Thursday, December 12, 2013

Game #8: "Monster Farm"

A week ago we started making game #8 "Monster Farm". It's a cross between DragonVale and Hay Day. An isometric freemium farm where the player breeds and grows monsters. Yesterday one week was up and it was time to publish the game. We didn't. Instead we decided to make an exception and take two weeks to develop this game.

This genre turned out to be more architecturally complex than the others that we tried. My prior architecture that I used for the last five games was not flexible enough, so I had to make a new one. After a whole week of development all I have to show is the isometric grid and the shop menu.

I spent two days implementing the isometric projection and the camera with scroll and zoom. Then I spent three more days implementing a data access layer. The lack of a standard framework with these features in Corona really slows down development. Every game reads and writes data, no? In a year or two once I have a library of well architectured and tested modules for data access and other common features, I will spend my time writing game logic, not middleware, developing games 2-3 times faster. Not yet though. The data access layer that I got now lets me write a lua data file "factories.lua":
Entry{ id = "factory_01", image = "monster_01", name = "Blue Monster", cost = 100, description = "Huggable and Lovable.", time = 10000, size = { i = 1, j = 1 }, center = { x = 0, y = 8 * 3 }, recipes = { "recipe_01", "recipe_02" }, animations = { name = "default", start = 1, count = 20, time = 1000 } }
Entry{ id = "factory_02", image = "scary_02", name = "Red Monster", cost = 200, description = "Scary One.", time = 12000, size = { i = 1, j = 1 }, center = { x = 0, y = 8 * 3 }, recipes = { "recipe_02" }, animations = { name = "default", start = 21, count = 20, time = 1000 } }
Paired up with the data file is the model class "factory.lua". Elsewhere I can access this data with:
Factory = require("factory")
for f in Factory.find{ cost = 200 } do
    print(f)
end
The find method returns an iterator over all Factory objects with cost = 200. If you know Ruby on Rails, you will recognize what I am trying to do here.

So now we have another week to get this behemoth into some semblance of a game. Hopefully that's enough time. By the way, Liza is making phenomenal progress learning and making isometric art; it's beautiful! Will show in a week.