What have we been up to this week?
First thing first: what kind of game are we doing? You have been a lot to ask us this question over the week.
That may sound surprising, but we don't know yet! When we said that we wanted to describe our process from the start, we really meant it. We're starting from a blank page!
But let's be honest, given our previous games, there's a very high chance that we end up doing a twin-stick shooter.
Before we begin, it is important to highlight what we learned from making NeuroVoider. While the game ended up being profitable, it took a very long time (more than a year!) to break even, and we believe that we could have mitigated this critical period if we knew the following: we didn't scope the game well. It was a game too big for both of us. We are super proud of the result, but there were too many ambitions and too many systems we wanted to fit in the game. As a result, we couldn't fit essential features (such as a permanent progression system) and we finished the project burnt out.
With that in mind, we want our next project to be better scoped so that we can deliver its full experience without any compromise (and also having less risks, NeuroVoider was too much of a "all-in" experience).
Okay, let's stop the chitchat for now and begin!
How do we work from a blank page? The most important element to us is the gameplay. We want it to be the central element of the game and other elements like the setting, plot, or graphics, will come after the gameplay is settled.
This may sound weird, but there are basically two schools of game design: story first, and gameplay first. It's not quite true but if we had to put a slider there, we would be on the gameplay side. This doesn't mean that we are going to make a game without a plot, but that we are going to work on the gameplay first, and then think about a cool setting to build on top of it.
In our quest for a cool gameplay, here's a few elements we want to try out:
- Being able to dash (yeah, that's our signature move)
- Having a permanent close combat weapon (like a sword, or a whip)
- Being able to break through projectiles (or possibly be able to throw them back at enemies)
- Having a minimalist graphics design (in order to be able to produce a lot of content despite the production time being shorter)
We don't know if any of these elements would be cool or if any of them will end up in the game, but there's only one way to figure this out: prototyping!
We will be spending the next few weeks experimenting with these ideas. That's what we call the pre-production phase. We would like this phase to be at most 1 month long (ideally, 2 weeks would be cool). Once we're set on the gameplay, we'll start scoping the game, think about a plot, and a name!
But let's head straight into the prototyping phase...
During this first week, we prototyped the ideas we wanted to test. To speed things up, we reused assets from NeuroVoider (and this doesn't mean that we are going to do a new NeuroVoider game).
We also did some tech research with bullet patterns (something that was lacking in NeuroVoider), so we coded a versatile bullet engine that could be reused through multiple projects.
We also started a graphics style research. Florian spent his time building a cool color palette and doing some minimalist design integration tests.
Note that these researches don't mean anything for now. We're not yet in the setting and plot phase, so everything you see before that point may very well don't make it at all in the final game.
And that's about it for this first week into our new game! Now that we have all these elements to play with, we will start building a bigger prototype that combine all of these elements in order to check if they match.
See you next week with something bigger and closer to an actual game!