Design My personal experience with development

Discussion in 'Game Design, Development And Publishing' started by Bluetail7, Mar 3, 2019.

  1. Bluetail7

    Bluetail7 Member

    Jun 20, 2016
    Hi, in this topic I will explain my experiences with the development of my games and the things I learned back then.

    Chapter 1
    Creative side

    I remember finishing previous games such as the underworld 2013, 2014, AI Explorer, Batalla Naval.
    After making all of them: in my platformer games I learnt about the mix of controls and state machines, it was difficult and the process takes long than expected, you need to keep track of the gameplay and animations in order to link them together.
    Strategy and RPG games sure are difficult as you have to make your own world and statistics for your character, it has a difficult curve that I might explain later in this chapter.

    The underworld games.
    Most things used to be placeholders, one were kept in the final build and some were changed, don't be afraid to use them. The purpose is to see if your plan works in your game and if not, you can drop it without worring to use those assets.

    The character is a silluete, it's all about perspective and the animations take small changes, make it wrong or make it right, you see what you like, only few people will try and interpret the image projected on screen.

    The environment used to be blocks, it was everything about blocks like most games.

    I remember making bars as Health.
    A handicap meter for movement called Energy
    When I noticed how movement was very punishing, I decided to add the EX orbs that would refill your energy, these would refill depending of your health.
    The potions didn't take longer than 15 minutes to be drawn, it was an easy task.

    Yes, in case that you noticed, I used pre made assets that came with the engine. I decided to keep them as I was not skilled enough to animate them, this could be the placeholder that I never changed.​

    Game unlockables/consumables
    Things like currencies were the most difficult as I wanted the player to have everything in an easy way.
    Randomized currency might bring from the luckiest person to the most inopportune one, so I had to separate things and make two types. One where you would find it, no matter what, and the other that you won't have to worry to find that much.​

    Most gameplay is a connection to what you have drawn of your character: they can fly, walk or extend an arm. It depends the way you use it, add some context with your weapons.

    The character extends the arm.
    Did they found something? Are you about to do an attack? What might happen?
    This is what we mean by intuitive controls. The learning curve must go from slow and steady to a sudden WOOSH! and jump straight into action after you have mastered every single bit of it. The experienced you are, the easiest. But this is not about who's skilled or not, you must take care of the previous mentioned, not everyone has the same timing and or patience like others.

    One of my biggest mistakes when making the 2014 version was to mix a sequence like in fighting games and put it into a platformer, this is where I came to the conclusion to add a new character, making this sort of sequel into something people can practice at first. So I made a character that will adapt to your current state/position OR you adapt yourself to the things sorrounding you by doing that sequence.​


    Story is not involved in this post.
    Technical difficulties are not involved either.
    Costs weren't needed yet.
    Marketing wasn't applied.

    Next post might be about strategy games.
  2. Bluetail7

    Bluetail7 Member

    Jun 20, 2016

    Strategy and RPG games
    Batalla naval and AI TEXT Explorer
    "Making a text based rpg game might be easy" - Biggest mistake when starting the project.

    Things you need to know about this kind of games.

    The values/stats involved.
    The interaction with the player.
    The constant difficulty growth.
    The arsenal

    How to start?
    The goals!
    Is this a tower defense game? A casual adventure? An in depth rpg with complex story that involves using many characters per turn??

    All games require one thing.
    A life/defense/resistance indicator that will be used in the whole game.

    Common variables used in these games:
    HP, MP, Weapon Type, Bullets, Attack, Defense, Speed, Potions, Currency, Armor, Countdown/time left.

    The arsenal.
    if it's a tower defense game, you should add some contrast with your weapons/units as you need variations.
    Here are some to help you to start with something:
    Attack units
    Close combat, Ranged

    Defense units:
    Tank units, Explosive units

    if it's a rpg game where you get to choose your weapons based on ATK, DEF, SPD, make sure you add some interesting attributes such as poison/curse/luck, so people might not jump straight into the next weapon, without thinking twice.

    This is important as you might force the player to think on a proper strategy.
    The most common are:
    Water, Lava, Trap holes

    The will make either your units or the enemy to fall dead, be blocked into dead pits and attack in the distance.

    Difficulty growth:
    Games aren't meant to be hard. Not always...
    In most games like these, you will find two difficulty spikes:
    Time and Quantity.

    The longer it takes to finish a lever, the harder for the player to find a way out of their prison as they need to survive through difficulties.
    Quantity is important, if you throw a bunch of tank units to the player, it will take forever and cause a lot of anxiety, seeing how your troops fall dead one after the other, hoping you don't run out of units, be considerate with their ATK, DEF and SPD.

    How to use the 3 main stats without breaking easily?
    Well, there's no rule or proper guide for that, but I can tell you my trick:

    Basically we have to worry on the HP for both sides, and then the rest.
    Lets say we have these units, yours are left and the enemy is right side.

    Stats values:

    Attack = 5
    Defense = 3
    Speed = 10

    Attack = 3
    Defense = 2
    Speed = 5

    Attack = 1
    Defense = 1
    Speed = 2

    Your attack is 5 vs 2 = 3
    Your defense is 3 - 3 = 1 (since 0 is too OP)
    Your speed is 2

    Their attack is 3 vs 3 = 1 (since 0 is too OP)
    Their defense is 3 - 5 = 2
    Their speed is 10

    You deal 3 damage, get hit with 1 DMG and wait 5 turns until you can do something.
    The enemy deals 1 damage, gets hit with 3 DMG and takes 5 of your turns.

    Basically we have a strong Unit, but it takes 3 turns before we attack the enemy, meanwhile, we get hit.
    5HP vs 5HP, combat start.
    4HP vs 5HP
    3HP vs 5HP
    2HP vs 5HP
    1HP vs 2HP
    In this battle, we dealt a total of 3 DMG, while we got hit 5 times with 1 DMG.

    Tank units get beaten by speed and defense
    Sprint units get beaten with high attack and Speed
    Combat units get defeated with high attack and defense

    Play with the values and take continuous breaks as this might take a while, there are many paths to forge by adding status aliments.


    The interaction with the player is what makes all of these consistent, think the possible paths and difficulties that might come if they choose an option or another, most people usually aim for power, but some other will aim for speed (such as I)

    Keep in mind that I am missing the level growth, the GUI and Buttons explantation such as location/design.​
  3. Bluetail7

    Bluetail7 Member

    Jun 20, 2016
    Designing a character
    First of all, make sure you like both: drawing and the thing you are about to create.

    Designing characters for me, has been a simple task such as drawing stuff randomly and having a different perspective of things, it was mostly spontaneous and on accident, sometimes, I'd focus so much and spend more than a few hours to make a base and add proper colors that would identify that is my own.

    Characters are usually known for the level of detail put into it such as:
    Body Design
    Unique Weaponr
    Gameplay and context

    The game itself will make the character grow on its own, but you need to make it solid like a rock in order to call for interest.
    A character drawn for the simple purpose of existing is cool, but going in depth might attract players to play your game better.

    Body design:
    What is it? a human? a monster? a demon?
    What colors do you plan to use? do they make contrast with each other? are they easy to tell the difference?
    Is it easy to read the details? without being told what is what?

    is it a robot or character that takes multiple forms?
    if that is, make sure you have a lot of patience.

    Making small characters require of too much patience with perspective as people wouldn't be able to tell what part of the body is moving.

    Most characters need it in order to feel in the skin of the protagonist, they might feel connected at times and even like it, this might call for more people on it's own as they slowly learn about your game and spread the word.

    Don't rush the story, no matter how fast you want it done. Games with sequels, trilogies, etc. They deal with this problem of keeping consistency without going back in history, explain stuff, then go back to present. it becomes complicated if your previous releases aren't available as the current project is, make sure you find a way to tell history and keep it solid. Sometimes plot holes exist, but aim for what you want to explain in your game first.

    To make it easy to understand, first you need to make sure that the player will understand the environment, introduce the characters slowly, one by one, give them spotlights where they use their skills, so people understand what they do.

    Where do they come from? who made them? were it yours?
    does it have a spotlight such as a special feature? (see mgs bandana, cloud strike's sword passed from zack and others.)
    Even weapons have history and one example of this is on FF7 where the buster sword gets passed to two people in the same game until you reach the original one.
    Metal gear solid 3 uses this as you are being betrayed by your mentor, you take the bandana in the middle of the fight and keep till the end of the game as a memory.

    This might take a while to explain, because a lot of story is behind these, thing is: you can add a meaning to your weapons.

    Gameplay and context
    In order to present a videogame character you must have a solid character. One that will introduce you straight to the environment of the game and make you feel part of it, make sure that the mechanics are tested many time.
    Gameplay mechanics are the first thing that people will use and learn as the game proceeds, if it feels bad, they will most likely leave it in half of the game, don't make a broken game if you can do it better, otherwise, ask for feedback and support!

    Common problems:
    if people think its a bug: then it's a bug.
    if people find the controls hard to use: add control customization.
    if they are colorblind, make sure that you used proper contrast as being told earlier when designing your character colors.
  4. Bluetail7

    Bluetail7 Member

    Jun 20, 2016
    Chapter 2
    Development and reality

    Always start small, no matter how big the game is gonna be.
    It's okay to have an ambitious project in mind, but you must think in depth and see what you have right now.

    Game development isn't easy if you do all the work alone, it takes a while to develop a story, a character and a good level design that fits with the game mechanics, something that people wouldn't rage quit before they get into action.​

    • The first impression is important, no matter how minimalistic it is: if you put a lot of dedication in the first pages and keep it consistent, you might find yourself making more than just a game.
    • See the tools you have around, the skills you managed to learn, the resources in hand, the experience you have got so far.
    • Try to start small, so you won't lose interest and feel overwhelmed by the amount of work.
    • Keep yourself motivated, that's the key to keep going, think of a challenge everyday you wake up.

    Small goals let you reach your objective, if you are going for something big, then you must divide all the work into sections, it's not about the free time you spend to the extreme. Keep yourself sane and take breaks: hours, days, etc, but don't forget you want to continue.
    This is a project you started on your own, if you let it go, people won't be able to see the final result. Perhaps your thoughts may be lost, just like that complete game you wished for.
    A game is about projecting your ideas or dreams, maybe both, the point is: if you give up now, you are throwing a lot of potential through the window, along with the old self that wanted to make it.
    You can always come back and continue... or start over and take these resources, recycle and use it into something fresh, it's not about getting stuck in the same hole. You are supposed to be happy about it, not imprisoned by your own projects.

    You need to make sure you can spend a lot of time in the details, but this is not the matter when making a rough project, you can use placeholders, but remember, that won't make the best impression of your game.

    A background music helps to add life to the environment of your graphics, make it feel right, if the environment is lonely: use something calm or sad, depends of the context too; it will take some time to make it work properly, you can look at other projects and see by yourself how this works.

    Sound effects:
    The SFX make your game feel more realistic, but too much noise can distract the player. Keep it small, but noticeable. One of the most known sound effects come from Killer Instinct, the "ULTRA" scream at the end of the battle. Make good use of sound effects, use it to give feelings to your audience, such as rewards, powerups, etc.

    Game Mechanism & testing:
    The gameplay must be solid and consistent, don't throw all the mechanics all at once to the player: it's their first time playing your game. Remember that most developers grow skill on their projects and they might forget about the newcomers. The way I make this to work is by thinking dumb all of the time: "What might happen if I press this and that?", "What if I go the wrong way?", "Why it won't let me do both things at once?", "How do I get WHATEVER??", "How do I get through these spikes?", "How to play??"

    Game design:
    Keep the first levels easy, but not too much, make it interesting and kind of difficult, let the player enjoy the small things that your game can offer. The key is to make it look simple, then you can give them more power and reach places that they couldn't touch. if your game has a bug affected by the level design, then fix it through code first, but if you can fix both: that would be even better.

    Not all games need story, but if you are going to implement one: make sure you are clear with the goals and objectives, don't lose the message, keep it consistent and easy to understand.

    Make sure to use little resources, don't go to the extreme either, but keep things optimized as you can, people will appreciate it. The way you distribute your game matters, try to not use many redirection links or ads, but if you do, don't overuse it or the interest might get lost.

    Keep people updated with their feedback, if you implemented something related to them, let them know. Always listen to them. Keep yourself focused on the goals and find some time to make a solution to these problems.

    Critique yourself:
    Don't be too hard either or you might lose interest. Seek what you like so far about your game, what you don't. The things should be added right now and the stuff that can wait later. Make sure you make something you want to play.

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