I've been working on developing video games for a few years now. I put up a blog on here to share what I hope will be sensible and interesting articles about game design. The "Fame Design" name came to me when I thought, "I want to be famous for only one thing: video games".
At the moment I'm developing new games in Flash. So I expect to share experiences in being an indie game developer. I often find myself wondering if I should be working in Flash, HTML5, XNA, or the iPhone/iPad SDK. Time will tell.
I'll probably have more of an elaborate Perlenspiel blog later. But for now I'm just going to jump right into this. I usually adhere to my own rule of one blog a week, but I wanted to get a lot of this stuff out there. My brain has been on overdrive lately.
For a while now I've been talking about making a game for you guys to play. I struggled a lot to keep my motivation for this project and it was going pretty well actually – until I sort of just hit a point where something was... well... just wrong. I needed to go back to the drawing board and start making something that was truly going to make sense for the amount of time I had, and the amount of skill I have as a programmer, game designer, musician, audio recording artist, concept artist, and animator. Point is: I needed to either do all these things, get a team of people to help me, or bring the scope of the project down a bit.
I'm not sure why, but I do like the idea of doing everything. I've had an art background and I used to play piano as a young boy, soft, supple, and full of beans. My favorite drink was Surge. I was one of those people who was good at a lot of things and couldn't pick one. Not only that, I was in love with a lot of things, and couldn't focus my passionate side. I did eventually pick 'video games'. And when someone ultimately picks that, I feel like they are actually just wanting to design. However, the only real tangible job I could get (back in the day) was an engineering position where I could code all the live long day.
Let me get right to the point though. Perlenspiel is a software development kit of sorts. I am going to be making a game with that. And I'm going to take you with me on that journey just like I wanted to do earlier when I started that original project (the one that was going to be made with Unity). It is still hard to say what happened there. I actually didn't even have a computer that would play my game in Unity, for one thing.
One of the things that keeps me going is that I know a lot of you believe in me. I've learned that I don't need anyone to help with the project, other than casual advice and general video game design conversation. You all contribute whether you know it or not. I get a lot of that reading all your blogs, so to all the c-blog bloggers – thank you. You have all affected my taste in games and have often change what I think of video games in general. You all have introduced me to new and different things. Many thanks to all of you.
There were a few things that I wanted to accomplish when I made a new RPG, but when it comes down to it – there is only one thing I really want to express. Relationships. Relationships. Relationships.
I was a bit shocked when google showed me "Tifa and Aerith" images.
I wanted to have an RPG that focused on tangible benefits of having relationships with NPC characters. I've always wanted games like Final Fantasy to have a dating simulator inside the game so that I can choose Tifa or Aerith. I want to interact more with the NPC characters that I like, much like Planescape: Torment. An example of what I don't want is something like Diablo, where you hardly interact with the characters at all. I don't just want sound bites. The question was: How do I make a relationship system in a game that is very simple?
So, I set out with this goal in mind. I wanted an RPG for sure, and I wanted it to at least have some focus on having NPC relationships in there. The first thing to do was get an idea of what the space looked like.
So there I am, a blue dot in the middle of a board, ready for the rest of the RPG to be laid down and constructed around me. That's where things got a little fuzzy. I tried thinking of what the map would look like. Should it be randomly generated? Should the map be larger than the grid that you see on the screen? Should I have a scrolling map where it scrolls with every step or a Zelda map where it only scrolls when you are at the edge of the screen? Should there be an unlimited amount of space for you to explore? Or should... Anyway, there were a lot of questions. And at this point I stopped programming for a while and had to draw up some concepts in my brain for what this game was supposed to look like.
The first thing that came to mind was that I could have one tile have a monster in it. That is, I could have any tile on the board be a creature that you could attack for experience points. I liked this idea more when I started trimming it down and making things very simple. One tile could be seen as an 'event' area. So when you think of a whole screen of Zelda monsters, I can boil that scene down to one square on this map. It is basically just a monster encounter tile.
If I was to have encounter tiles, I thought it would be good to have some other encounters. I thought treasure tiles would be good. So now we have a way to fight monsters in combat, find items that can boost my attack, and a way for us to gain levels. For anyone who has played a game called 'Munchkin' before – this is sounding a lot like their leveling system.
The monster encounters will be like traditional monsters with maximum hit points and an attack power, like a damage per turn. A monster, for example, will be able to hit you for 3 to 7 damage. I'm not sure how many hit points the player will have right now, but I can guess that we will have around 10 hit points on level one. So you can hit a monster encounter tile as many times as it will take you to kill the monster, and then when it happens, you move into that square.
The treasure tiles were simple. You could move to a treasure tile, and you randomly get a value from 1 to 10 where the number is how strong that item is. The items could be called anything. I'm thinking about just having one slot for a power item. Let's say it is a sword though. If you already have a +4 sword and you get a +3 roll on the treasure square, the game will tell you that the item you found wasn't good enough, so it's trash. It's really just a thing where you have to get lucky and find a higher random number than what you already have. Pretty simple.
Now, after deciding all of these things about the events, I realized that I had played this game before – sort of. Has anyone played Desktop Dungeons? If you haven't, go download the demo – I highly recommend it.
But I had to make something different than Desktop Dungeons. I still liked the ideas that I had come up with so far, so my next few ideas strayed a little bit. And so I had to really hammer down a decision about what the environment was going to look like.
The environment is going to be totally encapsulated inside the grid you see, just like Desktop Dungeons. The difference is: My map is going to keep randomly generating the environment for every step you take. So if you destroy a monster in one direction, your last position can be filled with another event, like another monster. And so every step you take, you are changing your environment. I thought that was pretty neat.
I also thought of Dragon Warrior. The old Dragon Warrior maps had harder monsters when you traveled farther from the original town. I wanted that. And I even thought maybe an ending boss would be a good idea to put out on the edge of the map for people to actually have a goal. What this does is promotes activity in the middle of the map until you have experience to travel outward. Small beasts that you can kill easily will take a few hit points from you, but I didn't want the player to feel like they weren't getting anything from it. It may not be the best idea, but if we put a 'hunger' mechanic into the game where you can only move a few spaces before you have to kill a creature and eat them – then players might not want to risk walking on treasure squares nearly as much before they search for easy prey. Also, the farther from the center you are, the better treasure you can find.
Also, I feel like healing the player 1 hit point per turn might add some depth too. Without any way to heal, I feel like people will get killed too often. We basically just want the player to be able to have a nice safe time in the middle of the map, and get more punishment when taking risky paths away from the center.
The game, so far, is to make the right moves traveling out from the center in an attempt to survive and grow to the point where you can challenge the end boss and win.
Wait a minute. I have NOTHING about NPC relationships in here right now. Shit. I have built absolutely nothing innovative into this. It's just combat and loot! Something has to give.
This blog is getting a little long – so next time I'll go into how I decided to add NPC characters into the mix and hopefully get to a part where I can rant about the difference between game and simulator. Until next time! Thanks for listening!
P.S. I have the game coded up and will have a playable game on the web soon!
Hey guys. This is just a little experiment I want to do to practice for... something I want to start doing on the c-blogs in the future. For a while you guys might see some weird blogs from me. Just hang tight, feel free to tell me what you think. I promise I'll have a more solid contribution here, but I have to keep writing as practice. I feel like I'm sort of searching searching searching for something to do, and I've searched enough. Now I just want to do something neat. Again, hopefully this becomes a little more focused later on. Thanks!
Close to the horizon line I still saw the farm. The sun was setting and I still probably had a long walk ahead of me. In front of me was a long road, traveling to a mountain in the distance. My destination was the peak of that mountain. There, I would meet with the elders. They believed that I was the dragon-born.
I was somewhat ready for the night. Some creatures that roamed the hills would have attacked if they were hungry, or would defend themselves if you were close enough to them. I had my knife and some leather armor. I could have made a fire if I needed to. Normally when there was a fire it warded animals away. But in the case of giants or thieves I had to sleep with one eye open. Perhaps I shouldn't have slept at all.
As I walked, the road hypnotized me. The river that crashed on the rocks beside me made a sort of calming noise. The bushes and trees were beautiful even when the light grew dim. The water was calmer as I continued up the hill and it glistened with moonlight when the sun had fully set. I could hear the wolves howling in the distance. And even though they were a great distance away, I grabbed my knife so I could react in a moments notice.
Every step I took seemed to echo through the forested areas beside me, so I tried to step softly and avoid breaking twigs underfoot. I could not see my destination in front of me at the moment. Soon it would get so dark that I would have to stop for the night. My legs were twitching and I had traveled so far in one day that my body would hurt the next day.
I stopped next to one particularly steep hill where around the bend there was a wall of rock. Set up near the rock was an abandoned tent made of a few pieces of wood. I made a fire a few feet from where I laid my bed. It didn't look like it was going to rain that night. I sat on my bed made of animal pelts and propped myself up onto the rock. I squished a bug accidentally so I turned to the rock wall and swept all the bugs off until I was satisfied. Normally I would sit in the smoke of the fire to ward off little bugs, but I was exhausted. I was sure no one would mind me sleeping here. Of course, if they did, I would kill them. I had to have faith that my body would alert me to such things in the middle of the night.
What a great tragedy it would be if I was killed tonight by highwaymen. If some bandits killed me and ate my flesh, just for my dirty shoes and possibly to sell my knife at the town market. What if I was the dragon-born? Could a thieving scoundrel have the right to kill one such as me? I too often asked myself those questions. I wondered why I had always been told that I was a 'bright' person – destined for greatness. It has had the opposite effect on me. I no longer have a light in my life or have motivation to even climb this mountain. I don't know what possesses me to keep walking. Maybe I simultaneously have enough pride to go on with my life, but no positive emotions to back it up. Perhaps I have enough pride, but I am disgusted with the idea of having a destiny. I want to be special. And I don't want to have to work for it. As I lay here falling asleep on this rock with a blade in-hand, I not only grow tired – I grow bored.
In the night, there was a sound. The fire had died down and left only orange glowing pieces of wood. It was a dog. It was friendly and he walked up to me. I offered it a dried piece of meat from my satchel and it took the snack gently from my hand. The dog was not shy about curling up beside me near the rock face and taking a nap. It was startling to experience such random compassion from an animal. Seldom did I meet with a human being with such naive trust in me. It was something that I thought about often. An assassin could lie. He could say that he did not kill. But something always came to the surface. There was an aura about me. No one could prove anything. But they knew.
In the morning I gathered my things and the dog started trailing behind me as I walked. I had nothing against taking on a pet, so I let him continue. Every once in a while I would give him a treat, and he looked happy about it. I could have been a little troubled with this, but the dog seemed to follow me and wanted more than to just eat little treats. It nuzzled me and wanted to be pet on his little head. He would run off into the forest and come back from time to time. One of those times, he even brought with him a rabbit that I decided to cook, right there on the spot, so that we could share a meal.
There were bandits sitting around a watch tower up the hill, and I hadn't been careful enough to go around them. When they saw me they walked slowly towards me until they saw that I was going to run. They chased me and the dog down the hill. Every once in a while an arrow would zip past my ear. At the end of the hill where they were no longer pursuing I hid behind a tree. I gathered my thoughts and realized that there were a couple other ways up this hill if I crossed in front of a waterfall to the north.
The dog was no longer following me. I couldn't hear it walking around. I crept up the road a bit and found him lying dead in some bushes with a trail of blood behind it. I figured it had followed me down the hill but gave up. There were two arrows sticking out of him. His eyes were closed and I closed his mouth shut. His body was still warm. I felt around for a pulse. Yeah, there was no doubt. Nothing to do about it. And I was wrong. It was a female. I covered her with some branches.
A little sliver of emotion sparked within me. I cut my hand with the knife and I bled onto the pup. My fist clenched around the dagger and I prayed there, for a moment, to the lady – the night mother. She called to me and told me about the universe.
An arrow flicked past me and hit a nearby tree. I could hear their voices like I could see the light between the trees. Little bits of sound, back and forth. The leader was the one with the deep voice. He was the leader of the gang, so snide and proud of himself for killing an animal. They were talking about it. Some of them hooted like owls and wolves in an attempt to scare me. It was something I had become accustomed to.
I crouched down with the silence of death, disappearing into the shadows. I ran through the group hearing them panic. Where did he go? Some of them yelled. We'll find you! You can't hide forever! They said these things, but I knew better. Soon they would wish that I had stayed hidden, but only for a moment.
Of course, the leader of the pack was always in the rear – easy to spot. I raised up to meet him at eye level. His arms were crossed and his face was smug. And for the split second that he had to act, he uncrossed his arms to raise in front of him. I jabbed his neck with the edge of my hand, startling him enough to step backwards. My knife sliced across his midsection and caught his arm. He twirled around to curl up into a ball. He probably felt a great deal of fear when he realized he was messing with the Dark Brotherhood. The man must have felt like he was already dead.
Instead of letting him curl up, I wrapped my elbow under the pit of his good arm and held the back of his neck. I spun around towards his gang, making sure they all turned to see their leader get stabbed so far through the back that they could see my blade protruding from the other side. With the leverage I had from his neck I flayed him down into his guts and let them spill. Some of the more courageous bandits shot arrows at me but hit their leader, who was dead and nearly cut in two.
When I retreated to the shadows again I watched as some of the bandits feverishly hunted me. I was amused to see most of them had run away, pissing themselves. After slaying all but one of them, I approached the last man standing from behind saying, “Silence brother...” Before stabbing through his head and hitting his teeth.
Been a long time Destructoid. As you know, it is PAX prime time. I look forward to seeing some of you there. In fact I look forward to seeing some of you tonight at 9:00pm. I'm going to try to take it easy this year and not exhaust myself, but sometimes when having fun a person can lose track of time. It happens.
Anyway, the main reason I'm back here is to tell you guys where I have been. I'm sure it isn't a big deal, but I made some promises back in the day about making an RPG. So first I'll go into that.
The RPG from the beginning was always going to be too big of a project for me. But I was hoping that I was going to get some help, and that I could push it forward that way. Projects like this often die easily because it is hard to keep momentum going when there is no money to push it forward. I'm still unemployed, and still spending most of my time looking for work. That, and I have a wedding to plan. I'm selling off some of my assets to make sure the next few months go well for me and WolfGirl (my fiancee). Basically, there are more than enough good reasons for me not to spend time on the RPG right now.
But I found a way to continue coding it. I found something called Perlenspiel.
Perlenspiel is a quirky sort of SDK (Software Development Kit) built by my idol Brian Moriarty. He is currently a Professor of Practice in Game Design at Worcester Polytech. He is Professor Moriarty. Anyone interested in game design? I highly suggest checking out some of his GDC speeches. I don't think a whole lot of people could manage to be more inspiring than him.
The reason Perlenspiel works for me is that the SDK is simple. I don't have to do much art, sound, or anything that is going to cause me to spend hours on 'assets'. I can just code, for the most part, and let the game rules speak for themselves. This isn't the perfect situation for an RPG though, I know that.
I've learned that RPGs are at their best when they are trying to be simulations, not games. Skyrim is one such game. Skyrim is almost trying to simulate a compilation of systems rather than give you game rules and game goals. There are small goals and small games in Skyrim, but on the whole, it is my opinion that Skyrim tries to simulate a fantasy. We don't have a proper way to define this in the industry yet, so I'll just say that I want to build an RPG game with an emphasis on simulating a fantasy environment.
What this all means is that my game is actually at its best when I have the best graphics, and the best AI, and the best music, and sound effects too. Unfortunately my expertise is programming. I have dabbled in the other arts, but I must focus on what is important. And that is: to make a great RPG. And I have decided I can make one in very low fidelity. Low-Fi
Orson Welles once said that the absence of limitations is the enemy of art. I believe him.
I built the character movement code in fifteen minutes after seeing the Perlenspiel website. I didn't even know what it was before that. (Actually I watched a video about it, but hadn't seen any code.) In Unity I had been working for weeks trying to get the character movement code down. When we ran into the part where we wanted to add art and animations – we froze the project. Bummer. But in Perlenspiel we are simultaneously limited by low res graphics and set free by them. Either way, I no longer need an artist or sound guy.
I'm excited to see what I come up with. And you will still be able to play the game online if Knutaf lets me put it on his server. Let's see how brilliant we can be! Let's see if I can impress you!
Other than that, I have a game that I am going to bring with me to PAX that I will show off to those of you that are going. It is a top secret project that you guys can't tell no one about. The code name is Mr. Pink. That is all I can tell you. It's probably not a big deal.
I'm currently planning a wedding. Well... More like WolfGirl is planning it, and I am trying to find the money for it. It's a bit stressful, but I can't wait for it. It's going to be the best party ever! Believe me, if I had enough money I would invite all of Destructoid – but alas, I am poor and white.
Lastly, I just wanted to say that I'm sorry I haven't been around. It has been a rough year for me, but I'm going to come back strong.
Hello again everyone. This blog should be short, but we have a lot of progress this week. My buddy Chris and I have been working on our separate parts of the character movement. I’ve taken on some of the character stuff, while he has taken on some of the movement. What that means specifically is: I am working on the way the player faces and reacts to moving and stopping. I’m making the idle and walking/running animation work. And I’m trying to make the rest of the animations synchronize with how fast the character is moving as well as smooth out how the thing looks. My part of this will take a while if I try and get things perfect – but one can start to spend too much time on animation at a certain point, especially as a programmer.
Chris, specifically, is working on the point and click aspect. He has to add some sort of pathfinding system for the main character, because the character has to somehow be able to find his way out of tough spots and around obstacles. I’ve been thinking more about this though. I’ve been playing a lot of Diablo 3 this week and have found that the main character rarely if ever tries to make his way around obstacles unless the path is very obvious. We may not need to add pathfinding for the main character after all! But it is clear that we will need to use some sort of pathfinding system for the monsters.
In other news, Chris has done some work to find some extra assets for us to use to let us know what the game will potentially look like. I hope we can eventually get some of our own art. But since this project is free, it makes sense that we would try and find some free 3d models online. We have two different levels going right now, but this week I wanted you guys to be able to see his changes. To see a little critter moving around the level is exciting to see so early on.
Also, Chris has shown that he’s excited about focusing on a few of the features in this game. We talked to each other at a get together the other day for his son’s birthday. I think we have his interest! That makes me really happy. It’s always good when someone can be excited enough about your project to add their own work to it. I really respect Chris and his ideas. We’ve been talking about video games and potential projects since high school – and this is the first one that looks like it might go somewhere. You guys have no idea how happy I am about that. Perhaps we will have some other people signed on in the future?
Well, that explains mostly what has gone on this week. Unfortunately Diablo 3 has taken up most of it, so I’ll have to see if I can get that out of my system this weekend. I’m on act 4, so I think I’m nearly done with it. I’m sure I will want to go into Nightmare difficulty as well, but once I’m done with act 4 I can curb my enthusiasm a bit. Diablo 3, though, is something I wanted to talk about a little this week.
I’ve been playing Diablo 3 since it came out on the 15th. You could even say that all the hours I spent playing the game was research. But either way, I think the game doesn’t change what I think about the RPG genre. I do think, however, that I like that the game is always online. Of course I don’t like the way that it lags or times out, but such things are expected in the life of an online only game. I never complained about this though, because I’ve seen and played many other games that were online only and tried to keep their own ‘in-game’ items away from hackers and the like. Blizzard is trying as best they can to keep with this model and create a true economy for their players with the auction house. And, not to put too fine a point on it, I love the auction house. I believe the game will be infinitely better because of it.
Does the auction house affect ideas in our RPG? No, the auction house is something quite a bit out of reach for this project. But there are plenty of things Diablo 3 has in it that reinforce my ideas.
First of all, I’ve already mentioned one thing. Diablo 3 appears to have no pathfinding as far as the main character is concerned. If it is good enough for Diablo 3 it’s good enough for me. (I would probably say that about quite a few things on this project.) Of course not all of the features in Diablo 3 are going in our game, but there are more examples. Another one is: Diablo 3 was modeled after a rogue-like game, but has real time movement and actions. I really like that. I love seeing everything playing out in real time. There is something about it that strikes me as being more authentic. It’s not that I don’t like turn based systems – I do. In fact, that’s why I’m trying to implement the “always pause” mechanic. So in this example, I would love to have the combat play out a lot like Diablo 3 does, but with the added aspect of pausing the action to think about your next move. I would love to play Diablo 3 with that feature, I have a feeling I would die much less.
I have a feeling that this means that we could have both a real-time mode and a pause-action mode. Both would have the same flow of combat, one would just give way for players to have more thoughtful attacks. And I want that.
Fortunately I can avoid the complaints of Diablo 3’s always online system. We won’t have any cooperative modes or anything multiplayer. Let’s face it; Diablo 3 is a multiplayer game. I can see that the auction house is much better for buying my items. The game is made for cooperative play. I just like to play solo is all. So, again - in the end you don’t necessarily have to be online to play our game. I know our game is browser based right now, but that’s just for convenience. There is no reason we can’t have downloadable copies to install in the future.
Anyway, I think that’s about enough out of me today. Remember the link to the game.
Hello Destructoid. It’s Friday and I have another update for your consideration. This week, I found that it only took a few hours to get something going in Unity3D (our development tool). Thanks to the help of some of my friends, we now have a good starting momentum and we have a place to put my game online for you all to enjoy. Sure, the game is super boring right now, but at least you can play around with it a little bit.
I picked Unity to develop in because there may not be a better choice out there for me right now. Unity provides the tools I need to get you more updates faster. That way I can spend the day working on finding a job, and the rest of my night developing. It means you and I get more bang for our buck. Not even a buck is given actually. The software is totally free which is good because I get to spend time on my hobby without going broke, and you (the player) get to play my game for free.
Unity scripts can be coded in C#, which I have been coding in for some time now. Again, this will mean more speed for game features being developed for you, and I will be able to keep my skills honed for interviews. Unity provides us an easy way to develop a 3D game. It has plenty of packages that people have written already for things like path-finding. So we won’t have to keep re-inventing the wheel. And the best part is: Unity will give many people on here the chance to play the game as it is being developed.
This week in development: Character Movement
• Make a plane for the player to walk on.
• Make a placeholder for the player.
• Make a directional light so we can see the 3d objects.
• Make the player move around with the keyboard arrows.
• Make the camera follow the player.
• Make a box to give the player a sense of movement.
• Put a development build online.
Like I said before, these things were quite easy to implement. But the point was to get something up on the screen for you guys to mess around with right away in the first week. At the very least I wanted you to be able to move an avatar.
I provided a few things to make it easier for the player to see what is going on in the level, but I think we need a little bit more for next time. I might even be able to find some placeholder animations from artists that are giving away some assets online. I doubt I will find characters that look like I want them to, but at least we might find something that is better than a cylinder with round edges. I’m also thinking about adding a decent floor texture. With a full character model running around the level and a textured floor, we might have a better sense of what the game will look like.
As you can see, the movement for the character is based on the keyboard arrow keys. That feature will be changed almost immediately. What we really want is something that resembles the Diablo control scheme, don’t we? In all of the adventure RPG’s out there, and especially in the single player oriented ones, the isometric view and Diablo’s control scheme always seemed like the best to me. With the addition of parties and the ability to control more than one player, this becomes problematic. So if we do end up building a party based system, character movement will have to change yet again.
The system also has to be somewhat ready to take on my ‘always pause’ system that I mentioned in my first intro blog. We have to be able to take the game on frame by frame and pause the action whenever we want. Players should be able to pick every move they make with precision and they should have as much time as they need to think about their next move.
So here are some of my goals for next week:
• Make a texture for the floor.
• Find a 3D model for our character as a placeholder.
• Add a point and click ‘Diablo-style’ control scheme.
If this list of things to do is shorter, it’s because I know that the list will get bigger because of the details involved with getting the ‘point and click’ movement implemented. I may have someone to help me in this process, so I may be able to get to more than this. I could start trying to implement some sort of path-finding so that the player can find their ways around obstacles on their way to where you have clicked. But either way – I’ll give you guys the full details on it next week.
The next few weeks will be a lot about refining the movement system. But I have something else to talk about too. With these blogs - I have a few things to offer you. From me you will receive weekly updates. That, we have already covered. You will be able to play the game as it is being developed. That, we have also covered. And at the end of these blogs, you and I will be able to talk a little about game design. For those of you who find the details of the updates boring, but want to have insight on potential game features, you could almost skip straight to the last few paragraphs. Also, I hope everyone will be so kind as to leave some feedback in response to ideas they like and dislike as we move forward.
Random Game Design Thoughts:
There is a certain game out there that showed me something important about what games are capable of. I’m not going to mention what game this is because I basically don’t want to spoil anything. So I’ll just say something about game design in general. A great game designer once said, “…we could never hope to approach the subtlety, the nuance, the fine detail that characterizes the phenomenon we call reality. Because the detail in reality is infinite.” And I may be taking his words a little bit out of context, but it made me think of the connection between reality and the game I am refusing to spoil.
Some games have the amazing ability to take things one step further, to add more layers of complexity that no one really even thought was possible. It’s like Castlevania: Symphony of the night and the reverse castle. It’s like figuring out that you can out-think the final boss in Planescape: Torment. There are games out there that really take things to the next level. And one of the ways to do this is through Easter Eggs. Perhaps there is a little phrase written on the wall telling you that the cake is a lie. It may not quite be an Easter Egg, but it may brilliantly foreshadow another game event. The game I am talking about is chock full of Easter Eggs, enough that it is hard to beat the game without finding a few of them. Some of these Easter Eggs are puzzles, but the puzzles were not defined by the way you played the game – they were defined in the game’s world. It was written all over the walls.
These kinds of things make me smile. Imagine my disappointment in the final episodes of LOST. They really built up a lot of content there and had very little questions answered. And most of it didn’t lead up to anything spectacular. In fact it was almost a bit cliché. It didn’t matter too much to me that this had happened because I was such a fan of the show, but what a shame it was, right? Can you imagine if LOST actually ended up forming an ending that had tied up loose ends and had some great epiphany at the end? Perhaps it could be a pearl of wisdom of some sort, or a statement about humanity and life. Perhaps it could have been a metaphor or something that we could take with us to think about after the show ended. It’s such a shame. Maybe I am missing out on something crucial to the plot?
I think my point is: that the Easter Eggs and clues throughout a game are some of the easiest things to implement! These strange messages are hidden in art and audio, and usually those things just plop right into the game. As long as artists can paint cryptic messages onto a 2d texture, we will be able to put interesting mysterious things into our game. We all love mysterious messages that have us saying, “That HAS to mean something, RIGHT?” What if there is a light at the end of the tunnel? What if that weird message is a clue at the beginning of some mysterious trail to treasure, wisdom, truth, or even companionship! What if it solves a transcendent problem? What if it answers a question? Do we dare ignore it? Or will the lack of answers drive us mad?
Here is a link to the online game. It is browser based. If the keyboard arrow keys are not working for you, try and click on the screen to give it keyboard focus. Also, the game isn’t terribly exciting yet – but I hope at least a few of you will enjoy the fact that the project is started. Special thanks to Knutaf for providing space to put my project. And special thanks to my ex-boss Chris for helping me on the development side. Thanks for the enthusiasm guys. And thanks to the Destructoid community. You may not know it yet, but you are the wind beneath my wings. Thanks for keeping me motivated by being so awesome.
I do not fear the monsters and demons
I fear that I am awake.
I have the weight of the world on my shoulders,
No way out, and I am alone.