Script Kiddies is a (small) game about the awesomeness, the oddness, and the silliness of computer and video game culture. It's also a game about competitive computer hacking. At its core though, it's a game about entering a series of random buttons faster than the other player and totally shakin' your booty in their face. Planned release is Spring 2015 for PC/Mac/Linux.
Check out UPDATE #4 to see Script Kiddies in action!
Each player has three floors to defend from virus attacks sent by the opposing player. You climb up and down these floors, accessing the computer terminals, and entering the sequence of buttons on the screen. The catch? The other player can access the same floor-computer, get the same sequence of buttons, but then enter them faster than you and send a virus before you can finish the sequence. That's where the real game is: are you a faster coder than your opponent?
Also, viruses travel at a certain speed, so you or your opponent have time to block an enemy virus by sending one of your own. It quickly becomes a frantic button-masher mixed with quasi-tower defense as you not only have to be a better scripter than your opponent, but also a better manager!
Lastly, each playable character has a special ability that allows the player to gain an advantage over the other player for a short time. These take the forms of super fast and powerful viruses, spam pop-ups that block the other player's screen, and the ability to send a virus on every floor at once.
HUMAN BEINGS PLAYING THE GAME:
Story mode plays a bit like a more narrative-influenced Punch Out from the NES. It follows your character as you make your way through different 'leagues' (like Boxing Circuits in Punch Out), earning a league badge when you beat each character in that league. Each new badge allows you to get to the next league, and the next, on your way to become the top scripter!
The narrative in story mode is given in small cut-scenes between each match. You'll make new friends as you pass from league to league, climbing the standings to face the mysterious Functional Four in the Legends League.
New characters and stages are unlocked by playing through the different difficulties of Story Mode, and by fulfilling achievements in Multiplayer Mode.
The game has many references to topics in the open-source and programming communities, nothing huge but little things that programmers and geeks alike will catch. Learning to program has been a life-changing event for me, so it makes sense that I do something to give back to a community I benefit from everyday. So I'm making this promise: when Script Kiddies is released, I will also open-source the following: all my scripts, functions, sprites, backgrounds, and credit card infor... wait, wait, wait! All that but the last one! It'll come with documentation, maybe a tutorial or two and all the code will be released under the GNU Public License v3. This is something I can do that I hope will help more people make cool games in GameMaker. Not all of my scripts will be incredibly useful, but there are quite a few that will help people as they delve into making a video game. Things like camera control, dynamic speech-bubble systems, screen shake, physics, path-finding, and platforming are all things Script Kiddies needs to work and I will do my best to make my code as ubiquitous as possible.
Pledging the right amount ($35+), you could receive a custom-made 2GB TREX USB stick with the game, soundtrack, HD wallpapers, and all the open-source material pre-loaded on it! Here's a peak at how it will look:
WHO ARE YOU ANYWAY?
Austin Dixon // @austinadixon
I once bought a Raspberry Pi just thinking it was super rad and it led me on to getting into Python, then C++, now GML and HTML. This is my first full-length, but I've made a few smaller games leading up to Script Kiddies. Here's one I wrote in pure Python with about 3000+ lines of code last year before switching to GameMaker.
I've done my best to research all the costs necessary to making this possible. Bills, tools, software, and especially fulfillment of the USB manufacturing and shipping. Here is a brain-friendly graph of the money breakdown:
- THE CODE / ART BEHEMOTH - This represents the base cost of living and breathing to program and pixelize the game.
- FEES - Weird that this part is so big right? Unfortunately, about 15% of the money you raise on a campaign like this go to fees from Kickstarter, Amazon Payments, and Obama... I mean the IRS (taxes).
- TOOLS - There are some pieces of hardware and software that would make this process a whole lot easier. They represent a <10% chunk.
- FULFILLMENT - This represents the cost of fulfilling all the auxiliary rewards beyond the game itself and other odds and ends needed to deliver a finished product.
EMAIL: austinadixon at gmail dot com
Risks and challenges
Like anyone who thinks about making a game, I have ideas for my 'dream game'. But here's the thing:
Script Kiddies is not my dream game.
In fact part of the reason I chose to start developing Script Kiddies was because it was a big-enough-but-still-manageable-sized project that I could actually accomplish. Here's a list of some of the development challenges I foresee and how I hope to overcome them (in order of difficulty):
AI-PATHFINDING: As the Story Mode has you playing against AI-opponents, and there are 15+ stages to beat in single-player each with a character with their own abilities, there will need to be quite a sophisticated AI-system built into the game. Unlike tile-based games (like an RTS), Script Kiddies can't be divided easily into a grid for A* Path-finding (a traditional path-finding algorithm). The AI needs to make decisions on which floor to get to, how/when/where to jump (on different level layouts no less), and sometimes change where they are headed mid-path.
Fortunately, the studio that made the game Awesomenauts (Ronimo Games), faced a similar problem! I think their elegant solution to this problem is a good place to start: http://joostdevblog.blogspot.nl/2014/06/solving-path-finding-and-movement-in-2d.html
GAME/BALANCE: One of the hardest things to do in making an asymmetric multiplayer game is having proper balance. Although the biggest mechanic has to do with button sequence input, each character has a special ability that can give them an edge if used properly. Thing is though, I'm not that great at coming up with these, let alone balancing them. This is where the Beta users can help out! The Beta users can help balance things properly and come up with ideas for new specials.
MANAGING/IMPLEMENTING DIALOG TEXT: luckily reading, writing, parsing, and doing generally cool things with text is one of the things I've done quite a lot of. I've parsed and translated DNA sequences into amino acid residues for protein analyses, so I feel confident I can make this work eventually :) Plus Gamemaker has some great data structure objects in place to make things easier.
The challenges are real but they are not so difficult that with some learning, some trial and error, and a bit of *luck* they can't be overcome.
- (30 days)