Tag: game design
Colin Cupp from Mochi Media emailed last week about doing a guest blog on MochiLand. Now since I love feeling needed and important… and any excuse to get my name out to other communities in the industry is a plus… I readily agreed. After a bit of back and forth on the topic, I got to work on some simple game polish tips for developers. When you read the article, I’m sure you’ll think to yourself that I’m retarded and everything I said was common sense… and you’d be right. However, game polish IS common sense. That’s all it is, logical thought about a game after it’s almost entirely finished (like packing for vacation, then running through a checklist in your head to figure out what you forgot… because you KNOW you forgot something).
Anyway, check out the article and let me know what you think.
Finally have my desktop set up in Philly. Thankfully, nothing important broke. Just 2 bookshelves and a table. We’re also missing a box, but not sure what’s in it.
Bidding should close on Ditloid in the next week.
Have a few other small games in the design phase that should start being made this month. A satire game that will be kinda similar to Take Something Literally, a 1-screen platformer, and a upgrade-distance type game.
This also means that my walkthroughs will return to their 100% quality, as opposed to the 80-85% quality (my terms) that I was getting from Whorli’s laptop.
My full team is now assembled. As mentioned, Krayz is on programming. Now on board… Kfosh for art and KgZ for music. Kfosh’s art is absolutely perfect for what I’m looking for. As soon as I saw his portfolio, I knew he was the artist for this game. And KgZ… well, James is just a really talented kid who I try to help (and benefit from) as often as I can. He’s my go-to guy when I need to replace in-game audio with something else. Anyway, his usual jazzy style isn’t what this game will feel like, but I’m quite confident in his talent and ability to create something awesome for the game.
Maybe in the coming weeks I’ll reveal the name, so that I can stop calling it “the game”. But not yet.
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.
6:00 – Wake Up
6:01 – Overwhelming desire to break iPhone and accompanying alarm
6:03 – Sit down at computer to do a quick run through morning routine
6:09 – Shower
6:32 – Dry off from quickie shower
6:35 – Set building queues in HoG and make sure DW guild is in order
6:49 – Lose track of time from trying to squeeze in just one more daily task
6:50 – Get dressed, brush teeth, etc
6:55 – Grab pop-tart and leave
7:03 – Get stuck in traffic on the 101 nearing the 405
7:04 – Start slinging obscenities at LA traffic
7:07 – Decide it’s more fun to mock Colin Cowherd than be annoyed at LA traffic
7:59 – Finally get to downtown LA and onto the 5
8:45 – Arrive outside Armor Office
8:48 – Arrive at Armor Office, having not gotten lost in the passageway to their back-of-the-building suite like last time
8:50 – Commence with the eating of the bagel
8:53 – Give the iron armor-clad sentinels guarding Dan’s corner office dirty looks
9:01 – Get shot in the chest by nerf projectile. Realization that Jared Riley is a cool dude solidified
9:02 – Relief at not being shot any lower. Or higher, I guess
9:05 – Watch John fail miserably at converting the tile engine from AS2 to AS3
9:10 – Start going over level design for TITOL2
9:12 – Relief at my design not being as crappy in John’s eyes as it is in my own
9:20 – Begin going over my stage ideas
9:22 – I am the most creative dude on the planet
9:37 – Damnit, why does nobody else appreciate my masturbation-themed stage ideas
9:38 – Contemplate explaining why we also need a “Droppin’ Loads” level
9:39 – Decide to keep that one to myself
10:02 – Watch Joey play with amorphous cats
10:08 – Transcribe stage ideas onto post-it notes
10:31 – Begin hashing out which stages we’re keeping, and a basic sphere of difficulty
10:39 – We have exactly 30 post-it notes. Cheers of joy
10:51 – Order post-it notes from 1 to 30
11:00 – Make sure that all stages are possible within the current level design
11:20 – One more check to stages and level
11:30 – Chik-Fil-A baby!
11:35 – Arrive at chik-fil-a and continue non-stop talking
11:37 – I’m supposed to order food now, but haven’t stopped talking to look at menu
11:38 – Quickly decide on the spicy chicken sandwich
11:41 – Sit down with John and Joey and notice that all 3 of us have spicy chicken. We are badasses
11:46 – Discussions include old flash rhythm games and creative level design within iPhone crush the castle. We are nerds
12:05 – Back to the office
12:07 – My ghetto laptop turns on. Great success
12:10 – Laptop won’t connect to wifi network and John mocks my AIM 5.9
12:14 – Laptop still won’t connect to wifi, even after super genius trouble shooting methods… such as punching it and calling it a little girl
12:16 – Saved by an ethernet cable
12:21 – Begin work on naming the 30 stages
12:24 – Lament again at the lack of support for my masturbation stage
12:40 – Consult wikipedia for the 6th time as part of my stage name research
12:52 – Names sent back to John
12:57 – More mocking of John, as the tile engine still rejects AS3
1:32 – Still watching John fight valiantly against the evil of AS3
1:41 – Send sarcastic IM to Greg
1:45 – Boast about my amazing game designing skills in IiN
1:57 – Talk to Dan about secret things
2:24 – Continue to mock John’s failure at fixing the engine in AS3
3:01 – John is the man. Engine fixed and is a sexy, sexy beast
3:15 – John approves of my stage name ideas. Where are my 70 virgins
3:21 – Testing in the engine begins
3:24 – Elephants waddling to polka music is the most awesome thing ever
3:55 – More tweaks to level design to make it roomier
4:07 – Verify that all stages will work in the new level design
4:37 – Joey begins tossing out possible stage designs
4:39 – Tune out Joey’s ideas, as they are overly complex and complicated
4:40 – Request once again for my masturbation stage to be considered
5:00 – More testing with elephants and spikes
5:12 – John and I team up to send Greg IMs that amuse us
5:20 – BS out a few extra content concepts so people will play the game more than once
5:35 – Leave office for brewery / restaurant with John
5:48 – Order adult beverage
5:52 – It’s happy hour! Cheap appetizers are demanded
5:57 – Dan arrives
6:12 – Burger ordered. It has bacon, cheese, and an egg on it
6:14 – Sweet potato fries are delivered. Mouth stuffing begins. People really put ranch on fries? Gross
6:23 – John informs us of being pre-approved for his house buying
6:24 – Bad joke made about pre-approval vs approval and the ridiculous terminology used today
6:45 – Burger arrives
6:47 – Burger now also has ketchup and hot sauce on it
7:01 – Alcohol is taking its effect on Dan; he informs us about the Mickey Mouse tattoo on his behind
7:02 – I ask to see said tattoo and am sadly informed that it does not actually exist
7:18 – 1/3 of burger left. It kicked my ass
7:25 – Leave restaurant. Thank Dan many times for dinner and the opportunity to help on the game
7:31 – Arrive back at the office with John to get my car
7:44 – Still talking John’s ear off in parking lot. See annoyed look in his eyes and call it a night
7:47 – Begin drive back home
7:50 – Curse LA for caring so much about the Lakers. Do they play EVERY night?
7:55 – Back on the 5, enjoying some classic rock on KLOS
8:45 – Arrive back home. Exhausted
8:46 – Affirm hatred of LA traffic for the umteenth time
8:47 – Affirm hatred of Whorli. She has all the doors locked and gave me a set of keys with no house key on it
8:48 – Bang on window to get her attention
8:50 – Kisses
8:52 – See that not one, not two… but THREE different companies sent me emails to work on games for them while I was gone. It is a blessing and a curse
There’s more from there, ending in bed around 11:30. But not important to my day with Armor. All in all, it was a really fun day. A great experience. And it’s going to be a kickass game when it’s released next week.
A few months ago, I mentioned that I was writing the script to a game and working with some friends to do the coding/art. That project is currently on hold, but I’ll probably finish working on it at some point. I need to figure out what I’m trying to do with the game… otherwise it’s just going to suck. And I won’t put my name on a project that sucks, especially when I’d be the major reason it sucked.
I’ve also been approached by a few different developers to design levels… and I shudder at this thought. Playing and solving levels is super fun; the battle of wits between myself and the cunning developer. Coming up with 20 or 30 creative levels to try and stump players, having a linear ramping difficulty curve, and designing levels that are all going to be unique… it’s daunting. And that’s just the design process; then you actually have to do the grunt work of making the levels in whatever editor you’ve given to work in, which may or may not be user friendly. It’s tedious, arduous, and is the complete opposite of fun.
However, there is one game that I had a different reaction to. It’s a game that when I played it, I immediately started to bug the developer about wanting to assist on designing levels for a sequel. Ma nishtana ba-mischak ha-ze mi kol ha-mischakim? (That translates to, “Why is this game different from all other games?”) The answer is simple… it’s a game where level design is not tedious, arduous, or un-fun. It’s a game where levels can be designed in seconds or minutes and each level has 1 specific trick to it. The goal of level design in this game is to screw with the player in a way that the player is still enjoying himself (or herself). And I get no greater pleasure than screwing with people… why not take it to the grand stage?
So you must be asking what game this is. I gave a vague hint about it the other day. The game is This Is The Only Level, and I’ll be working in the Armor Office later this month (or early next month) on the sequel. Expect fun and delightfully evil levels from yours truly. :)
I’ve also been working on a big project for the past 2+ months, but I’ve been asked not to talk about it. Expect some stuff about it once I’m cleared to discuss it or once it’s public.