Your Dream Game

I’ve been streaming on Twitch. I’m making a game. Here’s kind of a list of stuff about it.

What is the game?

Well, I’m not saying it’s Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Gameboy.

My game dreamers (dante, roxas, and wraithind,) want three things:

  1. Freedom to explore and experiment.
  2. An involving story.
  3. Awesome, action-packed combat.

My basis is a top-down adventure game with simple controls similar to Link’s Awakening. I love the elegance of the control-system: two buttons, but unlike the original Zelda where one is your sword button and the other gets an item, your sword is an item and you can map each button to whichever item you have. The freedom to mix and match is super-elegant, and having an item for running and an item for jumping makes L:A extremely active and mobile.

That’s just a framework. If we layer some simple, intuitive combos with things like parrying and different weapon types, we’ll have the first step to the dream game: a small combat game where you can pull off super-cool combos. Maybe a two-player top-down fighting game. Hmm.

Step two: a physics/chemistry world. We’re using an ‘Entity System’ (or as I like to call it, Processing-Oriented Programming), which means making flammable objects react to flame and fires react to water and wind, etcetera, will be relatively simple (simple relative to procedural, object-oriented, and functional styles, that is), so let’s go that route: make a world that’s very interactive and explorable. Not Minecraft levels of malleability, but certainly Breath of the Wild levels.

That can be its own game, too. A small action/adventure game with a tiny world that’s fun to explore and a series of bosses to defeat for a victory condition. One might call it ‘Breath of the Gameboy’, though it’s totally not Breath of the Gameboy.

Step three is to take this basic framework and start making games that have broad and epic stories. Hopefully, by this point, I’m making money off these games and can invest my time and effort into turning them into epic oldschool Action RPGs layered over this totally-not-Breath of the Gameboy-engine.

Why stream?

  • Accountability. Streaming while I make the game is a way to reach out to people who might want to play it. Admittedly, it’s more a way to reach out to people who wish to make games. But my audience will know what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, how much effort it takes, and where I am in the process. They can check in on me even briefly to see that progress is happening. Incidentally, if I finish the coding and need to spend time creating world, story, music, etc, having a sample level available to play and a track record on twitch means I can throw a kickstarter and the potential backers will know in advance they can trust they’ll get what they ask for.  No hype-implosion such as Mighty No. 9.
  • Advertising. If you want to make a living with art, you need more than anything to find the people who want to experience the specific art you are making. Fun aside: established artists and game companies may need to worry about piracy, but new indies almost need to worry about lack of piracy. You’ve got to find a way to pay for your food, but if nobody is playing it, that means there will never be anyone to buy your work. Streaming on Twitch means I can lurk on twitch and hang out with the people who play similar games, which will make them more likely to give my game a chance — because they know me. Getting to know my audience means they’ll have more of an instinct to reach out to anyone they know who will actually like my game.

I don’t want mass sales. I want sales to people who love my game. I want to create something that will develop a life of its own because people love it. I want to create a series of games that will live forever because they are super awesome.

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