Hardcore 2D RPG Gamedev Diaries, vol.0 - INTRO, or "how did I get here"
Before turning to the practical part and directly to the development diary, let's remember childhood.
“DENDY” and “SEGA”, robocop and batman, Mortal Kombat, Comix Zone, fighting toads, games about ninja turtles and cool cartoons of the 80s and early 90s. It is this time and the memories that make the heart beat faster and feel the pleasant warmth in the chest.
Do not forget the Sony playstation and its Dino Crisis, Resident Evil, Tekken. And of course, lamp games began the development of the game industry, DOOM, Max Payne, NFSU, Serious Sam. I will not dive into the analysis of everything that is dear to us, although I really want to, this is not about this.
It is about the past, present and future.
We are not born with a ready-made dream, we are forming, we gain experience, we find what we are interested in and start doing it (if we are lucky). As a rule, to find what you are interested in is the most difficult thing in life. There is a lot of “and if”, doubts and uncertainties in one’s own strength. But admit to yourself, many of us dreamed of making games or being somehow involved in this. We grew up at the best time, new genres appeared, consoles, technologies and development went very fast. But there was something special about what distinguishes old games from 95% of new titles ... soul.
The creators did not set out to extort money from the players, they wanted people playing their games to have fun.
This is very romantic, unfortunately in our reality it is very difficult, because without commercial success the developer will not be able to improve his project, make an advertising campaign and attract more players, players for whom his game is made. But the idea of doing something unique, unique and investing a lot of effort, and most importantly, getting a decent response to your work is a worthy goal.
Many have not tried to go this way, the reason is not important, the fact is important. Who am I to condemn them? All I can do is stay true to myself and my dream.
Make games, make cool games, do the damn best games in the world!
What is needed for this? - be able to program and draw, know English.
I was lucky, I already knew how to draw, everything was fine with English, it remains to learn how to write code. I did not think about the engines, the platform and many points, I just did not know and it was not yet time. Having received a crust from courses at the age of 13, I already knew flash, PS, Pascal and began to improve my drawing skills on PC.
I understood that this is not enough, I am missing something and I can not make the game. After studying for a programmer, a web designer and working as a stock illustrator, I was not where I wanted to be.
Becoming a creative director in an advertising and marketing firm, I realized one thing. This is not what I want to do. That was the impetus, I had a passive income and a lot of experience creating a visual, plus the experience of a marketer.
I heard about anrial, but then he was still paid, then a unit came out, a small revolution took place. I used to make mods for NWN2 and Titan Quest, it was fun, but I didn’t understand how to put experience into practice, just a hobby.
And yet, I decided to try myself as a game designer, my head was full of ideas and enthusiasm lane over the edge (to this day it is).
It is easy to find a team and an interesting project, to complete the project - it is impossible with a probability of 99%. Often young teams are enthusiastic, but they lack the experience, the experience to bring things to the end. Most of the errors happen at the initial stage, the stage of elaboration of the idea, very few people tritely wrote down all the chips in a Google document or notebook and even fewer those who make a development plan. Often, everything turns into chaos with constant alterations and total misunderstanding “who needs this game, for whom it is”. I worked with more than 70 teams and only 1 team knew what their project was and they “had some kind of plan and they adhered to it”.
It was a great school, my little aquarium, like a fry, I swam with other fellows, but sooner or later everyone becomes crowded, you need access to the open sea ...
Before moving on, you need to understand what I can do and who I need, or more precisely, what skills I lack. I had no problems creating the entire visual part of the project, except for animations and 3D models, so I decided to develop a 2D project and learn how to do 2D animations ... I thought it was easier than 3D, a big mistake, but more on that later. As a result, the conclusion was one, I need a coder, not just a coder and not just a skill, but a person who will be ready to step on a rake, but to go on and not stop, a person who can grow and develop with me, I needed a full-fledged partner. It took a year, the seeker will find ... it was worth a lot of effort and a lot of time, but I found such a person.
Now there are two of us, we are a team.
When a person reaches a certain level of knowledge, he realizes that his knowledge is very small and there is much to learn. From this moment begins the history of the development of my idea, which has turned into our game. Hundreds of hours of training, patience and perseverance and the necessary skills to start developing were obtained. Now I can create the entire visual part of the game, effects, UI, art and animation, scene cut and video. From that moment on, development really began.
There is nothing more important than a game design document, but it can only be made up with development experience, based on your mistakes and omissions. I did not have a game design document and still do not have it for this project, and for two people it is not very necessary.
And what you need?
- visualization and infographics for the project, simple and clear.
- clear segregation of duties and responsibilities
- once a week
- development planning
- internal testing and analysis
At a certain stage, an ordinary Google document helped a lot, in which hotfixes were written and their implementation was monitored by ordinary comments.
Lesson one, organization.
Being “creative in kind” on my heels was chaos, he was in all my actions related to creativity, chaos grew into order when it was already becoming inconvenient to look for “everything in the pile”. This is possible and can be convenient when you are alone and we are a team. My partner quickly enough put the thought “organize the files and the work will be faster” into my bowler, he did it with great effort, but it was worth it. The correct and clear hierarchy on the stage, the general rules of the project structure, it is these moments that simplify the work at times, not to mention the loading of commits to git. Working in separate branches of the repository is not new and immediately understandable, the question is how to correctly form commits, what tasks to take on this branch / commit and not to be dispersed, it is easier to catch a bug if it appears. Someone information will seem insignificant, but it is an established organization,
Lesson two, change is good.
Do not be afraid to redo something, this is normal. When we master a new skill, at the very beginning it does not work very well, but over time the result gets better and I want to correct “that horror” and make it beautiful.
Do it right. The main thing is to know when to stop, this is exactly the problem with indie developers, endless modifications, changes, and as a result, fantasy RPG turns into a fighting game or car racing through mud. The task is not to change the concept, but to improve old practices, such as animation.
And so we smoothly approached the announcement of the practical part of the development diary.
We will talk about the complexities and subtleties of creating animation for Unity in the next article. Consider the programs, methods, options. Let us consider what is simpler and faster than 2D or 3D.
PS The introduction turned out to be long, not without romance, but at the same time quite mundane. There will be a lot of practice and analysis of specific examples and situations, of course it will be interesting to game developers and those who want to be.
The first step is the most difficult, but it determines the path.
The choice is yours.