GGDevCast is a Brazilian podcast about game development that airs every Thursday. We felt honoured, they said good things about our game. This is awesome, motivating, and at the same time makes me think “We really have to do this right!”. It also felt great hearing that someone understood our story even though we have been minimal on our website.
We are taking a top-down approach for Future Flashback. We wrote a story, and telling it in the adventure genre felt natural. When looking for tools, I eventually found Adventure Game Studio. It has all the ready-to-use objects that I like from RPG Maker, but for adventure games. It’s also powerful enough to let you ditch any ready-made objects so that you can create your own, with a very easy to use scripting language.
You can use the default adventure elements to prototype the story and the environment, then take your time refining the gameplay and replacing default objects and methods with what works best for the game. It works really great with pixel graphics too, which is a plus since it’s the aesthetic that we are going for. While I didn’t know Adventure Game Studio or its scripting language a year ago, it has a friendly learning curve that means the hardest part is often deciding what design works best instead of what can I code.
This is my favorite development strategy, the “ship of Theseus strategy” (as coined by eri0o), where I have a good set of defaults for creating and I can replace each part at my own pace. New parts can be different and enable me to move forward, while the old parts provide a safety net that, if something is too hard to replace, I can leave as-is and work around. This approach gives me a predictable development path where I know I can advance if only a little each day.
The predictable pace of development gives me the tranquillity to explore and iterate on the design, while being able throw ideas (and code) away because I know they are easy to explore. Since I am not the only person using the tool, I also have access to ready-made code that helps me iterate faster until I’m ready to cut the unneeded parts or polish them to fit our vision for the game.
(Thanks Gurok for helping me with English and Henrique with focus!)
I’m making this post just to share the steps that I usually do for a background creation:
Adding local colors
Creating the objects
Lighting and color correction
Please note that it’s not a guide, as the process can change according to the background style. For organic environment like fields and forests, I usually don’t do wireframes. I start using big shapes instead.
P.S. [I promise someday I will fix baseball mirror]
In Future Flashback, you will be playing as Kyle. Let me get his basic description from the Game Design Document. I will just remove the spoilery parts.
Kyle is the main character and XXX XXXX XXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXX. Kyle is obsessed with his past, he is an ex-neurosurgeon, XXXXXXX XXXXXX XXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX XXX XXXXXXX, XXX XXX, XX XXXXX XXXXXXX XXXXXX XXXXX XXXXXX. Kyle also has studied and read a lot, and while working he was financially comfortable. After XXXXXXX XXXXXXX XXXX XXX XXXX, drinking more XXX XXXXXX XX XXX XXXXX. Kyle went on to find drugs that in his mind he believes would help him, XXX XXXXX XXXXXXX XX XXX XXXXXXX XX XXX XXXX XXXXXX XXXXXXX XXXXXX. But XX XXXX XXX XXXXX XXXX XX XXXXXXX XXX XXXXXXXXX XXXX XXX XXXX XXXX. Kyle is also a selfish person. Visual: Kyle wears long sleeved and neck shirts, hiding marks of XXXX XXX, and wears mostly serious clothing, reminiscent from XXX XXXXXXX XXXX, but they are not ironed – he would be without money or will to have his clothes ironed.
OK, turns out he is very central to the story and I can’t reveal much about him. As you play Future Flashback and solve the puzzles in the game, you will be gaining access to more and more of his memories.
Now is a good time to remind that everything posted here is not final until the game ships, and this will take years. If you like what you read here, please tell the people you know.