Squishy Diary, Volume 1

Posted by Alex Jordan on

As I mentioned earlier, I've stopped work on the Prometheus Engine. It had a very cool name, but had all the hallmarks of a time sink. Successfully finishing this engine and then embarking on the creation of a horror game would've taken me forever, and although I have forever, it's not a wise use of my time. There are plenty of free XNA engines that I should learn, and there are plenty of smaller, more straightforward games I should work on to (A) further hone my XNA skills, and (B) increase my personal visibility. Prometheus achieves A but flat out murders B.

As such, I've turned to another game I've had on the back burner, Project Squish:

What am I up to?

To start, right now this thing is merely called "Project Squish" because I have a much more immature name in mind that I have to field test first. The goal behind the secret name is to earn word of mouth and buzz, but, like I said, it's immature... it may turn people off. So I need to look into it. (I also need to see if it violates any of Microsoft's marketing conditions...)

Anywho, the game itself will be a puzzle game. Cute little critters are trapped in environments and X of them need to be freed to advance to the next level. There will be an in-game level editor and competitive local multiplayer that poses variations on this theme. Following so far? Goody gumdrops.

The hook of the game is the control mechanics. Do you see the targeting reticle in the video? You move that left and right with the Xbox gamepad's left thumbstick. To launch a critter (the white squares with the deranged bunny faces on them, courtesy of my placeholder art), you charge down on the right thumbstick. The launch direction is the opposite of the direction you hold the thumbstick, with the on-screen arrow giving you a visual aid. Also, the arrow changes colors from cold to hot based on how hard you're holding the thumbstick. Simply let the thumbstick go, and WHAM! Flying critter!

You'll use this mechanic to launch critters and use them to solve puzzles and free their friends. I've been steadily expanding the level editor and the various available items, so I'm excited about what puzzles I can throw together with this.

More to follow.