Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gentlemen of Leisure

Some days I swear I have ADD; I seem to be able to come up with the idea for a new game at the drop of a hat, inspired sometimes by the most unlikely sources. Other times, I see a new game I like and I think "Hey, wouldn't it be cool to do something like that." Now to be fair, most of these ideas are fleeting (and crap) but sometimes I come up with a gem. In fact, I come up with far too many so that it's difficult to decide which one to start working on next.

I have a document titled "Game Ideas 2012" that I use to keep track of game ideas that I have had so far this year as well as those of my artist, Ian Maclean. There are far more good ideas in that document that I can possibly work on, and I always want to start on two or three, with the current favorite depending on such factors as what mood I am in on a particular day. I only wish I had the time and resources to work on multiple projects.

This kind of analysis paralysis, as many of you will know, is extremely counterproductive. By prevaricating and procrastinating on which game to work on next, no work gets done at all.

So. In order not to just spin my wheels indefinitely I had to come up with a concrete plan. My last blog post actually provided some of the seeds for this plan, which I shall detail below.

The first part of the grand plan is to pick one of the game designs and flesh it out into a full plan. The second part of the plan is to start working on better PR. From my observations it seems that a game being good (or at least not terrible) isn't enough. I've seen good games fall by the wayside and not so good games go on to great success and all combinations thereof, examples being VVVVV, Hack Slash Loot, Cthulhu Saves the World, Magnetic Billiards, They Must Be Fed and Cave Story. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader as to which game fits into which category.

So, without further ado, it's time to make a decision. Our next game is going to be an old school flick-screen platform adventure games along the lines of the old ZX Spectrum game Universal Hero.

Universal Hero (ZX Spectrum)
The new game (with the working title of "Shattered") is in the early planning stages right now. Obviously we don't just want to regurgitate a standard platform adventure without attempting to bring something new to the genre. We won't go into great detail as to what we will be bringing, simply because it's still in flux. In the meantime, we do have an early work-in-progress screenshot of one of the earlier screens in the game. Bear in mind that this is a work-in-progress. The final game should look much better. However, there is some benefit to documenting our progress both for the benefit of ourselves and others.

"Shattered" WIP 
Sure, it might not look like much yet, but remember it's only a very early shot. Hell, we don't even have the game engine in place yet. Right now we're mainly fleshing out the story and working on the look and feel we want for the game. It may well change radically before long. And if and when it does, you'll be able to read about it here.

So - other news? Ian, the artist, liked my last blog post ranting about us describing ourselves as Gentlemen Game Developers(TM), that he ran with it, coming up with this awesome logo.

"We're not indies, we're gentlemen game developers"

It still needs a few tweaks here and there, but it's pretty close to being done. I'm really happy with it. It will make a fine public image for this and future projects. In the meantime, I thoroughly recommend taking a look at Ian's website for other examples of his fine artwork - especially if you need a versatile and very reasonably priced artist to work on your project.

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