Thursday, 25 August 2016

User Stories : Martin & dsoft20 - Tips for a Game Jam !

Hi, i’m Martin and together with dsoft20 we developed RE.CO.N.
I’ll share some info on how we developed the game in only two weeks as an entry for the Indie Vault Game Jam.

The theme for the Jam was “evolution”, certainly not a simple theme to develop as it can be interpretated in many ways and after a little briefing we opted to develop the theme as personal growth, borrowing from the Sutherland’s differential association theory.

In brief, for those who don’t know this theory, criminal behavior is learned from other persons trough interaction with them.

Based on this theory we split the game in two half with two different methods of making choice:

1-infancy – as you know infancy is an age where irrationality and impulsivity are more common and you’re more prone to follow others, that’s why there’s no “moral scale” for your choice as the player can be influenced by the blue clothed kid that acts as “guide” to criminal behavior (naturally you can ignore him);

2-adult age – being an adult mean (in most cases) think before act, so the player is forced to think/choose from two actions using the “moral scale”.

In the end it’s a matter of acting before thinking versus thinking before acting.
With that in mind we discussed how to develop the game setting and the gameplay; at first the game was to be set in a standard fantasy world but that option was quickly dropped in favor of an aseptic and geometric sci-fi environment easier to model and texture.

The gameplay also changed from an action/rougelite to a more “simple” adventure game.
Why you might ask? The reason is simple, neither i nor dsoft are pros so we accounted delays and problems beforehand in our time budget.
Those changes in the end were right as problems, delays and unexpected occurred for various reasons.
As for the tools of choice we used Unity 3d as the game engine, Blender 3d and Gimp for the graphics.
As far as actual development the most crucial and difficult task was to create the event system used to trigger everything in the game, from cutscenes to doors openings; this task took most of the time of the development.
Meanwhile dsoft was scripting the game I made the graphics in a ps1 style using dsoft’s psx_retroshader.

The most problematic thing graphic-wise was modeling the environment; in the end I used 3d “tiles” and builded the level by joining them togheter in blender. 

This method has one major drawbacks that is the visual repetition of the assets, that’s why I used vertex paint to add shadows and color to the environments and with the addition of various props I tried, hopefully, to reduce the aforementioned repetition.
Together with dsoft I’ve scripted the story, made the cut scenes and planned the events of the game and put everything in place.
“Slowly” the game was completed and If you have played i hope you enjoyed it, or if you didn’t played yet you can play it here on Indiexpo .

Here some random and obvious tips from this experience:
-  Don’t underestimate your time budget;
-  Don’t be afraid to cut or simplify things;
- As an artist don’t overdo and choose a simple style and, if the game allow it, try to model the environment in a modular way;
- Last but not least have fun :D

- Martin & dsoft20

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