Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Developing Alone

One thing I may have not mentioned in my first post is that I will be developing this game alone. I will be doing everything. I will go in to more depth below of how I plan to do this.

I consider myself artistically talented, and in fact, I was planning to go to school for art before I switched to computer science. I have a little 3d modeling experience, and some real-world painting experience.

I will be using Blender(Maybe Sculptris) to model and Blender to animate, in addition to GIMP for doing textures. I may actually use Unity to animate because apparently there is some kind of new "Mecanim" animation inside it now. I will have to look into it more to see if it is actually useful to me. Anyways, I digress.

The art for the game will be minimal. The only real model I will have to create and animate is the player, and then apply a UV map to him. Modeling him will not be too much of an issue, because the design I have in mind will be very basic, he only really needs to resemble a man somewhat. The game world will also be flat textures I can create in GIMP and then use a transparency shader to achieve the desired effect.

For anyone else interested in game design, and you want to try art for yourself, then I suggest you download GIMP, Blender, and Sculptris, all free software. GIMP is like a free version of Photoshop, Blender is like a free version of 3DSMax or Maya, and Sculptris is like a free version of ZBrush. All of these, if you are talented enough, can help you create AAA assets.

I have been in school for a computer science degree for over two years now, so I have some programming experience. Most of it is in Java, and a little in C#, however C# and Java are already incredibly similar in syntax, so it should be an easy transition.

The engine I will use is Unity because it already has a 3D engine with a language(C#) I know how to use. I have no clue how I would make my own, in house engine, so Unity will have to do.

The basic programming for the game shouldn't be too difficult. I already have an algorithm developed that will enable the core mechanics to work. The script should honestly only take one day, at the very most, to implement and debug(hopefully).

If anyone else reading this is interested in learning how to program, I suggest you either take a college course at a local school for Java or C#, or otherwise pick up a book. One that I own, that is phenomenal, is How to Learn Java in 21 days. I learned stuff in there that even my college course didn't teach me. As for C#, I suggest picking up a pocket reference. The big thing to keep in mind is once you learn one Object Oriented Programming Language, the concepts in all the others are very similar. Once you become familiar with methods, objects, interfaces, and classes, you will be able to use the language efficiently to make a game (at least in Unity).

I had experience with FruityLoops a long time ago, however that was a pirated version and the real software is expensive (I am trying to make this game with little to no direct costs). I plan to use Audacity for the sound because it is a free program, and another program called Ardour has caught my attention, but I know little about it. I will have to research it more.

I want the sound in my game to be simple, yet intriguing. I have ideas of using whistles, bells, and other such sounds for interactivity, but I am not sure yet. I will have to start experimenting with these programs later on.

This is the one area in the development I am entirely unsure of how to continue. This will probably be one of the later things I work on.

Hopefully, if all goes well, this will be where I can spend most of my attention. I know the biggest threat to my game is obscurity. I would rather have a bad game that everyone knows about, than a fantastic one that no one knows about.

At a later date, I will sync up youtube, blogger, facebook, twitter, google+, steam, indieDB and Desura to try to be everyone. The more places my game can be seen, the greater the chance for success.

I will also periodically send emails with free game codes to indie game news outlets in addition to Lets-Players. Hopefully this will inspire their audience to at least go to my webpage and try the demo.

My presence on youtube will also help gain attention for my game. I will try to give out free codes whenever I can to my viewers in contests, as well as on Reddit.

My best hopes are that the game catches on because of how interesting it looks, and then I keep the attention when everyone learns I am making this game alone.

The most important piece I will need is a website. I know very little HTML, and I have used Dreamweaver before, but it was unfortunately a pirated version, and to purchase Dreamweaver is, again, out of my budget. I am looking at free alternatives to Dreamweaver, but so far very few look promising. The webpage doesn't even need to be that advanced. I like the look of Braid's website. (  Straight forward and to the point. Title. Video. Buy. All on one page. I may have my main page as that, then another page for more screenshots and videos. The links to my other websites like blogger and youtube will most likely end up being on a sidebar.

I will probably be using a service called FastSpring to sell my game on the website. From what I have gathered, they can take many forms of payments, and even though it will redirect you to another site, the site's design and background will match your own. That would be terrific. The next big milestone would be getting my game on Steam. I hope to be able to put my game on several other portals also, but we will see how that goes.

One big selling point of the game is that it will be on PC, Mac, and Linux. Hopefully this will lead to larger sales on both Mac and Linux, while I expect these sales will promote the game to PC users as well. The Unity engine allows me to publish to these 3 platforms with "the click of a button", so we will see. I hope there would be no problems with the ports :(.

Thanks for reading.

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