Short Circuit was an XBox 360 puzzle games based on the popular handheld game produced by Tiger Electronics. In Short Circuit, you would be faced with a grid of lights ranging from 3×3 to 10×10. The objective was to turn all the lights off by clicking on a light one at a time. Each time you clicked on a light, it would toggle the lights above, below, left, and right of it. Short Circuit introduced a new type of light called the three-stage light that operated similar to a stop light.
Get Short Circuit on XBox360 here.
Get Short Circuit for Android here.
Short Circuit really seems to be taking shape. I’ve now added in functionality for playing background music and sound effects. I’m not all that great with composing music, so I managed to find a bunch of royalty free songs from Matt McFarland that I thought sounded nice. I’ve also recorded a simple sound effect for clicking on the buttons, thus the game provides some audio response. There’s no screenshot with this update as nothing was changed visually. Currently, there are 25 songs by Matt McFarland that are built into the game. Some screens use a specified song, but the actual game screen itself selects one at random to play. I intend to provide a means through an options screen for the player to select which song they want to play, as well as for them to control the volume of the songs and sound effects.
Today I made at least a little bit of progress as I’ve added in a means by which to track the players high scores for each level. Of course, I don’t yet have it saving this information, that will have to be added later. Along with the scoring, I’ve also added a Level clear screen where it will tell you what score you got from the last level…assuming you finished it of course. Curently the level clear screen comes up immediately after you finish a level and stays up for a few seconds before moving you on to the next screen. Yes, I said it moves you to the next screen. While implementing the high score code, I also added in a way for me to specify what level comes after the current one. This opens the way for me to provide different level paths as i mentioned in a previous post. For instance, because of today’s work I’ll be able to provide a Classic game mode, an Advanced game mode, and more. The eventual goal is for the Classic game mode to provide gameplay similiar to the original game produced by Tiger Electronics, while the advanced game mode will add in the newer features. I also added in a scrolling credits screen. It’s not fancy or anything, it literally just scrolls a few names by the screen. I added this screen so the game engine will have a default landing pad for any levels that don’t have thier next level specified. (aka, last level)
I had a few minutes to spare this morning before work so I did a little bit of work on Short Circuit. The end result is that the grid size is now variable and can go from 3 to 10. Currently, it's only one single number that specifies both height and width of the grid. I may change that later.
I also added the tri-state lights, and as you can see from the screenshot, they are working perfectly. I imagine the next thing I’ll want to do is create some sort of editor to help me in creating levels.
Day 1 of development is over with quite a bit done. Today I’ve managed to get the core of the game engine up and running so the game resembles the original Lights Out by Tiger Electronics. So far I have it displaying a 5×5 grid of two state lights, and those lights react correctly when clicked upon. I’ve also implemented a rudimentary method of storing level data within the game using a minimum of assets and code. Anyways, here’s a screenshot thus far:
Today I’ve started coding on a new game project. Actually, it’s not a “new” game project as it’s one that I’ve had laying around for years. I started it once a long time ago using GameMaker, then I started to rewrite it in Visual Basic. For various reasons such as virus attacks, system crashes, and various operating system reinstallations all files associated with those projects have been lost forever.
Now, I am going to tackle this project yet again, with some better tools and a lot more experience. I not only expect to start this project, but I fully expect to complete it as well.
I imagine your first question will be, “What is Short Circuit?” Well, before I answer that, let’s take a brief walk down memory lane. Way back when I was a child, a company called Tiger Electronics produced this:
<a href="http://files.cupcodegamers.com/TigerLightsOut.png"><img src="http://files.cupcodegamers.com/TigerLightsOut.png" alt="" width="200" /></a>
This little handheld marvel was called Lights Out. As you can see, it’s a 5 x 5 grid of buttons. Those button light up, and when you press one of those buttons it toggles it’s light state and the state of the four buttons next to it not on a diagonal. The object of the game was to turn all the lights out, hence the name.
Sounds simple, right? For the most part, it was. It offered a bit of a challenge to many players, and some did find the game to be a little on the difficult side. Most players however quickly caught on to certain patterns that could be used to easily beat virtually any level of the game.
This is where Short Circuit comes in. Short Circuit is based upon the original Lights Out game by Tiger Electronics with some new features that are intended to increase the game's difficulty and offer a bit more variety in gameplay.
Now, your second question is probably something along the lines of, “What new features do you have planned?”
There are several new features that I’ve planned to add into the game. Once the core engine of the game is developed, I will be adding tri-phase buttons. Normally buttons only have two states, on and off. This new button type will have three states, on, off, and mid. These will be represented by the colors green, yellow, and red. Red signifying completely off, and green signifying completely on. The three phase button will operate similar to a stop light, cycling from green to yellow, to red, and back to green.
Along with the multi-state buttons, I’ll be adding varying grid sizes. This will allow the game to scale the grid from 3x3 to 10x10.
The second new feature to be added is directional indicators and blocks. This means that there will be a visual cue as to which other buttons will be affected when you press a button. This means that just because the button is in the middle of the board doesn’t mean it will affect all four buttons around it, it might not affect any other buttons at all.
Then I’ll add in covered buttons. These will be buttons that are covered by a protective barrier that will prevent the player from pressing the button. Since these buttons cannot be pressed, they can only be changed using the lights around them.
Next, I’ll add in the ability for buttons to affect other buttons on a diagonal from them. Combined with the other features this should make the level variations nearly endless.
Once all these features are done, I’ll consider the game to be complete enough enlist alpha testers. If the game passes alpha testing then it will be released for general purchase. This doesn’t mean that I will stop development of the game like so many professional game development companies do. No, as long as I see there is an active public interest in the game, the game will continue to be developed. New levels will continue to be added, and new features will continue to be programmed into it.
Unlike professional development companies, I cannot devote 40+ hours per week towards development of this game. Because of this, I cannot, and will not give any estimation on when the game will be completed nor when it will be ready for testing.
I can say that this is a project years in the making, and as such I will not allow it to remain an unfinished work.
Short Circuit is being developed for the PC, however it will be released for the XBox 360 if enough copies sell on the PC.