[Dev Log] Doctor DNA

Recommended Posts



I've missed or flaked out on all the WizJams after the very first one, but I'll try and take part again this time! (And also try to engage with other people more during it.)


Anyway, the episode title I decided on is "Doctor DNA", and my first idea for the game concept was the most surface level reading: effectively cloning a certain Nintendo puzzle game with "doctor" (or "Dr.") in the name, and branding it after a certain fictional mascot character from a certain dinosaur franchise.


As the Thumbs point out in the episode, it's actually Mr., which made me think about knockoffs and the idea of cloning games in general, so I came up with a sort of meta-fiction: in the 90s a European game developer with a history in Amiga games was working on a game with the actual license which quickly got pulled because of their incompetence, but they decided to run with it anyway with the smallest possible changes to make it technically not illegal.


The target platform would have been somewhere in the SNES/PSX zone, ideally the Saturn which perfectly hits the awkward 2.5D puberty that I'm going for, though I won't try to exactly emulate any specific platform. The point is kind of the strange non-sequitur aesthetic of Amiga games that I never played myself but am kind of fascinated by - primarily the technical wankery (and real skill!) that is unconcerned with cohesion or direction (I say this lovingly).


I'm looking forward to replicating all the Dr. [REDACTED] mechanics as a sort of programming exercise, and to making the whole presentation ... appropriately inappropriate. The doctor is also a prime target for that totally rad style of drawing and scaling non-deforming 2D sprites bound to a 3D rig, though instead of the demoscene savant programming they actually used I'll just cheat with modern 3D modeling/animation software and Unity.


I was unemployed back during the first jam and could pour a lot of time into my vague Shadow of Mordor clone, but I think this scope should be pretty manageable - I think I can definitely get this basically working and looking ok pretty fast, the issue will just be how much thematic love I have time for.


I'll try and post screenshots and progress reports when I get going during the weekend. Cheers!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Heh, that Ballz game always confused the heck out of me. Perfect visual style for the idea though!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

This weekend's progress:



Keeping things very simple with placeholder graphics (and testing without randomization) as I work on getting the actual mechanics down, which are basically all done except for pill DNA(?) rotation. I expect that rotation will be a pain since it happens on a grid array and follows very specific rules (stay within a 2x2 square, except also gracefully handle cases when next to walls or other blocks, etc.) that aren't really generalizable. It'll probably just turn into like a dozen hardcoded cases and exceptions.


I also found some incredibly useful information on the "Tetris Wiki":

I guess the pros need this information for high level play (or some people in the scene are just completionist documentarians?), but it's incredibly helpful to someone just trying to clone the game as well. And kind of crazy.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Rotation was a pain, ended up using a few days to set it up in a way that wasn't an insane list of exceptions, and that could actually support some of the animation stuff I plan to add later.


I'm spending more time than I predicted on just getting the basics done before the "polish" pass, which was kind of supposed to be the whole point ... but I'm about done now. :yep:

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now