Mon 5 Jan 2009
As amateur game makers, we tend to play a game and feel “I know I can do better than that!”. So we may want to make a game that surpasses it in every way. More quests, more playable characters, more optional bosses, more gameplay hours, things like that. However, that’s not the best way to approach game making, and could in fact both hold you back and possibly make you quit the project.
It is important, especially for your first project, to set realistic goals. 60+ Hour games should not be on your mind. Short and fun is what we’re aiming for. For the first project, I’d use it to experiment with the program, rather than make your dream project. It’s best to tackle on the dream project once you have more experience, and have learned how to do the things you want to.
If you are making an RPG (which is my main interest), you do not have to use the “save the world” story. It’s not the only story available, and it’s going to pretty much automatically force in some cliches and a bigger game. There are short stories which could be fun too! It all depends on the execution of it.
Once you have completed a few short projects, you’ll get a better sense of how long certain parts take, how to do things that you couldn’t before, or doing them faster, things like that. If you’re a good coder, you can even reuse code, making future games simpler.
If the project is too long, then the more likely that you’ll find other projects that you want to work on more. You will have a lot of other ideas, and they’ll start sounding more tempting, especially when you’re deep into the work in one project and aren’t quite close to finishing yet. Planning is nice, but you don’t want to plan for something that would be too much to handle.
Making even a few minutes of gameplay can take hours. You’ll want to take the time to playtest, and do it often during the development, not just once afterwards. Kill bugs early. For example, a very old game I made, which was an Action RPG. I pretty much almost finished making the game, without too much testing. When I did some heavy testing at the end, I realized that you had to face right to attack left, and facing left meant you couldn’t attack left. This was a big bug, that I’d have to fix in all of the maps I made. Had I found it early, it would have taken me little time.