So yeah! I want to develop a game and do every part of it myself. This is partly because I don’t have many friends who’d be interested (or in general), but more because I really want to learn and improve at all the various skills involved. The genre is 3D sci-fi point-and-click adventure game. Mostly story and character driven, with simple puzzles, and a trippy low-poly artsy aesthetic.
Here are the skills that seem to be necessary:
- 3D modeling / rigging / shading / lighting
- Animation / fx
- Knowledge of game engines (Unity, for me)
- Programming / scripting / pipeline dev
- Writing / story / dialogue
- Scientific knowledge (it’s sci-fi, but can’t be too nonsensical)
- Art direction / aesthetic design
- Level/puzzle design
- Sound design
- Music composition
- Marketing / distribution / self-promotion / general icky stuff
The technical side doesn’t worry me too much, especially using Unity, and the awesome Unity plugin AdventureCreator. There’s a lot to learn, but the scope seems manageable. I’ve got a fair amount of experience in Maya, so building assets should be fine too.
The most challenging aspect is the writing and design side. I was never a writer, as you may have guessed from reading this. Words are tricky. Well, compelling words are tricky, anyway. But storytelling is the best, and the story for the game has been floating around in my head for several years. So I have to try! For a while, I wasn’t sure of the right format for it. There is too much exposition and backstory and dialogue for an animated short, and I was already in love with too many animated shot ideas to make it a static comic.
Then I played Grim Fandango a few months ago, and remembered how much I like adventure games and visual novels! It’s a wonderful format – you can add in as much boring exposition as you want, but hide it away so the player only needs to read it if they feel like clicking around. (I’m an obsessive clicker-around.) The story advances regardless, but the world-building is there and makes it a potentially richer experience.
And you still get to make some sweet animated cutscenes. AND indie games, in my opinion, can get away with being scrappier than animated shorts, where a high level of polished quality is often expected. Scrappiness can be charming. This is good for me. Noodling is boring. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Nights and weekends only. And my social life is currently in the toilet, which is a whole other project, too.
As for art direction and level design and etc. – I have some idea of what I want, but bringing to life a fully-realized world with interesting artistic appeal is difficult, of course. Just trying to figure it out as I go. Get something basic in first, refine and refine and refine the look later. Sound design and music – I do have some experience with this, but will think about it later.
Marketing and distribution? UGH. Later too. If ever. At least I made this blog.
So – the blog is intended to be part progress updates, part incoherent musings on storytelling and game design, and part documentation of my various attempts and failures at learning a few new skills.