Ravr... Again

One thing I really want to do this year is rebuild RAVr from scratch. Again. Whenever I open up the game and fly around a bit, I definitely feel like it has a lot of potential to be really interesting if I take it in the right direction, and I get this urge to really sit down and work on it. That said, if I then I look at the source code as it is right now with the intention of continuing development, I lose all motivation. I just see the things I would do differently today, and the ways that I want it to be that are different from what I had planned initially, over a year ago.

So let’s do it differently. I honestly don’t know if I can finish this thing in one year with the amount of free time I have and the number of other things I want to do and make, but I think it might be worth the effort regardless. So with that said, I want to take a moment to start rethinking the whole thing. To consider what I want to have be a part of the game.

The thing I most enjoy about what I’ve done so far is the game feel of just flying around, compensating for wind, landing, taking off and flying around again only to land somewhere else. So I want that to be the core of the game. The key experience. Flying and landing. Maybe moving cargo from one base to another, navigating between obstacles. Weapons? Shields? Trading? Gathering resources? Maybe. I haven’t decided yet. I don’t think I want combat to be the main thing here. Plenty of those games around already.

I guess something that’s important for me is trying to mimic the feeling of piloting an actual, physical ship—well not physical, but… something that could actually exist in a given fictional world. I want the flying to feel good, but I also want the player to make decisions about power routing, and which ship systems to activate or not. Also, and this is way beyond the initial scope I had planned for this game, but, I really want to add some kind of ship inventory. Maybe slots where the player can swap out modules that grant different sorts of functionality to the ship. (Ooh, and a cargo bay!) Last year—no two years ago, I spent a lot of time thinking about how to rewrite the engine, and I think I’m probably gonna have to rethink the whole thing again. Oh well.

Seeing how I’m de-emphasizing combat as a part of the game, something that will become essential is larger level(s). Not just the single screen that I have now. Also terrain. And more visual variation.

Of course, I want all levels to be procedurally generated.

Then there’s story, which I don’t know what to do about at the moment. I don’t think I want a plot, necessarily, but maybe just some small indications that things are happening in the world while you play. Nothing much, more something cute than something long and complex. Like, maybe no actual dialogue, but more like little exchanges of symbols and sounds that convey some little bit of emotion.

So, yeah. It’s a big project that I’m getting into, or that RAVr has turned into. And there are some pretty intimidating challenges. But that’s where my thoughts are at the moment. We’ll see what happens.

Note: All versions of the RAVr code are and will continue to be available on my GitHub profile.

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