Holy cow... talk about a week of Holidays, family and artwork.
It was really great seeing my family for Christmas and being able to see my little brother, but even that didn't seem to keep me from working.
It was really nice to actually show some of my family what I've accomplished with the game so far, and how it's coming along. It's a strange balancing act when it comes to this production blog, as while I want to keep things interesting for anyone that happens to stop by and take the time to read this, I also have to keep some details somewhat secret. I don't want to give everything away before the game is finished!
So far the support that I've gotten from my friends and family is absolutely amazing! My cousin Ryan has almost made a mode to share every post on Sword 'N' Board's Facebook page, which is absolutely amazing as well (thank you Ryan!).
I've definitely felt that I needed to get a bit more artwork up on here, aside from little screenshots of the UI or game Icons, just to make things a bit more interesting. The downside to that of course being that since I'm the only person working on the game, that while artwork is coming out, no programming is being down.
However, that doesn't mean that I haven't been programming at all! In fact I've managed to program one of the main mechanics/abilities that I'm sure a lot of people are going to want to use. I was a bit afraid of it at first, as it's one of the main technically complicated mechanics of the game, and will probably end up being one of the most difficult ones to program out of all the other abilities that you'll acquire throughout the game. But, I was able to get it working, and finished, so that's yet another thing to mark off the list!
Another road block that I recently ran into, is sound effects! I'm not a sound guy, and I literally have 0 sound recording equipment, but I'm obviously going to need sounds and music for the game right?
Luckily, a wonderful site called opengameart.org has a large library of different sound effects that I can use for free for the game. It's just a matter of going through each of the sound effects, and finding the perfect sounds for each of the actions and abilities that they relate to!
Now, it's off to programming some Enemy A.I.!
Well, we're a day early, but who cares right? Consider this me trying to make up for being a day late a couple weeks ago.
I was really trying think of what would actually be interesting to read here the other day. While the point of a production blog is obviously to let people know how far along you are in production, the mile stones you're reaching and things like that, it should also be interesting to read right? So I thought I would give everyone a bit more insight into what to expect from the game when it's finished.
A large number of items and weapons, and item customization:
I wanted there to be a large amount of items in this game, for players to find and use, but I also didn't want to do it exactly like previous games have done. While this game is meant to be a sort of tongue in cheek parody of the original Legend of Zelda, I still really wanted to focus on the importance of the theme, and the importance of really playing the game the way that the player wanted to play it. Doing an exact duplicate of The legend of Zelda in my opinion really isn't fun, not only for myself while developing it, but for the player as well I feel.
So, when you've collected a few different items, you'll be able to decide exactly what weapons you want to assign to either of your two attack keys, either O or P. (Get it? That's so OP.... muahaha.... alright I'll stop)
Not only will you be able to decide what weapon you'll be using, with what key press, but using 2 items in different combinations will yield different results as well. But I'll go more in detail about that later... can't spoil everything right off the bat.
Many, large dungeons:
There will be many things to explore in the overworld, and many secrets hidden along the way. If you're going to find them all, you'll want to explore, and explore... and explore. The more you explorer, the greater the rewards! Also, not all of the items you'll be finding in order to survive are going to be found in a Dungeon, so be sure to keep an eye out...
In terms of the size of the Dungeons, they are going to be massive. In terms of layout they are about twice the size of the Legend of Zeldas depending on which dungeon you're in. So while the first dungeon you encounter may still be good in size, it won't be nearly as large as the 2nd, 3rd or so on. And the last dungeon in the mix is going to take a while to explore! Hopefully you've explored enough of the world to find the items you need to survive...
The Dungeons will also be themed I think, no simple color swaps here. We'll save that thing for
So how far along am I?
I have my own production schedule for the game, filled with Milestones that need to be completed in order to move on to the next task, and I'm already about 3 months ahead of the timeline that I gave myself.
The first major task, was to finalize the artwork and program the User Interface (UI) for the game. The User Interface is one of the biggest undertakings for this game, as it controls almost everything that you can do with your character. It controls all of your item selection, your button assignments as well as shows you the items that you've collected so far, as well as the items that you've yet to find.
Not only that, it also displays exactly how much you have of a certain items - for the items that have limited uses - how many keys you have in your possession, and where your health is currently at.
Of course, all of this can't fit on the screen, that would be absolutely terrible, and so it all drops down whenever you press the space bar, or disappears should you press the space bar again. So far, all of this is programmed.
Now, it's all about designing environment elements, some of which will be reused depending on the scene, or color swapped to give it old school feel, while others will be more elaborate to break things up a bit.
Well well well, what do we have here? Is it a snow globe? A Crystal Ball? A paper weight? All of the above? Who knows... (hint: I do).
Like I've mentioned before, I really wanted to make a game that brought back the magic of the original Legend of Zelda, while still bringing something new to the table. While I loved the exploration and simplicity that the Legend of Zelda had, I always came back to things that I would have LOVED to see back then that I think would have made the experience all the more amazing to a 6 year old me, playing the game for the very first time.
What this object does, I won't really say for now. I would like those of you that actually take the time to play this game when it's finished to discover that on your own, but I can assure you that it's going to be a item that is very important in later parts of the game, and should add a new dynamic to the game as well! One that I think will be a hell of a lot of fun.
Unlike the other versions of The Legend of Zelda, you will be able to equip different items at a time, and use them in different combinations, which will then yield different results. You may even find that you'll favor different combinations of weapons and items based on your own play style, which will help add some diversity to the game, as your friend may not necessarily play the game the same way as you! Maybe you like items with a lot more force and strength, while your friend likes to play things a bit more passive and defensive? Who knows! The choice is entirely up to you.
While this game is highly themed around what it was like to be a kid and using your imagination to create an amazing world, I also definitely wanted it to be a parody of a game that I know is very dear to a lot of gamers hearts. With that said, I definitely don't want it to be a exact retelling of what people have come to expected from Legend of Zelda style games, so there will be plenty of familiar things, as well as brand new and exciting things!
So this is coming a day late, but I wanted to make sure I had something worth talking about before posting!
It's funny designing this game, and coming up with different mechanics for it. Obviously it being a game that is heavily influenced by the original Legend of Zelda, I wanted to keep that feeling, while also remaining true to the theme that I have in place for the game. Not only that but I didn't see a purpose of doing a game that is exactly like the Legend of Zelda, so I wanted to add things to it that I would have liked to have seen before when I was 5 years old and playing it for the first time.
At first, I was thinking of the Items the players will be collecting as they make their way through the game and I was entirely too focused on making sure they were entirely different from the ones you'd find the Legend of Zelda, which then created another issue in figuring out what exactly I wanted these items to be able to do, or what their purpose was.
I quickly realized that the item itself didn't matter, if the things it did were completely different from what people could do with them.
And then, I started asking myself a lot of "What if?" Questions. As in "What if I could shield myself, and then use an item that had some sort of Area of effect stun around the player? What if they could use multiple different items in different combinations?"
Now, none of these questions were really ground breaking in any way, in fact they've been done in other games, but what will make them interesting is the different things they will allow you to do, and how you'll somewhat be able to customize the way your character plays to your play style, which I think will add another level of fun to the game.
Of course with new mechanics, and new abilities, must come new enemies and different bosses to make things a bit more challenging for everyone that will play the game, which I can't wait to get into very soon!
Currently, the focus of the production is on the UI, as that's going to be large part of the game and how the player interacts with the game.
UI is one of those things you really don't want to neglect, as you don't want to feel like you're having to fight a game while you're playing it. It should feel intuitive and get you back in and playing as quickly as possible. No one wants to fight with a control scheme for even a minute or two, or else it gets frustrating, and the person playing will just turn it off!
Once the UI is in place, and all is working as it should, it's really just a matter of designing the characters and the enemies, and getting them all in place!
Until next Friday! (Or sooner... we'll see)