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July 3rd, 2018, 19:19
Originally Posted by Darth Tagnan View Post
Indeed not.

I never trust my mother when it comes to my own person. I'm essentially perfection in her eyes.
I would never have guessed.
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July 3rd, 2018, 19:31
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
I would never have guessed.
Thing is, she feels the same way about all her children - and her grandchildren.

That's how I knew something was up

That said, when it comes to confidence - that was my father. He taught me what it means to be human in that way - and inspired me a lot when it comes to how I view the human condition.
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July 3rd, 2018, 19:42
25 years ago, I got addicted to text-based MUDs. One I played in particular, was a MUD that was converted to single player. I always thought it would be fun to create a text-based single player experience. As anyone who's ever played/created a DnD campaign, making worlds can be pretty fun and addicting. I started back in the DOS days using Quickbasic. I pulled out the graph paper and started making maps and rooms, then optimizing the code. Then I experimented with the parser, making commands to look around rooms to get more detail. Then came the inventory part. That became complicated starting to use 2D and 3D arrays so that things could be picked up and dropped, and stuck inside an inventory. Over time, it's gone through different languages until I settled on Python. Eventually I went all in and decided to put everything together that I had been tinkering on all those years. Setting up shops was easy. The most complicated part was the combat system (which I based on a compact version of the D20 system), because training, character generation, spells, weapons, armour, and other usable items all ties into it, and it can't be built in modules as easy as the other parts of the game. Now 25 years later, I have a fully working game, that has a city with 2 dungeons. That's a bloody long time to develop a text-only RPG. The great thing is, all the systems are in place. It would take me about a dedicated few evenings to script an entire overworld with extra cities and dungeons, however planning it out and making the descriptions good would take much longer. Now i've been planning out version 2.0 of this game, which will most likely be a tiled graphical version. Things i've learned:

- A text-based RPG is an EXTREMELY niche product, but it's satisfying when people have as much fun with it as you do, and is a great way to learn the underlying mechanics of scripting an RPG
- Make a design plan, and keep it simple, or you will spend 25 years on an unfinished game
- If you're a 1 person team with no art experience, or strength in coding, it's a big undertaking. Focus on a few core essentials on the game that make it fun (what am I making? Is what i'm adding making it fun, or just adding bulk for the sake of it?), and flesh those out. That's part of the design plan. To quote Todd Howard: "We can make anything, but we can't make everything." Or something along those lines. If you're going to make money off of it, there's going to be a time when you need to cap the project and say "this is done now".
- Make a game YOU would play. That way, you will be passionate about it, and not see it as a chore (this is relative of course, there will be the boring bits, which makes this even more important).
- There's a lot of great art assets out there. Some of them inexpensive, and some that are free. Make sure you know your art style before you start creating the game. This will setup the mood and feel of the game. Make sure you're looking through everything on AudioJungle, OpenGameArt, RoyaltyFreeGameArt, GameDevMarket, GraphicRiver, Unity Asset Store, tigsource.com, Gamasutra, Roguetemple, and of course all the Reddit devoloper/asset threads.

I've been bouncing between GameMaker Studio as well as Unity (depending on if i'm doing 2D or 3D). Here's some concepts i'm working on at the moment:

3D 3rd Person RPG Unity Concept

3D 1st Person Dungeon RPG Unity Concept

2D Top Down Dungeon RPG GMS Concept

2D Top Down Tile-Based RPG GMS Concept

You probably know or are aware of most if not everything i've said, but maybe there's some inspiration in there for you. Good Luck!
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Love old text based RPGs? MUDs? Try Shadows of Kalendale:
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July 3rd, 2018, 19:50
Originally Posted by Caddy View Post
25 years ago, I got addicted to text-based MUDs. One I played in particular, was a MUD that was converted to single player. I always thought it would be fun to create a text-based single player experience. As anyone who's ever played/created a DnD campaign, making worlds can be pretty fun and addicting. I started back in the DOS days using Quickbasic. I pulled out the graph paper and started making maps and rooms, then optimizing the code. Then I experimented with the parser, making commands to look around rooms to get more detail. Then came the inventory part. That became complicated starting to use 2D and 3D arrays so that things could be picked up and dropped, and stuck inside an inventory. Over time, it's gone through different languages until I settled on Python. Eventually I went all in and decided to put everything together that I had been tinkering on all those years. Setting up shops was easy. The most complicated part was the combat system (which I based on a compact version of the D20 system), because training, character generation, spells, weapons, armour, and other usable items all ties into it, and it can't be built in modules as easy as the other parts of the game. Now 25 years later, I have a fully working game, that has a city with 2 dungeons. That's a bloody long time to develop a text-only RPG. The great thing is, all the systems are in place. It would take me about a dedicated few evenings to script an entire overworld with extra cities and dungeons, however planning it out and making the descriptions good would take much longer. Now i've been planning out version 2.0 of this game, which will most likely be a tiled graphical version. Things i've learned:

- A text-based RPG is an EXTREMELY niche product, but it's satisfying when people have as much fun with it as you do, and is a great way to learn the underlying mechanics of scripting an RPG
- Make a design plan, and keep it simple, or you will spend 25 years on an unfinished game
- If you're a 1 person team with no art experience, or strength in coding, it's a big undertaking. Focus on a few core essentials on the game that make it fun (what am I making? Is what i'm adding making it fun, or just adding bulk for the sake of it?), and flesh those out. That's part of the design plan. To quote Todd Howard: "We can make anything, but we can't make everything." Or something along those lines. If you're going to make money off of it, there's going to be a time when you need to cap the project and say "this is done now".
- Make a game YOU would play. That way, you will be passionate about it, and not see it as a chore (this is relative of course, there will be the boring bits, which makes this even more important).
- There's a lot of great art assets out there. Some of them inexpensive, and some that are free. Make sure you know your art style before you start creating the game. This will setup the mood and feel of the game. Make sure you're looking through everything on AudioJungle, OpenGameArt, RoyaltyFreeGameArt, GameDevMarket, GraphicRiver, Unity Asset Store, tigsource.com, Gamasutra, Roguetemple, and of course all the Reddit devoloper/asset threads.

I've been bouncing between GameMaker Studio as well as Unity (depending on if i'm doing 2D or 3D). Here's some concepts i'm working on at the moment:

3D 3rd Person RPG Unity Concept

3D 1st Person Dungeon RPG Unity Concept

2D Top Down Dungeon RPG GMS Concept

2D Top Down Tile-Based RPG GMS Concept

You probably know or are aware of most if not everything i've said, but maybe there's some inspiration in there for you. Good Luck!
Great insight, and I thank you

That said, I already agree with you.

I would never go into something like this for something I wouldn't play myself.

There's no doubt a text-based CRPG would be a great start - I just wouldn't be able to sell it on Steam, and I wouldn't want to play it myself.

But there's no way I can create a game I would be "very" interested in - because I'm an extremely demanding gamer.

But I can approximate something - it's just that I don't really know the current indie market well enough.

I can see a ton of procedural stuff and a ton of pixel-art games - both of which I really don't care for.

I see a million card-based games - which I also don't care for. But I do like card-based elements, like skills or items in the form of cards.

I'm probably going to settle for my original idea.

It's going to be a slightly evolved "Hero Quest" CRPG/tactical game in a Cyberpunk setting. Something like Dark Quest 2 coupled with the Sega Genesis Shadowrun game.

I've seen decent Cyberpunk assets on the Unity store - and I think I can make that work.

I will not have much choice except to finish something, because the alternative will be going back to a regular job - and I'd just as soon kill myself
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July 3rd, 2018, 20:03
I know you like games like Elder Scrolls and the original Diablo. While they can be complicated games themselves, there's still the core mechanics that make them fun. You've already answered that you don't like pixel art or procedural content, so you can strike that off the list. Perhaps your drive is pushing you to a simple RPG with card game in place of combat? However, just because the mechanics are simple, the story and world can still be detailed and complex.
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July 3rd, 2018, 20:11
Originally Posted by Caddy View Post
I know you like games like Elder Scrolls and the original Diablo. While they can be complicated games themselves, there's still the core mechanics that make them fun. You've already answered that you don't like pixel art or procedural content, so you can strike that off the list. Perhaps your drive is pushing you to a simple RPG with card game in place of combat? However, just because the mechanics are simple, the story and world can still be detailed and complex.
The combat mechanics would be slightly complex. Something a little beyond the recent Shadowrun games.

If you can imagine the Hero Quest board games with a combat system a little more akin to the recent Battletech game - in a Cyberpunk setting.

Something like that - with just enough RPG elements to keep it interesting for a while.

But the art would be more primitive - that's what I mean by card-based characters. In that your character, on-screen, would be represented by a 3D card inserted into a "plastic" base - like a board-game character.

I have no idea if I can write narrative or flavor-text in a way that would appeal to people. That's one area I don't feel comfortable evaluating myself.

I know I can create compelling mechanics and I would be extremely disappointed in myself if I couldn't get the core gameplay down.

What I don't quite know is if I can create something that looks good enough - or content that people will really want to explore.

That remains to be seen.

Of course, I have zero clue if it's something that would sell. But when I look at "worst-case" comparisons on Steamspy - it seems it's not entirely unfeasible to make this happen, even after Valve take their cut and taxes are paid.

I would make an effort to create a game that's primitive enough to run on iOS platforms and potentially MacOS and Xbox Live. But that would come later.

It's something I've been wanting to do for the past 20 years or so. But I've always had an excuse.

Right now, there's really nothing stopping me from jumping in and taking a chance.

It's risky and I might end up regretting it. But I know I will regret it more if I never try this thing.
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July 3rd, 2018, 20:20
Originally Posted by Darth Tagnan View Post
But the art would be more primitive - that's what I mean by card-based characters. In that your character, on-screen, would be represented by a 3D card inserted into a "plastic" base - like a board-game character.
That's one of the reasons why i'm considering a 2D tile, with a avatar that moves, but isn't animated in any way. Kind of like moving a piece on a board game. There's some great looking tile art out there, but keeps it ultra simple.
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July 3rd, 2018, 20:25
Originally Posted by Caddy View Post
That's one of the reasons why i'm considering a 2D tile, with a avatar that moves, but isn't animated in any way. Kind of like moving a piece on a board game. There's some great looking tile art out there, but keeps it ultra simple.
Exactly

I wouldn't be able to animate a proper 3D asset to save my life.

Well, they say it's not that hard if you keep it simple, but I don't see myself accomplishing that.

But having it be a 3D card - it would make sense within the context of the game, and shouldn't be a turn-off.

I can create decent looking tiles - but for something like this, I would need to use paid assets - because I don't think I can create a convincing cyberpunk tileset.

I can create fantasy stuff, like stone walls with moss and what not - but not sci-fi stuff.

Having it be Cyberpunk is slightly opportunistic of me, because I suspect Cyberpunk 2077 will make a lot of people hungry for anything in that setting while they're waiting for release

But I also adore the setting myself.
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July 3rd, 2018, 21:08
My initial thoughts would be to focus on a combat only game, a la Blackguards. Focus solely on the combat mechanics you want and the character system. Make players go from node A to B to C, with a couple of side paths, but focus on the combat.

These games can do relatively well and there are many around from the likes of Templar Battleforce to Dungeon Rats. Shadowrun and Banner Saga essentially mostly focus on this type of node to node combat too although they incorporate other large systems within their games too.

I think these types of games can be made to be a lot of fun and if you simplify graphics a bit like how Battle Brothers did, you can probably get a good game together.

Many people were turned off by the graphics/art style of Battle Brothers, but it was still hugely popular.


Another potential idea would be to have a game like Slay the Spire, but it would be difficult to get it to the same state, however, I kept thinking that that game would have been great if you had more units and each with their own skillsets rather than get random cards throughout…
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July 3rd, 2018, 21:17
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
My initial thoughts would be to focus on a combat only game, a la Blackguards. Focus solely on the combat mechanics you want and the character system. Make players go from node A to B to C, with a couple of side paths, but focus on the combat.

These games can do relatively well and there are many around from the likes of Templar Battleforce to Dungeon Rats. Shadowrun and Banner Saga essentially mostly focus on this type of node to node combat too although they incorporate other large systems within their games too.

I think these types of games can be made to be a lot of fun and if you simplify graphics a bit like how Battle Brothers did, you can probably get a good game together.

Many people were turned off by the graphics/art style of Battle Brothers, but it was still hugely popular.


Another potential idea would be to have a game like Slay the Spire, but it would be difficult to get it to the same state, however, I kept thinking that that game would have been great if you had more units and each with their own skillsets rather than get random cards throughout…
My game will be more or less combat oriented. But the games you mention all have an art style that I will have a hard time pulling off.

They're not one-man jobs.

I'm trying to stay within my limits.

But there are games with primitive art styles that do very well - simply because they play to their strengths.

If you look at something like Card Hunter - that's doing extremely well, and it has art that I could probably pull off.

Dark Quest is another example. The first game sold 20K copies - and I can definitely do better than that in terms of art and mechanics.

Of course, many of those copies were sold at a very low price, but still.

But the sophisticated 2D art of Banner Saga or Slay the Spire is not something I can achieve.

That's ok, though. My game will never sell a million copies.

I'm aiming for anything above 1-2K copies - as that should be enough to stay afloat during the initial time.
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July 3rd, 2018, 21:28
In 2010 when a recruiter from Intel asked me out of the blue what I knew about Android (it was for a firmware development position) I went the next day and picked out a tablet.

I developed my game as a way to learn the thing. Why not scale down the expectations of yourself and figure out something you know how to make in a platform you want to learn in?

I recommend developing a turn based RPG.

What I want to do is full party mechanics. Greenberg, Woodhead, and Garriot all figured out how to do that on 1981-1983 PC's.
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July 3rd, 2018, 22:00
Originally Posted by Darth Tagnan View Post
My game will be more or less combat oriented. But the games you mention all have an art style that I will have a hard time pulling off.

They're not one-man jobs.

I'm trying to stay within my limits.

But there are games with primitive art styles that do very well - simply because they play to their strengths.

If you look at something like Card Hunter - that's doing extremely well, and it has art that I could probably pull off.

Dark Quest is another example. The first game sold 20K copies - and I can definitely do better than that in terms of art and mechanics.

Of course, many of those copies were sold at a very low price, but still.

But the sophisticated 2D art of Banner Saga or Slay the Spire is not something I can achieve.

That's ok, though. My game will never sell a million copies.

I'm aiming for anything above 1-2K copies - as that should be enough to stay afloat during the initial time.
What I meant was to use that gameplay but make a very simple art and animations related to it… Maybe I misexplained

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July 3rd, 2018, 23:47
Do you have anyone interested in helping you, or are you going to be entirely on your own?

Start out small. Create something that you think will sell enough to bring income for a larger project. I know you don't want to create a quick cash-in, but there's nothing wrong with that if it allows you to progress with the game you really want to make.

I'd also hold onto your regular job for as long as possible too. It's not just about money. I'm sure you have other benefits from your employer - i.e. retirement fund, etc, that you're not going to have as an independent game developer. See if you can finish your first project in your spare time, or maybe take an extended leave of absence, instead of resigning altogether.
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July 4th, 2018, 01:24
Have you considered doing something like a variation on Arcomage which was very popular when it came out in M&M7 and is still fun to play?
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July 4th, 2018, 01:58
I worked on muds for about 5 years initially coding but at the end a few areas; having said that i'm not sure what your focus might be. If you are more into creative side and not so much into engine you could use something like D:OS and write a total conversion mod (be sure to check with Larian if you can sell it as a stand-alone game if that is your target). My biggest problem is that while I can write a server fairly well (think mud); the graphics are not an area I've explored at all and seem like a headache with the various apis (though if you use an engine like unity or unreal i guess that hides the hardware).
-
The one game I would really like to see is a new version of freespace. Not so much a remake - but the concept of a good space fighter - the other one was tie-fighter.
-
if you want to write the full game but focus on story and not high end graphics then somethink like might and magic would be pretty easy (from engine/graphic perspective) though creating a game with huge story and areas would take along time. Anyway it is difficult to say anything useful without understanding your focus and aim.
-
The thing about a game like freespace is that geometry is fairly limited - the ships and hud - there is no complex map like an rpg that might be quite large. Space is fairly uniform and just throw in a few random stars or planets - since you can't actually explore them they are just random generated spheres.
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July 4th, 2018, 02:03
btw I should have said if you focus on a game iwth geometry instead of painted landscape (ftl is in a crude fashion one of these) then the graphics is fairly easy but if you focus on a large rpg it can be more difficult - though not impossible if you use data driven model which seems like the natural way to do things (stuff some number in an array that describes the landscape).
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July 4th, 2018, 03:36
Since you can't afford high quality art or cutting edge 3D graphics, perhaps it'd be best to go for a deliberately retro style… There seems to be some market for those games, like the "Unknown Realm" RPG (raised $120K on Kickstarter) that is actually being developed to run on C64. Even if you don't want to actually develop it to run on obsolete hardware, which is probably a fair bit of work for what amounts to a silly gimmick, simply doing the graphics in the style of older system / era might appeal to a lot of older gamers or hipsters I guess

While I see you mentioned Cyberpunk assets in the unity store and I don't know how often those get used in games / how good they look. Perhaps that would appeal more to modern audience than 8 bit graphics. However, a deliberately retro style might actually help your game stand out more. Either way if it's a turn-based tactics game in a cyberpunk setting it's automatically on my wishlist.
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July 4th, 2018, 10:21
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Do you have anyone interested in helping you, or are you going to be entirely on your own?

Start out small. Create something that you think will sell enough to bring income for a larger project. I know you don't want to create a quick cash-in, but there's nothing wrong with that if it allows you to progress with the game you really want to make.

I'd also hold onto your regular job for as long as possible too. It's not just about money. I'm sure you have other benefits from your employer - i.e. retirement fund, etc, that you're not going to have as an independent game developer. See if you can finish your first project in your spare time, or maybe take an extended leave of absence, instead of resigning altogether.
The original plan was to do this with my brother, but he's hopeless.

My problem with a quick cash-in is that I wouldn't know how to maintain interest in such a thing - and I don't have the slightest idea what "casual" games should be doing.

When I look at popular casual or "very small" indie games - I simply don't get it. I don't have that talent.

I've saved up enough money to "survive" for about a year entirely without support - but in Denmark we also still have a pretty good support system for the unemployed.

It's just that I hate depending on that system - and would like to avoid it as much as possible.

My problem is that I'm really, really tired of my job. It's not a bad job and I get paid well enough - I just feel dead inside.

I've already waited way too long - and as long as I keep my job, I know I won't be able to maintain focus on developing a game.

I've had a few "periods of time" along the way, where I've made great progress on some of my projects - usually during the summertime where nothing much happens at work. But I always end up getting distracted by work when it picks up again.

But your advice is sound, I know that.

Thanks.
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July 4th, 2018, 10:23
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
Have you considered doing something like a variation on Arcomage which was very popular when it came out in M&M7 and is still fun to play?
That little card game?

Yeah, I've been considering that - because it's precisely the kind of art I would be able to pull off pretty well. Not the pictures themselves, but everything else - and I could pay someone for drawing pictures - and it wouldn't have to be until the very end of the project.

Problem with card games, to my mind, is that there are so many of them - and I have no idea if I could break through to people.

Also, creating an AI for a card game is probably pretty challenging. I'm not sure I could pull that off very well.
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July 4th, 2018, 11:31
Originally Posted by daveyd View Post
Since you can't afford high quality art or cutting edge 3D graphics, perhaps it'd be best to go for a deliberately retro style… There seems to be some market for those games, like the "Unknown Realm" RPG (raised $120K on Kickstarter) that is actually being developed to run on C64. Even if you don't want to actually develop it to run on obsolete hardware, which is probably a fair bit of work for what amounts to a silly gimmick, simply doing the graphics in the style of older system / era might appeal to a lot of older gamers or hipsters I guess

While I see you mentioned Cyberpunk assets in the unity store and I don't know how often those get used in games / how good they look. Perhaps that would appeal more to modern audience than 8 bit graphics. However, a deliberately retro style might actually help your game stand out more. Either way if it's a turn-based tactics game in a cyberpunk setting it's automatically on my wishlist.
Problem is that I don't do traditional retro style visuals very well either

I'm not sure what I would call the kind of art I can do. It's mostly UI stuff and what you might consider primitive 2D/3D images. Something like jewels, cards, 3D tables, 3D chairs and stuff like that. Things with low fidelity and primitive meshes.

It's reasonably easy to make a tileset isometric engine in Unity. It's essentially just a traditional 3D game with a specific camera angle. Unity is a fully fledged 3D engine in its own right - so it's really more a matter of adapting your idea to the way they want you to work. That's what takes the time.

I can code C# to a certain extent, but since I take months and months between work - I always have to "relearn" and essentially start over with many things.

But, with Unity, I've yet to encounter a coding challenge that I couldn't overcome - or at least feel that I couldn't overcome given enough time.

There are so many tutorials and helpful people out there. As long as you restrain your ambition, there's really nothing you can't achieve with enough dedication.

I've also created a semi-functional Dungeon Crawler engine in XNA - but that was much harder, and I essentially did it in the same way the old Eye of the Beholder or Dungeon Master games were made.

That's highly inefficient and Unity makes that kind of thing much, much easier.

The challenge is animation and complex 3D models, like characters. That's the kind of thing I wouldn't be able to create.

I mean, I might achieve something like Underrail using 2D tiles or even Age of Decadence using 3D assets - but it would take way, way too long for me to create enough assets - and I honestly don't like the look of those games very much.

If you look at Card Hunter or something like Dark Quest 2 - that's the sort of style I can probably achieve and actually hope to finish my game.
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