Started a new side-project a week ago. Thought I'd jinx it by announcing it. :) Here goes...
In 1990-ish there was a murder mystery game on the Amiga called "Murder". It was the normal Agatha Christie type setup: guests in a mansion, someone gets murdered, and for some odd reason you have to solve the murder before the police arrive by questioning guests, looking for clues, dusting fingerprints, etc. There were a set number of mansions to choose from, and murders were randomly generated.
Loved the heck out of this game, always thought I could do better, now trying to do so.
I provisionally named it "Murder at Midnight", and then found a 1939 film, as well as an old-timey radio show both with that name, and both with lapsed copyright. So I figured hey it's good material, and am going to be pilfering from those liberally too. Will this streak of originality never end ?!!
Evidently not! Another game I'm drawing inspiration from is the classic Murder on the Zinderneuf. Murder everywhere!How it's different to the thing I am cloning:
- The original Murder had a fingerprinting system, but I've decided that mine should be more character-oriented. More Poirot, less CSI.
- I'm going to go for more complex motives, and more complex murder setups loosely based on common mystery tropes.
- Dynamic flavour text. The original Murder was quite flat. "Just the facts."
- Red herrings and liars. Murder's guests were mostly just a tad too honest.
- Additional random events. Perhaps in some cases a chance that the murderer could strike again.What's working so far:
- Procedurally generated (with seed) guests and staff. I want any "random" murder setup to be 100% reproducable by supplying a seed and guest count.
- Modular mansion. I have a room prefab, and can generate a mansion out of a simple data object.
- Basic point & click walking mechanic.
- Guest placement at time of murder.How it will work:
Guests are generated and scattered around the house at the time of the murder. The murder victim and murderer are set up with means, motive and opportunity ("MMO", lol). A history is then generated backwards from the time of murder to the time the party started, so that every guest can be questioned about what they saw and when. This same logic will then be used going forward from the time of the murder until the body is discovered. From here the game becomes realtime. The exact same logic that generated the history is now used to manage the guests' movement, except now you are interacting with them. Time management
This game is an exercise in time management. By the time I get home in the evenings it's too late and I am too tired to get much done, so how I am managing is thus: I do my thinking/planning before I get home. On the train, in the car, in my head. So when I sit down to develop, I don't have to think. I'm also forcing myself to spend no more than 2 hours an evening on it. I set a specific goal for myself, small and manageable. For example, the last one was simply "Make sure random guest placement skips the room in which the murder takes place". (this turned out to be a 10 minute task, but hey whatever - it's done :P)
I'll post screenshots as soon as I have anything a bit less placeholder-ish.