Whenever I update my Blog with a new entry, I always refer to how much I have going on and how I never seem to have the time for anything. I'm an idiot for taking on so much and planning so much, but part of me likes having a lot going on at once. If I hit a roadblock with a certain project either practically (I don't know how to make something work) or creatively (having a writer's block), I can walk away from that project and shift my focus onto a different one. There's also the chance of happy accidents occurring along the way where a solution in one project can crossover as a solution for another. So at the risk of making myself look like a complete idiot, I'm going to share a complete list of what it is I'm working on currently, with information on each project.
Not part of a singular project per-say, just an on-going thing. I have about 30 songs I've written small little melodies or hooks for, some being more fleshed out compositions than others. My hope is to finish each one off, but I'm focusing on 5 in particular at the moment. I want them produced in FruityLoops in a fairly polished manner where I can be proud of sharing them online. They aren't targeted at any particular project, they're just various pieces I've had stuck in my head when imagining various scenes and moments for games that only exist in my head.
[Vampire Manga/Light Novel]
Initially a Novel, then envisioned as a Manga, now scaling backwards again so that it's half-novel, half-manga/comic. The whole story started out as being both a challenge and an emotional outlet for a breakup I was going through about 7 years ago. The challenge side of it was with the person I was having a breakup with. She thought Twilight was great (I love vampires, but Twilight doesn't count!) and I told her I could write something better, so she challenged me to do so. As I was just finishing up on the planning/design stages for the overall story and characters, we broke up. Needless to say, an emotional David went straight back to the drawing board and rewrote the whole thing to be as depressing as possible to vent his depression at the time.
After finishing University I went back to finish it, and decided that it was too much of a mopey teenager-angst style of story, and it could do with some lightening up. Another 2 years of gathering inspiration and making adjustments every so often, and I'm nearing the end of a first draft. With that pretty much almost finished, I wanted to make a Manga/Comic of the story instead since I wanted to be very visual with how I presented it. After realising how much work I had ahead of me to have that many illustrations despite my modest drawing ability, I decided to hit a happy-medium and do a Light Novel instead. That way my first draft isn't completely useless, but I can still have some illustrations to help convey the story better. So this is an occasional thing I dabble in and add a little more to each time, but I'm in no rush to finish.
I say Game Projects, because I have more than one on-going. As I was learning how to code in C#, I found it much more useful to alternate between projects as I hit roadblocks with each one. Because I did this, I was able to learn programming a lot easier than had I opted to completely lock into one project. It was also nice to be able to work on different genres instead of obsessing over one and becoming too bored with it; it was a nice way of keeping things exciting and moving forward. So here they are:
Game Project #1 Kooler World
This is what I consider the main project, because all the programming is pretty much done except for creating a more refined/polished Game Manager system. There's one or two features I'd like to add before finishing up, like having environmental objects like catapults able to fling your ball across walls and stuff, but I need to think about how to actually implement those things in first. Otherwise, the game is done as a basic platformer, and just needs lots of levels created for it and some final polish.
Game Project #2 Dino Hazard
This one is a little trickier, because how I'm going to approach the game logic of combat is going to rely somewhat on how I approach the animation and level design. I really need to sit down with this one and plan out things a bit better, but as far as basic movement around an environment goes, that's solid. I've been looking at a game called "Back To 1995" which is a PS1-style Resident Evil / Silent Hill clone kind of game that I'm aiming to replicate style wise. What's nice to know is that seeing Back To 1995 released on Steam, gives me the reassurance that there's an audience for that kind of game who would be interested (I was one of the people who bought it!). Back To 1995 is more of a Silent Hill kind of atmosphere, whereas mine will be more like Dino Crisis. My biggest challenge right now code-wise is how I'm going to implement the shooting mechanics, and how much of it to have in a survival horror game.
Game Project #3 Quantum Frame
A Blade Runner style Arcade-Style Space Shooter. All the code is functional, I have enemies, different bullet systems, powerups, environmental hazards, the whole works! I'm lacking areas of polish I really want before I continue making more levels, like having the ability to fly the ship through a cluster of tiny rocks, and being able to push them out of the way. Long story short, my movement system relies heavily on the player ship following the camera around like a child object, because the camera system is a cinematic on rails rollercoaster type experience. Unfortunately, having physics going on relative to a camera's plane of view is challenging, so I'm having to think carefully about how I approach this all.
Game Project #4 JRPG
It's a mixture of 3D Final Fantasy VII-X style of exploration and combat, mixed with the top-down 2D nature of earlier Final Fantasy games, and similar RPGs like Pokemon. It's a really simple, barebones JRPG with no complicated aspects to it. I wanted to recreate some of the simplistic nature of the old JRPGs I used to enjoy, with 4 core magic elements and only a handful of status effects. It took me a while to figure out how to approach the grid-snapping style of movement progressively as the player object went around the level, but I think I have a system in place now that should allow me to focus on things like inventory and battle systems next.
And That's It!
Those are my main personal projects. As you can see, I'm definitely biting off more than I can chew. I believe it's what keeps me learning and moving forward though. By having new challenges and new systems to research into every week, I find I learn a lot more than if I just spent on year really trying to flesh out and polish a game. My tactic benefits me in the short-mid term, because I learn a lot of early game development practices and concepts quickly. There's no one type of magical game project/genre that will help me learn all of Unity's systems effectively, and be a short game to finish in less than 3-6 months. I've designed each of these projects into a much simpler version of what you might expect of the genre. So I'm hoping that I've taken on 4 small projects, where each focus on specific parts of Unity and will ultimately help me learn the software and C# in a much more broad and holistic manner.
Long post as usual, sorry for going on a bit! A few of you asked me what exactly these projects were and what sort of stages I'm at with each of them and what they involve, so this blog entry should give you an idea/indication of where I'm at currently!