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.