Skip to main content

Finish The Game First?

Okay so recently I decided to work on my game development and design skills.  I have a horde of unfinished projects on my hard drive.  I have learned so much from working on each and everyone of them, except how to get better at finishing the game.  I want to fix this so I decided to take a different approach than anything I had ever done before.  I decided to start by making a finished game.

Let me explain what I mean.  On my current project I did something completely different than before.  I made the most simple version of the finished game as quickly as I could.  Not a prototype but an actual finished game...not a good game but a finished from start to end game.  You start at the main menu, enter the game, reach a goal get the win screen or die and get the game over screen.  It's simple but the from the point of view from the player it is a completable game.  All in all it took my 4 hours and gave me something I can look at and make decisions on.  Its kind of like when an artist starts with a blank canvas the first thing they do is get rid of all the white so they can start putting things in and making decisions on what is there.  I wanted to get something to look at from the point of view of the player as soon as possible and keep it in this finished state during the entire development cycle.

This way I have a complete view of the entire game at all times.  I have my start and finish states and now as I add to the game I have a better idea where things need to go and what needs to be added next.  Increase in scope or feature creep is now easier to control because they become part of the design process.  If you have ever worked on a game or any creative project you know that things change as you work.  Instead of fighting this why not find ways to use it to make something better.  When you can view the entire project as a completed game it is easier to look at it and find ways to make it better right then and there then to think of solving hypothetical situations of gameplay you can't see yet.  We have all reached the end of a project and thought about all the things we could do to make it better now that it is done but there just isn't enough time to change or polish it.  Well the idea is to get you to that point as quickly as possible and keep you there for the course of development.

That is the key to this way of working.  The game must always be in a completed state at all times.  What this forces me to do is keep me focused on bite sized chunks that improve the game and are quick to implement from start to finish.  Since the entire game is structured I can easily see where things should be placed.  It is kind of like building a sandwich the bread is the completed game and the new bits I add are the meat and veggies each new layer making the sandwich bigger and tastier.  Now this is all just my own opinion and one that I have found helpful to keep me focused on the right things.  Not everyone will find this useful and most will probably think it is the dumbest thing they have ever read, but there might  be one person out there like that this clicks with and to that person I say give it a shot you might have fun.

I'll post again in a week or two after I have done some more work like this and give an update on my experience.

All the best!

Popular posts from this blog

Plunder Bunny | Flash Game Character Mockups

Another collection of design/mockup sheets for a personal project.  The game was a very simple 2D platformer in the vain of Super Mario.  I got pretty far with the game but ended up getting busy with some contract work and the project feel into the ever growing abyss of personal projects.  When I get some more free time I'd like to try and re-visit it.

The visuals were really fun to work on.  Inkscape was used to flesh out my initial sketches.  Each character was broken up into pieces like a paper puppet.  After Saving the pieces out at high resolution they would then be put back together in Blender 3D where they would be animated.

Mega Cow | Video Game Mockup

We All Have Crazy Game Ideas...This Is Just One Of My Own

Yup its a giant mutant cow... Using Inkscape I made this game mockup after watching some MST3K late one night.  I thought it would be fun to play a game where you were the giant creature causing all of the destruction.  That is the reason the giant cow is on the right of the screen instead of the left. The player would move through the level from the right to the left, the opposite of pretty much every scrolling game... looks good in my head but might not work in actual game play.  Below are some images showing the progression from rough sketch to final mock-up.

Random Level Generation

The level generation system in This Is Dungeon uses a few different ideas to produce the final levels but I'm just going to go over the first right now.  Levels are generated using the Dungeon-Building Algorithm by Mike Anderson.  This algorithm is very simple to implement and gives really good results.  The levels generate very quickly and the player is guaranteed to be able to reach every room of the level.

After playing around with the generated levels in game I started wanting to be able to break the map up into multiple sections.  Since the features are built one at a time from a previously built room I realized I could just tell the generator how many sections I wanted to break the map up into and divide that by the number of rooms it was trying to generate.  The result being the number of rooms that should go into each section.  With that info you just keep track of the rooms already built and when that number equals the number of rooms per section pick a wall tile that ca…