08 Feb Dev Diary 2: Game Design
This week we would like to talk about the importance of a strong base.
As most of you know, the first thing to do when building a house is to dig a hole and lay foundations.
It’s pretty much the same when making a game. Before we start dressing up everything and make it nice and shiny, we need to roll up our sleeves and get dirty.
We won’t get too much into the details and philosophy of game design as tons of books can and have been written on the subject. Yet we cannot escape, but talk about at least the cornerstones (get it?) of the topic.
The most important thing in a game is… to be fun. Duh. So what was the first thing when we started developing “Marko”. Well after we decided that we had a vague concept of what the game was going to be about, we put a simple white box (well more of a blob) as a visual representation of our character in a middle of a black room. Then we made it move in such a way that we thought we wanted our character to move.
The movement has to be responsive, the jump -not too fast not too slow – just right. The gravity of it especially – you want it to be able to rise quickly, but not too quick to make it unpredictable. To be able to have enough control mid-air, without making it feel too flowy.
We needed to make the character feel solid in a way to make the player believe they ‘belong’ in the game world, whatever that world was – even if it is just a simple black room. And then if we could do that for more than 10 minutes and not feel strained in any way, but joyful – then this is it. We made it work. These for us are the fundamentals of what makes a game great and what makes us keep playing.
Then we started putting things around to the character, and make him interact with them.
For instance, this is how a room looks before it is ‘dressed’.
It lets us test the various interactions, like jump space and camera width, without committing too much time and effort into things we might need to scrap later. This is twice as important for independent teams with limited resources like ours.
Next week we will show how completing a zone looks – though all phases – Concept to Blockout to Final.
Thanks for reading!