Hey there! It's been a WHILE. The last time I wrote a post, it was the end of 2017. I'll be honest: I lost the motivation to keep writing. It's not that my interest dwindled or that I stopped staying up-to-date on industry news, it's just that I am such a perfectionist when it comes to writing posts that it started becoming a huge production every time I wanted to write. I was proofreading, finding photos, inserting links, etc. instead of focusing on the content and enjoyment that drove me to start the blog in the first place. Here's what's been going on:
- I'm still at Two Bit Circus, and we're set to open in a couple months. Very exciting!
- Instead of focusing on applying to an MFA program for game design, I am taking the advice I've been given by working designers that I just need to MAKE SHIT.
- Along those lines, I've stopped wasting my time waiting for night classes to be made available at my local community college, and am now enrolled in a VR Development Nanodegree through Udacity, as well as a continuing ed class focused on learning Unity through UCLA Extension.
- To help push me to learn as quickly as possible, I also joined My First Game Jam: Summer 2018. It's a two week jam focused on absolute beginners. Before finding this jam, I generally ignored game jams because of the fact that while some say they welcome beginners, there's generally no real way for a complete beginner to actually participate. The jam officially started on July 14th, 2018 (yesterday), which brings us to the meat of the post.
To help document my design process, I'm going to be creating a daily devlog of my progress on the game. So far, I've come up with the general mechanic of my game, and have started hunkering down on learning how to actually make a game in Unity. I am using Unity 2018.1.Of2 Personal.
- I chose to accept the prompt from Itch.io of water as a theme. I'm currently calling my game Inverted Seas, and the basic mechanic centers around the fact that you are swimming through an Ocean that's in the sky, and the open sky is actually on the bottom of the screen. You navigate the ocean with platformer-style mechanics, but will often need to drop down into the sky, where you use a grappling to swing on floating obstacles and flying creatures before bringing yourself back into the water. The idea is that you use the quick sky platforming and the slower underwater platforming to navigate levels, evade enemies, and reach the end.
- As I wrote the description above, I had the following ideas:
- I thought of how to simplify the game to help ensure I can get it done in time. Instead of having a battle system on top of everything else (I keep having to remind myself that I'm literally learning how to make everything as I go), this is going to be a more peaceful platformer focused on reaching the end of each level. There will be enemies, and you will have health, but the goal is to navigate the level and avoid pitfalls and enemy damage so you can reach the end. Perhaps you are an explorer on an alien world and have been told to explore the floating oceans to understand what is making them float and how this may be applied to basically increase the storage capacity of resources on earth since you can basically float an entire planet's worth of water in the sky.
- As you progress through the levels, the enemies do progressively more damage, meaning that the difficulty increases as you go. Maybe insert plot points where you get a better suit for each level (I'm thinking I can only make three short ones and that's incredibly optimistic) since creating an upgrade system would be way too complicated
Alrighty! Since I just came up with all of that while I was writing, I think that's a good indication of why I should keep writing my process out. I'm someone who is constantly creating things in my head, and to actually write it out makes me focus on specific ideas long enough to consider whether they're good, feasible, etc., as well as allowing me to iterate and refine. I'm going to spend the next few days, and hopefully no more than a week, learning absolutely everything I can on how to start making any of these concepts work. I have the Adobe CC suite and Maya for creating any assets, and I also purchased FL Studio 20 (the Fruity edition) to create game music. To learn how to use Unity, I am using the Udemy course The Ultimate Guide to Game Development with Unity, as well as a Udemy course Sound like a Pro: The Basics of FL Studio & EDM Production for creating the game music. Game music will be a plus, and anything beyond sound effects will get attention if I have time.
Breakdown of the last two days:
7/14/18- Yesterday was an absolute wash. I was so intimidated by the idea of creating SO much that I've never made before, I just sat and watched the entire first season of Stranger Things.
7/15/18- I had the same paralysis today and started work at about 8 pm. It's 11:43 pm as I write these words and came up with the designs above. I'm in Section 4, Lecture 13 in my Unity game dev course on Udemy. I'm trying to get an idea of how to write basic C#, as well as plug in assets and sprites. Once I know that, I can start creating the framework of my game.
That's it for tonight! I'm going to plug away for as long as I can without sleep, and then really make sure I continue with (documented) progress every single day. My knee-jerk reaction is to just bail when things feel overwhelming and impossible, but I need to develop a thicker skin if I'm going to work in gaming. I am committed to submitting something by the end of two weeks, and I'm going to work my hardest to make sure that I'm submitting my absolute best work. I chose to not work as a team so that I could learn the dev process from different aspects, so I am hoping to improve significantly in both my knowledge and execution by the end of this jam across the technical and artistic spectrums of game development. Thanks for reading!