Game Design with Timlah
Look through your Steam library, or your XBLA account. Perhaps you opt for PSN, or an OUYA? How about Android or iOS? One thing that you’ll likely have started to dabble in at some point whilst on any of these platforms are indie titles. While I attended Rezzed, I was lucky enough to get my hands on some upcoming new titles – Indie titles which were great fun.
Something else happened whilst I was there; my latent interest for developing games has come back to me. It’s something I’ve not delved too deeply in for a while, but I decided I wanted to make a devlog of kinds… and I want you all to help me through this. I want to make a game and I want people to see the progress I make along the way. When it’s made, it’ll be hosted on GeekOut South-West, free to download and play. Criticise me as much as you want, this is why I want to indie dev for you all, a game I’ve made with your feedback.
Let’s begin really simple today: Let’s make the story for our game and we’ll decide what kind of technical directions we’ll take the game.
Focusing on the story is a major aspect of a game for me; for some games, I really enjoy playing a simple story, which leaves room for more gameplay. For my first game, I want to make a short and sweet adventure game. Play time of just a few hours, nothing major! It is a first project to dip my toes back into game development and design, after all.
As this is going to be an adventure game, we need a protagonist. I’d ideally like to make it so the protagonist is entirely imagined by the player, so we’ll have a male and a female character, selectable when you start the game. The character will have to have a relatively neutral name, which will help reduce the amount of code and the amount of designs needed.
We’re going to have a character who is looking for something, but what that something is, I don’t know yet. Of course, they’re going to be chasing down the antagonist for the thing they desire… But more on the antagonist later in this article.
To go along with the neutrality of the game, I’d like to have quite a major topic to revolve around. How about we have morality as the core theme of the game? But how can we tie in morality to an adventure game? I’d like to bring the theme of upbringing and choice into the mix. By this, our character will be a member of a church clergy. “Woah, steady on”, I hear you say, “Isn’t this topic a bit taboo?” Perhaps it is, but I’m not going to write this as a hate campaign on religion, nor am I going to write this to say that doing things against the religion is right or anything like that.
In fact, this is a fictional religion. Let’s call it the Church of the Unifaithful. Let’s now say that our character is going through something of a crisis, but to make matters worse the antagonist is going to take something of importance from the player. Again, this’ll be covered in more depth later. Our characters are going to be build up throughout the game – They’ll be a blank slate and they’ll build their character through interacting, discovering and exploring the world they’re in. Ultimately, you’ll have to make a call: Whether going for the thing that the antagonist has taken is worth the time, or if you should drop the possession and carry on without it. But enough about that…
Let’s now look at how we will develop the game. I will be using the new and improved Unity 5. This is a really convenient game development platform for people who use external tools, like Blender. The only problem I have, as a Linux user, is for some reason there is no native support on Linux. I’ll work around the technicality of getting my resources over to my virtual environment at another point, but with WINE running and Unity 5 set up, we’ve got our tool!
For art, I will be using GIMP (the GNU Image Manipulation Program) as my tool of choice. I will be using this for things like textures – and as for assets, such as 3D Models and the likes, I will be using Blender. This is purely my preference as I can’t afford the more expensive applications, such as Photoshop and 3D Studio Max. Furthermore, I don’t think they support my Linux system either! Good grief!
So okay, we now know what we’re going to be using and we know what we’re making. The next step is making sure we get our game directory set up. Let’s have our directory set out in a really clean and concise way, so we know what we’re doing in the future. Because we’re handling all of the hard work through Unity 5, let’s make it so we have a Script folder, a Resources folder and a Scenes folder.
I was going to do all of the programming in Boo, but I’ve noticed the official documentation on the Unity 5 website seems to not reference Boo in their APIs. Some digging around has taught me that they have dropped Boo… and that does make me a little bit sad. I have been enjoying Python for a while and thought it’d be nice to get into Boo for familiarity.
Now over to you
I’ve explained what I’m doing, I’ve given you all the basics of the game. I’ve explained the routes I’m going to take and the technology I’m going to use… So it’s time for you guys to get involved and make an impact on the game.
I want you to think of our antagonist, as well as what the antagonist is up to. Why are they the antagonist? What’s their name and what do they look like? Take into consideration what the protagonist is like – They’re an empty slate for the player to mould themselves. With the exception of being able to choose a male or a female character, there’s absolutely nothing outstanding about them.
Let’s begin making our game together. Please comment below and let us know what you think we should have as our antagonist! Also, let me know what you think about the above proposal so far? Is there anything you’d suggest should be changed?
The next time we pick this game up in articles, we will look at our antagonist and the development of the in-game system we will be using.