Game Development

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dudecon
Location: Camarillo, CA. Paul Spooner IRL & blog comments
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Game Development

Postby dudecon » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:15 pm

I recently watched a tutorial series on how to make games in Blender. This led to a couple of my siblings and I holding a game jam.
In the interest of showing off a thing I made, here is the result!
http://peripheralarbor.com/mushroom/Mycellium.blend
Load the file in Blender and press "P" to start the game.
And, for those of you uninterested in all that work, here are a couple screenshots which, combined with some imagination, are probably more enjoyable than playing the "game".
Image
Image
The game download is also the source file, and given my open intellectual property stance you should feel free to use, alter, and incorporate what little is there for your own ends.

I'm kind of regretting the name, as it has absolutely nothing to do with the earthy parts of a fungus; Nearly the precise opposite really. Maybe it's a misleading title? Or, ironic?

I'm fairly certain a few others of you have made games before, probably of better quality than this one. Any other game dev projects on the forums?
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Trix2000
Location: California

Re: Game Development

Postby Trix2000 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:15 pm

I'm still on-and-off working on my own RPG Maker project(s), driven mostly by bouts of significant motivation that come and go. I've recently made a fairly large shift to something more mechanics-focused (because it turns out I'm too much of a perfectionist trying to write, stalling lots) in an effort to make it easier for me to make actual progress and maybe actually complete a game, but it's still difficult for me to dedicate regular time to it outside of random bursts. Probably doesn't help I juggle it with some other hobby projects of mine (including a campaign I've been slowly writing up).

The worst part is that I've already got much of things planned out (both for the original and the pared-down versions), so in theory it's just a matter of executing details. Even got enough I could conceivably make a demo, though I'm hesitant to actually do so. The motivation to work on it just comes and goes with the wind, unfortunately. :/
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bitterpark

Re: Game Development

Postby bitterpark » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:57 pm

Oh god, game development... That's like my version of alcoholism. I hate it, it ruins my life, but I can't help myself, I can't not make games.

I've actually had a serious go at being a legit indie game dev (don't try this at home, kids), been doing this crap for five years, first in GameMaker and then in Unity. And I've nothing to show for it, other than many folders of busted prototypes, tried all sorts of projects and haven't finished a single one, even ones I'd been working on fulltime for months.

Well, technically you could say I've made games, insofar as one could play one or two of my broke-ass prototypes for at least an hour, make non-trivial gameplay choices and even win or lose. But none of them got to the state where I would consider even releasing them for free.

Just mothballed my latest project: a Puzzle Quest type game based on tetris and match-3 mechanics, about fighting enemy spaceships. Made the combat system, started adding more systems, realized I won't even have this done before the year ends. Started a new project, with somehow an even smaller scope than tetris. If there's one thing I've learned in all of this, it's to downscope, downscope, downscope, until you think you could actually finish the project in a month or two, and then downscope a bunch more because you're wrong.

Game design is like the hardest thing in the world, and there's barely any good tutorials or tips on it out there, especially compared to coding. Coding is easy, I'll code anything, but designing a fun game that will last for even longer than one hour... it almost seems like a matter of luck, frankly. Just keep throwing things at the wall to see what sticks, keep iterating and making prototypes until either people like one, or you run out of money and/or motivation.

I think the only reasonable approach to this problem is to somehow become Valve or CDProjekt: get infinite money from somewhere until you can afford to iterate your designs for years, "until it's done".
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dudecon
Location: Camarillo, CA. Paul Spooner IRL & blog comments
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Re: Game Development

Postby dudecon » Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:40 pm

bitterpark wrote:Oh god, game development... been doing this crap for five years... I've made games, insofar as one could play one or two of my broke-ass prototypes for at least an hour, make non-trivial gameplay choices and even win or lose. But none of them got to the state where I would consider even releasing them for free...
Well hey, here's your big chance! Did you see the "game" I released? I want to see whatever you've made that is just barely better than that. Don't release your best work, I realize that's asking too much. Don't even release anything that is good. But by God release SOMETHING!

Trix2000 wrote:I'm still on-and-off working on my own RPG Maker project(s), driven mostly by bouts of significant motivation that come and go... Even got enough I could conceivably make a demo, though I'm hesitant to actually do so...
Why the hesitation? Shamus wrote his first novel chapter by chapter, based on feedback from the audience. We're all here because we're fans, so why not emulate his example?

I can't say for sure, because I don't know either of you from Adam (sorry Adam), but here's what I know of myself.
When I hold back from showing my incomplete projects, I justify it to myself by thinking that I'm a perfectionist. I'm a craftsman proud of his work, unwilling to sully my creation's presentation by an incomplete half-launch, by showing it for anything less than the full potential I intend for it.
But I know deep down that I'm just a lazy coward. Unable to finish. Unable to excel. And above all unable to admit either by showing where I am, so far from where I intended. And I have intended great things.

So, if that sounds anything like you, I understand where you're coming from, and I want to encourage both of you. You have already done the hardest part. The most difficult part about releasing imperfect and incomplete work is the implication on the character of the craftsman. But you have already admitted to your failings. You have nothing to loose now by showing your hand.

And there is everything to gain! By revealing your work to others, you will allow them to provide intellectual and emotional feedback which go a long ways toward conquering failures of motivation and engagement. The solution is the thing neither of you have done. Let other people play your games. Open up the door. You don't have to keep your distance any more! 'Cause for the first time in forever...♫

Do it. Anyway. Yeah.
And, as a show of good faith, here's another mushroom game I made back in 1998.

Your play.
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Trix2000
Location: California

Re: Game Development

Postby Trix2000 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:08 pm

Well no, it's not that I don't think I could put it out as a reasonable demo... it's more because I'm a bit self-conscious about some of the placeholder assets I picked and don't really feel like rolling with them in a more public sense (like here). I've already had a few closer friends take a look and comment, so it's not like I've kept it entirely to myself. Feedback is nice and all.

I'm also well aware of my apparent inability to strap myself down to work on it sometimes. I kind-of wish I had a more concrete motivation to work (like it being my job), but it's still ultimately a hobby project. I'd be okay with it not getting to the end, though I'd prefer otherwise. If nothing else, I just have a lot of fun messing around in the maker/engine, so I can't say it hasn't been worth it regardless.

If I really wanted to, I could probably polish it up and post it here, but I think I actually prefer to hammer out the smaller-scale version prototype and release that instead, since it's based on a lot of the same stuff but relies less on my writing (and more appropriate placeholders). Plus, the rate things are going, the original version may be too ambitious to consider in the first place, so a demo for it wouldn't be so useful if I couldn't conceivably finish.

Part of what also throws a wrench into things is that the work actually spans a couple versions of RPGMaker. The project originally started in VX, then later ported to Ace. Now that I'm paring things down a fair bit, I've taken the opportunity to move it to MV because it has a lot of incredibly desirable features (particularly, not Windows-only) and the suite of scripts I've been utilizing to tweak the mechanics is focused on MV development anyways.

And before you say "but you're just gonna keep doing that with each new version", I'm aware it looks like that, but I've been very careful and deliberate about it, because I don't like the idea of throwing work away or stalling either. I wasn't originally going to jump to MV, despite it being so far above in several ways, but the downshift in project scope and focus made it much more convenient.

My goal now before releasing a demo of this is to have the basic combat/ability sets defined and with basic animations, which I've mostly done already. At this point, I'd just need to polish that up a little and then add some actual battles and a little bit of gameplay structure/mapping, which in theory shouldn't take forever. It's mostly laid out with most of the questionable/tricky parts ironed out already... so it's more of when I get myself to sink the time into doing the busywork.

And I think I'll be more in position to do so soon. Since I still consider it just a hobby/for fun project, I tend to prioritize it with whatever seems most fun at a given moment. So my bursts of game-making tends to be when A) I don't have too many other things attracting my attention (like games I want to play) or B) I have sudden bursts of inspiration or enthusiasm for it. With my backlog finally almost cleared, A seems like it will pan out soon.

Heck, just discussing it here is generating a bit of interest for getting back to it, so maybe I might take this as incentive to buckle down and finish something demo-ish to post here. Who knows? :P
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bitterpark

Re: Game Development

Postby bitterpark » Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:18 am

dudecon wrote:Well hey, here's your big chance! Did you see the "game" I released? I want to see whatever you've made that is just barely better than that. Don't release your best work, I realize that's asking too much. Don't even release anything that is good. But by God release SOMETHING!

I'll release my best work to date, I don't care.

This counts as releasing it, right? Well, it'll have to do, I don't know where else to put it. It's the tetris game, or at least the combat part of it. This particular build was actually done to show off the functionality, so the game part of the game is super easy. The next step would have been to tweak and balance all the energy and damage values and so on, to make it actually challenging, and make the ship-fighting part not boring.

There is a rare kernel of a legitimately fun idea in there, I think, which is the tetris/match-3 gameplay (which, you'd think someone will have made that already, but I'm not aware of any such games). I never got the meta-layer of the game around it to really "pop", and I don't care to make it a pure puzzle game, because I don't like those. So into the archive it goes.

It's not even that I think my games are super bad or anything, I think my latest attempts have actually been lackluster to mediocre.
It's just that the bar has been set so high, and the competition is so good, I just don't see the point of releasing things for the sake of releasing them. We're now at a stage where even putting out your game for free won't do it any favors, because there are already tons of free games out there, and even without a monetary investment those other games simply present a better investment of people's time.
When I hold back from showing my incomplete projects, I justify it to myself by thinking that I'm a perfectionist. I'm a craftsman proud of his work, unwilling to sully my creation's presentation by an incomplete half-launch, by showing it for anything less than the full potential I intend for it.
But I know deep down that I'm just a lazy coward. Unable to finish. Unable to excel. And above all unable to admit either by showing where I am, so far from where I intended.

Yeah, that sounds about right.
And I have intended great things.

I think everyone's first project is an unattainable pipedream. It's happened to me, it's happened to people I know, who then refused to listen to my warnings and at least try to downscope (of course they refused, just as I'd not have listened back in the day).

Steam Early Access is a graveyard of those projects. It used to be, you started doing one, struggled to make any progress for months, and then, eventually, finally realized there's a reason nobody has done an RPG/Sandbox/Spacesim/FPS/RTS hybrid, and it's not because nobody has ever thought of it.

Now, you can just stay in that first stage indefinitely, provided people keep paying you.
So, if that sounds anything like you, I understand where you're coming from, and I want to encourage both of you. You have already done the hardest part. The most difficult part about releasing imperfect and incomplete work is the implication on the character of the craftsman. But you have already admitted to your failings. You have nothing to loose now by showing your hand.

I don't think that's the hardest part though, I think the hardest part is retaining your passion afterwards.

I appreciate the effort, though it's probably too little too late for me. Like I said, I feel about development the way hardcore heroin addicts probably feel about doing their smack: the high is barely even noticeable anymore, but I just keep doing it to escape the pain of withdrawal.
And there is everything to gain! By revealing your work to others, you will allow them to provide intellectual and emotional feedback which go a long ways toward conquering failures of motivation and engagement. The solution is the thing neither of you have done. Let other people play your games. Open up the door. You don't have to keep your distance any more! 'Cause for the first time in forever...♫

You're not even wrong, honestly. The release is an experience in itself, even if you know for a fact the finished product will not stand up to anybody's standards. For any people out there who do find themselves in the unenviable position of trying to develop games, do make sure to release them, just so you don't end up having to figure out a way to put three years of Unity experience on your resume without any actual work you can point to.

And you know what? Though I wasn't kidding when I said gamedev ruined my life, and as much as I legitimately want to shout from the rooftops "Don't develop games, whatever it is you're hoping to gain you probably won't!", I'll stop trying to rain on the parade. Maybe I just subconsciously came to associate gamedev with the worst parts of my life, and I'm unfairly down on it (though I don't think I am, there's plenty of stories out there of other developers who felt empty and unfulfilled even after they released their big project).

And I know you've made this thread to share projects and encourage the spirit of creativity, cruel mistress though she can be, not to listen to jaded fucks like me whine and talk about what not to do. And I respect that, even if I don't necessairily agree.




But seriously though, downscope, downscope, downscope. If you think you've downscoped too much, you're wrong. Whoever is reading this, if you don't listen to anything else I say, at least listen to this.
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Trix2000
Location: California

Re: Game Development

Postby Trix2000 » Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:55 am

Yeah, I've already basically had to downscope several times on mine. In fact, I had a completely different idea in mind for what I wanted to make at first, which ended up not panning out due to not really having a plan or a full idea of what I wanted to make. I barely got through the first intro section before it languished.

After a while I felt like I wanted to mess around with the engine some more, so I thought I'd try something very basic and simple - just do some mechanics-only gauntlet type of thing. That might have worked fine, except I suddenly had a rush of interesting ideas for a story that I actually went and fleshed out into a fairly detailed outline. I actually got a pretty good amount of content running (and to some extent polished), to the point where I had about 2-4 hours of gameplay/story to work through (hence, could have been a demo). I still think that story has the potential to be something pretty great.

The problem is that despite my efforts to tighten things up and not pad things out, the story I'd come up with and wanted to tell was still looking to be more in the 15-20 hour range minimum, if not more. At first I thought I could handle it given my initial progress, but I got too bogged down in the writing details (did you know that good dialog is HARD to write?) which ended up draining a lot of my motivation to push forward. I've rebounded on it many times to make more progress and edits, but the overall progress hasn't improved much in a while.

But fairly recently, when thinking of it again, I considered the reasons I really wanted to mess with the engine - namely, that I like turn-based RPG combats and wanted to make a system I'd like playing. So instead I considered the idea of just working with that, shelving the detailed story (possibly for good).

At the very least, I'm not so likely to get hung up on managing dialog, since there's isn't going to be much.
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dudecon
Location: Camarillo, CA. Paul Spooner IRL & blog comments
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Re: Game Development

Postby dudecon » Fri Jul 07, 2017 6:08 am

bitterpark wrote:I'll release my best work to date, I don't care.

This counts as releasing it, right? Well, it'll have to do, I don't know where else to put it. It's the tetris game, or at least the combat part of it. This particular build was actually done to show off the functionality, so the game part of the game is super easy. The next step would have been to tweak and balance all the energy and damage values and so on, to make it actually challenging, and make the ship-fighting part not boring.

There is a rare kernel of a legitimately fun idea in there, I think, which is the tetris/match-3 gameplay (which, you'd think someone will have made that already, but I'm not aware of any such games). I never got the meta-layer of the game around it to really "pop", and I don't care to make it a pure puzzle game, because I don't like those. So into the archive it goes...
Very interesting!
I like how (some of?) the colors correspond to the systems. Teal and blue are power and shields, but green and magenta aren't so obvious, do they both give power as well? Or, no, magenta repairs. Or no, they all do random things? How do I repair my ship? You said this was easy!
Image
Now I can't repair my laser subsystem and everything is ruined.

What if the energy bars are just tanks filling up with the colored squares? That would make the metaphor clearer.
Was kind of disappointing when I took the nuke launcher out for a spin, only to get a console error.
Also, can't repair your ship back at base? I'm assuming that is intended functionality at some point.

I expected the leftover bits to fall down, but they just disappeared. What if accumulating block clutter at the bottom obstructs your shots and the enemies shots? Maybe make it sideways, so the metaphor is clearer. Ooh, and there could be an asteroid mining mini-game, where you have to fit pieces into a randomly generated hunk of squares to extract matches and get resources! I couldn't help noticing the ship icons are tetranimoes as well. Is there some higher level fleet thing, where you have ships forming into defensive lines, and then doing combos with the enemies fleet to destroy them? So many possibilities!
I'd love to see you pick this up again, really dig into the possibilities of the mechanics you're playing with, and at least flesh out all the systems you're hinting at.

Trix2000 wrote:...I suddenly had a rush of interesting ideas for a story that I actually went and fleshed out into a fairly detailed outline... I still think that story has the potential to be something pretty great. The problem is that despite my efforts to tighten things up and not pad things out, the story I'd come up with and wanted to tell was still looking to be more in the 15-20 hour range minimum, if not more. At first I thought I could handle it given my initial progress, but I got too bogged down in the writing details (did you know that good dialog is HARD to write?) which ended up draining a lot of my motivation to push forward... So instead I considered the idea of... shelving the detailed story (possibly for good).
I get the impression that the thing you should shelve is the game, and work on writing a book instead. If the story is the part that excites you, and the struggles you have are with dialog, then you are directing your efforts in an entirely narrative fashion. So let the game go, and write! Then, once you have a really solid story down, see if there are five or a hundred different ways the story could have gone, and still have been good, and if so, maybe turn it into a game.
But if it's just that one story, great! Keep it as a book. That way you won't have forced the players to act out the railroad plot.
And then, when you aren't feeling inspired to write on the story, you can focus on the engine, the mechanics, and the play part, and maybe make a fun little game as well!
I've found that seperating the creative impulse to create narrative from the one to offer options for interaction is fairly necessary in order to make good games, and make good stories. But then again, I have a fairly dim view of poorly executed "story games" so take that with a grain of salt.
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bitterpark

Re: Game Development

Postby bitterpark » Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:28 am

dudecon wrote:Very interesting!
I like how (some of?) the colors correspond to the systems. Teal and blue are power and shields, but green and magenta aren't so obvious, do they both give power as well? Or, no, magenta repairs. Or no, they all do random things?

I figured this would be a problem back when I put together this build, but I didn't have time to fix it.

What you're seeing are echoes of iterations past.
This actually started as a straightfoward tetris game where you got energy for row clears. Then, eventually, it morphed into match-3 mechanics, and also went somewhat turn-based, because everything I do somehow becomes a turn-based game.

The colors did correspond to different energy and shield pools. However, I found that made things needlessly complicated, slowed the pace too much, and didn't even offer interesting choices, because just getting the cyan energy for weapons was the best move most of the time. Now all blocks give the same energy, and only differ in terms of making matches. It was one of those rare changes where I felt the improvement immediately.
What if the energy bars are just tanks filling up with the colored squares? That would make the metaphor clearer.

Interesting, I might consider it if I ever go back to this (I probably never will).
Was kind of disappointing when I took the nuke launcher out for a spin, only to get a console error.
Also, can't repair your ship back at base? I'm assuming that is intended functionality at some point.

It's actually supposed to get repaired after every mission, but that logic got misplaced when I got rid of the mission system (which I then put temporarily back in, just for this build).

And the nuke launcher (or any weapon, for that matter) causes an exception when you use it at the very start of a fight, though I thought I'd fixed that. Evidently, I have not.
I expected the leftover bits to fall down, but they just disappeared.

I'd iterated a bunch on this and, indeed, they fell down in one of the versions. But this was a bad mechanic, because it effectively punished the player for every move they make, which was immensely unsatisfying. That was the other change that I knew was right as soon as I made it.
Ooh, and there could be an asteroid mining mini-game, where you have to fit pieces into a randomly generated hunk of squares to extract matches and get resources!

I'd thought along similar lines, though not of this particular idea, which does sound neat.
I'd at least wanted to put in a navigation minigame of some kind, and a trading minigame (some variation of inventory tetris). Hypothetically, I could put in a dozen more minigames for all sorts of activities, but... it took me over two months of working fulltime just to get this minigame into a semi-functional state, and it still can't hold up for more than an hour or so. There's obviously need for a few more, but realistically I can only deliver one or two more without blowing the scope way out of proportion.
I couldn't help noticing the ship icons are tetranimoes as well.

Excuse me, strimmer, I think you meant to say figures? Tetraminoes are, of course, registered trademark copyright of the Tetris Company LLC, co, inc, gmbh, rofl, and I would never dream of infringing on their property.

Seriously though, that was just the only icon I could find in the one free icon pack I use that even remotely fit this context. I think it's actually meant to represent a WASD/Cursor keys kind of shape, but it also looks like a "T" figure. That's one of my main problems, actually - all my games look like shit, because I can't draw to save my life and I can't pay artists or buy art packs. So for anything that requires more than a bunch of colored squares, I'm pretty much sol.
Is there some higher level fleet thing, where you have ships forming into defensive lines, and then doing combos with the enemies fleet to destroy them?

Thought about it, too far out of scope, muddies the focus of the game - it's about an individual ship, not fleet management.
So many possibilities!

Indeed. But 99% of those possibilities are also trash. And you won't know which aren't, you just have to commit to one, and then find out months later if all your work was wasted or not.
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dudecon
Location: Camarillo, CA. Paul Spooner IRL & blog comments
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Re: Game Development

Postby dudecon » Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:46 pm

bitterpark wrote:...it took me over two months of working fulltime just to get this minigame into a semi-functional state, and it still can't hold up for more than an hour or so. There's obviously need for a few more, but realistically I can only deliver one or two more without blowing the scope way out of proportion...
So many possibilities!
Indeed. But 99% of those possibilities are also trash. And you won't know which aren't, you just have to commit to one, and then find out months later if all your work was wasted or not.
I get the feeling that you need a prototype environment with less friction.
I recommend the "sketch first" approach. I resisted it for years, seeking the greater glory of putting final paint onto a blank canvass, but eventually realized that I can't do it. Working from a rough sketch to progressively higher detail levels is a far superior approach, and one I encourage you to try.
Maybe use scissors, paper, and markers to test mechanic ideas and eliminate the bad options? Keep throwing away tedious testing processes until you get a way to test game concepts in a couple minutes instead of a couple months. Then, when you have mechanics that work, start implementing them, which, as you said, can take a while, but at least you won't be implementing speculative untested mechanics.

Speaking of prototpying things, here's a screenshot of a chess implementation I'm working on. The idea is to show all of the moves so one doesn't forget, and to make it easier to teach. Also, allows for chess variants with different movement rules, different tile types, turn-based powers, etc. Suggestions welcome.
Image
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Sudanna

Re: Game Development

Postby Sudanna » Fri Jul 07, 2017 6:09 pm

Well, the obvious problem is the visual noise. Maybe optionally only showing the moves for a piece on selection/mouseover, or having a kind of checkbox function to disable move previews for types/colors of pieces while still highlighting potential captures or something. It looks like pieces have unique indicators, which is good.
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Trix2000
Location: California

Re: Game Development

Postby Trix2000 » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:22 pm

dudecon wrote:I get the impression that the thing you should shelve is the game, and work on writing a book instead. If the story is the part that excites you, and the struggles you have are with dialog, then you are directing your efforts in an entirely narrative fashion. So let the game go, and write! Then, once you have a really solid story down, see if there are five or a hundred different ways the story could have gone, and still have been good, and if so, maybe turn it into a game.
I am not a writer, or at least the bulk of what makes up writing is not enjoyable to me. I often can dream up ideas and story structures just fine, but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of laying specific words to paper I lose a lot of my enthsiasm. This is why I'm having trouble with it.

I have no intentions or desire to write a book, because that's not what I got into this for in the first place. The story was just a random thing that popped out of my head that happened to work particularly well (and, in fact, I don't think it would actually work well in book form, since it gets a bit metagamey). I would really enjoy seeing it turned into a game, but I'm not so attached that I feel it needs to happen.

But if it's just that one story, great! Keep it as a book. That way you won't have forced the players to act out the railroad plot.
While I did have some ideas for variance in player actions (or at least dialog), I discounted it in the end for two reasons: A) has the potential to increase the complexity way more than I already couldn't handle, and B) I prefer more linear focused narratives. The game would be more along the lines of JRPGs (though without most of the tropes) in that sense, because that's the sort of thing I like to play - a focused story filling in the shoes of an established character(s) as they navigate the problems and events the game throws at them.

Calling it 'railroading' seems like trying to equate games to tabletop too much, and while I can see value in videogames that follow those lines sometimes (hellooooo Skyrim) I will not believe it is the only way to handle an experience. While I do sometimes enjoy more free-form experiences, I prefer ones that are more akin to books or movies in the sense that it is a full story I can participate in but ultimately the game creates for me.

You might say "it'd be better as a book!", but books don't have distinct visuals, sounds, and other qualities that can enhance or solidify the nature of the experience. Movies would also come up, but they lack some of the sense of 'being there' that I think active gameplay of any type (including just plain movement) can bring. I really enjoy having all of these qualities, so that is where my motivation directs. Without them, the project just isn't worth it to me.


And then, when you aren't feeling inspired to write on the story, you can focus on the engine, the mechanics, and the play part, and maybe make a fun little game as well!
That was kind-of the idea behind the recent switch. It's still likely to have a little writing, but won't be as serious or nearly as expansive.

I've found that seperating the creative impulse to create narrative from the one to offer options for interaction is fairly necessary in order to make good games, and make good stories. But then again, I have a fairly dim view of poorly executed "story games" so take that with a grain of salt.
I don't know if that's a good idea - ideally, the gameplay should support the narrative and vice-versa.

Considering what kind and style of story you want to tell will also affect this, since if you want something more free-form you will both want game mechanics offering a lot of choice and story beats/interactions that have a lot of flexibility. Conversely, if you wanted something more directed and linear, you would prefer your mechanics to also be more focused and geared towards whatever specific feelings and experiences you want to generate.

This is maybe a bit high-level compared to the sort of stuff I'm trying to make, but it still feels worth considering. Besides, as I said, I already had most of the story laid out and outlined (somewhat specific too), so that wasn't so much the issue for me - I had more trouble with more detailed things like word choice and character movements, which turn out to take a long time for me to get into a place where I'm happy with them sometimes.


bitterpark wrote:Seriously though, that was just the only icon I could find in the one free icon pack I use that even remotely fit this context. I think it's actually meant to represent a WASD/Cursor keys kind of shape, but it also looks like a "T" figure. That's one of my main problems, actually - all my games look like shit, because I can't draw to save my life and I can't pay artists or buy art packs. So for anything that requires more than a bunch of colored squares, I'm pretty much sol.

This is a potential issue for me too, as while I can manage some basic editing and making things look nice in general.... my ability to actually create assets/drawings is next to nothing.

It helps that RPGMaker comes with a lot of in-built assets to work with (as placeholders), and I've also been pulling a few random things from online to serve things I'm missing for now - nothing that I can or will keep in a full release, but enough to give the idea of what I want during development. Also helps it's all sprites.

If I ever get it far enough, the intent would be to spend money to pay someone else to do asset work for me. However, I'd only spring for that if I got it to a point where I could reasonably release it commercially, which is a long way out regardless. Until then, placeholders work well enough.
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bitterpark

Re: Game Development

Postby bitterpark » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:25 pm

dudecon wrote:I get the feeling that you need a prototype environment with less friction.
I recommend the "sketch first" approach. I resisted it for years, seeking the greater glory of putting final paint onto a blank canvass, but eventually realized that I can't do it. Working from a rough sketch to progressively higher detail levels is a far superior approach, and one I encourage you to try.
Maybe use scissors, paper, and markers to test mechanic ideas and eliminate the bad options? Keep throwing away tedious testing processes until you get a way to test game concepts in a couple minutes instead of a couple months. Then, when you have mechanics that work, start implementing them, which, as you said, can take a while, but at least you won't be implementing speculative untested mechanics.

Yes, I've thought about paper prototyping more and more over the years.
But I just don't see how I could incorporate it into my process, it seems like one can only ever use it to prototype a very narrow set of boardgame-like mechanics.
I couldn't have prototyped my tetris game on paper, certainly not the earler versions that worked in real time. Pretty much anything that involves realtime mechanics, physics, AI or procedural content isn't achievable without a bunch of scripting work, or, at least, I don't see how I could do it.
Maybe I should go back to Game Maker and build prototypes there, or use something like Roll20.
Speaking of prototpying things, here's a screenshot of a chess implementation I'm working on. The idea is to show all of the moves so one doesn't forget, and to make it easier to teach. Also, allows for chess variants with different movement rules, different tile types, turn-based powers, etc. Suggestions welcome.

The board is pretty cluttered, as Sudanna pointed out. I'm not really sure which pieces most of these models represent, or what the lines and the little flowers signify.

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