Game Development Thoughts (1 of however many)

OK, it seems like it was a few weeks ago that I was talking with a friend over on Deviant Art, and was talking about the fact that I’m feeling that I need to work on some game development stuff, and need to figure out what I need to do to do that.

The first thing for me about this was to look in terms of which games I have personally found more “successful” from my perspective.

I am very much a person who uses words a lot, so I looked into the ways that I could do that, and played with some stuff with RenPy which is a visual novel platform, engine, whatever which I really enjoy “playing” visual novels, but for whatever reason I felt that I was running into some pretty significant issues with that, which I really didn’t feel I could resolve…

A big thing that I do remember, is I had a lot of trouble with probably two things…

Without visuals these end up being, “very strange” and I really didn’t feel that I could produce the visuals that I wanted for them (even if I got the story written).

The way that writing for them, the text just didn’t work that well for me, as it is written as code.  This is probably a reasonable example (from the renypy.org site):


define s = Character('Sylvie', color="#c8ffc8")
define m = Character('Me', color="#c8c8ff")

label start:

    s "Hi there! How was class?"

    m "Good..."

    "I can't bring myself to admit that it all went in one ear and out the other."

    s "Are you going home now? Wanna walk back with me?"

    m "Sure!"

I’m not sure how well this ends up formatting… But this is kind of what seems to be a significant part of how this ends up working in actual practice.

So, I gave up on that, and I guess another factor, (and it could well not have remained a factor if other things didn’t really end up being unpleasant) is that the development and all of that was kind of not very nice place for talking about what is going on with your game, and getting help.

So, someone mentioned Twine and it is a platform for writing “interactive fiction”.  And asked about how to handle stuff around media, and making it work without having to go through extra steps, and I probably have a solution there which I could get to work, if I were to go there.

I found the code tended to work better for me:


:: Passage Name

[[Go to the cellar->Cellar]] is a link that goes to a passage named "Cellar".
[[Parachuting<-Jump]] is a link that goes to a passage named "Parachuting".
[[Down the hatch]] is a link that goes to a passage named "Down the hatch".

Sort of made a lot more sense to me, and this isn’t just some dialogue, but actually includes some code…

Also one other major factor is that for the most part, whitespace is not important.  Though there are cases where a mistake in whitespace has been a problem.

And probably for me, a major factor why I now have 3 different projects that I’ve put a lot of effort into, has been that the development community has always been, “Hmmm… that’s weird, can you let me know more about the details”.

But still.  While I’d say that always has appealed to me, I have spent hours working on stuff like that, and felt it was basically, “nothing”.

So I had done a “game jam” on itch.io which I created a game based on a tutorial for Godot.  I wanted to work in Godot for a number of reasons, and the “Dodge the Creeps Tutorial” showed up.  I think from the time I started working on it, I probably took about 36 hours to get a game working well enough to be OK with sharing it.  It was more like 4 hours of actual coding/debugging and possibly a good deal less than that, but a big problem came up which was that I was using a version which wasn’t going to work with the code, and I spent a good deal of time trying to get it to work for me.

That simple Godot game was probably the favourite game that I worked on.  There really isn’t any “story” that I need to go into to make it, “fun” and it was just about trying to figure out where I wanted to go with the game in terms of how to modify it.

So, that discussion lead to thinking about how to do something like that.

I was thinking about the kinds of games that sort of fell into being able to create something which is playable in a relatively short time, but might end up being a game that could have multiple releases that actually are improving the game, not just fixing bugs which are found with it.

So, that game, as it starts, doesn’t really develop over time.  And in a lot of ways that’s something that would need to happen for a game to be long-term enjoyable for people.

So I was thinking of games like Asteroids, Pong, Apple Panic, Loderunner, Donkey Kong, and a lot of different games like that.  Most of them are some form of a 2D game, and these are “old” games that people are still playing.

So, without really going into it, I decided something like this just made sense for the next game project…  But I didn’t go anywhere with it.  Then someone in a game development chat, was talking about game design, and game play, and I started to think more, and realized that I probably need to look in terms of that.

And that started me thinking about how game design, and game play sort of work.  And I need to seriously go through trying to figure this out.

To me, there are elements of, “world” and “character”.  Some games there isn’t much sense of character, as it’s like a “solitaire” type game like most of the card solitaire games, or mahjong.

There is just a “world” which has what you have, and you just kind of “work” and the character element is really downplayed.

Then most games have more of a character involved.  Whether it is your spaceship and enemies in something like Asteroids, or all the way up to some of the 3D multiplayer games.

And of course there is how much or how little “story” there is in your game.

So:

  • World
  • Characters
  • Story
  • Gameplay

Probably a good place to think about these things.

So, this was probably a good sort of thinking about things and starting to look where I want to think about how to move forward with this.

For now, I think I’m going to leave this post here.  I need to think a lot more about how these kind of come together.

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