Share your greatest game project

Posted by Castypher on March 14, 2014, 2:07 p.m.

This is for all the game developers out there, including people who no longer develop games.

In a similar vein to Steven's blog, I'd like to open up community discussion to encompass peoples' game design adventures. It doesn't matter if the game's not finished or even if you dropped it a long time ago. This is just an opportunity to reflect on your accomplishments and see what others have done.

Note that I'm not expanding this to account for all projects. Just games, for now. If it doesn't apply to you, then maybe you can share a few comments on others' posts. Everyone needs a little affirmation.

The rule is to share a single project, perhaps your most polished, the most successful, or even the most ambitious. Tell us a little about where it is and how you got there. Show us a few screens or videos, with videos in links and images in spoiler tags. Answer a few questions. How did you feel about it when you started? How do you feel about it now? How strong is your emotional investment? What would you ask for if you could have any one wish for this game?

Ask others questions as well. Let's see if we can bring back a few good memories, and maybe even inspire people to work harder.

Being a community topic, I'd like to keep this going for a while. Please don't be afraid to bump it. Additionally, please do not just +1 and leave. It only takes a few minutes to comment on someone's hard work. That's worth far more than a +1.

Comments

Castypher 10 years, 3 months ago

Terminys

Action RPG

This is probably my second-longest-lived game that has seen several reworks since its conception in spring of 2010. I've released it on 64Digits a few times and received very good feedback, but have mostly kept this game under wraps as it's a very long and ambitious game.

The premise has been modified from a GBA-styled game based on Mother 3 to a fully player-customized experience driven by a calendar and important player choices.

After creating The Twilight Realm, I revisited Terminys to update its combat system. When that included using the mouse for a more action-oriented form of gameplay, I ended up remaking the entire game from scratch. I recruited Taizen in late 2013, and this game has been taking form ever since. It includes updated graphics, mouse-based gameplay, faster combat, a calendar, a vastly improved story, and many, many others.

Back when I started the game, Mother 3 was fresh in my mind, and I thought, "I want to make something like that. Something that can balance humor and story. Something that is graphically simple yet diverse. Something to really put my heart into."

The original rendition of Terminys was just a re-enactment of Mother 3 with the core concept of two rival forces. When I discovered Touhou in July of 2010, and the crossover fangame Touhou Mother a short time later, I realized that I wanted more world interaction, more life. I wanted the characters to be likable while still having a strong story. I invented the sylphs and hellbeasts, and River quickly became the most well-received character. In 2012, TTR shaped the new graphics and combat system. And finally, when I played Persona 3 in 2013, Terminys became a calendar-driven game with a strong emphasis on player choice.

And now, Terminys remains my most ambitious project, yet not necessarily the one I'm most emotionally invested in. I want it to do well, and I've put a lot of work into it so far. I learned that my graphical, programming, and compositional capabilities are far greater than they once were, and that I can make this happen. I don't get a lot of time on it, but I've already put in hundreds of hours. The 2010 version was actually developed fairly quickly by comparison. But that was before the updated graphics.

The game that has most of my emotional investment, however, is The Twilight Realm.

If I could have anything, I'd ask for a pixel artist and level designer. Pixel art is the reason this game has taken me so long, and level design is one of my weak points, relying heavily on a knowledge of games as well as graphics. Ultimately graphics are my inhibitor.

That's what I wanted to show, just to start things off.

Astryl 10 years, 3 months ago

My single greatest game project is definitely Exile. One of my major goals had always been to create my own 3D game from scratch in C/C++, and I managed to pull that off. It's buggy as hell, and is probably leaking memory all over the place, but it remains my 'favorite' project.

I remember that RPG4D was halfway done by the time I started Exile. I was originally planning on making a platformer with SNES level artwork. That proved to be too much of a strain on me, and I was at the point where I was wanting to drop out (In fact, I did say I was going to drop out. Then Kilin and some other people somehow managed to motivate me again).

This is what the project that made me want to quit game development forever was looking like before I dumped it:

So yeah, I had a month and two weeks. At first I wasn't actually aiming to compete, just make something I was interested in making. And I decided to play around with blocks, something along the lines of Minecraft. This was the result:

Exile started out as eight cubes.

And after about a week or two became this:

Remember when the game still had a mini-map?

And these?

And let's not forget the horrible gamma setting. My old monitor never showed it up like this, but looking back at my screenshot collection… I can't recognize more than half of them; they look black :(

Here it is in it's 'complete' form, running one of the debug levels:

So yeah, that was a really nice project to work on. It might have been a big mess, but it was something I wanted to work on, and am still working on.

I've taken it from something that used a really simple tile-based 'hack' system to an engine that is using a simple threading model, integrates LUA as a scripting language, has per pixel lighting with an unlimited number of dynamic lights, supports basic models… and is still one big clusterfuck in it's own right. I've been trying to 'make a game' with it for nearly two years now, and I still end up finding myself adding features.

One last shot, taken recently:

Anyway, to answer the questions…

Quote:
How did you feel about it when you started?
That this was just a 'learning' project. I was using it as an excuse to revisit 3D graphics, to work a bit with C++ and to generally have some fun. I wasn't intending from the outset to turn it into what it became, but I'm pleased with the outcome :P

Quote:
How do you feel about it now?
Bewildered. I'm still trying to figure out why I did half of what I did in the source, and then trying to figure out how I pulled half of the things off in the short time I had to work on it (I had just started my first job about halfway through development time).

As it stands, I'm very pleased with the way the game was received; it's had a few Let's Plays, and seems to have quite a large player base (The Gamejolt page reports that it has just over 1700 plays). And I still get pestered occasionally by people asking me when I'm finishing it, or making a follow-up.

Quote:
How strong is your emotional investment?
Extremely strong. This is by far my longest running project, and the one I've invested the most time in.

Quote:
What would you ask for if you could have any one wish for this game?
All I want for this game… is to finish it, polish it, and release it into the wilds again for people to play, and hopefully enjoy more than the original. It might help if I stopped adding more features to the engine that I'm probably not going to use :P

Quietus 10 years, 3 months ago

i recently logged into an old gamejolt account i forgot about, and found i had uploaded a previous version of the game called "Maiko Fuse" … in April 2010.

A Starspangled Zephyr, on Gamejolt

i know, hardly the same game, but this was the base i had been messing with since 2007. Halibutski (now Extravisual) was working on a 3d version of the game back from '07 onward, while i worked on this one. so for a while i was planning to release ASZ along with his ASZ3D. but then i think Hali thankfully found better things to do with his time heh.

it was originally called "A Starspangled Zephyr", taken from a line in Finnegans Wake. i began calling it "Demon's Tail" when converting it to 3d, before settlingly on the pseudo-Japanese title "Maiko Fuse" which i really regret.

so at some point i figured out the code for making the tunnel, based on a ton of circles coming at you. i know i had it working by late 2010, though it had no obstacles, enemies or planet in the background. then from 2011 onward i've had health problems steering me away from adding much to it.

most of the songs currently in the game i composed before 2013's Summer Completition, and simply wrapped them up under pressure. the vocal theme "Hypnotized" was the only original piece i wrote from scratch in 2013, and the last song i've written on computer. Maiko's soundtrack on Bandcamp.

since then the game has been frozen in dev hell. though i eventually want to change bosses to humanoid characters, i'm aware that's not even remotely original. *cough* Touhou *cough* i am painfully aware that for all the time i've spent with this project, it is one of my most linear/arcade-like by nature, and there's not much i can do with it.

anyway, add me as a friend on gamejolt o/

Iasper 10 years, 3 months ago

Gonna use Kilin's format although limited since it looks pretty cool

Unnamed RPGYes this has gotten to the stage I'm no longer satisfied with its name

JRPG

Not my longest-lived game but it's the most ambitious one and the one I've been working on for the longest amound of time. This is all started vaguely when I got the idea of making an RPG four years ago despite never having played any. Not too much happened but what I did have became my base for RPG4D. Needless to say, the project died. Bai project.

However, the idea and ambition of making an RPG was still present, just very quietly. When a friend got me into playing FF6 (which got me addicted to the series), I revisited the idea. Because everything was worthless crap, I scrapped it all (except for the name of the continent which is now the name of the planet in the new universe).

In the course of the next months, I got obsessed by the idea of making one so much my school and music academy grades dropped. I spent all my time trying to make up characters, a storyline, to relate them to each other etc. Luckily my parents intervened and the obsession kinda stopped, however in my free time I still continued working on it. Nothing too specific, just abstract stuff for characters and game mechanics.

It wasn't until last year I started mocking up some screenshots and started working on an engine. However, it was rather short-lived since I didn't have anything specific enough to keep it working so I cancelled it. The project was put on hold again.

Last summer, the first breakthrough happened. The story was solidified when I joined NaNoWriMo and wrote a small part of the story in novel form. With English not being my native language and it being my first attempt at writing an English novel, the text I had wasn't exactly fluent nor interesting to read, however it was an incredibly important part for me since the game was finally becoming something.

School kicked in and the project was put on hold again. Unfortunately I suffer from perfectionism which causes me to never be satisfied with sprites I make. I can make decent sprites but I keep working on them over and over again since I'm never satisfied with them and besides taking up lots of time, it's also quite demotivating.

Luckily, I found someone willing to sprite. He has little free time though and procrastinates a lot, causing him to only have sprited two tiles so far which is quite a bummer. However, we're slowly getting ads out there and building a connection with people who don't have the time to help out but don't mind helping us out finding someone else, so I am somewhat confident we'll find an additional spriter soon which is when this project will be kicking off for real.

I'm writing the engine in LUA using Love2D which aeron recommended to me. So far, I've enjoyed it more than js/HTML5 and it's a good thing to not be dependent on GM anymore. I don't have too much to show here unfortunately other than a wall of text so I hope this'll do. Might edit this with some random mockups from years ago.

Moikle 10 years, 3 months ago

do ones that solely exist in my head count? :P

LAR Games 10 years, 3 months ago

Time War

Platform Shooter

This is one of the first games I ever started working on, but it's one that I never got around to finishing. The reason being that every time I worked on it I made progress until I got stuck on something, then stopped working on it for a very long time. I would then return later being completely unsatisfied with the work I'd done, then redo the engine and graphics with my new level of skill and self criticism.

Time War Version 1

This is the first version of the game I'd ever worked on. All I knew is I wanted to make a game where you killed nazis. That obviously meant time travel. So, I cleverly named this game "Time War".

You could pick up two guns. The AK and a pistol. The pistol worked fine, but the AK shot a bullet every frame since I didn't know how timers worked. I found out how to make a trampoline mechanic, put some enemies here and there, and playtested it many times.

I finished one level, and stopped working on it.

Time War version 2

So a while passed and I actually made another platformer called "Bob's Adventure". I learned quite a bit from this project. Unfortunately, I started getting bored with that, and decided I still needed to finish it. So, I tacked on a quick and terrible ending just to get it over with.

Having finished that, I decided I had enough experience to add some things to Time War. I went back and looked at the work I'd done before, and thought it was terrible. How could I make these mistakes? I HAD to start over from scratch.

So that's what I did.

From what I'd learned, I was able to have a mouse pointer, have my guy have health, and NOT have an independent global health variable for every enemy. I was also able to make my guy's weapon and arm aim at the cursor. This was MUCH better in my eyes. I was still a soldier, and I was still fighting nazis, but now everything was better.

Then I played Halo.

Time War Version 2.1

This is when the science fiction aspects of my game started to make an appearance. My main character wasn't just a regular soldier anymore, but a SUPER soldier. He had robotic armor, and even a HUD. I added a secret area that you had to crouch to get to so you can acquire an energy shield. I even finally figured out how timers worked.

It was in this version that I added a new weapon. The Microwave Gun.

To regular enemies, this gun worked similarly like a flamethrower in other games. Except it went through walls. It was the most unique weapon I'd ever come up with and I was extremely proud. I had to use it better.

That's when I decided something needed to be weak to it. So I added a boss. The radiation rifle was meant to be the secret weapon against this new enemy I designed. He few using a path when the player character got close enough, and without the Microwave Gun, he was a challenging fight.

I'm pretty sure this is the first version I uploaded to 64 Digits as well. Then I stopped working on it for a long time. I started making sprites, backgrounds, and banners for people on the GMC.

Until a new version of Game Maker came out.

Time War Version 3

This is the version of Game Maker when they added support for alpha channels in images. Transparency.

I was super excited! Unfortunately it was only supported if you added the sprites through code. I still barely new any code except for the stuff I used regularly.

I looked up some tutorials on the GMC and eventually I figured out how to do it. The picture above was the first version of this incarnation where there weren't any placeholders.

After making this first part of the engine, I was satisfied with what I'd accomplished for a while.

Then I decided to add stuff.

Time War Version 3.1

This is the version where I decided to re-add all of the stuff that was in the previous incarnation of Time War. I re-added the HUD, the Microwave Gun, the enemies, and the armor mechanic. This time though, I added more things as well. I added a sub machine gun, crates, a bleeding screen effect when you got hurt, and even flowing animated grass.

Then I added one more thing. Since I had decided that this game's engine would be 60 FPS I actually had the freedom of changing the FPS to something lower. This had the effect of slowing down time. And in a game called Time War, how could I not take advantage of this? I added a blue effect when you were slowing down time, and slowed down sounds of the guns as well. I thought this was so great. Everything was so nice looking and I was pretty proud of what I'd accomplished up to this point, but I kinda stopped working on it after that..

This is how it looked before I stopped working on it:

Time War Version 4

A while passed, and I saw gameplay of a game that people where using as a benchmark of 3d gaming at the time. Crysis.

I had a new inspiration and much more experience behind me in both graphics and using Game Maker. I decided to start over. Again.

This time, I decided to go with waaaay more detailed sprites, and just scale them down. this made things in the game look really, really nice.

I basically re added everything I had in the previous games with the upgraded engine, including the Microwave Gun. Except this time, I redesigned it, and called it the Radiation Rifle.

And that's basically the history of a game I keep abandoning.