Grumble Adventure Visual List Go!

Grumble

 
Not sure why my blogs are relegated to the MORE tab...  
 
I see.  If you attach a blog to a forum, it becomes a forum post as far as this thing is concerned.  Weird.  Didn't attach this one to the forums on purpose, and it popped up in the Blog tab again.
 

Adventure of Adventure Game Making not so Fun


So, I've been thinking about experimenting with making an interactive game.  Something simple.  One of the simpler methods would be a text adventure, or maybe a graphical one, point and click style.  Since I've been interested in trying new ways to do dialog trees, the visual novel seems like a good idea.  The Ren'Py engine has a decent toolset to make it easier on the coding side (my code-fu is pretty weak right now), but the big problem with this sort of design is the labor intensive GRAPHICAL part.
 
In general, getting the graphics right is really, really difficult for any game.  Even if you skip over all the folks who have a fetishistic focus on recreating reality with graphics and physics engines, there tends to be a rather strong rejection from people who, outside of an ironic or historical context, see a game that has sub-par graphics.
 
I mean, I'm about ready to just have stick figures, since it's more the mechanics and situations that I'm interested in, but apart from buying one of those stylus pen sets for drawing, or taking pre-made pics off the net, graphics are actually my biggest stumbling block for this idea, and they don't have a whole lot to do with what I want to fiddle with.  I've also programmed a bit in Inform... 7 I think it was.  Very friendly once you get the hang of it, but I know a lot of people who wouldn't even bother to look at it just because it's a text game.
 
I'll figure something out, I guess.  Or give up :)   
 

An Aside about the Utility of Visual Novel Engines

 
I'd also like to mention that I think the visual novel style would actually be a pretty cool way to give someone an interactive tutorial on something.  One of the neat features of visual novels is that they remember which routes you've taken before, and can zip through the previously traveled options to bring you to new decision gates, even if you didn't actually save the game there.  That kind of feature would be nice if you had a simulation of a world, even outside a straight game context, and wanted to go back to see what other things you could have done.
 

Franz Lists

  
Been trying to think of games that I've enjoyed playing lately (define "lately" as you like since this isn't an exhaustive list). Everyone's fond of making lists at this time of year; I'm not really but I felt like doing it to keep things straight for myself and anyone who happened to be interested.   These sprang to mind:
 
Machinarium (Just a great experience)
Baldur's Gate (I didn't want this to be link text but I guess I have to deal with it.  Revisiting this made me realize how impressive Bioware's programming staff was back then, with all the contingencies they allow for and the neat dialogue choices, even if they sort of telegraph the intent of each)
Spelunky
(one of my driver problems stopped me from playing this, but it still works on my laptop.  It's all souped up now.)
Solium Infernum (tested it, continue to help with the tweaks)
Privateer: ASCII Sector (link text!  I've probably played this more than anything else, and it keeps getting better)
Doom: The Roguelike (for the levels that managed not to crash the sound, then I gave up)
Xybots (played this with a relative for a while.  Was damned fun just to blast robots in a maze)
Soul Calibur II (Low entry, decent mastery despite what the hardcores say.  Fun, accessible game for poundin' on folks.)
 
There's probably more that I'll remember later, but I need food right now, and there're other things that need doing.
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3 Comments
Posted by ahoodedfigure

Grumble

 
Not sure why my blogs are relegated to the MORE tab...  
 
I see.  If you attach a blog to a forum, it becomes a forum post as far as this thing is concerned.  Weird.  Didn't attach this one to the forums on purpose, and it popped up in the Blog tab again.
 

Adventure of Adventure Game Making not so Fun


So, I've been thinking about experimenting with making an interactive game.  Something simple.  One of the simpler methods would be a text adventure, or maybe a graphical one, point and click style.  Since I've been interested in trying new ways to do dialog trees, the visual novel seems like a good idea.  The Ren'Py engine has a decent toolset to make it easier on the coding side (my code-fu is pretty weak right now), but the big problem with this sort of design is the labor intensive GRAPHICAL part.
 
In general, getting the graphics right is really, really difficult for any game.  Even if you skip over all the folks who have a fetishistic focus on recreating reality with graphics and physics engines, there tends to be a rather strong rejection from people who, outside of an ironic or historical context, see a game that has sub-par graphics.
 
I mean, I'm about ready to just have stick figures, since it's more the mechanics and situations that I'm interested in, but apart from buying one of those stylus pen sets for drawing, or taking pre-made pics off the net, graphics are actually my biggest stumbling block for this idea, and they don't have a whole lot to do with what I want to fiddle with.  I've also programmed a bit in Inform... 7 I think it was.  Very friendly once you get the hang of it, but I know a lot of people who wouldn't even bother to look at it just because it's a text game.
 
I'll figure something out, I guess.  Or give up :)   
 

An Aside about the Utility of Visual Novel Engines

 
I'd also like to mention that I think the visual novel style would actually be a pretty cool way to give someone an interactive tutorial on something.  One of the neat features of visual novels is that they remember which routes you've taken before, and can zip through the previously traveled options to bring you to new decision gates, even if you didn't actually save the game there.  That kind of feature would be nice if you had a simulation of a world, even outside a straight game context, and wanted to go back to see what other things you could have done.
 

Franz Lists

  
Been trying to think of games that I've enjoyed playing lately (define "lately" as you like since this isn't an exhaustive list). Everyone's fond of making lists at this time of year; I'm not really but I felt like doing it to keep things straight for myself and anyone who happened to be interested.   These sprang to mind:
 
Machinarium (Just a great experience)
Baldur's Gate (I didn't want this to be link text but I guess I have to deal with it.  Revisiting this made me realize how impressive Bioware's programming staff was back then, with all the contingencies they allow for and the neat dialogue choices, even if they sort of telegraph the intent of each)
Spelunky
(one of my driver problems stopped me from playing this, but it still works on my laptop.  It's all souped up now.)
Solium Infernum (tested it, continue to help with the tweaks)
Privateer: ASCII Sector (link text!  I've probably played this more than anything else, and it keeps getting better)
Doom: The Roguelike (for the levels that managed not to crash the sound, then I gave up)
Xybots (played this with a relative for a while.  Was damned fun just to blast robots in a maze)
Soul Calibur II (Low entry, decent mastery despite what the hardcores say.  Fun, accessible game for poundin' on folks.)
 
There's probably more that I'll remember later, but I need food right now, and there're other things that need doing.
Posted by Teirdome

I personally have been playing with the XNA platform and using Google's sketchup for models.  It's a bit more programming heavy, but that's my day job.  Coding was never the problem, but making models in a reasonable timeframe of acceptable quality is.  Sketchup allows me to crank out a decent model in half an hour, which I can then spruce up with effects in code.  If I could, I would outsource my art assets ala Braid in a heartbeat.
 
I guess my advice is to do the stuff you aren't good at as quickly as possible, or find tools to substitute for a lack of expertise in an area.  Sounds like you've gotten around coding with the engine, so I would say go with the stick figures for now and flesh out the rest of your interactivity.  You can come back and iterate over the stick figures to make them better in the future.  If your game turns into something you like with the stick figures, it'll only get better with real art assets.

Posted by GamerGeek360

I've been playing with XNA a little bit. I'm not great at programming but next semester at my college (where I'm learning to be a game level designer) I will have a flash programming class and I just can't wait!