Developing a video game without a long-term vision

I've been doing a lot of work on Game Maker Studio, my favorite game engine, for the past month:

  • Creation of a camera for two players with dynamic split screen (I have a tutorial coming up on this, but I don't hide you that it's long)
  • Setting up the movement and collisions of the characters
  • Test to create a level with a fake 3D inspired by FEZ
  • Development of floating texts to display the damage inflicted
  • Ability to collect loot from the fresh corpse of an enemy

I spent a lot of time developing (which I haven't done in a while, and I still love it) which made me realize that I shouldn't go on without having a clearer goal of what my game is going to look like.

Why do I need to define the concept of my game?

I still don't know where I'm going. I wrote in my first article that this was going to be my next step to find a game concept, and I put it aside because I was too busy coding. I have many ideas in my head, from rogue lite to horror game to city builder, but I haven't decided anything yet. It goes without saying that as time goes by, my ideas change and evolve, a game mechanic that I find interesting today may very well end up in the trash tomorrow. Likewise, a graphic style that burns my retina may turn into a pet peeve. After all, changing my mind is quite normal, it's part of the creative process (and especially of my personality). The real benefit behind the definition of the concept is to be able to communicate better and manage my time better.

Developing is good, developing a specific idea is better.

Clément after 1 month of tinkering with lines of code

Communicate about my game

One tip I've seen come up a lot on videos and articles talking about video game marketing is to be able to describe your game in one sentence. My goal is to sell my game, so if I can't talk about it or describe it because I don't have a concept, it's pretty embarrassing. Today, I'm just "the guy who develops", which is cool, but it doesn't really allow me to hook a community. I'd like to be "the guy who develops this particular game", so I can talk to people who like this particular type of game and start selling my game.

Optimize my development time

In the same way, without knowing which mechanics I should add or not, it is impossible for me to create a semblance of a roadmap. It is then complicated to have an idea of the progress of the project. I could spend my days creating all the possible and unimaginable camera types for fun, but 99% of my work would be unused in the final version of the game.

How I chose the concept for my video game

So here I am. I've taken over Game Maker Studio 2, which will allow me to develop a game. I've taken over Aseprite, which will allow me to design a game. I have a website and social networks that will allow me to communicate about my game. Now I have to answer the following question: What game will I create? And from this famous question will come a hundred thousand others:

  • What do I want to create?
  • What experience do I want to offer?
  • Is it a single or multiplayer game?
  • What is the goal of the game? How do you win? In fact, can you win?
  • What is the graphic style of the game?
  • How do you move your avatar? By the way, do we have one avatar? More than one? No avatar at all?
  • In what universe is the game set? More futuristic? Medieval fantasy?
  • Do I have to write a script? A complete story?
  • Do I want to tear up friendships at game nights or encourage players to cooperate?

So many questions for so few answers. I saw an image on this article that inspired me, I will try to use it to clarify my thoughts.

The magic recipe for choosing your game

The magic recipe for choosing your game

  • Games I want to make : PvP oriented MMORPG in a medieval fantasy world
  • Games I want to play : Action games in cooperation with my friends
  • Games I'm goot at making : In 2D with pixel art
  • Games I want to have made : World of Warcraft, without hesitation

If I push it a little bit further, if I mix my answers with my desires, my ideas or my problems, the result is to create a 2D multiplayer RPG in pixel art in a medieval fantasy universe. That's the idea I'm going to focus on.

The next steps in the creation of my game

I'm going to open Obsidian in the next few days to write down my ideas and visualize more easily what I really want or can accomplish. I also have to do something I don't like to do: put ideas aside. First, I'll have to isolate the essential elements from those that can be added as a bonus or simply deleted: for example, my future game doesn't need a weather system to be playable, it's not an essential element of RPG gameplay. Once this sorting is done, I'll have the choice between : setting up a game loop, defining a graphic style, finding and writing the story...

See you later!

Clément 'Indieklem' Jacquelin - Author
Clément "Indieklem" Jacquelin

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