Maze Game Mechanic

A smaller update this time. I had my shiny new list that Victoria had helped me create in hand and a bit of time set aside to do some work on my personal projects in the evening. So I used a tiny bit of it to get the first list item out of the way.

What is the Overall Game Mechanic?

Drawing may not be to scale, contain items that will actually be used, or even any good.
Drawing may not be to scale, contain items that will actually be used, or even any good.

The idea is simple, I want to create a game with some simple and increasingly more complex mazes. I want them to contain puzzles of various kinds which act as gatekeepers preventing the player from progressing through the levels.

Another key mechanic that I had tossed around (and actually coded) was the idea of a key thief or a “keyper” as I have named it here. The key thief doesn’t so much steal the keys as it takes them back to where they were originally in the level.

And that’s it! It sounds really simple but I’ve taken a while to make any progress so I feel like writing down a plan will help me with that focus thing.

Maze Game Plan

I created a list of all of the steps I could imagine needing to do to complete this simple game. My first list went way off the rails, falling victim to my mind’s desire to categorize everything.

I had lofty ideas this winter of starting work on a simple game consisting of mazes the character had to work through. It was going to simultaneously be a demo of my abilities and a method for me to accrue and hone them.

I haven’t ever completed a game before other than simple Qbasic games in DOS. I used to make overhead shooters and side-scrolling platformers and weird graphics demos.

Well the plan this time was thwarted by a lack of focus, several other personal projects and a complete lack of an… actual plan.

Victoria helped me here by getting me to do a few things:

1. All of the things!

I created a list of all of the steps I could imagine needing to do to complete this simple game. My first list went way off the rails, falling victim to my mind’s desire to categorize everything.

The first list, not what we were looking for.
The first list, not what we were looking for.

After showing Victoria and her visibly expressing displeasure and disappointment at not getting the point across, she helped me write out the second list. A simple line-by-line list of items. A simple to-do list.

All in a row, ready to be sorted!
All in a row, ready to be sorted!

2. Need vs. Want

Then the next step, she informed me, was to split them into tasks that 100% require to be done and tasks that are nice to have completed.

She may have misspelt necessary but she organized my life.
She may have misspelt necessary but she organized my life.

This created a list weighted toward practical, 100% required items but with almost as many nice-to-haves.

With a list of attainable goals (I hope) I am now prepared to take on the challenge. I am ready! Here I come, game development!

Time Management Slices (Your Daily Pie)

I have an idea for a daily time scheduler aimed at technical employees but possibly useful for anyone. It really represents an enhancement to my time tracking tool that I created long ago in PHP and that I still use to this day to track work I do for clients.

In this scheme, there are days and tasks. Each day represents however many useful working hours you have in a day.

If you work an 8 hour day with an hour lunch break, that’s 7 hours.

Then you have tasks. Tasks are atomic and represent one simple thing.

If this all sounds familiar, it should.

The part that might be novel, is that the tasks all start out by default taking up an even slice of the day. If you have 5 tasks, each task is given 1/5th of the day to be completed.

A task can never have any less than 1 hour of time associated with it. If there are too many tasks, the rest will be shifted automatically to the next day.

As you work, you click on the task you want to work on. When you’re finished, you mark that task as complete. Other statuses could be used such as “ready for QA” which would spawn another task for a QA team to handle.

If you work long enough on a task that it takes up more time than was allotted, it starts shifting other tasks to the next day and the Gantt chart is automatically stretched to show the change in delivery time.

This would effectively handle communication about tasks, the time they take and the affect that has on delivery to all stakeholders.

If you find yourself with time on your hands, you can pick from the pool of tasks already created and use them to fill the rest of the time in your day. This would shift the delivery date ahead in the Gantt chart automatically.

Well, that’s my idea. I’m writing this down more for my own notes than anything.