A Matter of Carts and Horses

A Matter of Carts and Horses

Hey guys, you may have noticed a recent radio silence on my end. I apologize for that. I don’t have a good excuse. Basically life just decided to keep me pretty busy for a little while but I think I’m back now and I plan to return to these weekly posts.

So what have I been up to this past month? Despite not posting I have been working on game development just as strong as ever. I think I’ve reached one of those moments where I’ve learned a little about myself, and what I’ve learned is that I’ve got a whole lot more to learn.

Milo’s Many Nightmares currently is in the same predicament that Project Zeds is in. I came up with an idea I really liked, tried to keep it small and attainable, and before long realized I had accidentally planned out a huge game I couldn’t possibly ever finish. This is a reoccurring problem for me and one that stands between me and my dream of becoming a game developer. I don’t know if there is a solution to this problem, but I have an idea I’d like to try.

There’s a great episode of “The Game Maker’s Toolkit” that talks about how Jonathan Blow, the developer behind The Witness and Braid, comes up with his puzzles. I’ll link the video bellow this but the tl;dr: is that he just starts with a game mechanic he likes. He then plays with that mechanic until rules, consequences and puzzles based around that mechanic are discovered.

 

I want to make a game that way. I need to stop over planning everything and just start small. I have to stop putting the cart before the horse.  My plan is to not have a plan. It’s scary but I need to try something. I need to do something so that scope creep stops killing my projects. I’m going to start small, make small changes, and not necessarily know where this thing is going, and when it’s fun and it’s coherent enough to play I’m going to put down my pen and call it a game.

To start I’m going to need a fun game mechanic. I recently purchased a Vive and those of you who know me know that I can’t shut up about it. I think room space virtual reality is amazing and I think there is a huge opportunity for someone to make new ways of interacting with a game within the confines of room space VR. I’ve been brainstorming and prototyping ways of moving a player though a world without them leaving the 4’x4′ space of flooring they stand in the real world. Obviously there’s just teleportation the player or moving the player like an FPS, but I want to explore options that felt more realistic.

I had the idea of making the room a raft and letting the player paddle it around the world. You can see the outcome of that experiment below. In some ways I really liked the mechanic. If felt organic to stand on a raft and have the room move with you through the world. Unfortunately the paddling felt clumsy and didn’t feel like the player was ever really in control.

I like the raft but I’m currently prototyping some news ways of controlling it, and some ways that the raft can interact with its world. There’s no name to this project yet. No story. No Characters. Just part of a game mechanic, and that’s a good thing…. I think….

 


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