Archive for August, 2011

The Strangler – attempting a point-and-click game

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Last month (July) I’ve been participating in a challenge, to make a game in a month, using any technology and tools. The only restriction was the theme: Justice. And even that was open to interpretation.

I saw this as an opportunity to practice a bit of game design and, more importantly, telling a story, so I decided to make some sort of classic point-and-click. I used my game engine Pixie, and the coding was quite straightforward, but it was rather difficult to come up with what was to happen in the game.

To make it a bit more interesting, I decided to try and make it in a bright and happy visual style, while keeping the story itself a bit more dark and sinister. There was something about those two conflicting ideas that appealed to me.

The game can be downloaded here  (for windows, but should run on Linux through Wine):

http://www.colossusentertainment.com/forumref/strangler_1_0.zip

And here are some screenshots:

The name of the game is "The Strangler", and is about Tom O’Reilly, Private Investigator:
strangler_02

The game starts with you, playing as O’Reilly, getting a visit…
strangler_07

… from a lady who has a case for you – to find out if her husband is a killer.
strangler_08

So you have to hit the streets in a search for clues, but you’re not very popular with the local PD:
strangler_12

There’s a couple of cut-scenes in the game, giving you another perspective on what’s happening:
strangler_17

I didn’t have time to  add much interactive dialogue (so that’s something I’ll be adding over the next couple of weeks). But there’s a little of it at least:
strangler_23

When you discover a new location, you get a marker on a map, which is used to move around in the game:
strangler_27

I had to come up with a bunch of characters for the game. Ten of them in total.
strangler_29

As I only had a month to do it, and everything took longer than expected (especially the animations), I didn’t have time to do the last scene of the game within the time set out for the challenge, but in the couple of weeks following it, I finished it off.

If you do try it out, please let me know what you think :-)

Also, as I usually do, I’ve released the source code for the whole thing:

http://www.colossusentertainment.com/forumref/strangler_source_1_0.zip

It includes both the code for the engine and the code for the game, but not the data-files for the game (you’d have to get them from the games zip file). The code is public domain. The source code for the game itself is not particularly pretty – time limitations meant doing quite a few nasty hacks. But sometimes it can be fun to see that other people hack their code too, so I’m releasing it as is :-)