Monday, September 30, 2013


Gotta say, I've had a bit of writer's block these days. I guess that's not really accurate. It's more like worker's block. Some people call it being 'burnt out'. So I took about a week break and have been slowly getting back into it. These are the moments that matter most. Working on the game even if I don't really feel up to it. I've started reading manga, watching anime, and I'm set to go play some pathfinder/DnD tonight at a comic bookstore. I have to get my spark back and these things usually help me find that inspiration that sends me out to work on my game into the wee hours of the morning.

Right now I'm working on this mine scene where the team is facing an Ogre. The timing on some of the movements is off and it's hard to WANT to fix it. I mean, I WANT to, but my brain says "how about we just go to sleep? No? Then what about catching up on a tv show? Wanna play pokemon on your cell phone?" and the list goes on and on lol I feel like if I can get past this scene though, it'll all start coming back. I've just been working on it and the next one which is a bar scene for a few weeks now...trying to nail down the dialogue. Changing up events and actions of npcs, adding and taking away npcs, changing up the animations that go into these scenes, timing everything perfectly, adding sound effects and emotes where they need to be, etc etc.

So, here is me setting a reasonable goal for myself. By this time next week, I will be done with version 0.1 of the demo. I will not say that the balance is going to be all that great...but I will give you SOMETHING. I must give you something. So there you have it. I will get you that demo if it kills me. Til next week. May all your dice rolls be higher than 15 :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Setting Goals and Following Through

Hello readers, it's that time again. Last week I talked about how to stay focused on your project. This week, is about *looks at the title* setting goals and following through. What I do is two fold when it comes to setting goals:

1. I break down the game into sections. Point A to Point B, Point B to Point C, etc etc. When it comes to making rpgs most people are so concerned about having all this extra content, side quests, different ways to do things, and that's all fine n' dandy but if you don't really have a plan or goal a lot of times these side quests and extra content either don't really fit with the story or you get too overwhelmed because you feel like you aren't really getting anywhere in your game development. Example, in Goshiki I was so worried about having every npc or object that the player came in contact with have something to say or increase the character's power some how. My whole "inspiration system". Which was nice, but when you think about it all that extra stuff should have been polish left for after I had finished the critical path. The Critical Path is the main story line or obvious path that the player will take. I've learned that if you want to get anywhere in development, develop the Critical Path first. That way when you play your game you actually have visual progress. "yeah, you can play til the half way point of the game." vs "yeah, you can play for like twenty to thirty seconds and that's about it...but man doesn't it look nice?" or "yeah, you can play but you can't leave the first town or get anywhere in the storyline... but man, doesn't it have tons of extra content everywhere?" some people would argue that having polish before moving on is the way to go and if you can stay completely focused on your game while developing like that be my guest, but the biggest problem with that is when you decide a little later down the line that you need to change things for the story to make sense...some of the polished extra content that you spent hours and hours on might have to get the boot because they simply don't make sense with the new changes. That sort of thing can be discouraging and could make you leave your game on the back burner because you feel like you aren't getting anywhere. It's so important to feel good about what you are doing and always feel like you are moving forward. Those are the games that end up being finished instead of residing in development hell.

2. Next step is to write it all out. After creating every map that I need for the game I start to place the characters all over the place and build the different scenes/events. Start with the introduction first and just continue with that momentum. Tell your whole story. "But mister, what about all the cool animations, effects, movement, artwork, music, sound effects, and everything else that needs to happen?" That stuff is the cherry on top, particularly artwork and music. If it bothers you too much just use placeholders. Artwork and music are powerful means to making your game significantly better but the core to it all is the story and the gameplay, everything else comes later. What I do is type up each characters' and npcs' textbox, add pop up balloons (you know, teardrop...exclamation point...hash tag for angry, etc), and then when some crazy movement or animation is supposed to happen I will write it out as a comment or note to be added in later. This way you've written down everything that you've seen in your head on "paper" and you can just come back to it later to make it look the way you want. Once you run through the entire story, read it over and over and over again. Read it out loud to make sure it sounds right and has a good flow to it. Have someone else read it too. Make the necessary changes, trust me you will do this several times, and then when you feel that everything is good to go with the story...start filling in the blanks. I usually take em one map or scene at a time at that point. When you finish a map it feels like you are checking it off a list and getting that much closer to finishing your game.

The moral of this whole article is this, set small goals for yourself with larger goals in mind. What I've been saying about breaking down the game into sections is setting the larger goals. For example, in Journey to Westshire, I have the game divided into six sections. The beginning to the half way point in the game, which can be done three different ways thus three different sections here, and the half way point to the end of the game, which can also be done three different ways thus three more sections here. Then you break it down into individual scenes which is the small goals. For example, the beginning scene where they face off with a giant ogre or the bar scene after that where they get their next job.

Game making can be overwhelming and intimidating. It takes a long time to finish anything of substance, especially if you are by yourself, working a full time job, and happen to have a girlfriend that wants to go out some times and watch movies/tv shows together :) Having things written out already and being able to have the small victories helps people feel that they are getting somewhere. Little by little the game is getting done and all the while you feel good about it. It's just a lot easier to follow through this way and it's not so overwhelming.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment, critique, or blow me to pieces below. If you have something that you'd like me to go over or give my take on go ahead and drop me a line. Hopefully next week I'll have a demo for you all ;) Have a great week and may all your dice rolls be greater than 15!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Staying focused

Here's a good topic to talk about. I struggle with it all the time. I'm the creative type that writes things down and then moves on to the next idea going back later to maybe go off on the idea. These ideas build and build and before you know it I have a whole new game idea that I want to try out! Then I remember that I already have a game that I'm working on...I've been working on it for 8 months now...I've put money into designing resources for it...and I've written out a complete script with large amounts of notes fixing different storyline/gameplay issues or giving better details about them...and yet when I sit down to work on the game there are times when I can't bring myself to because I can't seem to focus or get excited like I did in the beginning or up until now.

Sound like you? Been there, ALOT. But that mentality doesn't get anything done, it just has a lot of ideas. What helps me focus when I'm feeling like that? I'll give you three things:

1. Pride. Pride in excess is one of the seven deadly sins, but in this case it's a good thing. You need to have pride in yourself and your work. To all you other would-be designers out there reading this, have enough pride in your game to not let yourself down. Maybe you've worked really hard. Days upon days, weeks upon weeks, jotting down notes on your cell phone or notepads, drinking gallons of coffee/espressos from starbucks while using their wifi to listen to music/check your facebook while working on your game, blogging about it, reading game dev threads to the end and books cover to cover, sifting through scripts or working out your own to fit the gameplay mechanics you've designed, and the list goes on. Game making is hard, anyone who tells you different is lying or selling something. But it's fun. And when you are done it feels like you've reached that light at the end of the tunnel! You step back and say "#$@%, i'm good." We all have our reasons for making games but in the end we all want to stand with pride along side our peers and call ourselves game designers. Before that can happen, before we can realize our dreams of starting a game studio or building a portfolio impressive enough to get noticed/hired by a game studio, we have to finish. Don't let yourself down, you've come too far to stop now. It is not a waste a time, trust me.

2. I spent money on this. I don't know about you, but I've spent a bit of money on the resources for my game and will continue to do so. Why? So that I can walk away from my game saying "Wow, isn't she sexy." ;) That and I plan on selling it commercially. Original artwork and audio is kind of a given. Will I make my investment back? Who knows? Probably not, but the experience was more than worth it. The point though, is that I've invested not only my time but also my hard earned money into this project. If I backed out of it now, I would not only be letting myself down but also my wallet. All the coffee/espressos/five hour energy drinks I've bought to make this game happen. All the expensive resources I purchased exclusive rights to. All the game development theory books I've bought and read. If I'm not going to finish the game, what was the point in all that? That money could have gone to something else. It didn't though, it went to making this game happen. So, make it happen otherwise you're just wasting your money.

3. You owe it to the people you've shared the idea with and are rooting for you. I have family and friends that tell me that they believe that I can do this. I can make my dreams come true and this is the first step in that direction. Having people like that in your life to make you accountable is important, especially if you are the creative-write-it-down-go-to-the-next-one type like me. Not only do you want to not let yourself down, touch back on that pride thing, but you don't want to let the people who believe in you down either. Personal experience: I have an ex-gf that told me when breaking up with me that I will never finish anything, I talk and talk and talk but I never do. She believed that, as I was then, I'd never accomplish my dreams. Harsh? Yes, but I needed to hear that. Not only do I have a burning passion to prove to myself that she was wrong about me but now I have this sense of accountability to anyone else I talk about my game with. They may not say it to my face like she did, but if I drop this project to pick up yet another idea I'm sure they will think it and hesitate to believe in me in the future. You don't want that.

In conclusion, stop talking about it or putting it off and do it. Don't give up just because you've lost the excitement you had in the beginning. The idea you had is solid and you owe it to yourself, those who support you, and possibly your wallet to finish what you started. I'll talk next time about setting goals and following through. Thanks for reading. Leave your comments and questions in the section below :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

San Japan and my week of dev

So I went to San Antonio for the San Japan anime convention which oddly had a game development workshop. I was far too curious so I decided to check it out and found that the speaker(who was late) was actually about as qualified as I was...Ok, she had TWO associates degrees to my ONE but who's counting really? haha....and three years of experience....anyway, the workshop turned into a Q&A about how to get into the industry and/or connect to people that are. LinkedIn was supposedly the biggest way to do it, other than hitting up game developer conferences like GDC, IGF, PAX, E3, etc... Networking is the name of the game. I guess I'll have to get my LinkedIn account gameafied(not a word, I know)! My pathetic LinkedIn account currently only has stuff about my IT career in it. Yes, I replace mouses and plug computers back into the wall for people. I am looking to perhaps work on getting into the programming field for my "by day" career though. Thinking about picking up C# because it would be useful for me as a programmer AND a game developer. I did go to college for programming so I guess it would make sense right? lol

Enough about all that, you are all probably wondering what I've been up to this past week and some change, right? Well, I've revamped the introduction to have a more natural flow to it. Last one felt a bit forced and when you thought hard about it....and I didn't make much sense. I also opened up the map to allow for more exploration. My game is no longer linear! Instead of a straight path through the forest, the player can now go through three completely different paths or mix n match if you happen to be one of those completist types. I think it makes the game more fun and the choices make up for me taking away the permadeath life force feature...yes, I hate to break it to you all this way but the more I thought about it the more I realized that having permadeath in a story-driven game like this one would really kill it, even if it sounds cool/different. If a character were to give their life for the group, which sounds AWESOME and was the whole idea behind the Life Force system, for them to actually die in the story would set a somber tone. It would no longer be the journey/adventure that I want it to be. I feel like the characters left alive would change completely and become these little balls of anger/vengeance which for some would be completely against their character. Don't get me wrong, my game still has mature/serious tones in it. These characters are human after all. I owe it to you guys to have a good story. If I feel that the gameplay would ruin the story or vice versa something has to be done. Something else I picked up at the workshop at San Japan is a feature freeze which I will now be implementing. So not more crazy changes from left field on this game lol I'm also doing an Intro-Freeze! This will keep me from going back and changing my intro for the umpteenth time. It's good, it flows well, it's practical, no need to change it anymore. Something else I learned that defends this type of thinking is that if you ever want to get anything done you need to know when to walk away and say it's good let's go to the next thing other wise you will be constantly polishing your diamonds without ever showing them to the rest of the world. They call that 'development hell'. It's a vicious cycle and I know of it QUITE well *cough* Goshiki *cough*. Never have I heard of a game changing so completely and so many times as my attempt at a first title. I worked on that game for about a year and all I had was an intro and a few paths that connected together. All because I couldn't decide the best way to do the introduction, how I wanted the characters to be, what the challenges would be, the boss battles, everything kept changing over and over and over and I was getting no where until I realized that the game itself wasn't interesting at all and ended up dropping it. Was the time wasted? Not really, it taught me alot about development. Setting goals, staying motivated, and most importantly knowing when to walk away. Some day when I've gotten a few more titles out, I MAY go back and finish Goshiki. Maybe through it on mobile since it'll be short. Who knows. For now, I'll just reference the characters. Be sure to keep an eye out for a 'certain bandit leader' in Journey ;) That's all for now. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for next week's post where I will talk about something else game development related....maybe.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Working hard and a new title screen!

So, it's been a bit since I've last posted here. Been going through some personal changes like getting a new job and finding a woman that semi-tolerates my nerdiness lol Doesn't excuse me from my work here though, so I'd like to apologize first and then tell you that I HAVE been working this whole time ;) I also commissioned my good friend, Michael Tran (a.k.a. emptydesigns) to help out with making a title screen for Journey to Westshire. Some might remember him from my much earlier posts where I had commissioned him to make concept art for several characters of a different game. Would you believe that he is also awesome at background shots? BEHOLD!

Isn't that a sexy shot?
I've decided that over time I'm going to get Michael Tran and possibly another artist if the rest isn't in his skillset to rev up the artwork in Journey to Westshire. For the time being though, the demo will have placeholders and be released as such. I am also commissioning music from a freelancer but we haven't finalized things just yet...he gasped at my track list lol what can I say? I believe that music really makes a scene have that "oomph" and if done right, like I feel this guy can, my game will be that much more awesome than it already is ;)

Now to what you've been waiting for. When is the demo coming out, Mr. Bard? Umm, I'm going to take a tune from Blizzard Entertainment and say "it'll be done when it's done =D". Why is it taking so long? Because I'm not happy with it yet. Here is a pitfall that I think a lot of indie developers fall into, myself included. Development Hell. This is that special place in your life when your cool idea is coming into shape and form, then you look over it for the thousandth time and realize that the scene you designed that took you two months sucks and you need to scrap it if you don't want to get laugh/booed at by the vicious trolls of the internet! The flip side of that mentality is that sometimes we don't finish what we start because it gets old, the ideas dry up, and no matter what you do the game still seems horrible....RIP Goshiki....anyway, I'm not anywhere near there yet and I will continue to push hard and make Journey to Westshire the experience and adventure that I want you all to take part in and enjoy. Should I have a productive weekend, not sure because I am going to San Antonio for the San Japan convention =D, I will post up some more screenshots and dev stories Monday. Thanks for the patience, I promise I won't make you wait for too much longer.

Friday, June 28, 2013


It's Friday and I'm doing a blog post three days early? Don't mind if I do!

So I had my first and second playthrough attempts this past attempts I mean that the game crashed towards the end due to unforeseen bugs, sigh. Bugs are funny. You go through everything one time and figure you have discovered all the bugs, you make a list, go down that list and fix each one, then go through everything again and this time find even MORE bugs than you did the first time, haha. There is nothing like thinking you fixed everything and then when you walk up a river and one of your characters is across the river already walking in place....

"What the-??" *silence* "Another venti white mocha, please..."

"Umm, I can't finish the scene with you standing there..."
Well, I have a pretty long list to get back to. Anyone have some raid?...Yea, it's a bad joke. Sorry =P

Monday, June 24, 2013

Timing and a character idea

Timing is a BIG deal. It's the difference between a scene having emotion and being thrown together with bad pacing. Over the past week I have done NOTHING but fix the timing on a single scene. Am I completely happy about it? Kind of...but I feel like I've stared at it enough that I can't even tell if the timing is good or not, haha. I'll probably go back over it a few more times in the coming weeks. With the closing of this scene, however, I am now free to begin knocking out the other bullets on my todo list for getting this game demo out. First thing is first, skills. Wish me luck. I think I am making a female version of Cyan from FF3/FF6 without that annoying timing bar, which is making her surprisingly overpowered haha we'll see how things turn out.

In other news, I listened to this earlier and now I want to make an archer character. I have a pretty good idea on how I'd want them to be. I even see them taking on Raven, my badass one-eyed fencer. Before I start thinking "long going series" I guess I should actually finish this one haha Seeing as this post is rather short I will reward you with screenshots of some of the bad guys doing their thing ;)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Combining maps

I guess it's about time I show some screenshots seeing as I should be finishing up on the demo soon.

These two screenshots are from the same map...sorta. Let me explain. Sometimes I will create multiple maps to transfer between that look exactly the same for the purpose of being less cluttered and less laggy. While playing the map, if the transfers are placed and timed correctly, the player will typically not even notice that they have been hopping between several different versions of the same map. It's all an ILLUSION!

Anyway, this particular map that I have taken screenshots of used to have three copies of itself due to the high number of events that take place in it as well as npcs that also take up a lot of space. I was having issues with the game engine and the transitions between battles and transferring between maps. I could go into greater detail and lose most of you or I could just say that it didn't look fluid/professional. So, I am currently trying to combine it all onto one map.

Sad part is that I am starting to feel the lag creep up. I have a few ideas on how to cut down on the lag but we'll see during the testing phase. Worst case scenario....I split up the maps again and perform some "illusions" that don't involve the battle transitions. Watch out, David Copperfield! ;)

Monday, June 10, 2013

How time flies!

Just got settled back into my old job as a cell phone repair/random other gadget guru. Had to pay the bills and boy is it tough with a mortgage, haha. Anywho, in relevant news, I am closing in on finishing the demo. Since we last "spoke", I have all but completed the storyline aspect of the game. I just have one and a half more scenes to time and dialogue. I have the gist of what I'm shooting for which helps. I did do the ending of the demo yesterday. I hope the movement, music, and dialogue does the scene justice...and I hope I don't get stoned for ending at a literal cliff hanger, haha. Working on this game has been fun and I hope the players will be able to feel my passion and love of storytelling in it. You know what they say though, "Your first game will suck 'insert term' balls." So I'm trying not to get my hopes too high. I should finish up with the half scene tonight, leaving the last scene for tomorrow....unless I power up with a five hour energy shot again and push through!! We'll see. I am at work now with about 3-4 hours of sleep in me....hoping I can make it to 7pm and starbucks before collapsing. The battle starts now. Once the story is complete it is on to gameplay balancing and tweeking(which some would consider is the hardest part since it is after all....what makes your game fun ;) hehe) I will try my best in getting this blog on some kind of set schedule. I need to set alarms or something on a weekly basis...I will not go the way of my favorite podcasters! Thanks for the support and I will show you all something really cool in a few more weeks ;)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Still alive and coding!

Title says it all. Had a pretty big personal loss recently and though I haven't been very active on this blog as of late out of mourning and taking care of's time that I turn the engines back to full throttle and get fired up as sanji about pushing through and finishing up Journey to Westshire! Taking the time away from development has opened my eyes to several game play features and issues that I will be implementing and resolving, so I guess it was kind of a good thing. Upon reading an article that for some reason I can't find now to link to you..... I am actually going to cap the game off at about a third of the way into the story and release it as a demo. The article championed the use of demos to build an audience for the game and get people excited to play it, as well as have those people point out things that maybe you want to change or edit in the full title. My full title will be for sale by the way. I'm still debating on a price though. Gotta pay for all that ramen and coffee I've been consuming to make this happen lol Thanks for following the blog, if you have been, and I promise to make weekly updates from here on out. Back to doing the dev thing!

Things I've done since my last blog?
-Finished up the mapping of the entire game
-Finished up the eventing(or placement of events) for the demo
-Started balancing item/gold placement, skills, enemies, and bosses.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


I gave it my all but in the end I missed the deadline. Truth be told, I need another 4-5 hours more to get to a point where I'd be content with it. Sucks....I really pushed hard to make this happen. My entire table is full of coffee cups and tiny bottles of five hour energy lol though I am disappointed in myself I will push on and finish up the game anyway. I may not get the attention I was shooting for or whatever secret prizes the contest had(one of which was some love on a popular podcast!! =_( oh well...) I will be posting up a link for download and I'm sure some of the community will throw in some reviews when I post it up on their normal finished project threads. What did I ultimately take away from this experience? 1. With more practice I can design pretty good maps in minutes 2. It's good to stay organized throughout a project, because in those moments when you've had too much coffee and you lose most higher brain functions due to lack of sleep you can still get stuff done without creating too many bugs. 3. I need to work on managing my time better.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Contest and The Deadline

So I am down to the last 25 hours before the project, Journey to Westshire, is due. I'm starting to see what all the books I've read up to this point have been talking about when they say that they have to make a lot of sacrifices in the game just to get it out on time. I always thought that that was stupid and that they should always take their time on games, it's done when it's done n' all. Though when important opportunities like contests that'll get your name out in the spotlight appear and you have to finish by a certain time otherwise it won't matter, things change. I started out with this project to test gameplay elements that would come straight out of Blue Grimoire to see what people thought of them. In the end, I took them out because I felt that it made the game too complicated and wasn't going with it's flow. I'm still not finished and I haven't even begun testing for bugs yet. My hope is to finish by midnight tonight, get a few hours of sleep, and debug until the deadline 6pm Sunday. I hope people will see my skills with this and I also hope to get criticized where I need to be criticized so I can grow as a developer. Well, I'm off to go get more coffee. I'll link everything up tomorrow evening ;)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Journey to Westshire

Once upon a time I went to college for game programming and I was forced to write a text based game in python(that's a programming language :P). For those who can run such a project can find my old .py here. Would you believe that the project was actually supposed to be rock, paper, scissors? lol I was kind of an overachiever back in the day. Anywho, my point, is that the community that I am apart of is having a "Release Something Weekend" and since Blue Grimoire is quite a ways from becoming a playable demo I was thinking that I'd reboot my old python project via rpg maker vx ace and try out a few gameplay elements in it that I plan on using in Blue Grimoire just to test things out. I'm giving myself a week break from Blue Grimoire to get this thing out there and I think my mind could do without witches for a bit after all the research and conditional branches I've been working with lately lol Look forward to the release of "Journey to Westshire", the story of three adventurers Zeke, Erik, and Raven who are taking a mysterious package through a dangerous forest full of thieves, beastmen, and magical creatures all for the almighty gold piece.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

I have decided on a name!

That's right. The mysterious game project previously dubbed Modern Witch Project now has a fitting name...*drum roll* "Blue Grimoire". I know there will be several of you out there that will probably ask where they came from so I'll go ahead and tell you. The main character, Joanna, was given a blue grimoire by a man who used to walk the path of a mage killer. He "passed" the grimoire to her via touch, so there is no physical copy, it's all in her head. She will need the knowledge of the blue grimoire if she ever hopes of being able to take down Anastasia, the powerful witch who murdered her family. The Blue Grimoire itself is a major gameplay feature that will handle upgrades, gathered information, etc. I felt it was the most fitting title out of the large amount of possibilities that came to me during my title brainstorming sessions. It's catchy, could easily have a ":" added for sequels should the possibility come up, and it's a major gameplay feature. So I'm going with it.

I also wanted to bring up that now that I have a title I'll be able to commission an artist to make a title screen for me. I have a pretty good idea of how I'd like it to look but we'll see what happens. On another note, I picked up a pretty good book the other day which has helped me take a more professional turn for the development of this project. Which translates to me now working on a concept document. Not to be confused with a game design document. The concept document is used mainly for pitching the game for funding which is something that I will be trying to do. Pretty much have most of it worked out, but nothing is set in stone just yet....that's kind of how development works, haha. Example, I thought I had everything worked out the way I wanted it and thought that the ending would be badass since you'd have multiple choices and could choose how you wanted to end things. Then I heard the latest podcast by FinalBossBlues which made the argument that such endings were horrible because it would make all the decisions the player had made up to that point meaningless, a la Mass Effect 3. So I have a bit of rethinking to do on how I'm going to handle the gameplay ending and storyline ending. That's all for today though. Hopefully I'll finish up the concept document and get started on the proof of concept which is just a mechanics demo, not a full blown demo. All these terms!!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Artwork for the unnamed project!

Not being able to give the project a name is really starting to bug me. I need to like, light scented candles and zen meditate to game OSTs then maybe something'll shake loose lol

Anywho, remember a few posts ago I spoke of how I commissioned an artist to draw up some concept art for the Modern Witch project? Well, Michael Tran came through and here is my main character and both stages of her fire elemental, Grom.

Comments, Critiques, whatever. Will post more on gameplay and what not as development continues!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

All or nothing gamble

What I'm about to write might freak some people out and they will tell me it's MADNESS but honestly I don't have much of a choice...I'm putting in my two weeks at my job today.
"Why? How will you survive?!"
Well, sadly my father can no longer take care of himself and needs round the clock care. I can't afford it and the places that I could afford I wouldn't want to put any human being through. My only option is to take care of him myself along with my siblings. Coincidentally, this means I'll have more time to work on my project...when I'm not pimping myself out as a jack-of-all-trades with electronic repair and helpdesk or selling stuff on ebay/amazon/movie exchange. It's a hell of a gamble, my project could fail and I have nothing for all the effort and money I've put into it, but I feel it's worth it if it means I can spend time with my father. Seeing him happy to be home after the months in hospitals is worth it all in spades. Wish me luck, I guess!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"Modern Witch" Project: Artwork & Title?

The ad actually brought in a few pretty good artists. These people do incredible things like high level renders and what not. I jawdropped on quite a few of the examples they showed me....and at their price tags lol I knew art would cost a bit, I just hope I'll be able to cough up enough to keep them interested and also that I have my "ducks in a row" not wasting money on art I won't use/don't need. I'm currently in talks with a few and I've commissioned some concept art to see what/who I'm dealing with. I'm hopeful that I'll get some amazing results from these guys. I'll post the one I end up going with if either.

In other news, I've been playing around with a few title names for the project and at the moment the only one that keeps pounding in my head is Witch Hunt. Don don DON! I don't know. It fits, but if I were to do sequels(don't wanna get ahead of myself but wouldn't want to burn bridges early with a badly chosen name either lol) it might be weird. If I continue to explore this universe I don't want to have to always have some kind of hunt going on. It'd get old. A friend made a pretty good point though and said that I could go the way of Demon Souls n' Dark Souls. Keeps the Souls part but changes the other part. Then there's the whole ":" thing. I could be like Witch Hunt: Joanna & the Blue Grimoire. Witch Hunt: The Secret of the Lion's Crest. Witch Hunt: I Wonder If This Is Another Hunt. <.< meh, i'll decide eventually. Problem is, kinda hard to commission an artist to make a high level rendered title screen when you don't know the name of the game haha oh well, it can wait.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Modern Witch" Project

Titles are very important and I don't plan on rushing ahead with a half-ass title just to have one. It'll come to me naturally as I work on the game. In the meantime though, I'm going with the "Modern Witch" project.

In other news, I've started work on the demo, which is just as overwhelming as I pictured it would be. Not to worry, just gotta do things one at a time. I also put out an ad on the RPGMAKERWEB forum for concept art. We'll see if I have any bites on that. I thought I had the audio I wanted for the game but the more I listen to the package I picked up, the more I'm seeing that I don't have EVERYTHING I need audio-wise, sigh. I'll explore that more later. Would be a waste of the cash I put up for this audio package if I hired out for an entire OST though. We'll see what happens, I guess. As I said earlier, one thing at a time. Gameplay > Art, Audio, & Story. Though the writer in me really wants to argue with the story bit there, haha.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Plan

As the title states, I have a plan. The plan is simple but will take a significant amount of prep work. Anywho, here's the plan. Kickstarter. Yes, I will be using kickstarter to actually "kick start" my dream of being a game designer. It may be a shot in the dark but at least there is a hint of a light at the end of the tunnel. The idea is to pitch a game idea, throw out a number that will provide me enough funds to quit my full-time job and work on the game exclusively for a year. I'll pick up a part-time job or continue consulting as an "IT/repair guru" of course, but I'll have all the extra time to do what I love. Make games. If you checked out my last post, I talked about Goshiki: The Five Paths.
"Goshiki: The Five Paths" Titlescreen by Katrina Le
This will NOT be the game I am trying to fund via kickstarter. Why not? While I believe that Goshiki is an interesting story and I will eventually release the title, it is not as gripping as the game idea I am holding back in the wings that I WILL be pitching to kickstarter. I don't have any concept art as of yet so I don't want to go into too many details just yet. But I will let you in on this....I already have it scripted out and am in the programming phase. Oh, and the game is about a modern day witch ;) I'll release more info as development progresses. On the note of concept art, I will be doing something very dangerous....I will attempt to draw for it myself O_O at the very least I'll be able to take my extremely rough sketches to one of significant skill to translate into awesomeness for your viewing pleasure. The conditions that I am giving myself for kickstarter is to have a demo done, a game design document which'll have the full plan/schedule for development done, and the full script for the game done. Once I have that and some nice concept art, I'll attack kickstarters with passion and fervor! I will make my dream come true.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Goshiki: The Five Paths

I guess I shouldn't get ahead of myself about the modern day witch story. I am still actively working on the game project that just won't end, haha. Goshiki: The Five Paths is the story of Po and his rise from farmer to legendary martial arts master of a supernatural martial art.

It features a stat growth system where the player's stats grow based on their actions in and out of battle. Speaking with NPCs could lead to side quests or rewards with stats based on the player's decisions. The world is full of inspiration that will lead Po into discovering and refining his own style of Goshiki techniques hands on. Learning new skills comes from side quests which also alters the storyline. A player could theoretically just play the main story line and still master Goshiki but if one learns the techniques early on via the side quests then they will be rewarded later when presented with the storyline where they would've learned it. Usually with stats or rare items/equipment.

I want the player to feel powerful as the game progresses and I feel that I accomplish this by the mini-games/puzzles where the player will use what he's learned to defend himself.
Ex 1. Po finds himself in a duel with an assassin who catches him in an enclosed area and begins throwing knives at him. The player will have Po dodge or catch the knives. How many he can catch in this mini-game is based on his stats.
Ex 2. A boulder might block his passage to a cave, but once his strength stat is at a certain level he can break the boulder with his bare hands.

Po is actually a genius that will master the supernatural martial art with unheard of speed and accuracy that eventually makes him butt heads with the traditional martial artists who believe that a farmer should never have been able to learn the art in the first place. After tragedy strikes, Po is torn between following his dreams of accomplishing great things or settling for a normal farmer's life. With renewed vigor he will rise above all the trials in his life and become the master everyone knew he would be, changing the lives of those around him as well as the art itself for generations to come.

When I say the game is in development hell, I would like to point out that I have been working on this game on and off since thanksgiving of 2011. What was supposed to be a quick one-day game on a bet with a friend turned into something much more. Hopefully I'll be able to show off this game someday but as a one-man army with the art skills of an elementary school student it could be awhile. Luckily I have an artist working on concept art for me while I try to pin down everything. Will Goshiki see the light of day? Even if it kills me.

Should this be a novel or a game?

I like to come up with stories and game making is one of my outlets. Thing is, sometimes I come up with a story that I think is particularly interesting but would be a nightmare to make into a game. Case in point:

"A modern day witch named Joanna is hunting down a powerful witch named Anastasia who killed her family and forced her into a contract with a dangerous and deadly fire spirit. Will Joanna be able to find and kill Anastasia while also dodging the Magic Council who is hunting HER down for being a vigilante?"

My aim is to make the use of magic much more tactical. A magical duel is all about preparation, research, and outsmarting your opponent. Forcing yourself through based on enormous mana reserves is possible but wasteful and may leave you powerless to an unexpected trap. I feel like it could make a decent tactics game a la final fantasy tactics and phantom brave. Sitting here after stating that the wheels in my head begin turning the story into a game with incredible speed, but would a novel be a better outlet for the story? The story is about a woman's journey to find the witch who killed her family. She doesn't really have any allies to "join her group" and is pretty much on her own. The gameplay elements that I would implement might make it so that not having other characters to control would be manageable but would it remain interesting through 20 hours of gameplay? Guess I could attempt a few chapters in novel form and also make a gameplay demo. Worst case scenario I could just make both ;) 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

RPGs and why I want so badly to make them

This is my first blog post, so I guess I should explain what I'm trying to do here. I am currently a "one-man army" class of Indie Game Developer and let's just say I'm level one with like two more battles before I level up. I've done a lot of research and am currently developing a game called Goshiki: The Five Paths for the PC using RPG Maker XP. I'll post more about that project later on. By "research" I mean I've read an enormous amount of textbooks, blogs, occasional podcasts, went to college for programming, and played an enormous amount of games. Being a gamer doesn't mean you'll make it as a game developer....found that out the hard way. Just imagine ramming your car into a solid steel wall and that's the kind of wake up call I got. Though being a gamer does help you come up with ideas. You take things that you thought were cool and add them all together with your own unique cocktail of story line and you'd be surprised how amazing it turns out. So back to the point of this blog, it sort of ties into why I became a developer actually. I feel like there is a severe lack of rpgs in the classic sense today and I hope to attempt to fill that void. I hope to tell meaningful stories that make the players of my games walk away and continue to think about the world I opened them up to and the people in it. If you go to and type in ps3 rpg or xbox 360 rpg, you'll notice that it's pretty much the same regurgitated IPs over and over again. Now I give NIS(Disgaea series), Square Enix(Seriously?..), BioWare(Mass Effect series & Dragon Age series), and Namco Bandai Games(Tales of series) props for keeping the genre alive. But when was the last time you walked away from one of their games like you walked away from FF3(or FF6 if you're from Japan) or Lufia 2(Most epic SNES ending of all time...imho)? The good ones are few and far between these days and I feel like a lot can be learned from the old days. Breath of Fire 3 showed that graphics aren't everything and even to this day anyone can pick that game up and not think twice of the fact that it's 16 years old. Wow, that makes me feel old...point is, good story telling and game play trumps amazing graphics. THAT is what I am trying to do here. Will I succeed? We'll see. In the meantime, look forward to me talking about my current projects or ranting about classic rpg topics. Feel free to comment, critique, or what have you. I'll get back to work.