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Sonstiges: Developer Diary - The Creation of a 3DS/Switch Game

Michael Grönert, am 26.12.2016, Seite 13 von 13

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Part 13: Companion Pet
Today we want to make sure that our player does not feel so lonely. To accomplish this, we create a retro companion. Today’s youth may not even be familiar with it anymore but we’re going to implement a variant of the virtual pet Tamagotchi, which was released in 1996 by Bandai.

Implementation of a "Tamagotchi"
First, we need a new item for our inventory. If you click on this Tamagotchi item, a larger version of it will appear. A nice touch: Even when the large view of the Tamagotchi is not open, the display of the virtual device is even completely visible in the inventory - the small number of pixels actually is enough for this. However, to be able to see and use it better, the larger view is essential.


The Tamagotchi GUI

Like the original, our variant has three buttons. These can be clicked directly on the screen with the finger, stylus or mouse, depending on the platform. As you can see on the screenshot above, the buttons also are associated with gamepad buttons. In this case, it is X, A, and B that would correspond to the layout on an Xbox Controller which is the most commonly used controller on the PC. If the game were to run on a 3DS or the Nintendo Switch, the letters Y, B and A would be displayed here. The functions of the buttons also correspond to those of the original - the left to select the various options, the middle to confirm the selection, and the right to cancel an operation, or to jump back in the menu.

The needs of a pet
Like a real pet, such a virtual companion has needs. It requires food, sleep, caring in the form of gaming together, occasional medical help and it needs to be cleaned up behind it. The following screenshot shows the available menu items and the various interactions.


The different interactions

The following can be seen, from left to right and top to bottom: The status menu, where you can see the age, hunger and happiness. The food menu in which the Tamagotchi can be fed. The cleaning symbol that can be used to remove droppings. A gamepad icon that can be used to start a mini game. A light switch that turns the light on and off. Medicine with which you cure a sick Tamagotchi. A happy Tamagotchi after winning a game. A sad Tamagotchi after losing a game. A deceased Tamagotchi.

They grow up so fast
All in line with the development principle of GameMaster, virtual pets continue to evolve. The original contains a kind of family or decision tree - depending on how you treat your pet it evolves in a certain direction. Feeding it too much may make it get fat and sluggish. Some Tamagotchi implementations also offer disciplining. This should be used if the little one does not behave properly, for example when refusing healthy food. Letting pass too much of it will have a negative effect on its "personality" - even if it is recognizable mainly or only in its appearance. For example, it may come to the point where our charge takes on a devilish form.

For now I postponed such pet development and have not yet implemented it. Theoretically, the effort would be relatively low compared to the rest since it is almost just about adding new graphics. One would also have to program the appropriate decision trees which govern when and how it evolves. I think it would be better to make that decision later because depending on the progress of the whole game, diverging concepts might be better. For example, you might need to upgrade the Tamagotchi device for further development. Or you can push it so far that it can leave the device and follow its owner on foot.

That's enough to counteract the loneliness in this virtual world for now. Next time, we will cover new control options. For example, we want to ensure that our game can be operated on devices that only offer touch controls. See you!

Do you prefer to read this diary in the developer's mother tongue? Then click here to read this diary entry in the original German language!


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