Well, I've not finished MARDEK 3 yet, obviously.
In fact, I've not done much work on it at all recently; essentially nothing in the last week...
This is because I've been distracted by things, but mainly because working on one single thing much of the day every day for several weeks in a row gets... difficult to keep up for very long. So eventually my motivation wears off and so on and et cetera. YOU try working on one creative thing for so long and you'll know how it feels.
So, because of that, rather than just forcing myself and getting nothing done, I've been, uh... developing myself spiritually and having deep but probably inaccurate ideas about the nature of reality as I search for answers and meaning in my life and the lives of us all! : D
That's got nothing to do with games though.
But MARDEK 3 still has a lot of content that I still need to make, and it being out by the end of this month is certainly an impossibility, I'm afraid. The month after this one, I'll be spending time with my girlfriend - which is a rare, rare thing since we live in different countries - and since she's staying for a month, I'll be wanting to give her more attention than my game making, obviously. So it's unlikely that it'll be done during February either (though I can't be sure; maybe I'll actually get stuff done when my girlfriend's here? Who knows; I might not even have a computer though, since we're staying together in a temporary rented place)...
SO, instead of trying to get that game out, instead I'm changing my focus to one of my other game projects, and this time it's CHIMAERA. It's a game that I've barely started, but which should be able to be finished quickly. I know I'm awful when it comes to judging the time it'll take me to make things, but, well, the reason it takes so long to make a game like MARDEK compared to other Flash games and such is because it's not just the ENGINE that I have to make, but all the areas and dialogue and music and enemies and stuff like that.
Most Flash games are simply an engine, with essentially no plot, and no massive variation in levels or great amount of content... which is surely something you've all realised, right? (Usually you've seen 'all of the game' as soon as you've played for a minute or so; it just gets a bit harder as you play for longer...)
Well, Chimaera will be sort of like that, in that I'll really only need to make the engine, then making content for that engine won't take very long...
For those of you who don't know what Chimaera is and are fuming and throwing your screeching cats at your computer screens in fits of mouth-foaming rage because I'm not doing your bidding fast enough even though you're not actually giving me anything to do that anyway, I'll explain the game concept in the following hopefully coherent strings of English words.
If you have ever played a Monster Rancher game (preferably Monster Rancher 2, since that's the only one I've played), you'll have a general idea of what the game is like... sort of. But only in some ways.
It's sort of a 'simulation', but... not.
It takes place in the same world as Beast Signer, but before The War that ended the world. This is before the Virtual World technology, but in an age of science, where the scientists work more with physical objects than computer data.
In our world, WAR is a big motivator for scientists to get science done fast, for the sake of competition and beating your enemy to big discoveries and such. But in the game world, war is all but eradicated at the point in time, so another thing came up to motivate scientists instead... It's basically a popular sport, where scientists gather together and battle what are called 'monstrosities'!
It's at a time when scientists are *playing God* in the field of biology, and essentially creating their own 'lifeforms' from once-living or artificially grown parts. They're sort of like Frankenstein's monster, these monstrosities... Soulless automatons, made of flesh rather than metal.
You play as a 'Mad Scientist' who makes monstrosities, and you raise one at a time in your lab.
Gameplay consists of two main modes: the Lab and Battle.
In the Lab, you modify and trail your monstrosity. The game has time as a factor, with things like Battle Tournaments being on once a month, and Training taking a day or a week or something (like in Monster Rancher). Your monstrosity has a finite lifespan, so you have to be careful when training and raising it if you want to get its stats high. You can probably get about four training sessions in a month, for example, each boosting a stat by a small amount, and an average monstrosity would live about 4 or 5 years. When it dies, you can just get another, but it'd have untrained stats.
Training boosts one stat at a time, but stats can also be boosted by the LIMBS that a monstrosity has...
Your monstrosity is basically a creature of a standard bodyplan - like humanoid, canine, feline, saurian, etc - but you can modify each limb individually. You could have a dinosaur-like thing with a metal left arm, a right arm and tail made of bone, a head more vicious than the one that the body originally had...
Much of the game is based around customising your monstrosity by swapping around limbs and such. It's sort of a different approach to the standard RPG equipment slots...
You can buy new limbs with money earned from tournaments, or sometimes get them as spoils after battle.
Battle also relies on limbs. You fight one-on-one with another monstrosity, and it's turn-based. But instead of just selecting the monstrosity as a whole to attack, you target a certain limb, and the strategy is based mostly on this.
You could aim for a leg to disable their movement, or hit the head or neck to get a one-hit-kill. However, more critical parts are harder to hit and damage, so you could win by missing the head nine times then hitting twice, or hitting the body solidly for about eight turns in a row... y'know? A quick gamble or a slow and steady victory. Attacking weaker, flesh limbs is also usually more effective than attacking metal limbs and so on. You get the idea, hopefully.
Skills are also based on limbs. You could use claw attacks if you HAD claws, but not if you didn't, obviously. Having all your legs chopped off might prevent you from using melee attacks since you couldn't move to the opponent...
Each limb would have its individual HP, and when that HP is depleted, the arm is either disabled or severed (depending on how big the damage dealt was). Monstrosities have a Total HP bar determined by all the limbs' HP values added together, and you win by lowering the opponent's total HP below a certain level (about 30%), or by chopping off a vital limb like the head.
The game would be different in style to basically all of my others, because it'd lack a storyline and direction, but would be all about gameplay and, as such, would probably have a lot of replayability becuase you can't really 'win' at any point.
There'll be something LIKE 'winning' in the form of High Level Tournaments though...
See, your monstrosity would be able to enter tournaments on certain days that they're on, but only tournaments of its own 'rank'. Beating an Official Ranking Tournament would increase your rank, and therefore increase the difficulty of all tournaments that you could enter... You'd keep doing this until you got to the highest rank, and once you beat that, it'd show that you'd built and raised a truly strong monstrosity, and you'd 'won', sort of.
But I imagine that, like monster rancher, there might be lasting appeal in raising different kinds of monstrosities in different ways, rather than simply going from obvious 'start to finish' then quitting...
There'll be different body types for monstrosities, as I said, but most will have to be unlocked.
You'd start with a 'rodent' body type - a lab rat, which makes sense - but that'd be small and weak. By doing certain things like earning enough money or advancing to a certain rank, you'd unlock other forms, and could raise new monstrosities with those body plans...
So unlocking all of the different forms and then raising each one would be appealing, maybe.
So, uh... yes. That's the game I'm trying to work on now. I've only just started, but I've done something, at least.
[Here, look, a screenshot, even!]
It shouldn't take TOO long to finish...
I imagine I'll still get loads of "I AM SINGLE-MINDED AND WANT YOU TO FINISH MARDEK 3, GAME SLAVE, SO I AM OUTRAGED THAT YOU DARE TO GO AGAINST MY WISHES!!" sorts of comments, but it'd be rather jolly brilliant if some people actually cared about this new idea!
I'll return to MARDEK 3 as soon as I'm able though, and will likely be working on both games at once next week...