retrospect! You can smash objects all over the place in these games, and it's just fun! So here's a whole new angle to Happyponygate, officially. Almost every item around is going to be destroyable, and destroying them will make Loonies (that's money, not Dr. Lunatic) go flying everywhere to pick up. It's two great tastes that taste great together - wholesale destruction, and collecting shiny objects.
I had Midway Arcade Treasures handy too, for checking out Super Sprint, but I didn't actually try it yet. Seems an appropriate choice - top down 2D driving!

So right now what I am doing is formulating a depressingly large art asset list, so I know what I need to create for this game. It's nothing like Sleepless Hollow, unfortunately. Everything in this game is new (well, maybe I can borrow LL2's teddy bears...), and an entire game's worth of art from scratch is an insane amount of work. One of the things of course is to come up with lots of random objects that can be scattered around town to smash - I've already got trash cans, dumpsters, mailboxes (official ones - haven't made normal house ones yet), streetlights and phone booths. I'll need other things... newspaper racks, benches, bus stops, bushes, fire hydrants. I don't know what else, but lots of assorted town things you can smash for spare change.
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