Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Back for an update.

Hey!  It's been a while.

A few things for this post; I have done a little bit of personal research for my project; I have drawn a few things and I have done some more things.  Let's have a look at all of this, shall we?

Personal Research.
I went to an independent games store the other week and had a good chat about the things that they look for in the games that they sell.  I didn't want to go to Games Workshop because we all know that they love their product and no other and we should buy everything in the store whenever we go which should be every week.  I digress.
I wanted to go to an independent store so that there were a lot of different games to choose from and talk about.  I wanted basic things - their favourite art directions, mechanics, figure models, card layouts, etc.  It was pretty productive and I got a lot out of it.

In terms of figures, dynamic poses were preferred.  The things that bugged them most was detail distribution on some figures.  Although the figures themselves were of a pretty good design and to a great standard, the fact that there were big, bare patches in some places and tightly packed detail in other, less conventional, places was a big put off.

For art direction, steampunk was a favourite.  Much to my dislike.  What they also liked was the idea of an alternate universe.  Not necessarily an alien planet in a different time, but the idea of what our planet would look like now if technology had taken different steps in the past.  That's what I thought was a little more interesting.  The same company that had a questionable detail distribution on its figures also lost out on this category, too.  Mostly because of the detail distribution again - whether this was still the figures they were talking about or whether the art suffers from the same decisions they did not make clear.

However, this game was at the top of their ease-of-play list.  They said that the appeal was that the basic rules were easy to pick up and it was the tactics and subtle playing methods that were harder to learn.  The fact that you can pick up the game and get stuck in was the catch.  The idea of putting a lot of time into the game to get to know it better and, thus, become a better player is an option, but it is not a necessary requirement.

Finally, the overall opinions of the games.  The favourite game was chosen because of the weapons included in it, more than anything else.  Old weapons like spears and bows and arrows; creatures that are fantastical and - sometimes - aflame; magic and spells and the likes.  All of these were appealing because it's a backwards technology.  Something very primal and brutish, almost.

The least favourite was chosen because of expense.  While the game may be good and fun and offer something that others don't, the fact that it was a fair money sink to get into was something that held nearly all of the guys back.  No-one wants to pay a lot of money to find out that they don't really like the mechanics or ideals of the game.  Which is fair enough.  It almost makes talking about in-game sales topical.  Almost.

One of the things that the guys liked in a game was the ability to tailor the rules to a certain situation.  If the game is based on controlling an army, it's nice to have rules that can bend to accommodate a small skirmish.  If the idea of a game is to go all out offensive and try to beat you opponent to the ground, then maybe rules for a defensive game would be fun to make - based on the rules of the main game itself.  Or if it's a sports game, how possible would it be to think of a different sport entirely and modify some rules for that?

X-Wired Games.
Last night I had a great few hours talking through my ideas with a good friend of mine who is also a skilled programmer.  It's a bittersweet conversation whenever we talk - I tell him what I want to do and he (more often than not) tells me why it's not as possible as I first thought.  See; being a designer, I can draw and think up magical ideas and game mechanics and story lines and characters and interactions and an array of other things without limit!  I believe the adage is something like the only thing that limits me is my imagination.

But then with a programmer, I'm grounded.  I'm kept this side of reality.  And I love that.  I need that.

The worst thing that I could think of is getting to the end of the year and having an idea that I want to pitch only have a developer tell me that it wouldn't work and then go on to the next presentation.  I'm wanting to keep at a basic level for as long as I can so that the core mechanics can be worked out and the foundations of the game can be created.

Call of Duty.  You walk around.  You point at things you want to shoot.  You click to shoot them.  Everything else is detail.  Everything else is an addition to those core pieces of the puzzle.

This is what I need to get.  I need to get the basic pieces of the puzzle that is my game idea and I need to get them prototyped.  It is said that with Unity, you "Build once, deploy anywhere".  The beauty of Unity is that with the core mechanics running, it is a few tweaks away from being copied and used on a different platform.  Or so I believe.

So my homework for today - or uni work if we're going to get pedantic - is to break my game down into the very basic components.  With that, I am to make a list of all things things associated with these components, such as interactions with other components, qualities, why they are important, etc.

One of the things that I'm going to be looking at is the ability to craft items.  One of the ideas of the game is that you, as Subject 86, can collect, store and combine items to make things that you think you'll need.  Sort of like Minecraft meets Monkey Island and then they meet D&D and Magic the Gathering and have this lovechild.

That's a bit weird.


I did these:

This is the Haemogoblin.  It's a misspelling of Haemoglobin.  That's why it's funny.  I drew out this guy as a placeholder for a better drawing.  Sometimes I have ideas that I really like and then I find that within a week, someone's gone all Extraction on me and gone into my dream safe, grabbed the idea and then drawn it.  No-one ever admits it, though.

So one of my favourite artists, Jouste (Jesse Turner) drew a Terror Former.  The idea is a Cordyceps-inspired infection that attacks space explorers.  He drew a really nice infected bloke and it seems that one of my guys got a little too close for comfort.  And safety.
He's now more than likely a mindless drone; milling round the galaxy and helping the spores reach anything and everything that it can use to further its spread.

I'm going to draw some more.  I need to warm up somewhat.


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