Reflections on Muncher’s Labyrinth

So I’m generally pleased with how Muncher’s Labyrinth turned out, especially bearing in mind how little time I had to put it together.

Since the original release on Sunday night, I’ve made a few more minor modifications.Most notably, there have been a few crash fixes, and in 1.0.3 I improved the Meat AI so that they behave a little more sensibly when there is more Meat than Shinies in the maze. (You can grab the 1.0.3 build over on the Muncher’s Labyrinth “Get Games” link in the sidebar)

But most of my time since Sunday has been going into trying to come up with a reliable and useful build system under Windows. As it turns out, making a build using Visual Studio Express gets me into the whole dynamic runtime “DLL Hell”problem, where many people don’t have the required versions of the redistributable runtime dlls already installed, and I can’t simply include the dlls in the application folder due to Microsoft’s SxS runtime system. And I’d really rather avoid having to learn how to put together an installer.

I have a MinGW build of Muncher’s being tested right now, and if that works, then I’ll probably move to that, since it relies on a runtime dll that’s been shipped with Windows since 95, so that’s probably a lot more safe to assume will be present. (But honestly, I still far prefer the Visual Studio IDE)

I expect that I’ll return to Muncher’s again sometime in the future. I have a bunch of ideas for improvements to it, which will be fun to try out when I’m not under a big deadline. Most notably:

  • Get rid of the minimap, and instead use on-screen direction indicators to entrances
  • Level progression (ie: survive with a certain number of shinies, and advance to the next level)
  • I want a seamless transition from the title screen into the game; use the same maze in the title screen as in game, so we can just zoom in on it to see the action.
  • Better adaptive difficulty levels.
  • Improve the generation of “broken wall” particles so that the wall actually appears to shatter as you hit it.

So plenty of things to do. But I’m going to leave it for the moment, and come back in a few weeks or months, so I can see it with fresh eyes.