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From Conception to Release - My First Passion Project

I'm finally working on a game I would love to play for the first time. Until now my mobile titles have been practice to teach me the development process. I'm running a blog with daily updates on progress toward completing the game of my dreams.

Tony Yotes, Blogger

February 18, 2014

7 Min Read

Concept Art / Mock-up for Unicorn Quest

     This is the game I always wanted to make. I couldn't picture it before, but now I have something to go by. Adventures in Equica: Unicorn Quest is a game that takes the sense of adventure from Zelda and mixes it with a top-down shooter combat system that's unlike anything I've seen before. You solve puzzles, roam gigantic maps filled with secrets, and battle enemies in randomized arenas. The game uses a pop-out pixel-art style that enables me to draw sprites that look great as apposed to vector drawings that may be lackluster. The combat features complex enemy behaviors, spell combinations, and makes players utilize fast reflexes and pattern recognition. It's the kind of game I never could have managed two years ago and am eager to try now.


     This idea spawned from the very thing that made me want to become a game developer in the first place. I stumbled across a game called Fighting is Magic on YouTube a few years back and the commentary by the developers of that fan-made My Little Pony fighting game (featured on GameSpot) made me realize that I wanted that to be my job. I want to sit around with friends developing an awesome game that tons of people will love playing. The idea of some kind of pony RPG has been floating around my head ever since.


     The original idea was a turn-based RPG but that eventually mixed with my dragon themed RPG and became a projectile focused action RPG. After that shift in design I kept building on ways to make that combat feel different than my dragon game and be more complex in its own way. That lead to the combat resembling a shooter more than any action RPG I ever heard of. So now I call it a Top-Down Shooter RPG.



     The game will be made in phases, a new and exciting style of development for me. I want to keep followers updated every step of the way. My first priority is getting basic functions working together. Things like movement, loading other scenes, text boxes, the interface, a battle scene, combat, and a few enemy types. Once I have that I can experiment with controls and interaction until I have something that feels just right. That's when I can start adding extra things one at a time until I have every game element I think I'll need to make a vertical slice.


     Vertical slice is the next phase. Once I have basic working parts, I want to put together a polished demonstration of what the game will be like. Something to establish what the whole game would be like and get me pumped to finish the rest of the game. I'm thinking about having it start in an early part of the game, up through an entire dungeon, and end with a boss fight. I can put a video of it on YouTube and try to show it to as many people as possible.


     After the slice is working I'll just be working on the rest of the game little by little, taking feedback from people who saw the vertical slice or post comments here. I'll keep building the game until I have the entire scope charted out and the game has a beginning, middle, and end. That's when I'll organize an alpha and start having others playtest the game. I'm not sure on specifics on that yet but I do have Google Groups Testing via Google Play in mind. Over that time I'll be improving the game by adding things, subtracting things, and fixing bugs. After this step I'll just combine the improvements and run a series of beta tests to iron out all the permanent features and add tons of polish before release.


My Messy Concept / Mock-up Supplies

      All these steps are vague on purpose. I'm trying to avoid a schedule and strict development rules and requirements because I want to make a game naturally for once. I want to see what happens when I just try to take my time and build on a game idea day-by-day. If a release date has to be guessed I'd say Unicorn Quest will be out before Christmas, but I'm willing to delay it until I feel that it's the best game it could possibly be. Even when I am done "developing it" I'll still be touching it up for a few months while I contact as much press as possible to get it out there. I want to try my hand at marketing before a big release day.


     Unicorn Quest is a game full of secrets and substance. Hidden treasure, false walls, difficult battles, an interesting story, stunning visuals, and hours of gameplay. An app that makes your phone feel like a Gameboy. A game that you can hop in and out of in small doses or engage in for hours on end.


     My goal is to demonstrate executing a remarkable idea. To show that it is possible to finish things that are intimidating if you prepare yourself for the challenge and show perserverence. Trying to set an example for others will also give me another reason to carry on when things get tough (and they will). Having and audience, no matter the size, will make me push harder towards this game's completion.


     I'll be posting details about the game over the coming weeks and also any progress I make as it happens. Stay tuned for more updates on Adventures in Equica: Unicorn Quest, this has literally only just begun.


Follow the deveelopment here for daily updates on what I'm doing.

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