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A work process, Part #2 : A warrior comes and goes

How the fight system in High Dragon came to be what it is.

Arnaud Thion, Blogger

June 16, 2017

4 Min Read

Hello dear strangers,

As I'm nearing the end of the development cycle of my 2nd commercial game, I want to share the process that allowed me to create the fight system in the game.

The fight system as you'll see, is nothing new in the realm of video games, but I think it's interesting to know how it came to be.


Step #1: How the Warrior came to be

If you played Path of Destruction (PoD), you know you played a dragon from start to finish. I won't go into too much details but during the dev of PoD I came up with this idea of being able to control a warrior the same way we control the dragon (draw a path and bring chaos).

I even contemplated the idea of postponing the release of PoD to integrate the warrior. I rejected this idea 24h later, and I'm glad I did, and I'm going to tell you why because it's important.

See, when I was working on PoD, I was SO convinced that my game was revolutionary and good that I wanted to give it all I got. So, when I came up with this warrior idea, it felt so great and right to add it that I really considered breaking my rule of "keeping to the schedule". It meant creating the game mode, creating levels, fight system, etc. In short, it meant more or less to double the dev time of the game when it was already almost over...

In my mind, PoD was the breakthrough I was meant to create. The game that would be the starting point of a new professional life, so it made sense to give it 2 more months right?

No, it didn't.



Step #2: How the Warrior went away

I still don't know if PoD is revolutionnary or simply cool. I didn't get enough feedback to decide but I'm sure it's not bad (I mean, I would not have released it if I didn't think so... or maybe I would have...). What I know is this: not many people played it, not many people payed for it. So, great or not, it remains a confidential game played by a few. Given this, would it have been wise to spend 2 more months on it? I think not.

I know many people will think at this moment "yes but had you given it 2 more months, maybe it would have been ZE success".

I flee from such thinking now. I see "maybes" and "ifs" as an excuse for not comiting to a dead line and, which is more important, not accepting that your game will not be perfect. With such thinkings, I might fool myself into thinking that I "do my best". I think this is the exact opposite: the game gets harder and harder to make because of all the "great ideas" and it never gets to the point where I can release it.

"Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen." - Sean Connery as John Mason in The Rock (1996)

It quickly gets depressing and it's rarely satisfying. Of course, there is the initial dev of the prototyped feature where you're happy to see it in action. Then you realize it's flawed and little by little, correcting these flaws and perfecting the feature takes so much time and energy that you loose your enthousiasm and energy. And meanwhile the deadline gets farther and farther away.
Little by little, you might even consider removing the feature altogether!

20170525 world2 fx

After adding the warrior, I would have come up with tons of ideas that would have postpone the deadline a bit more. And a bit more. And so on and so forth. I know this because I added the warrior in the sequel to Path of Destruction. But I added it from the start, the dev of this feature was a full part of the schedule. But I still have ideas for the warrior even so that part of the dev is over.

My thinking is this: if it's so great and it doesn't fit the schedule, it goes in the sequel or the next game in another form. And that's it.

That is why the deadline is so important and why it's so important to not deviate from the initial direction. That is why I restrain my creativity and ideas.

I think this is even truer when you manage a team by the way.


Step #3: If this is your first night in Fight Club...

So, as I said, the warrior was added from the start to "High Dragon" (the sequel to PoD). You can now play a warrior and draw a free path with your finger. The warrior will walk the path and try to avoid traps. Along the way, soldiers may attack you too!

And this is where the problem began... How will the warrior fight the soldiers? I came up with a few ideas and this is what I'm going to explain in the next part.

20170518 attack warrior 1

Thank you for reading!



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