I may have finally got an idea I can work with...

AlexRockey

  • Posts: 16
 I've wanted to make my own games for a long time now and got Stencyl to fulfill that dream, but something soon became apparent; My ideas where way to ambitious and complicated for a beginner. I tried to just simply give up on this and stick to drawing, but no matter how hard I tried, I always kept coming back to wanting to make a game. So, I contemplated about ideas that I can begin with, fit the theme I wanted and even be fun. Eventually, I came up with a few possible solutions.
 (I did already try my previous idea of doing it “Lost Vikings” style, but this was not just too complicated(though doable) for me, but also for the computer as it resulted in a lot of lag/poor frame rate.)

 The first solution I came up with was to split the two parts of the game apart; adventure and fighting. I would start with a simple platform adventure, consisting of adventure-style puzzles and challenges. The fights, in order to avoid having to come up with complex A.I., would be done up in single room/screen, classic style boss fights. Splitting game play would lessen the load on both me and the computer, while keeping game play simpler for the player.

 However, the theme I want to have is still causing me the most problems: team work. The first, simplest solution is to just have a different character chosen at the beginning. In story mode, this would be automatically decided upon the story. In (non-story mode – custom? Practice?) I would take advantage of the tutorials about character selection. That would be the first part, but what about adding continued team work throughout the game? Story mode would be easy, as the other characters would be simply set up as interactive N.P.C.'s and in some challenges, have the game cycle though the characters, like in a relay run. After completing the puzzle/challenge, the player would move on to a fight.

 Implementing single-player team play in the fighting part would be the most difficult, but I did come up with a few possible solutions to choose from. One, I could simply use a R.P.G./Worms style with taking turns using each character, but in an action/real-time game play. The problem with this choice is how the characters would be cycled within an action game – would it be based on timed intervals, the amount of actions taken, an energy bar, or the state of the enemy? Two, I could keep the character cycling, but let the player choose when to cycle through them. This would be done right on the spot the character is at, kind of like cycling through weapons. Problem with this is having a challenge to it. Does each character have limited energy that depletes when they are selected, but regenerates when not, or do I simply have them act as a separate “life”, with each having only a small amount of “hit points”? Maybe I could use the previous weapon example by having limited ammo for each character, with them needing to be deselected and given time to restock on ammo? These ideas would allow the player to play as each character within one level.

 Next idea would have the other characters, the ones not currently being played, act more like “power-ups”. Even though the team mates are preoccupied, they will still provide assistance, such as sending a first aid kit, provide a shield, drop bombs on the enemy, slow the enemy, etc.. However, since  they are busy, they cannot do this continuously. Therefore, a “power meter” will charge and when full, the player can choose any one of the characters to provide assistance from. Then, the meter will empty, flowed by it slowly recharging. I seem to be liking this idea the most.

 The final idea I have is to do it “tower defense/strategy game” style. The characters the player is not currently controlling would be placed at strategic, stationary locations. They would provide assistance by either when the player comes in contact with them(such as healing or ammo resupply) or continuously and automatically, such as providing a shield for cover or shooting at the enemy. I might not be able to use the single screen idea for this, though. Would be nice if the player could choose where to place them, but I would assume that would be too difficult for a beginner to implement.

With all that said, what do you all think would be the easiest for a beginner to create, while still making for a fun game? Or, do you have a better suggestion?

tigerteeth

  • Posts: 734
My advice would be to first start with the crash courses. I started out by messing around with one of the sample games, that's also a possibility.

AlexRockey

  • Posts: 16
I did do the crash courses and even some messing around. As mentioned, I had a "Lost Vikings" style game going, but didn't run well enough. I've also read the stencylpedia and various tutorials. I'm just posting to see what people will think would make for a fun game from within what I can currently do, then I can grow from there.

tigerteeth

  • Posts: 734
Okay, got it. I don't know what lost vikings is. But I still think that starting out by remixing a game that already exists is a pretty good way to start out. If it's literally your first game, don't be afraid to copy directly; later on you can make it your own. You're not gonna just magically make a completely original game out of nowhere.

iii

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  • Posts: 184
Lost Vikings is a game in the 90s.
One of the best Puzzle Platformer at the time (especially the second one).
If you are a fan of games by Interplay and Blizzard back in the 90s you'd probably bump into it.

AlexRockey

  • Posts: 16
I had thought of doing that, but when I look, I couldn't find anything with the theme and style I wanted. Do you know of anything?

Anyways, in the meantime, I though of a possible game concept; there would be part adventure style game, consisting of a large, top-down/isometric, RPG over-world-style area to explore. The player would be mainly one of the characters and interact with the rest as NPCs, though I would take from the combat system I choose and have it so you could call upon them for assistance. As for the combat part, that would switch over to a side scroll shooter(sorta like some of the older Zelda games did - do you think switching views would be ok for the player and the game play?) and I would use the "power up/call upon" idea I mentioned earlier. These would be simple enough for me, right?

(Yeah, "Lost Vikings" had three characters to control within the same level and could switch control over to them one at a time. The puzzle part was that they each had very specific abilities of their own and you used them to get all of them to the end. I tried a similar concept, but with so many characters with many behaviors, placed within a large enough level, while having them always active, made it too complex for both me and the computer.)

iii

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  • Posts: 184
If you find that Lost Vikings mechanics are too complex,
RPG-like top-down isometric are twice that.
It has more going on in the technical side, and way more art involve as you have to populate the whole surrounding, rather than "only" covering whatever you can see from the side view.
Since you are going for side view & top down/isometric, thats already x6-x10 character facing for each movement.

Personally to me, mixing two perspective from top-down switching to side view, frequently, can be rather annoying, and out of place.

Other game that is slightly similar to Lost Vikings , is Trine. Check out the 1st and the 2nd one, it might give you a bit of inspiration.

My suggestion, if you are doing it Solo, cut your game down to a manageable level. Otherwise, be prepared to spend years and years trying to finish it (hopefully you wont burnt out, or got bored before that).

AlexRockey

  • Posts: 16
I'm taking your advice and making a game based on what I learned from the tutorials and crash courses, along with what I can accomplish with behaviors. That, and it will all be side view. Keep it small and simple. Got an idea I started on. We shall see what I can do.

(Funny you mentioned solo as I want to incorporate team work into the game. Irony!)

ceosol

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  • Posts: 2201
I've learned the more techniques in Stencyl by prototyping than making actual games. Every time I think of a mechanic, I prototype it. It may not be the so called "correct" way to program it, but I always learn something new :)

CmdrWhitey13

  • Posts: 479
I've learned the more techniques in Stencyl by prototyping than making actual games. Every time I think of a mechanic, I prototype it. It may not be the so called "correct" way to program it, but I always learn something new :)

Yea. That's similar to how I do things as well. Even with the PENCYL PERFECT one I have been messing with. Figuring out how stuff actually works can also develop into something more with the right mind.

NobodyX

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  • Posts: 1227
Start with something you think you can make in a day or a week at most, it'll probably take much much longer. Make a bunch of small things, like a TON. If they suck then don't release them.

Game-making is a skill and it takes time and effort to get decent, you learn by DOING not planning. If someone's new to painting then would it make sense for them to plan out a Raphael-quality mural?? Or a whole gallery show??

So go SMALL! Commercial games are made by TEAMS of professionals working 40+ hours a week, so think really really really small, you're not competing with "normal" games.

Rimrook

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  • Posts: 251
Make a list of everything your game needs. (Not wants, NEEDS!)

Pick the hardest thing on that list and start R&D it. Look at similar things done in other games, ask questions, test and experiment. Do these on separate games in your stencyl folder so you can refine and change them easily without messing with other critical systems. These 'modules' would eventually be imported into your main game file so make sure the code is clean and commented, and able to be retrievable by other systems and behaviors.

This is what I've been doing. I have lots of developmental stuff in my stencyl arcade. I have stuff from mapping to vectors effects to 3D sound emitters.  I even released the sound emitter for people to use.

If you are worried your are too ambitious, developing in small parts from the most difficult to the easiest is a good way to stay  confident and focused. I'm also always available to give pointers. I'm not a master but I have been working on my game for 4 years and i think it's going to live, as in it's not dead or dying. :)

From reading your description of what you want to do, it sounded like a tactical RPG. I have experience making inventories and chance based AI and item drops. I'm willing to share some concepts with you if you want.

Good luck to you, and I hope to see a great game from you in the future.

AlexRockey

  • Posts: 16
I found that I'm learning a lot by seeing what events/blocks do and don't do. If something I want to do doesn't work, then I continue fiddling around until it works 'just good enough' or substitute with an alternative that does work(test and experiment). I've also decides to stick to a 2d platformer throughout, but still separate adventure and combat(I was aiming for an action-adventure game with shooting game parts). I've already got a prototype game going and currently working on the first adventure level.

Thanks, Rimrock! I'll let you know if I need anything.