I went to Poznań Game Arena recently with Tea For God. I wanted to check if it really won’t affect the sales and it didn’t. But I decided to make a prototype to test if there would be some interest in a non VR game.
I called the prototype “Subspace Scavengers” as I decided to reuse the gameplay idea from an abandoned project. If I would to make it into a game, I would at least know what to avoid now and what to focus on. The prototype itself was also made to test new features I’ve been adding to the engine. The two most important things added is a different way to create rooms/world and an animation system.
As the new room generation system depends on meshes I still need to find a good way to fit it into impossible spaces system, to adjust to a given play area size. The animation system could be used to work with imported and animated meshes. This should come in handy for some things I have planned for Tea For God, although for most of the new enemies I will most likely rely on the existing system of procedural animation.
One idea I had was to try to improve look of Tea For God but here’s the deal: I would have to redo whole game and/or add a different mode with different look and feeling. I’d rather not put any limits on myself and create a completely new thing. Although I still find it tempting to make Tea For God a much better looking game.
While implementing new systems I had a chance to refactor lots of stuff in the engine and I found two bugs that were still crashing the game. Also, while porting to Pico and Vive, I did a few other minor changes to the game.
But the most important thing is that I finally went back to implementing the endless mode. My initial idea for it was that you choose a mission from the menu, start it, finish it (success or fail), you exit to the menu, check results and then start the process all over again. The more I thought about that, the less I liked the menu part.
I decided to have everything be done in the game. You start in your “base” (“bases” will be different places you can start from, the first one will be the airship), choose a mission, equip yourself (this was meant to be done in-game for a long time), go to mission, come back to your “base” for debriefing and choose a new mission. If you die, depending on what should happen, you restart at a checkpoint or in your “base” with failed mission status.
To handle that I had to create a dynamic “pilgrimage” structure. “Pilgrimages” are levels/sections. I named them this way as a long time ago Tea For God was about a pilgrimage and was structured completely different, more branched, horizontal like rather than linear. The can be as big as a chapter or just a part of it. For example, Chapter I The Outer Rim is composed of two pilgrimages: the actual outer rim and the train station.
For the endless mode, I have a starting section and until you choose a mission, there is nothing after it. If you choose a mission, the level structure is updated and next sections are added. And in most of the cases that next section will be the actual level that will be for time being reusing places from the story mode. After that comes one or more small sections that take you out of the world and back to your “base” (if this is possible in the given mission). You then end up with another section that connects to the first one and then the whole process repeats.
I am still missing the actual visuals for the ending sections and the whole “back in the base” part (that will also be used to take all your belongings from you).
I was hesitant to do it this way as it seemed that you won’t be able to buy unlocks without exiting to the menu. And then I thought “why I couldn’t just add unlock system to the game itself?”. I mean, I already wanted to add mission selection, so why not unlocks? This part is still missing but soon everything should get implemented.
The initial setup for testing will include a single mission in one place just to test the loop (choose, equip, play, debrief, buy unlocks, repeat) and I am thinking about making it available as a separate channel/branch. I will start with a limited number of players and then see how it works out.