Hey there, Gamers and Game makers!
This week, i'm going to talk a little bit about something that can be hard to admit and even harder to do. I'm talking about when should we give up on a game and just let it die.
Any game project tends to come about from one core idea you had that you thought was really cool and would make for a great game. So, you start working on that game, figuring out what it should be exactly and fleshing out that core idea more. Time goes by and after days, weeks and maybe even months you're still working on this game but you feel like you're not making any real progress.
If you find yourself at this point you need to ask yourself if you're in a slump and need to find your motivation or is it something more. Is this just not a good game? Sometimes an idea may seem good in our heads but it may not translate well as a game. What seems fun on paper may be boring in gameplay.
The worst thing about spending so much time on forcing this project without admitting the idea may not be working is that all that wasted time could have been spent on taking what you have learnt and applying it to a new project. The best way to avoid all this wasted time is to prototype as early as possible. Use basic art and sounds as placeholders and develop the core gameplay. Once you do this you'll soon realize if your idea is good or not. While it may be hard to admit, sometimes we have to admit that the idea that we thought was the best in the world may not be very good at all and the sooner we realize this the less time you'll waste on a project that was never going to work out.
Sometimes you don't need to kill the idea completely. If it's not working out but you feel the idea is solid but you just can't figure out how to develop it then simply shelve that idea for the time being. You can always come back to it with fresh eyes and perhaps see it from a different perspective. Always prototype early and ask yourself, Is it fun? It's hard to admit when we may need to kill an idea but it's even harder to make up for months of wasted time forcing a project. Sometimes letting go of an idea leads on to better ones in the long run.
Well, i hope this has been of some help and as always, feel free to leave a comment or get in touch.
Until next time!
Hey there, Gamers and game Makers!
Recently I finished playing "Little Nightmares" and before that "Inside". Now, after playing these I started to think a lot about how they tell stories and why we need to follow their example.
I know what some of you might be thinking. that those games didn't really tell much of a story. That there was no dialogue or cutscenes. But the reality of it is that those games told rich and interesting stories without a single word and what we took away from them was partly left up to our own interpretation. Let's start with "Little Nightmares" as it's fresh in my mind from just finishing it.
The game starts you off locked in a cage with no introduction as to who you are or how you came to be there. You must push yourself off the edge in order to break the cage and from there begin your escape. Throughout the game you encounter a number of characters, most of which want to capture you.
As you explore it becomes clear that you are aboard some form of vessel and as you encounter areas of children locked in cages, you slowly begin to see a theme emerging. Now, what exactly is going on varies depending on who you ask. Now, I won't go into details as not to spoil the game for those who have not played it but we see a story taking shape through the use of primarily environmental storytelling.
The game combines great environmental storytelling with fantastic game mechanics design to create a sense of tension in the small world it has created. The characters feel alien yet familiar. While they may appear grotesque, what they represent may feel all to close to our own human nature.
Another game that makes great use of environmental storytelling is "Inside" The game begins with you as a young boy on the run from people who clearly intend to do you harm but why we don't know. You push on with purpose but not to escape but rather to return for a greater purpose. Inside just like Little Nightmares tells an interesting story without so much as a single word of dialogue. And as with Little Nightmares, what the true meaning of Insides ending may be left up to the interpretation of the player.
So, why is a game that leaves us with no real answers so great? The mystery! While we play games to get to the bottom of things and save the day and feel like the hero, not all mysteries should be solved. It's possible to go through a story, an experience and still have questions and that's not a bad thing.
The sense of a world much deeper than what we're presented with makes it feel all that more real. In both these games, you're landed right into the action of it without explanation and you must adapt and learn. And by the end of it all, hat you learn and understand comes down to how much attention you payed to the world around you and what you took away from it. These games did something great and that's not spoon feeding the player. We sometimes think to have a narrative game means to load on the dialogue and cutscenes. The reality of it is if we stop holding the players hand so much and toss them in, they may take away a more meaningful experience and what now feels more like their story. This is something I hope to see more of in games and something I hope to apply to my own games in the future.
As always, if you'd like to get in touch, please feel free to leave a comment below or just get in touch on the contact page.
Until next time!
Hi there, Gamers and Game Makers!
In this week's blog, we're going to take a quick look at how our games story impacts on the games mechanics. For this post, I'll use the player character as the example.
Now depending on the type of story you want to tell, you might have a very defined player character who is very much a key figure to the story you want to tell and their back story and even appearance play a huge role in telling that story. For example the type of story we want to tell can impact the decision to make a game first person or third person.
Why is that important? Well take Dead Space for example. The main character, Isaac Clarke is not just an observer to a story that's being told but his own past and relationship to the characters involved in the story make building a bond between Isaac and the player key to the game. This is why having the game in third person is a good game mechanic choice because it allows us to see how he's feeling in situations and makes us feel like we're helping him through this story and not so much like it's our story. The player feels more like someone on the outside looking in helping.
Now, if you have a story you want to tell that you want to have affect the person playing more directly, then first person provides a better method of immersion for the player. Using first person allows you to make the player feel more like this is happening to them rather than to a character they are watching. Using a game of my own, The System. The games story doesn't involve the players past or relations to other characters to be told. Therefore, the player is more of a blank canvas that you leave for the player to fill in some of the gaps and as a result makes the sense of immersion all the grater. by doing this and using first person as a game mechanic, we can tell a story in a more impactful way to the player that wouldn't have been possible had they been playing in third person watching another character.
While there's more layers involved in this, i hope that this gives you a basic understanding of how story can impact the game mechanic decisions for our player characters and what each decision means for the story and game as a whole. I hope to talk more about the other areas of game mechanics that are impacted by story in future posts.
As always if you want to ask a question or get in touch, please do using the comments below or just shoot me an email.
Until next time!
Hey there, Gamers and Game Makers!
Last week, I talked about writing a good villain. this week I want to talk about the importance of heroes. Just as having a compelling villain is important to the story, having a hero that fits the world and is relatable is just as important.
Now, when you think of a hero you probably think of those with superpowers such as Superman or the Flash. While these are great heroes, in my opinion the best heroes are the more normal ones. The everyday people who are thrown into situations they could never be prepared for and they overcome the most unimaginable of challenges. We need heroes we can relate to because they give us that hope that we can overcome the struggles we face everyday in life.
My all time favorite hero is Batman. Now, while you can argue his only superpower is money, The thing that makes Batman such a great hero is his complete and uncompromising iron will. He's just a man and while many of his foes could crush him in a straight up fight, his determination and intelligence makes him find a way to defeat whatever overpowered foe he faces.
While heroes like Batman and Iron man may have money and tech, that's not what makes them the heroes that they are. Take away all the money and tech and they would still put themselves in the way of danger to do the right thing. The best heroes are the ones that will stand up to evil despite being under powered.
The importance of heroes is while some of the ones we look up to are fictional, they can inspire us to face up to the challenges and adversary we face everyday. If you take anything away from this I would hope it's that when you are creating a hero character, don't focus on making them powerful with superpowers or tech but rather have their power come from their will to be good and strength to overcome. A great hero should inspire you in your everyday life.
Until next time!