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Take Two!

I've decided that enough is enough! I've worked on so many games that only got 3/4s finished. Now it's time for a take two. I've selected 10 projects that are functional but needs some extra love to get them over the finish line. I'll select one to start!

Over the last four years, I've probably started 50 personal projects whose goals were to teach me something about making games. Whether it was to learn a design or programming concept, I've started many projects and have never finished them.

I've gotten a few very close! I've started video tutorials on how to make some, I've shared progress on YouTube but none of the games have been release ready. So, I've decided that enough is enough. I want to start a company! I need a finished game.

I came up with a plan to go through all these games I've started and analyze them a bit to see which ones I can publish. And my goal is to pick one of them and finish it! Once it's done I am going to publish it on steam or an appropriate gaming platform.

The games that I considered revamping and getting to publish are ones that are already on my YouTube account. I chose these ones because I thought it'd be cool to create videos on fixing them up and showing the process of taking a prototype and turning it into a published game. All of the games below you can find on my channel here.

The Games:

Snowflake Dash

Snowflake Dash was my very first video game at school. I had a take a class that was largely about rapid skill acquisition and how you can learn a skill very quickly. This class gave me a lot of confidence in my abilities to rapidly prototype a game idea in Unity even though I never used the engine before. This game was not great, but I am proud of it. I programmed and designed this game all on my own.

The game isn't a great one! But it's a good mini-game and would only need tweaking. I could largely keep the mechanics the same, I would change the art since it is not my art. I would also change a lot of the HUD. This game doesn't have a gameplay loop. When you open the build it starts this scene and then when you win or lose you have to close the game to restart it. This would be an easy game to re-do and I could probably do it quickly with little to no help from others, even on the art side of things.

Asteroids!

In my first game programming class at school, we created a clone of asteroids, though some of the mechanics differed it was largely the same as the original game. In this game, you can fly around using tank controls, the asteroids bump into each other, the asteroids kill the player if they touch them and you can shoot the asteroids to destroy them. There is so much that I would add to this game if I were to re-do it. These art assets are from kenny.nl, they are really great for prototyping but I would want to update the art for publishing a game like this.

I'd also want to add much more gameplay. While this is a great start for someone's first game it needs more to get publish-ready. I would think a lot about the gameplay experience and what sort of experience I want to provide. In general, I do not want to make a generic game. I want to add a twist or something that makes it unique. I would probably try to explore how to make this game more interesting and a fuller experience for players. The HUD is also garbage! I would spend time making a really beautiful well organized and easy-to-read hud that gave players all the info they need at a single glance. This game also doesn't really have a gameplay loop. When you die you can restart the level, but you have to Alt+F4 out of the game. I'd create the main menu, a pause menu, and a scoring screen in addition to re-doing the gameplay. This one would take a lot of work to get to publish-ready.

The Adventures of Knightboy

This game I also made my first semester at school but it was my fourth ever game. The Adventures of Knightboy is a puzzle platformer with a story of figuring out what happened to the town and townspeople. The people are getting sick and turning into zombies. I did a lot of extra things technically with the project that wasn't required by the class because I had a lot of fun making it. The base requirements were that you needed to have an animated character, platforming mechanics (running, jumping, health, etc), game audio, and menus. In addition to those things, I included a story as well as a dialogue system to convey that story through. The story in this game is mostly given through dialogue with the NPCs in the game.

I am also really proud of this game because the FTUE (first-time user experience) is so much better. When you open the game you are greeted with the main menu, where you can play or quit the application. When you hit play, you get to choose a level from the level select menu to play. This game featured three levels, which was a lot for a student project, most of my peers made one level. The game also has a pause menu that you can return to the main menu or keep playing. The game is pretty fun, I added a combat mechanic where you can use your sword to kill enemies. The art in this game isn't mine, I found them for free online at gameart2d.com, they have a lot of great assets there paid and free.

This game would take a lot of work to get publish-ready because there is a lot of design work that needs to be done. The game needs a cohesive and engaging story. In the current prototype, the story is short and mostly incomplete. I'd want to create a better one that is compelling. I'd also want to revisit the enemies and puzzles that are in the levels and really make them fun to interact with and to play. This game is very clearly made by someone new to games. I'd definitely need to refactor code and fix bugs and errors as well. I am proud of this game, but it'd need a lot to get it finished.

Pirates on the High Seas

But again, this one had very little done in terms of design. Since I was going off of class requirements there wasn't a lot of thought of a finished game and what that should or could look like. I think in the future I would make a character that you control independently of the ship and have mechanics that are similar to Sea of Thieves when it comes to sailing and sea battles. But, knowing what I know now, I know making those things will take a lot of math and I will need to learn a lot to get things to look how I'd like them to. This game requires a lot of pre-production work and will take a long time to make solo on my own. Someday I want to come back to this game, but I have a feeling that I can't really do it now. If I had more time and could solely focus on this game I'd be more willing to take this one on as a project, but for now, I'll likely pass on it.

Asteroids! 2.0

The main update that I made to the game was to make it for Android and iOS. The controls are to tilt the phone left and right to control the ship at the bottom. I also updated the HUD so the player can more clearly see their lives and health. The game plays much more like an endless runner now than an asteroids game. The game does have a gameplay loop and you can quit the game. There is only one level, which is generated randomly. This helps with replay-ability but it really limits the gameplay to pretty much the same thing every time. I hadn't built in the difficulty scale so you only get asteroids and one type of enemy.

If I were to start on this project again, I would work on the gameplay. I would want the game to feel really fun to play. I'm not sure that tilting the phone is the best control scheme since it might make it hard for the player to see obstacles and enemies. I may change that to drag or follow finger position on the screen for the x-axis movement. I'd also work on the gameplay in terms of enemies, asteroids, and the interactions the player can have with those. I'd also add upgrades and loot drops that feel satisfying. I'd also really think about monetization and how to monetize the game in a way that feels good to players but also makes me money. I'd have to design an economy for the game as well. There is definitely a lot more work here than past me anticipated. But I could see this being one that I could release fairly quickly if I could work full time on it. This one is a great candidate for my first published game for Scallywag Studios.

Infected

This is probably the best looking game I've made. The game looks pretty professional even though there really isn't much gameplay here. I also got to set up more advanced options for players such as custom control schemes, graphic settings, audio settings and more. This game would definitely need an update before getting published, but I don't think that it needs that much. I think a lot of the work would be in designing a better story. And probably making the levels less random and more deliberate to support the story. In general, all of the mechanics are there and the game is pretty fun to play. I think I would make it more of a bullet hell type game with a quirky story. I would also want to transition the game from 3D to 2D, since the 3rd dimension isn't used at all in this game. It'd make it easier to play for sure.

Robot Runner

Robot Runner was a game that I made in a week. After I graduated school, I wanted to challenge my self technically. So I picked a theme out of a bag every week and made a game that followed that theme. It was like having weekly mini game jams with myself. I was inspired by a game I played in an arcade somewhere. The game featured pink panther and he had to run down to the bottom floor before a laser got him. You could collect coins, the amount of tickets you got back was based on how many coins you collected and also how many floors you cleared, with the biggest reward was only given if you reached the bottom floor. This one would be really easy to create and publish. The game has really simple mechanics. The biggest challenge would be creating art for it. I'd theme it differently too. This could be a really easy hypercasual game that I could make as a one off. There'd still be a lot of planning and thinking about monetization of the game and how to make it fun for players for more than just one level. But I think in general, not that much work would need to go into finishing this one. My only concern is that I want to make good games that are fun. I don't want to create a game that relys heavily on ads for revenue since I hate playing those games too. I will delete a game from my phone if it has too many ads.

Brick Break

This was another game-a-week game that I made. This game was made without an engine in C++ using the SFML library. I made a clone on purpose here to learn how to make games in C++ and the concepts behind collision and such. But I think that this game has a lot of promise and there are a lot of things you could do design-wise to make it really interesting, fun, and unqiue to the breakout genre. Trust me, I know there are a TON of breakout games out there. And yes, a lot of them aren't good. But if you can "breakout" of the player expectation (see what I did there?) then you could create a really fun and different play experience.

My current idea on that is to make the bricks anything other than bricks. I think doing waves of enemies could be fun. While I am not 100% sure what I want to do for this one, I think it has a lot of potential and I really want to do something new with it. I might just pick this one to try and make something new and cool with an old mechanic.

Boss Simulator

Boss Simulator was a game that I came up with at my old company. I also owned this one, but it failed. The game is still mine and I still own it so I think going back and finishing this game would be awesome. The only thing holding me back is that this game is going to take years to produce. It has a very large scope and isn't do-able all on my own. I could do all the design and programming work but I would still need 3D artists as well as people who can create music and sound effects for the game. By myself, I think I could finish the game in 10 years. Okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration but I think even with a small team the game would still take 3-5 years to finish. So that big scope is really what's holding me back. While I was at school I had an amazing team of people working on the game and giving it life. We got a lot done on it, but it is NOWHERE ready to published. I really wish I could call up my old team and give them a job so that we could all work on it together again. It was the best team I have ever been apart of. Maybe that's also something holding me back? With out that team, working on it will never feel as good as it did then.

Getaway Driver

Getaway driver is also one of my most finished games. I worked on this one after I graduated from college. I was convinced that I was going to publish it. I worked diligently on it for months and months. I spent four months getting it to an almost ready to publish state. There was only a few more features that needed to get done to get it ready to play test publicly.

I'm not even sure what stopped me from finishing either at this point. I might have thought it was too much work or I wanted to work on something else. At school, they don't teach you how to publish a game. And zero of the games they make you work on ever get close to finished. In this game I made all the 2D art assets and a student at the school I went to made the 3D art for the game.

This is a game I'd like to come back to since it is so close to being finished. I know that if I took the 2 or 3 months to finish the remaining features I could get this game up on an app store for testing.

The plan:

So, these are the top 10 games that I want to get finished and published. I am going to work and publish each of these. I want to start on the game that excites me the most to work on. The joy that comes from working on something that interests me should help keep me motivated to actually complete the game.

With that said, I am going to work on the breakout game first to see if I can't "breakout" of my current rut. Puns aside, I am really excited to create a new take on a classic. Check back soon for more!

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