Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Breakdown And Reality of Game making

General info post.

A Lot of people ask me, "Just what does it take to make a game" or "How long does it take?"

Well, i seek to answer these questions

First: "What does it take?"

This boils down to what you're trying to do, a simple 2d game focusing purely on the gameplay over flash can be made fairly easily and rapidly, though it has drawbacks, this is mainly used to test concepts

A Game combining a bit of polish with solid or unique gameplay can be done fairly fast, with a bit of testing afterward, a good example of this is Audiosurf, it has VERY simple 3d graphics, Simple, easy to learn gameplay and controls, but is very unique and challenging, with a large variety of game modes. Games in this category are the common "Cheap" retail games - focusing on uniqueness and wide popularity to be successful, the low cost also means it's easier for someone to splurge on them, as it's easier to set aside the 5-15$ for one of these massive-replay titles, than the 60$ or so too many modern games cost

In a similar vein, we have the MMO Category, these games are purely multiplayer, rarely with singleplayer options, ranging from free games supported by micro-transactions, the best of these not allowing players to buy power, relying on great gameplay to not need it (League of Legends)  or requiring a monthly fee to play, but offering constant content updates to keep players interested (World of Warcraft and Champions Online being prime examples) they can be quickly made (to an extent) because you can release content to them over time, the whole game world can be planned out in advance, the game can release with a portion of it, and you add the rest as you progress the games storyline over the course of it's life (In the case of major MMO's, this can be upwards of 5 years)

And finally, the Pure retail games, these are the 20$+ Titles that typically feature short singleplayer gameplay, backed up by multiplay options to justify their high cost (Halo) - Or, they are games purely singleplayer, but with hundreds of options in play to give them massive replay value (Mass Effect, I'm looking at you). These games have hundreds if not thousands of hours of development, and hundreds upon hundreds of hours of testing before release, usually featuring dev teams of ten or more people

As a solo developer, you have a ton of responsibility, you have to do everything yourself, for some people this works out very well, for others it's endless stress

For me, it's a hobby, which brings me to the next point:

"How long does it take?"

For my current Project, without a dev team to help me currently, it looks like this:

Days 1+2 = Theme, Design sheets, Basic layouts, Menu Design and testing

Days 3+4 = Basic sprite design, Initial alpha graphics

Days 5+6 = Alpha sprite design, Initial coding and testing, Final menu layouts

Days 7+ = Coding, Final sprite design, Final graphic art, Alpha testing

Beta testing follows, with final tweaking and bugfixing during, Before the final release or Retail Availability

Which brings me to "Why haven't you updated, then?"

Because, for the 5-end period i wont be doing pure-text updates

Why? Because typing these out, editing all the images for a post and going from there after uploading everything is a chore, instead, once i find a good desktop capture program i'm going to be recording these into video form for Youtube, i can cram a lot of info into 15 minutes of video and audio

Yes, I'll still be doing these in text form, I'll just also be doing video-form ones and releasing them with each post, this makes it easier to go into detail and really show what i mean, and what i achieve in short bursts of time

For now, just sit tight, I'll be more active soon - i Promise.
-Zere

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