This post is a status update, which is how I track progress specific to my game. Check out my timeline to see what I've recently accomplished.
Up until this update, everything that I did was basically learning and testing basic concepts that could be applied to many types of turn based games. Characters moved, attacked, died, etc. I’ve known that I wanted to make a turn based game, but I didn’t know exactly what I was going to build. That all changed this time around, because over the last two weeks I decided what game I want to build, created an art design document, and contracted an illustrator to draw preliminary sketches.
It was Time to Make a Decision
The goals at the end of my last status update were to finish refactoring my code and add more functionality to the game. I finished the refactoring part, but once I got back to my game, I realized that any new features that were added might not make it into an actual game. I didn’t want to waste time on unnecessary features, so I wanted to figure out exactly what I wanted to build.
To be honest with you, I was kind of hoping that I would have some sort of ah-ha moment where I just absolutely know what game to build. I hear stories about artists being struck by inspiration at completely random times, and like J.K. Rowling, I was pretty sure that was going to happen to me. Maybe it would happen while lying in bed, or running, or in the shower. It would just be a magical bolt of inspiration that entered my head and had to be made into a game. Well, after 4 months of running, showering and sleeping, I still had no clue as to what I really wanted to make.
So last week I sat down with a pen and paper and started to write down ideas. And for 4 days every idea that I came up with just didn’t feel right. Many of the ideas weren’t bad, but they were too costly, or too hard, or too abstract. I was actually getting pretty disheartened with this entire process, because I felt like I was getting nowhere and wasting time. To make things worse, the competition has known exactly what he wanted to build since day 1. But something changed halfway through the 5th day of brainstorming. Something clicked and I furiously wrote down what I now think is a solid start to what I’m going build.
What I want to do build is a game that tells a short story. There will be a beautiful world, unique characters, and small-scale turn based combat to help tell that story. The story takes place in a high fantasy/medieval type of world and it’s ultimately about good vs. evil. Although I don’t have the time or money to make a game similar to The Banner Saga or Final Fantasy Tactics, those two game are where I’m drawing a lot of my inspiration.
I know that all sounds cliché, and I don’t know all of the game’s details, but I did make a 20 page art design document that explains what my world looks like and the outline of my story. I am so happy with the world and the story that I contacted an illustrator to start brining this thing to life. We’re still in the trial phase to see if his style matches what I have in my mind, but things are looking promising. The image at the top of this page is still a rough sketch and where we’re currently at, but here are some of the pieces that got us to that concept.
I’m will continue working with the illustrator to see if his style is the right fit for my idea, and if it does then we’ll continue to build the world map. I need start doing a little less thinking and a little more programming, because I now have a better sense of what features I’m going to need. A major challenge that I see coming up is how to make the combat interesting and balanced, but I’m ready to start experimenting.