Synth Spelunkers

The Great Big Blog of Things I Should Get Marks For – Vol 5

So, once more we reach the end of another year, and conveniently, the end of another trimester of my studies. As such, it is time for me to take all of the stuff I’ve been working on as of late, and put it into one big mega-post. Brace yourselves…

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The Great Big Blog Of Things I Should Get Marks For – Vol 4

So, for the unaware, I’m currently undertaking a bachelor’s degree in Games Programming to compliment my Bachelor of Game Design. In order to get that, I’ve got to explicitly showcase a whole bunch of stuff I’ve done so that it actually counts towards me passing the course. This is that.

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Synth Spelunkers – Mapocalpyse

Creating A Map Import Tool

Now, if you’re already familiar with Synth Spelunkers, you’ll know that it’s a rhythm-puzzle game where each level takes place on a grid, which is made up of a series of tiles. Each of these tiles may have various types of effects when a Spelunker enters them, or may activate these effects every so many beats of the song. If you’re not already familiar with Synth Spelunkers, hopefully you get at least some of the idea now.

The Old System

Until recently, we had a simple system for making maps implemented that made use of the Tiled Map Editor. These maps were created as a grid that simply specified what type of tile was in what position. This was then output as a simple CSV file (Comma Separated Values), and that file could be used to generate a map in game.

However, none of the attributes for the tiles in the map were set. All of this had to be done manually, which meant that if any changes to the layout of the map had to be changed, the entire thing would have to be re-imported and setup would begin from scratch again. As you’d expect, this was a colossal time-waster. This new system however, resolves that issue.

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Synth Spelunkers -The Big Loop That Makes Everything Happen

An Endeavor in Resolving Simultaneous Grid Movement

Synth Spelunkers is a rhythm-puzzle game in which players place small ‘Spelunkers’ onto a grid, which then move one tile every beat of song. When these Spelunkers move, they move based on a predetermined set of logic, which for a single Spelunker is pretty simple to implement. However, we’re not dealing with just a single Spelunker, but a whole group of Spelunkers, all of which must move simultaneously. And what’s more, when Spelunkers move to certain tiles, that may change the states of other tile which can affect where other Spelunkers are able to move, which in turn can have considerable run-on effects.

To put it simply, it’s a bit of a mess to try and work around. Our initially solution didn’t quite hit the mark and had a few issues with the order in which things happened, so I was tasked with reworking the system from the ground up to try and fix it. And goddamnit I did.

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Reaching New Heights – Secret of The Forbidden Groove

Genre: Rhythm-Puzzle
Platform: Android
Players: Single Player
Status: Prototyped, Indefinitely Postponed

Team: Handsome Dragon Games
Role: Creative Director
Duration: 3 weeks

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Team Members:
Jack Kuskoff – Creative Director, Art (and some programming too)
Corey Underdown – Programming, Art
Callan Syratt – Programming, UI, Art
Samuel McLean – Lead Musician

Secret of the Forbidden Groove (formerly titled Synth Spelunkers) challenges players to guide a series of intrepid explorers through the depths of an ancient jungle temple, searching for a mystical treasure. This is no ordinary temple however; the air is filled with music, and the entire temple pulses to its rhythm. Players aim to choose where Spelunkers will enter the temple and when, in the hopes that they will be able to dance their way through all the rhythmic traps and pitfalls, whilst opening paths for their fellow Spelunkers at just the right moment.

As they push deeper and deeper into the temple’s depths, there’s no telling what perils they will find…

There is currently no publicly available version of Secret of the Forbidden Groove, but in the next few months, there definitely will be!

UPDATE: There won’t be.

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