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Starting The Eventual Masterpiece

The early stages of a new project, documented for posterity, openness and possibly, for entertainment.

A Brief Intro

We are a small company.  Commercial success is something we're still working towards.  We've learned a lot of important lessons from what we've done up til now.  Life as a small independent developer is not as difficult as we'd hoped - it's harder.

We're approaching the end of development of our second game, Blocbuster and whilst we wait for final art and rounds of testing feedback we're looking ahead to the next project.

We're going to apply everything we've learned so far, it's going to be great! 

I'm also going to follow the project in this blog for a number of reasons, none of which (I hope) have to do with ego.

  • Part time, I teach gaming degree students at a university, and I hope it will be interesting and educational for them to follow a project from inception to release.  To see how long it can take, what pitfalls it might encounter, and how we use the same engine, Unity, that they are using for their studies.
  • We can look back on this blog once the project is over, and maybe see where we went right (or wrong). 
  • Perhaps we'll get feedback along the way helping us avoid roadblocks that others have encountered.
  • An insight for our customers in what we put in to the game they will eventually enjoy.

Early Days

At the start of November (2012) we started thinking about what our next project would be.  We have a fairly big pot of ideas and not enough time to create them all, so it becomes a matter of picking one that is the best fit for our needs at the moment.

We actually chose to resurrect a project concept that we worked on over a year ago and then put to one side as we lost a colleague and switched from UDK to Unity.  Back then, it was an action shooter, a co-op survival game against hordes of nasty aliens, targetting iOS only.

We've made some different decisions this time.  Firstly, we're intending to target as many platforms as we can, iOS and Android (tablets and phones both) and desktop PC's (Windows, Mac, possibly Linux).

As a result, we want to make gameplay that is consistent across platforms, so that the fun and feel of the game is the same.  There may be some variation in visual quality to account for the power differences, but the interface should work as well with mouse and keyboard as with a multitouch screen.

We considered then that a turn-based game could work well both with the subject matter and the multiple input styles - but would it work with the game?

The original was going to be mad, frenetic, a near-constant stream of snap decision making and lightning reactions.  How could a turn based game possibly capture that?

So we tried it out.  We wrote up a set of board-game style rules over a weekend, printed some paper counters and grabbed some D&D terrain tiles for a map, and set to rolling dice...

Paper Prototyping

Next time... the results.

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