With Soko Banish 1.4 released (grab it here if you haven’t yet!) and no other versions planned for the near future, you may be wondering what I’ve been up to. You may be sitting there, playing your favourite Sokoban clone and thinking “there must be something amazing in the works from my favourite computer game developer right now”. And you may be right, but I can’t speak for other people, so I’ll just tell you what I’ve been doing:
Working on the newest version of GNOP! What’s that, you ask? GNOP is a Pong clone I first created in 2005. (Try reading it backwards – it’s “PONG”. Clever, aren’t I?) The idea was to create a version of this simple game that is customisable and has different AI levels. It also had better physics than I was used to. So I slapped a settings screen together, released the whole thing, updated it a couple times with exciting things like improved AI
and a bug that completely broke the 2-player mode, shared it with no one significant and put it in cryostasis for a decade until I eventually re-released it on Lanschilandia Games when the site launched, barely altered from its original state.
This original state is now gone. No, really. Surprisingly, it turns out that what I created a decade ago doesn’t really match my present day standards anymore (*cough*Soko Banish*cough*) and won’t do with merely a few feature upgrades, so I overhauled the entire core engine and replaced pretty much everything apart from some assets. This made the planned 0.1.0 version step increase look a bit silly, hence GNOP 1.3 is now known under the ever-so-fancy name GNOP 2.0. But what is actually new in this upcoming release (apart from, y’know, everything)?
|Can you pong with all the colours of the wind?|
Shown here is the new game configuration screen in its current work-in-progress form. When you compare it to the old one, it becomes fairly apparent that I have changed the game logo. If you look closely, however, you may also notice a bunch of new settings. So what do these entail? Briefly put, what can be changed now about the game experience?
Apart from the core engine, nearly everything. Both paddles can be customised, not just in the colour as before, but their entire graphics (you can import your own), sizes, speeds, the sounds they make and how (or by what) they are controlled. Then there’s the ball, which can now be recoloured, resized, re…speeded and even spin. Heck, you can replace it with da Vinci’s Last Supper (or even his lunch from two weeks ago) and fling it all over the screen. And speaking of the screen, you can customise that as well with very flexible stage sizes (the window resizes automatically), backgrounds and (unfortunately pre-defined) special effects, specially copied largely from Soko Banish because I’m lazy and no longer limited to the starfield from the original game. The possibilities are endless!* (*NOTE: Possibilities are not actually endless.)
Want to re-enact historical ping-pong battles? Pretend you’re Yogi Berra pilfering those pic-a-nic baskets? Have an epic light sabre fight, only the light sabres are inexplicably Pong paddles? Now you can! Well, not now, actually. But when the new version is out, you most certainly can. Maybe.
Oh, if you look at the bottom left, you’ll see a save/load feature for the different configurations, so you don’t have to set up everything again later. The game will also come with a few premade configuration files, and more might show up on the website á la Soko Banish level sets. Stay tuned!