So I’m back with another update to Pixel Poker. This time around I’ve made some pretty substantial progress, and set some goals. First, let’s take a look at the current layout for the game.
While things haven’t changed too much since the previous iteration, you will notice that I’m now going at full 720p resolution. On top of that, while the UI is still incredibly rudimentary, I have implemented a basic UI which allows the player to fully control their betting. Speaking of betting, as of this update I am all but done with the actual gameplay elements. At this point the only thing I have left is to implement a game over/win screen. Beyond that, all of the actual gameplay elements work perfectly and you can successfully play through a round of poker. If you watch the gif below you will see me play a few hands against 7 AI players.
Right now the AI players aren’t very good and only consider the value of their hands in the most concrete terms. They do not yet consider the quality of their hand relative to the cards shown on the field, or the potential quality of their hands. On top of that, the AI players also can’t vary their bet size at all. While the AI is very simple though, the functionality is all in place and at this point it is simply a matter of me developing the actual scripts for their AI. I’m also pretty proud because I was able to successfully get the characters to wait before taking actions. When betting they currently only wait a uniform amount of time, but once I start programming the AI it shouldn’t be too hard to setup pseudo-random lengths of time for the players to wait based on the quality of their hands, their nervousness/confidence, and the amount of money they have relative to other players.
At this point I am attempting to complete the game this month so that I can enter it into to 2014 Indie Game Maker Contest. Sadly the contest was only announced a few weeks ago and I had already made some unbreakable plans which will prevent me from working on the game for around 4-5 days in the middle of the month. Despite that though, I’m using the competition as motivation and doing everything I can to achieve the goal. I think the biggest obstacles are the AI and the character animations. Since poker is as much about body language as it is about the actions someone performs, it’s very important that I create good character images/animations which are representative of what the AI players are feeling or doing, and give the real player enough visual cues to see when the AI are bluffing. Thankfully I may have a friend who can take some of the burden off my shoulders. I cannot say how much that will help, or if it will allow me to complete the game on time though since their role would not fill one of the primary needs of the project and would only potentially save me time if I can reach some of the stretch goals. Either way, I will continue working hard and making progress to achieve the goal.
From here I am going to track down the last bug or two I have related to gameplay, start working on the final UI, and begin developing the menu system. I will also begin doing all of the planning work for my AI characters. While I would like to focus on AI entirely, I often leave things like menus for the end and get distracted by other concerns. This ends up causing me to rush menus at the very last minute and cobble them together hastily. While the AI is very important, I know the menus, and a few other small features I’m looking to implement, will be easy so I want to get them out of the way now. Doing it this way will allow me to spend as much time as possible during the last few days of crunch focused on getting the AI as perfect as it can be, without any other distractions.
That’s all I’ve got for this update. Check back again this time next week, and I will have some major UI/menu updates along with the first few stages of AI character development.