Happy 2019! (2018 Review #finishit)

Another year is nearing its end, for some reason I decided to review all my 2018 posts in this blog, trying to do a review of my year in gamedev and also talk about my plans in 2019.

I noticed some things.

2018 Posts Review

  • 2017’s Last Monthly Update: “I can’t help but to work on 2 or 3 projects at the same time and for some reason I like doing it” – THIS DIDN’T CHANGE AT ALL.
  • “2018” post: “This year I want to focus (focus should be the biggest priority, given my historic lack of it) on three projects: Pizza Clicker, The Ace Programmer and Midnight Journey.” – Well.;

    • The Ace Programmer: Never talked about it again, wrote the first chapter and dropped it (it is something that returns to my head sometimes)
    • Midnight Journey: THIS IS ON MY MIND EVERYDAY! It was an Action RPG, I turned it into a Metroidvania and now I’m thinking on how to turn it into a Platformer (or Metroidvania without combat)
    • Pizza Clicker: Well, I released it, but on Mobile, not on web as originally intended.
  • Still on 2018 post: “My Biggest Goal: The Biggest goal of 2018 is to set something free and feel how it is” About that… (Will be talking about that down below);
  • A Dollar, Please: Stablished the goal of earning at least $1 with gamedev in 2018, well, it didn’t go so well;
  • Moving Forward: Discovered the joy of cutting down features on games.
  • Almost July: Got back to Unity after months into GameMaker Studio 2.

Gamedev Awards of 2018

awards-awards-everywhere.jpg

Games I simply pretended didn’t exist anymore:

  1. The Ace Programmer
  2. Midnight Journey
  3. Ghost Game

Games I started in 2018 and suddenly pretended they didn’t exist anymore:

  1. Match 3 Roguelike

“Not sure if this was the right thing” Awards

  1. Earned my Computer Science Bachelor’s Degree
  2. Quit my Internship to develop games full time and to apply to Masters programs.
  3. Spend a lot of my savings going abroad and buying a Nintendo Switch and actually 2018 was probably the year I played videogames the most since my childhood.

And the award everyone was waiting for!

Unknown

#FinishIt Awards

  1. Newton’s Laws of Roguelike
  2. Zombies on the Basement
  3. Tetris Clone
  4. Space Journey
  5. Pizza Clicker
  6. Secludere
  7. Journey to the Light
  8. happily(never)AFTER

OBS: ordered by finished date, each one my games are like babies for me, I can’t establish a hierarchy implying one is better than another.

Today was the day I realized I finished 8 game projects this year, being worked on a lot more than that. If someone told me January 1st I would have done this, I wouldn’t believe. It was 5 Game Jams (Newton’s Laws of Roguelike, Zombies on the Basement, Secludere, Journey to the Light and happily(never)AFTER), one learning project (Tetris Clone) that had the purpose of helping me in a job interview but I got rejected before sending it to them! That’s Life! And, finally, two published games on Play Store (Space Journey and Pizza Clicker).

The interesting thing about Game Jams is that they show your progress in your face, my last three were platformers and the improvement from one to another is amazing. Also, game jam entries can be turned into full games, it is something that still goes through my mind for Journey to the Light and now, happily(never)AFTER.

That’s pretty much my 2018 summarized.

happily(never)AFTER

I’m opening this session here because happily(never)AFTER is a game I finished today, for the Weekly Game Jam 76 and I never talked about it on this blog before (obviously).Screen Shot 2018-12-28 at 12.00.08 AM.png

The theme was ‘Afterlife’ and my entry is a 1 bit platformer! !!! CLICK HERE TO PLAY IT !!! Probably it is the game I’m most proud of at the moment.

That’s about it because I will be talking more about it on the next update.

What about 2019?

For 2019 I will set some simple goals and I won’t really get much into detail right now because I will have another whole year to talk about everything that is happening and that I’m doing.

2019 Goals:

  1. Release 1 Mobile Game
  2. Release 1 Desktop Game
  3. Release 1 Asset on Asset Store
  4. Start my Master’s (I’m optimistic it will work out!)

Quick 2019 Roadmap: If everything works out according to what was planned (it never does) – this is what I plan to release in 2019:

  1. Pizza Clicker New Year’s Upgrade (Update/Android) (January/2019)
  2. Project Mobile Dreams (Mobile Game/Android) (January/2019)
  3. Idle Game Framework (Asset/Unity Asset Store) (January/2019)
  4. Freshman’s Quest (PC Game, Platformer) (March/2019) – This is the game I’m working with a group from University.
  5. Roguelike Level Framework (Asset/Unity Asset Store) (March/2019)
  6. Dreamlands (PC Game, Roguelike) (May/2019)

If everything works out perfectly, May 2019 is when I would start my Master’s, so that is why I only planned until this month.

So that’s it for my 2018 review and my goals for 2019 on game development! Hope you have a wonderful end of 2018 and an even better 2019!

Next update will be on January 15th, following the regular schedule.

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Monthly Update #5 – Life! and also Oh No! Not Again!

Well, I said I was going to do it around June 15th, but I wanted to write it now so I can talk about some important decisions I made today and what will happen from now on.

First of all: I’m really really busy for the rest of this month (that’s the reason of “Life!” at the tittle), I couldn’t work on games in my free time as much as I wanted to. I will try to work on it at least 25 minutes everyday and from 2 to 4 hours on weekends. Doing that I can also show that developing games is possible in a tight schedule, it will be a cool experience.

Midnight Journey

I was thinking on it, art, aesthetic, design document and those things. One thing led to another and I ended up calculating how many frames I would have to draw for each character and how much time it would take, the picture below is my results.

Screen Shot 2017-06-06 at 10.37.49 PM

I think that 10 minutes by frame is a fair ammount of time

As you can see, if I have my main character (Ethan) and only one boss, I would take around 60 hours just to do the art. Being able to work not even 10 hours weekly would make it a long long long road to finish this game.

Sounds like you are quitting Midnight Journey! No, I am not. It happened that once again I started a game out of my scope (that’s why “Oh No! Not Again!” on the tittle).

I had 2 objectives for Midnight Journey:

  1. Fully develop a game all by myself: design, programming, art, sound, marketing, etc…
  2. Develop a game that I would love to play and that would reflect who I am.

But it seems that they are two conflicting objectives, in fact, developing games I would love to play (by that I mean games that fits in my favourite styles and genres) would demand a lot of time and a big team. Not realizing it until now was my biggest mistake and the reason why I have 1 or 2 complete games on more than 3 years of game development.

What will I do now? Pretty Simple. I will write a Game Design Document for Midnight Journey, A BIG AND DETAILED GAME DESIGN DOCUMENT. The perfect blueprint of what I want it to be. With the GDD in hands I will have two options:

  1. Simplify it so it can fit my schedules. This way Midnight Journey wouldn’t fully accomplish the second objective anymore.
  2. Buy Assets/Hire Freelances. This way Midnight Journey wouldn’t accomplish the first objective anymore (and it would cost money, that sucks!)

What is more valuable? For me, Designing and Developing a game that I would love to play and that would reflect who I am is way more important. But anyway, I will finish the Game Design Document so I can make this decision.

BUT!

I won’t be only writing Game Design Documents! I will revisit old ideas and start developing them, specially really really simple mobile games that can be developed under 4 or 5 hours of work. Maybe one of them can be a game where I do everything and then I accomplish that first objective. I will also revisit some not so simple ideas (but more simple than Midnight Journey) and build some demos with cheap or free assets.

EXTRA: I’m actually thinking on developing a simple mobile game each month. I would choose a theme and maybe some restrictions and just try to play with the ideas and try to come up with a game. (Suggestions are welcome!)

P.S.: Probably you are thinking: “But you did nothing the whole month!” – And that’s not true! I did this cool snake game in javascript, which I do not guarantee to be free of bugs.

Next Update: Hmm… It will be sometime around 6th and 15th of July.

Midnight Journey

I’ve been working on it on my free time and things are starting to go forward, I have some time until May 5th, I did this gif and it gets a little bit of the essence of how this “Demo” will be:

ethan

Wish me Luck. I will post a monthly update on May 5th or 6th.

Assets for Midnight Journey

As I said before, I have to hurry to do some things for my game Midnight Journey (the one I was calling zelda souls). I’m just going to post here what I have to do in programming, art and sound.

Programming:

Mechanics to Implement:

  • Dodging in Combat
  • Charge Attack
  • Getting experience when diyng
  • Save Points
  • User Interface that can show information on the tutorial
  • Boss Fight
  • Transition from not fighting to in battle (When not in battle the character will not yield the sword, when in battle he will get it)

Music Composition:

  • Main Menu Music link
  • Dream Music – As the game starts inside a dream, I want to have a very calm and dreamy music for the game to start progressing. This one will play even on the first combats
  • Battle/Boss Music – This one will play on the tutorial’s boss, and has to be fast and give the sensation that you are going through something hard.

Pixel Art

This is will be the biggest list…

  • Main Character lying down and getting up
  • A Main Menu Screen, a MIDNIGHT JOURNEY write, with some styling, New Game and Options also in Pixel Art.
  • Main Character without sword (idle, run, attack, dodging, healing, getting the sword)
  • Main Character with sword (idle, run, fast attack, charge attack, dodging, healing, guarding and putting away the sword)
  • Grass and path (gray stones) tiles
  • A Statue with a removable sword
  • Enemy (idle, run, attack) – I want to be some kind of werewolf
  • The Boss (idle, run, attack, charge attack) – I want to be a person but with some werewolf resemblance.
  • Temple tiles
  • Main Character laying Down in his beedroom and opening his eyes.

I think that’s all I need to do… Let’s see how things goes!

Zelda Souls first Demonstration?

Where I study there will be a “Software Presentation” where students can showcase anything that they are developing or developed, I’m really thinking on taking Zelda Souls to it.

But for me to do it I have to at least have 5 playable minutes, a name and a small story.

I will really dedicate so I can do it, of course, the playable 5 minutes will be entirely with pixel art made by me and 2 or 3 musics also composed by me, I really think I can do it.

So… Zelda Souls, at least for the next month, is now called Midnight Journey! I’ve been thinking on having a story related to the night and/or dreams and I think that this is a suitable name, it can still change, but I hope I don’t need to.

PS: Some points that I don’t remember saying in any Zelda Souls posts, I want to try something called “unreliable narrator”, so maybe you will see me doing it in the posts when talking about the characters or the story. Also I want to present hidden information on the game, so the ones who pay more atention and look closely will be rewarded with more information about the world.

Main Character: The main character is called Ethan Wolstenholme, he has green eyes and light brown hair. He trained a little bit in sword combat but he is not very good at it, anyway he always carry a small dagger with him. I think he is not so smart but has a great mind, always helps the ones who need and is really strong, although he doesn’t look like a strong person.

The Playable 5 Minutes

Mechanics to Implement:

  • Dodging in Combat
  • Charge Attack
  • Getting experience when diyng
  • Save Points
  • User Interface that can show information on the tutorial
  • Boss Fight

Ideas: 

  • Cutscenes maybe can be described as Finite State Machines, each state will render some kind of animation and do some things.
  • Maybe the User Interface can also be described as a Finite State Machine, the state will tell if you are on battle, off battle or in a boss fight, the game render the interface according to this.
  • WTF I LOVE FINITE STATE MACHINES NOW

Main Menu: It will be a regular Main Menu with a beautiful art with the name “MIDNIGHT JOURNEY” and the options “New Game” and “Options”, maybe a “Credits” option. All HUD elements will be in Pixel Art and the music will be just a note progression on a scale that I will choose according to what sounds better to me, maybe I will add a melody on top of it.

New Game: 

Part 1 – Waking Up: After clicking New Game the screen goes black, and slowly you start seeing a scene, there is a random person laying down in the middle of the screen, in the grass. It’s really dark, it must be late at night, and yet, there is a strange feeling, it feels like this is not real, maybe this is just a Dream? (Note: This is the “tutorial” and it happens in Ethan’s dream). You can see something being written in the screen, dot by dot, really slowly you can just see a “…”, the person gets up and look around, he takes a step forward and look at the sky, Again, something in the screen “It is that day again? Oh…”.

Part 2 – Getting your Weapon: Finally you can control the character, as you walk forward the camera transitions and you can see a statue with a sword, you approach and a (?) mark appears on your character, it is a sign that you can interact with the statue, on the screen appears: “Looks like a sword…” (note: everything written in the screen will appear letter by letter really slowly) “Should I take it? > YES > No” – If the player choses YES you get the sword, if the player choses NO he will die when he finds the first monster lol, when he die the screen will show: “I should have gotten the sword…”

Part 2.5 – You Died: The first time you die you will se a message explaining that you get experience when you die, because we all learn with our mistakes and learning is the most valuable experience we can have.

Part 3 – Engaging in Combat: As you walk through the grass field you will find some really weak enemies that you can easily beat, it will teach you how to do a regular attack, a charge attack, heal yourself and dodge

Part 4 – Tutorial’s Boss: A really easy boss just so you can see how you a boss fight really is. It is guy with a strange weapon that seems to do some kind of trick, he is surrounded by death enemies and he himself doesn’t feel really great. You look closely to him and talk to him, he looks a little bit like a werewolf?

  • Ethan: “So… It’s happening again… Isn’t it?”
  • ??????: “Do you still have dreams?”
  • Ethan: “No.”
  • ??????: “Good.”
  • Ethan: “What about you?”
  • ??????: “It’s been a long time…”
  • Ethan: “…”
  • ?????? faces Ethan and wield his two swords: “… Sorry, it’s for your own good.”

And then the battle start and you should defeat him.

Part 5 – Wake me Up! – After beating the tutorial, the character will wake up in his bed, blink his eyes twice and the demo will be over.

I think this is everything that I will focus on for the next month starting tomorrow! I should hurry!