Right, going to try and do the dev diary thing one more time, and hopefully this time I actually remember to keep at it. This is meant to be a weekly log of what I've done in the past week, and what I want to accomplish in the next week. The plan is to publish one log every Friday barring extraordinary circumstances, and will hopefully help keep me on track and give you guys an idea of what I'm working on and going for.
That said, here's the first dev diary for my game Neo Edda. There's quite a bit of background first, so feel free to skip to the bottom for the important stuff.
When I first started working on Neo Edda a few months back (and before Death and Progress happened), it was meant to be another RPG Maker (RM) game like Space Fox Kimi. However, I've decided to change engines and make the game using Game Maker Studio 2 (GMS2) instead. Truth to be told, I would have liked to keep using RM given its ease of use for story driven games, especially considering how I'm mostly working alone. Unfortunately I've learned that RM has a certain stigma attached to it and many games made from it don't usually do well. I've also heard that Steam algorithms suppress RM games, and even though I'm not sure if it's true, it does make sense.
And so I made the switch to GMS2. I've tried using other engines, but considering I haven't coded much for ages I wasn't getting anywhere with engines like Unity. GMS2 requires a lot of coding as well, but somehow feels more intuitive and easier to use. I've heard that GMS2 is a good intermediate step for developers, and I absolutely agree. After following some tutorials, I was able to make a simple platformer, and even use what I've learned to make a small "Reigns" -like game for a game jam (see https://shentzu.itch.io for that and my other game jam games).
Neo Edda will now be a top down action RPG like the classic Zelda games instead of a JRPG. It'll be lighter on story elements, but I think it'll allow for more satisfying gameplay.
THIS PAST (two) WEEK(s)
Yes, two weeks because I've been working on this for two weeks before I decided to do this dev diary. The time was mostly spent on porting and writing new code based on what features I wanted the game to have. The main highlights are that I programmed in dashing, dropping a decoy/clone, knock back shields, ranged/melee attacks, and a map-wide global attack. I also needed to write code for basic features, such as a menu, saving/loading, a map, consumables, etc. I know I probably could have gotten scripts for it from the marketplace, but writing the code from scratch helps me get more familiar with programming as well.
One of the main issues I've had (and still have) is the lack of art/sprites. So far I've been using whatever assets I have lying around from previous projects... and as you can imagine it's lead to a bit of a mishmash of sprites that looks like it's from multiple games. As for the maps, I've been drawing them using the parallax mapping techniques I've been using for my RM games, and using RM tilesets to draw them (more on this later). When it comes to animations/sprites, I wanted to see what features I could make first before looking for/commissioning assets, so the current state is acceptable. I do want to get on that soon though.
THE NEXT WEEK
The bulk of the code has been taken care of, so I want to make and release a playable prototype sometime next week. While I haven't decided yet, I am leaning towards a public release. It'll be a short little game with a short little silly story/quest, but it should demonstrate the gameplay pretty well. I'd also like to try and draw a few sprites myself, but considering I've never been a good artist I don't expect much from it. Maybe if I can draw something simple that looks okay I'll go with that, but I do prefer that the game doesn't look too pixelated.
What's more likely to happen is that I'll commission assets, and I'll see about getting quotes for them. Since I can draw maps using RM tilesets, I'll be prioritizing commissioning sprites and animations. However, I'm a bit worried that if I were to draw maps using RM tilesets (even custom ones) the game will end up looking like a RM game, which I would like to avoid. If it turns out to not be too expensive (which I honestly doubt), I'll also see if I can get custom map assets.
If I still have time, I still need to rework the game's plot, so that'll keep me busy for sure.
Neo Edda is now a top down action RPG like classic Zelda games.
Gameplay features implemented so far:
- Dashing with invincibility frames
- Leaving a decoy
- Knockback shield
- Various ranged magic attacks
- Map-wide attacks
To Do Next week:
- Make a playable prototype
- Try making a few sprites
- Get quotes for custom assets
- Rework the plot/story
Thanks for reading this far! Feel free to leave any comments you may have, and hopefully I'll see you guys next week for another update.