Last summer I was planning on working on a point and click game, but gave up on it because I wasn’t a big fan of the script that I was writing and where it was going. However, recently, many different people have brought up the point that I have some extra time available and should consider making games, in addition to my other stuff. A few days ago in Impossible is Nothing (our Kong chatroom), we were discussing box2d games and how they make lots of money without having much in the way of original content. So I jokingly shot out the first idea that popped into my head for a funny box2d game. Add in a few hours of planning and refining the concept, and I now have my first game under way.
I’m still searching for an artist, but my buddy Krayz will be doing the programming for the game, and I’ll be hiring someone for a custom audio track or two as well. This game is going to be a test, all around. Do I like being in charge and designing my own games? Is the profit worth the time investment? How much time will I need to invest? Should I do my own level design, or outsource that too? Lots and lots of questions, and hopefully they can be answered in the next 4-6 weeks without me losing money. :)
I don’t want to do an open development, because this is my first project. I want to get it right and focus on it and not have to worry about blogging about it. However, I’ll give updates here and there. I’ve run the concept by a few people… both industry and family, and after refinement it’s gotten positive responses. So if I do a good job on the design, it should do well. The one thing I know is that this project won’t be scrapped like the point and click. This game IS getting made.
So, back in October or November 09, Jamie Young approached me about creating some new formulas for the next Sacred Seasons game. I put together a spreadsheet that featured many different formula choices, all simple and meant to scale in a similar way to SS1. Then I didn’t hear anything for a while. Fast forward to mid December, and I begin speaking to Derek Day, who had been working more on the game’s lore, features, and content. It’s with Derek that I spent the past 4 months.
Initially, I thought I would be making some formulas, maybe doing some class balance. In the end, I wound up laying the foundation for 24 classes each with 4 seasons, 17 different weapon types with 100 total descriptors, 58 monster types, and 60 dungeons with ~2500 battles. Basically, I would get a document with names and ideas on what something would do, and I added values to do it and made sure it’s balanced with everything else. I say laying the foundation, because a lot of the initial work I did wound up being changed, tweaked, or modified by Derek. He and I had many a discussion that revolved around making changes to work I had done, sometimes weeks or even months after the fact. Derek “won” 99% of these discussions, and he managed to change my opinion on about half of them, with another quarter ending in indifference between the two.
I want you to go back and re-read the 2nd sentence of the previous paragraph. Take that in. Then add in the massive world, encompassing 13 areas, tons of quests (I’m not sure exactly how many… but it’s a lot), and all the features that are still planned for future content updates. It’s been a huge undertaking and I only played a small role. But the experience has been fantastic. If I had been allowed to design a lot of the systems and mechanics that I thought I was going to be allowed to design without oversight, the game would not have wound up as complete as it is. I’ve been frustrated on numerous occasions, having spent 10+ hours designing something, only to then find out that Derek wants part, or all, of it changed or done differently. There were times I wanted to bang my head into a wall because I felt my way of doing something was better, yet I was being overruled time and time again. But through it all, I have done what I thought was best for the game’s success… and then adapted to all of the requested changes. I’ve gotten to see and experience what it is like to design an MMORPG.
So, I hope that all of you enjoy the gameplay in Sacred Seasons 2, because an awful lot of time, energy, and thought went into it.
Expect some more game-related posts and post-mortem type stuff in the coming weeks.