The future of Chaos?

This is a tricky issue to debate, and a bit of a rant, but.. what really is the future of Chaos?

I am realistic enough to know that Chaos themed games will never prove as popular as mainstream games. I feel the gameplay and this style of game is really great. I also see that it is often talked of favourably in games magazines like Edge, and GamesTM. But despite this, I can’t see new players embracing the game or being at all interested due to the dated gfx, antiquated user interface and lack of modern features and effects. Sad perhaps, but that’s how it works in the games world..

And what I really want to do, besides making Chaos even easier, fun and better, is to make it more popular!

Even though I appreciate all the support and comments here, the Chaos community is somewhat fickle with long periods of inactivity on the gooey blob group, and no central site to keep things current and active. I tried to do this with forums and blogs on my homemade zunked site, but I found it too difficult to maintain while designing and programming the game. I don’t want to see Chaos die, yet games like X-Com and Laser Squad Nemesis are proof to me that this genre can be reborn and brought to a new generation. And why not? Chaos is great fun as many people here know..

Hence Chaos Groove of course. I’ve wanted to do a version of Chaos that bridges the divide between the past and the future, but how do I go? I remember reading on the gooey blob yahoo group that some people there didn’t like Chaos Funk. There is nothing wrong with that of course.. but did they not like it for the zooming? No.. The gfx? No.. The AI? No..

What they didn’t like about it was that it was mouse controlled. They wanted keyboard controls..

And I thought to myself, man, you’re living in the past! Chaos is one of those games that is perfect for mouse controls, why would you blind yourself to modern advances in this way? I know some people have hacked the original spectrum version to fix bugs, and add new spells when playing under emulation. That is something that on one level I admire, and on another just think it’s a waste of time since the rest of the emulated hardware (and hence the game) is too limited for modern tastes.

Chaos is not perfect, or untouchable. It has bugs, problems, poor gfx and a bad user interface. I am all in favour of keeping the gameplay, expanding it and improving it, but I also have no problem with totally replacing the gfx, sound, user interface and effects.

So, what is Chaos’s future? Do I try to appease the gamers who want a completely faithful remake (something I already tried to do in Chaos Funk) and provide traditional options and gfx (and more work), or do I try to even more fully embrace the future and make Chaos popular again?

For the more modern focus I would more than ever need the assistance of talented graphic artists, musicians and designers. Something I have not had much luck with in the past unfortunately. Whatever happens I will finish Chaos Groove to have all the features and options of the original (it’s not far off that already), and then take it further. But exactly how much further can I take it without support of people talented in different areas than myself?

I guess I’m feeling a bit frustrated by what I’d like to acheive and what I can do on my own. Yet, the programming side is not really a problem to me as you’ve seen by my progress on this little blog.. :/

Bug fixing time

A few more bugs fixed:

  • For some reason, I had set Magic Woods & Shadow Trees to have a magic resistance of 9 instead of 0. It should have been 0 as this marks them as can’t be damaged by magic resistance attacks.
  • Two lines of code were the wrong way round, which meant the game failed to stopunattackable creatures from being highlighted. This is now fixed so that shooting correctly auto-cancels when the only targets in range are non-attackable. Before this change it would not cancel shooting if there were walls or castles in range.
  • Stopped the spell casting highlighting working before the spells appear in spell selection.
  • Moving off the board now properly clears any board highlights. You could previously move the cursor off the last horizontal row onto the spell icon area in spell-casting or movement and the highlights would remain.
  • Moving over “No Spell” icon removes the spell highlighting.
Posted in Bugs. 8 Comments »

Shadow Form

I’ve now put in the Shadow Form spell and ability. There is a little bit of confusion about exactly what effects this gives you in the original game, and I think the Atari ST version stopped you getting engaged as well.

I’ve made this version of Shadow Form give you +3 defence (in addition to shield, armour), at least +3 for movement, and not affect your chance of being engaged. Like the original it is lost if you attack or shoot anything. Although if you are mounted, the piece you are riding on can still attack without it being lost.

The AI wizards will now cast Shadow Form and not attack or shoot if they have it. I know in some situations it is perhaps the better option to try to kill a weak wizard and lose the Shadow Form, but that gets really complicated for an AI to try to work out.. 😉

In the process of making the AI wizards do this, I’ve also improved their movement choices a bit. Although, I still need to do a bit of work on this.

For now the gfx flash in and out in a retro style. I’ll probably put in an option for a smoother fade in and out effect.. It’s tricky trying to cater for those who like the original style and those who want a more modern look. Something I’m struggling with so far. My own inclination is towards the modern effects and features, but I do want this to be the definitive version of Chaos, hence making it also attractive to classic players to some extent.