Moving Target Games - March Report

Journal Category: 

Moving Target Games – March

Deadlines, demos and development.

Moving Target Games Team

Andrew Bittman – Project Manager / Designer
Matthew Tuxworth – Game Programmer
Craig Peebles – Audio Programmer
Roberto Ardila – Programmer
Stein Lagim - Artist
Edwin Vargas Cortés - Artist
William Algar-Chuklin - Artist
Daniela Alethea Hammer - Artist
Jay Taylor – Sound Designer

Report

With the end of February comes the end of our “deadline”. I throw it between quotation marks, because it was a loose deadline that didn’t ask for anything tangible to be delivered to anyone in particular. Instead, the deadline asked the team to “get as much done as we can by then, and then discuss our next steps for the game and Moving Target Games as a whole.” After over a year on the same game, despite some new blood here and there, some of those that have been in this for the long haul have become a little tired continually working on space and music, particularly with little solid work to show to date minus our flirtation with Freeplay.

But more than all that I just wrote, I love deadlines. I’d set them every week if I felt it wouldn’t ruin their impact and that I could rely on the availability of a team whose commitment can only be part-time at best.

Unlike the last deadline (Game Connect Asia Pacific 09), which was fraught with technical issues, this one has come out, I feel, where I expected it. We practically have all the key bits and pieces ready, just not thrown together in the cauldron with a dash of seasoning. What this meant was, that after seeing everything we have to go, we set ourselves another deadline quickly.

2 weeks = demo on website.

I say demo for many reasons, but the major reason at the moment would be testing and content. A lot of content still needs to be generated, though at the same time Cosmos Concerto is a game we can have an almost unlimited number of ideas to work with, and thus its reaching a point where we can look at it and “feel” we have “enough”. Enough enemies, enough pretty lights and enough variation in gameplay to make everyone’s experience as unique as the music which they will be using. Secondly, of course, testing. We’ll be releasing the demo quite shortly after bringing all the pieces together, and so we won’t have the time to properly test all aspects. Since this is not a demo of the final version, but more an alpha build, the testing will officially wait for later regardless.

So what will our alpha build demo deliver?

  • Action-oriented space fighter simulator controls
  • The working Audio Analysis Director [AAD], though there are potentially issues between a web player and downloadable version we’ll have to look into regarding this.
  • Primary player weapons
  • A slice of our art direction with 2-3 unique enemy types and a host of visual effects.
  • Free mode: akin to a “quick play” feature of Cosmos Concerto
  • (Potentially) tests for online community scoring

What will still be in the works to look forward to beyond this version?

  • Smoother and tighter player controls
  • The final AAD (able to work with any style of music)
  • A broader selection of player weapons
  • Many more enemies, obstacles and also bosses
  • Enhanced visuals regarding everything from the UI to skyboxes
  • Levels of difficulty
  • A collection of “challenges”, each with unique visuals and goals
  • Local and online high scores
  • Supported audio tracks and an immersive set of sound effects

And the alpha build is just the plan for the first half of March. During the second half of March, after being enamoured with the global game jam’s work in Sydney, steadily counting the growing number of hands I have available to my team and in the continued conquest to have my team learn anything and everything of value, Moving Target Games will be running our own “game jam”. Amongst our team, over a 4 week period, we will break up into two smaller teams to compete against each other to develop two small games using the Unreal Development Kit (something none of us have any experience in, but are all keen to work with).

The Moving Target Games ‘gamejam’ will include (forced) blog updates from almost all our active members (assuming the complete website is up) and give us a much needed break to stretch our minds away from space and music before ultimately returning to our legitimate lovechild Cosmos Concerto.

March is a big month. Ambitious would be the word my mother would use if she knew what I was going on about. Instead she nods, smiles and asks how long until I move out of home so they can convert my room into something useful.

Stay in school kids,
Andrew Bittman
Level 36 Project Manager of Moving Target Games