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A drawing-based maze game

July 9, 2019 by Noah

I've been working on a videogame the past couple of years, off and on. It's called...

...for now. I have a better name picked out for it, but I'm going to be callling it Project: Doodle (while it's in alpha) so that the finished version will be distinct from the alpha versions, of which it may end up looking nothing like!

The theme of Doodle is centered around hand-drawn, side-scrolling platformer type mazes. You can draw your own levels using freehand and basic drawing tools, color in some fire or water, and drag in pre-made "Doodads" like buttons, keys and doors to add some interaction to your level.

Read more for a screenshot, more information and alpha version download links (Linux, Windows and Mac OS).

Table of Contents

Screenshot

Screenshot of the Edit Mode

Video

See also the YouTube playlist of progress videos.

Gameplay Description

The theme of the game is "hand-drawn mazes." Players can create their own custom maps using a variety of themes: standard ruled notebook paper, yellow legal pad, blueprints or a plain white background.

Levels are drawn using pencil, line and rectangle tools. Different colored lines mean different things: black lines are for solid ground, red lines are for fire that will hurt the player, and blue lines are for water. You can freely decorate your level to look like anything you want (a castle, etc.) -- it's hand-drawn, go wild!

To add dynamic elements to your level, such as buttons that open doors or keys and locks, you can drag pre-made "Doodads" into your level and link them together. (The magenta lines in the screenshot are showing buttons connected to doors that will open/close them when touched.)

The above is about what's completed now, the following are the plans for features before Beta release:

This game is going to be very modder-friendly, as a high priority even. Release versions of the game will come with all the tools I used to create the built-in Doodads and the game will fully support making custom Doodads easy and fun.

  • Users can create their own custom Doodads by drawing their graphics inside the game (including multiple animation frames) and attach a JavaScript to them for their gameplay logic.
  • Sharing levels will be very easy. Custom doodads and other custom content (wallpapers, etc.) will be able to embed inside the .level file so you can share one file with friends to play your level. They don't need to download all the same mods (custom doodads) as you to play it; your level contains everything it needs!
  • Release versions will ship with the doodad.exe command-line program that I wrote to help me make the built-in doodads (provides lots of features to author and attach scripts to doodad files).

Inspiration

When I was a kid, we had for game consoles the NES and Sega Genesis, which were filled with 2D side-scrolling platform games like Mario and Sonic. For fun, I would draw out maps on paper that were a similar style: side-view mazes.

I'd decorate the mazes with all sorts of little gizmos and gadgets based on various games I liked, and I'd draw lines that connected a button to the door that it opens, and I'd draw keys in different shapes that unlocked doors of similar shapes, and then I'd "play through it" in my head, imagining a player character walking through the maze and solving the puzzles.

This game is basically the realization of these childhood mazes. I don't have any of my original mazes on paper, but I have them in my head and I still remember all my favorite doodads I commonly used on my maps.

I've always wanted to make a game, and I've started a handful of small prototypes over the years but never completed any. None of my ideas for games were worth all the effort to actually make one. But then I realized I don't really want to make "a game" so much as I wanted a "game project" that I could just work on forever and constantly improve and add features to.

Project: Doodle is my big long forever project. I have a minimum checklist of features before a "1.0" version and then I'll still keep adding more nonsense to it over time and release free updates.

Download

The game is Free In Alpha. Expect slowness and bugs, let me know if it crashes.

Current version: v0.0.9-alpha

Releases are for 64-bit computers only thus far. Let me know if you need 32-bit support, otherwise I'll just get to it "eventually." Beta release versions will definitely include 32-bit support.

Quick FAQ

  • The game is being programmed in Go using SDL2 (custom game engine).
  • Initial target platforms are Linux, Windows and Mac OS (in that order).

Follow my blog's Doodle tag for future posts about this game.

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