Time, as always, has been a limiting factor lately. Still I’ve been determined to work on something tangible. As such, the brief has been to create something that is both simple to develop (development time currently sits at around 20 hours) and would offer a decent amount of gameplay (unlike my other recent efforts). I’m attempting to achieve these goal by focusing on simple wave-based gameplay with challenging mechanics, and score based replayability.
And I’m calling it Patrols.
I’d best describe Patrols as a Tower Defence/Snake hybrid. The player is given control over a number of units that must be used to protect a finite number of objects from infinite enemies.
The hook is that the player has no direct control of these units. Units constantly travel forward until hitting a player placed ‘signpost’, which directs the unit to turn either clockwise or counter-clockwise. The player’s sole interaction with the game is placement of these signposts. Units combat enemy waves by leaving a trail in their wake; enemies are destroyed when colliding with these trails. Of course, other player units are too. The length of these trails and the speed the units path can be augmented by directing units to pickups, placed randomly around the map. The resultant gameplay is somewhat hectic, as players must reconcile their two goals of positioning units to block enemy waves, and collecting pickups in order to increase the effectiveness of these same units.
The game is playable but far from complete. So why post or release something in this state?
Well, as a challenge to myself. I believe that the core mechanics are locked down and implemented – which feels odd to say, given how flawed the game currently plays. Irregardless of this, I’m in the mindset that all that remains to make the game entertaining and compelling is some intense balancing, and polish (especially concerning player feedback, of which there is currently none).
So the challenge to myself is to – without making substantial mechanic changes – use polish and balancing alone to finish the project from this milestone. I am a strong proponent of the importance of polish and this is an opportunity to test the validity of that stance.
What does that mean to you? Well it means you can download the current work in progress, but if what you’re looking for is an intrinsically enjoyable and complete experience, I’d advise against it. If on the other hand you’re a little intrigued then by all means go ahead, but I would recommend a quick skim of the instructions document as there is nothing in the way of instruction within the game.
For reference my current high score for this build is Wave 17, 85 points.