A few weeks ago, my son brought home an assignment from his fourth grade teacher to design and build a boardgame based on the story of a book. My son chose “Dragon Slayer’s Academy” for his topic. Luckily, he has a mom that has played D&D before and had lots of ideas ready to help him out.
Together we came up with four areas on the board that followed the plot of the book. A home area, where all the player’s start, the castle area, the forest, and finally, the dragon cave. Each stage of the game has a few hard stopping points where the player must roll a 1D10 and beat the number on the game board. This counts as completing the task and allows the player to move on. Because of the randomness of this, players in the lead do not always remain there and keeps everyone on their toes as things change quite often.
The characters that the players use are D&D miniatures that we picked up from SciFi City in Orlando. The board is built using a cardboard base with gravel and grass material from Michael’s crafts and felt objects. Of course we had to go with a large plastic red dragon since a felt one just wasn’t terrifying.
Before building the final board, we did draw up a smaller paper version of the game and play tested it a few times to get the path down and the challenges.
As a game developer, the opportunity to help build a boardgame with my son presented me with a chance to get into more gameplay design issues than I normally get and I hope, opened my mind a bit. While we both know it’s not perfect, it is fun to play. We may refine it a bit after he gets his grade.
Click the link below to see an overhead shot of the board.
I’m going to actual start with the game code pretty soon. I’m still finalizing some of the system/framework code so I have a decent base to work on. If I did everything right, this code should work correctly across PSP/iPhone. There’s always something that gets missed but shouldn’t be too big of a deal.
So far, here’s a list of the things I’ve implemented:
Now that the holidays are over, I should be able to devote a lot more time to this project.
So lately a flood of game ideas have been popping up in my head. I’ve been writing down quick details but over the next few days I need to write up proper design docs for each one. I’ve already started working on my next project, which will be released on iPhone and PSP as a minis title. It’s something in the space shooter genre, but need to prototype first so I know if it will be any fun.
I’ve been spending the past week off and on working on a cross platform memory manager. I’ve learned a lot since I haven’t ever gotten this deep into memory before on any of the products I’ve worked on. This time, since it’s my own products, I’m writing all the framework, library, and graphical code from scratch. Definitely recommend everyone do this at least once in your career so you know why you normally leave it to others
The memory code has been both a challenge and bunch of fun. So far it will support multiple memory heaps, each with allocation tracking and the ability to dump their info at any point. The last bit, and the trickiest, is to write the allocator that I’m going to use. I’ll probably end up with a few of them since this code is meant to run on Windows, Xbox and PSP.
I’ve been trying to make sure things are abstracted in a clean way but also set up to be the fastest. Avoiding virtual functions and inheritance in this code. I’ll just compile in the platform specific files instead.
Also, put together my debug text output and assert handlers together as well.