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Final Fantasy VI game - chronological order of building & being challenged by the community


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#1 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1103

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 11:55 PM

I want to make a Final Fantasy VI style game. Here was the original thread in Game Design: http://www.gamedev.net/topic/648755-wasting-potential-and-seeking-cloning/

Okay, here is what I want:

I want opinions on the chronological order in which I should build the game. For example, the order of art, programming, etc. I learned something like this in college but what I learned was a complex answer and a complex method. I'm looking for a simpler answer and a simpler method, which I'm sure I can find here since people tend not to beat around the bush too much here :).

I also wanted to be challenged by the community. I want you to throw out some challenges for this game. Something more practical than "Make it in C++ and make your own engine." I planned on using Scirra Construct 2 for this game because it's easy. However, you can offer me up any challenge you want to. Like for example, going back to the C++ idea, if you were to say, "I challenge you to use C++ and x engine", that's a much better challenge, whether or not I do it. You can challenge me in art, programming, design, etc., if you so desire.

Thanks :).

Sponsor:

#2 molehill mountaineer   Members   -  Reputation: 593

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 01:45 AM

Hi,

 

I'm not sure how developed your skills are but if you're starting out I would strongly advise you against making things harder than they need to be. Sure, a challenge is a great way of learning new things but it can also be very demotivating to get stuck on something you only half understand. I made my little game I'm working on "the hard way" and I've been at it for a year and a half now - In the end I'm glad I did but I wouldn't want to go down that road again any time soon.

 

As for the order of building: I lean towards figuring out how the game will look (atmosphere and theme e.g. "claustrophobic scifi platformer" or "funny steampunk adventure") before you start doing anything. However, the art is the last thing that actually gets made for two reasons: a) I am primarily a programmer b) during the process of making the game things may be taken out or put in and I don't want to spend time on art I'm just going to throw away.

Ofcourse, in an actual company these things would be planned ahead and developed simultaneously.



#3 Ludus   Members   -  Reputation: 966

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 01:55 AM

I believe you should start with figuring out the game mechanics - first on paper, then with prototyping. You should figure out how you want to handle equipment stats, levelling up, spells, damage calculations, etc. Even more importantly, you need to figure out how you want to handle combat itself. Do you want to use the ATB system just like in FFVI, or do you want to take your own twist on it?

 

Next, you should think of what kind of story you want to tell. Most likely a large scale epic, but you will also need to think of the themes you want to explore. Afterwards you should figure out the overall progression of the game, in terms of story development, area exploration, and character development. Map out all of the important events first and fill in the smaller details later. Since combat is central to these kinds of games, remember to weave important battles into the story development.

 

You begin programming as soon as you start prototyping the game mechanics, and you continue to program throughout. Work out all of your ideas about the game mechanics, story, and characters on paper first - in fact, get a sketchbook going. I would advise against progressing the content in the code until you're fairly certain of your decisions. Art, sound, and music should come last. In the meantime you can use placeholders for all of those things.



#4 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1103

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 01:55 AM

Hi,

I'm not sure how developed your skills are but if you're starting out I would strongly advise you against making things harder than they need to be. Sure, a challenge is a great way of learning new things but it can also be very demotivating to get stuck on something you only half understand. I made my little game I'm working on "the hard way" and I've been at it for a year and a half now - In the end I'm glad I did but I wouldn't want to go down that road again any time soon.

As for the order of building: I lean towards figuring out how the game will look (atmosphere and theme e.g. "claustrophobic scifi platformer" or "funny steampunk adventure") before you start doing anything. However, the art is the last thing that actually gets made for two reasons: a) I am primarily a programmer b) during the process of making the game things may be taken out or put in and I don't want to spend time on art I'm just going to throw away.
Ofcourse, in an actual company these things would be planned ahead and developed simultaneously.

Hi.

I've been using programs like Game Maker and Scirra Construct 2 for a combined total of 13 years. Right now, I can probably make something between Pong and 2D Mario in the common languages with some references and a bit of reading. And I learn a bit quicker because I know some stuff :).

I recommend you try this game of mine for focus on what I might be capable of: http://games.softpedia.com/get/Freeware-Games/Block-Critter.shtml

Personally I think I'm capable of more if problems don't get in the way :). By the way, what I linked is a Construct 2 game.

#5 ShadowFlar3   Members   -  Reputation: 1176

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 03:02 AM

Note that we are talking about a game that has 100+ hours of content in it. Making a game even remotely resembling FFVI in features, art, story is a real challenge and could be consider too ambitious for a project in almost all cases. After weeks, months, quarters the further challenges you invited won't be remembered by anybody else than yourself and are not so much "for fun" anymore.

 

Regarding the order of things I have experience in similar task and my advice is not to try to plan the schedule too accurately in advance. You'll probably find yourself doing it in little pieces here and there rather than taking the task as straight-forward as it seems on paper. It doesn't make sense to stare at lines of code and move different colored blank squares for 4 months and then start painting all the pixel art in one huge go, then start planning the area layouts. You'll most likely want variance in your tasks and get to a phase where you have most core mechanics working such as 1-2 characters, a starting city/area that you can use to try and develop features, an "open world" system with fights etc. You probably won't do audio at all before you have an alpha version.

 

Everything will flow with your mood. There will be drastic changes, you will redo features, you will redo art and rewrite dialogue, cutscenes, story, but little by little things start to freeze because changing them would be too much work smile.png


Edited by ShadowFlar3, 14 October 2013 - 03:03 AM.


#6 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1103

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 03:05 AM

Note that we are talking about a game that has 100+ hours of content in it. Making a game even remotely resembling FFVI in features, art, story is a real challenge and could be consider too ambitious for a project in almost all cases. After weeks, months, quarters the further challenges you invited won't be remembered by anybody else than yourself and are not so much "for fun" anymore.
 
Regarding the order of things I have experience in similar task and my advice is not to try to plan the schedule too accurately in advance. You'll probably find yourself doing it in little pieces here and there rather than taking the task as straight-forward as it seems on paper. It doesn't make sense to stare at lines of code and move different colored blank squares for 4 months and then start painting all the pixel art in one huge go, then start planning the area layouts. You'll most likely want variance in your tasks and get to a phase where you have most core mechanics working such as 1-2 characters, a starting city/area that you can use to try and develop features, an "open world" system with fights etc. You probably won't do audio at all before you have an alpha version.
 
Everything will flow with your mood. There will be drastic changes, you will redo features, you will redo art and rewrite dialogue, cutscenes, story, but little by little things start to freeze because changing them would be too much work :)


My original project was going to be a cow game similar to Sonic Adventure (Dreamcast) but with modern graphics. I think making it would have been harder than this new idea, Final Fantasy VI, a SNES game. Final Fantasy VI is, 25 hours long if I remember right. I agree that it is a lot of gameplay. We'll see though.

#7 ShadowFlar3   Members   -  Reputation: 1176

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 04:05 AM

I think making it would have been harder than this new idea, Final Fantasy VI, a SNES game. Final Fantasy VI is, 25 hours long if I remember right. I agree that it is a lot of gameplay. We'll see though.

 

 

You can complete the game in 25 hours or a bit less but with sidequests and additional bosses, areas, collectible items etc the game offers content for more than 100 hours and some people have their save files clock even considerably more. The total amount of work translates to even more because FFVI has branching story with multiple options throughout the game which increase replay value.

 

In my opinion all of that is part of the assumption that people have when you flash the FF card around.


Edited by ShadowFlar3, 14 October 2013 - 04:06 AM.


#8 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1103

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 06:49 AM

In my opinion all of that is part of the assumption that people have when you flash the FF card around.


But it's not like I'm saying, "Hi, I'm new. I want to make a MMORPG!" in which case, rather than help with advice, people have to tell me not to do it. Final Fantasy VI is an ambitious project, but not for a college student studying Game Development (My major is art but I have a lot of other courses) who has at least a couple of years experience making games. Which I kind of have a lot more.

I suggest playing the game I made, that I linked to. My inspiration for it was kind of WarioWare. I'd say I did a pretty good job at it.

#9 ShadowFlar3   Members   -  Reputation: 1176

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 07:02 AM

With all due respect, good faith and benefit of the doubt I will give to you,

 

 Producer 

Hironobu Sakaguchi

Directors 
Yoshinori Kitase 
Hiroyuki Itou

Main Programmers 
Ken Narita 
Kiyoshi Yoshii

Graphic Directors 
Tetsuya Takahashi 
Kazuko Shibuya 
Hideo Minaba 
Tetsuya Nomura

Music 
Nobuo Uematsu

Image Designer 
Yoshitaka Amano

Battle Planners 
Yasuyuki Hasabe 
Akiyoshi Oota

Field Planners 
Yoshihiko Maekawa 
Keita Etoh 
Satoru Tsuji 
Hidetoshi Kezuka

Event Planners 
Tsuka Fujita 
Keisuke Matsuhara

Effect Programmers 
Hiroshi Harata 
Satoshi Ogata

Battle Programmer 
Akihero Yamaguchi

Sound Programmer 
Minoru Akao

Effect Graphic Designer 
Hirokatsu Sasaki

Field Graphic Designers 
Takahara Matsuo 
Yusuke Naora 
Nobuyuki Ikeda 
Tomoe Inazawa 
Kaori Tanaka 
Takamichi Shibuya 
Shinichirou Hamaska 
Akiyoshi Masuda

Monster Graphic Designer 
Hitoshi Sasaki

Object Graphic Designer 
Kazuhiro Ohkawa

Sound Engineer 
Eiji Nakamura

 

>

 

 a college student studying Game Development (My major is art but I have a lot of other courses) who has at least a couple of years experience making games.

 

FFVI was done by a development team consisting of experienced professionals working on it for their living.

 

It's totally okay for you to try it, by all means. But it is risky and you shouldn't probably publicly invite additional challenge that could be viewed further ridiculing your goal. Remember that while interacting with the community it is wise to stay humble, as always :)



#10 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1103

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 07:06 AM

With all due respect, good faith and benefit of the doubt I will give to you,
 

 Producer 
Hironobu Sakaguchi
Directors 
Yoshinori Kitase 
Hiroyuki Itou
Main Programmers 
Ken Narita 
Kiyoshi Yoshii
Graphic Directors 
Tetsuya Takahashi 
Kazuko Shibuya 
Hideo Minaba 
Tetsuya Nomura
Music 
Nobuo Uematsu
Image Designer 
Yoshitaka Amano
Battle Planners 
Yasuyuki Hasabe 
Akiyoshi Oota
Field Planners 
Yoshihiko Maekawa 
Keita Etoh 
Satoru Tsuji 
Hidetoshi Kezuka
Event Planners 
Tsuka Fujita 
Keisuke Matsuhara
Effect Programmers 
Hiroshi Harata 
Satoshi Ogata
Battle Programmer 
Akihero Yamaguchi
Sound Programmer 
Minoru Akao
Effect Graphic Designer 
Hirokatsu Sasaki
Field Graphic Designers 
Takahara Matsuo 
Yusuke Naora 
Nobuyuki Ikeda 
Tomoe Inazawa 
Kaori Tanaka 
Takamichi Shibuya 
Shinichirou Hamaska 
Akiyoshi Masuda
Monster Graphic Designer 
Hitoshi Sasaki
Object Graphic Designer 
Kazuhiro Ohkawa
Sound Engineer 
Eiji Nakamura

 
>
 

 a college student studying Game Development (My major is art but I have a lot of other courses) who has at least a couple of years experience making games.[/size]

 
FFVI was done by a development team consisting of experienced professionals working on it for their living.
 
It's totally okay for you to try it, by all means. But it is risky and you shouldn't probably publicly invite additional challenge that could be viewed further ridiculing your goal. Remember that while interacting with the community it is wise to stay humble, as always :)

People in modern days can actually make many SNES or Genesis games. A single person can make a 2D Mario or even something like Super Metroid. Part of it is improvements in software, most likely, but the other element seems to just be magic.

#11 ShadowFlar3   Members   -  Reputation: 1176

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 08:00 AM

 People in modern days can actually make many SNES or Genesis games. A single person can make a 2D Mario or even something like Super Metroid.

 

Designing a game and putting together a bunch of gameplay features of another game are two different things.

 

If the latter equaled to remaking a game I would be an author to FFX, Resident Evil: Code Veronica X, World of Warcraft (single-player) and Legend of Zelda:OoT remakes. But it doesn't make sense to think this way because barebone technical clones without any content aren't games and very little use of anybody except their author as learning tool.

 

What even is "a 2D Mario" game? It can't be even defined beyond a platformer, a game genre that you _already_ have there when you open up an appropriate game development tool such as JumpCraft. In fact it takes me 2 minutes to fire up Blender and have a white cube that can move and jump and call it a 3D mario game. What's the point?

 

But actually designing a game hasn't become any easier nor can any software ever replace imagination, expression, and how to skillfully combine different forms of art into a meaningful experience. That simply takes time and that's where most of the work goes into.

 

 Part of it is improvements in software, most likely.
 

 

Sure, putting games together has become easier. But you only see 6 programmers in the credits, some of whose workload has decreased, but not eliminated. The rest are artists doing design tasks and creating the actual game content. You would still be facing most of that development team in full force today.

 

 but the other element seems to just be magic.

In this world when you talk about magic you are only revealing you don't know the scientific explanation. :)

 

There's no magic. People use free graphics, free models, free music and sfx in a game development software that has drag-and-drop default code assets and fancy GUIs to help. People use placeholders that they never replace and get away with it. If people are remaking games, they rip all the content out of the original game or simply reproduce the design which takes a fraction of the time spent designing it.

 

People who use these shortcuts in order to make a game tend to have either a meaningless "not quite" clone or a poor quality game where there's equality to the original game in technical terms only. But perhaps it is often all that some people are willing to compare. Still these games aren't miraculously app store hits which speaks about the truth behind the level of quality and content.

 

All of this leads me to ponder how you are going to be working on your project. But you can't either outsource or clone everything such as story, characters (hopefully), items, cutscenes or dialogue.

 

So either way, I won't challenge you to make things harder than FFVI or anyhow more than what you're aiming for. Regardless on what FFVI has, I will challenge you to make an RPG game that has 30 minutes of gameplay content in a way that keeps the players interested.



#12 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1103

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 08:32 AM

ShadowFlar3 said, "So either way, I won't challenge you to make things harder than FFVI or anyhow more than what you're aiming for. Regardless on what FFVI has, I will challenge you to make an RPG game that has 30 minutes of gameplay content in a way that keeps the players interested."

My response: Okay. Keep in mind though, you are kind of discouraging the creation of a game rather than encouraging it. After seeing this thread, I am now less likely to make the game as I was discouraged by all the theoretical work to do to the point where I'm not seeing the magic anymore. I can't even say in pride I'm making a game "like" Final Fantasy VI, because people will say I'm flashing a Final Fantasy VI card.

I'm not sure what I'm looking for at this point. Someone on this forum inspired me to make threads on the subject, and I hoped to gain positive information. This person never put their head on the chopping block by saying I could make the game for sure and it would be easy, but they didn't discourage me from doing it. And that's the kind of attitude I like to see and what keeps me coming back to the forum.

I understand much of what you're saying, ShadowFlar, I just don't agree with it. You seemed to suggest a certain SNES style game required a team of people. Then I said that things have improved and you can make a game like 2D Mario now with one person. Then you started a philosophical "What is a Mario game? A cube?" discussion and said it was because people cloned art, that the games were made by a single person. When I was not even talking about cloning assets.

#13 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2661

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 09:04 AM

Shane C -- if you get a post that throws your thread offtrack -- then it is up to you to try and get it back on track (which means don't pursue lines of conversation that lead away from what it is you are seeking) - don't let yourself get distracted from that point and instead simply re-iterate (if needed) what it is you are seeking in terms of advice/information.



#14 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1103

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 09:07 AM

Shane C -- if you get a post that throws your thread offtrack -- then it is up to you to try and get it back on track (which means don't pursue lines of conversation that lead away from what it is you are seeking) - don't let yourself get distracted from that point and instead simply re-iterate (if needed) what it is you are seeking in terms of advice/information.


Sorry. I was hoping that explaining things would get the discussion back on track. I guess I don't really know how to talk to people here.

#15 FLeBlanc   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3081

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 09:10 AM

At some point, you have to stop talking about your game project and start actually working on it. All the discussion in the world amounts only to windy, hot air blown across the forums. It's all meaningless unless you actually start writing code. People don't believe you've got what it takes to make this, hence the constant off-railing that goes on as people try to tell you to try simpler things. The only way you'll ever convince us otherwise is to show some concrete progress. Concrete progress won't be made if all you ever do is create threads trying to drum up some kind of discussion.



#16 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1103

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 10:32 AM

Let's focus on the positive now. However, I will still PM you FleBlanc, with what I think.

#17 tharealjohn   Members   -  Reputation: 451

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 10:33 AM

I am surprised that the community here is so hostile. The OP just asked for some answers to a few questions. It's fun to talk about your passion, hopefully with other people who are passionate about the same things. Thats what I see in this thread. So, to that accord, I will suggest these challenges:

  •     Try and scale this concept into something completable in 90 days or less. 

As far as chronological order, here is my advice (taking into account the above suggestion)

 

  1. Platforms (Distribution)
  2. Features/Mechanics
  3. Technical options for features related to your engine of choice
  4. Prototype
  5. Art
  6. Test
  7. Polish

Good luck!


jmillerdev.com

Follow me @jmillerdev


#18 kburkhart84   Members   -  Reputation: 1564

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 11:05 AM

I think a single person in today's modern world could create something along the lines of FF3/FFVI.  Honestly, the easy way to do it would be to use RPGMaker VX Ace.  I challenge you to not do that.  I don't expect you to use C++.  I'd say to use Construct 2 since that seems to be what you like, but I'm not sure if Construct can handle it.  It isn't the gameplay I worry about, rather I don't remember seeing anything about data structures.  If Construct 2 has a way to store a form of database for the items, weapons, enemies, etc... than maybe you can do it.  Otherwise, I'd recommend GameMaker, as I know for sure it has the data structures, etc... to handle a massive RPG like this.

 

As far as being alone and able to do this....I'm not saying you'll be able to do it in a short time like a month or two, but yes, you could do it.  It might take you a year or more to fully flesh out the story and everything else, but I'm sure you could get at least the concept going within a couple of months, with at least the beginning of the story, the mechanics, and a small area and only a few enemies.  Then, it is a matter of time creating all of the enemies, weapons, items, etc...  then you need the places to go, which include the graphics, then the design(if you are doing it via tile engine), and finally the other things for the places, like enemies, treasures, quests, etc...

 

The order of design....I'd probably do it similar to what I've said in the above paragraph.  First, I'd get at least part of the design ready, especially the core concepts, like style, battle types, etc...  This is because if there are any special battle types for example(from behind, caught in the middle, enemy caught in the middle) or anything else special about mechanics(like critical hits, changing battle scenery, speedup/slowdown of ATB, almost anything outside of normal), you need to account for it.  It's like if you are going to have general speedup, you'd need to put a variable somewhere that the ATB accesses.  If you were making a fighting game, you could design for a single player...but instead you would design the fighters the same, and then have be able to be controlled by Player 1, Player 2, or CPU.  You would design this from the start, not after you have already hard coded the fighter on the left to use Player 1's controls.  This would help you avoid changing things later that you've already done.

 

Then, I'd use a bit of programmer art, and get the engine itself working.  I'd get the tile engine, fighting, treasures, weapons, shields, everything else you can equip ready.  This also includes all fight mechanics, including magic, special abilities, things like espers(FF3/6), whatever you are going to need.  Don't worry about actual content, rather get things ready for content.  Make the party system ready to have 4 characters, even if they are simple blobs for the moment, and make it ready to change characters as you need it to.  Make the characters have stats, etc... make them be able to equip things.  Make the store system work to buy items and weapons.  Get the item/weapon/magic/everything else database started and working, so you can add things as needed.  Make the AI system etc... for enemies too, even though they are just blobs.  Basically, get the base engine done, taking into account the design choices you made.

 

Next, you can crack down the actual content.  You need to make your final decisions as to what that content will be, who the characters are, where they go, what they do, and what happens to them.  There are 3 parts to this stage, and they can be done in bits as you go.  I just wrote about design, which includes the story and final decisions about these things.  Then you get programming and art.  You need to design the art(including sounds/music) for all of the locations, and then you need to program said art and locations.  I mean to say that you need to create the grass tiles, and you need to map out the maps using said grass tiles, etc...  This "programming" part is also where you would place treasures, etc... and add items to the database to link the treasure boxes to.  As you are implementing the map designs, you also configure enemy random battles using the base system you hopefully did in the paragraph before as it is a core mechanic.

 

After you get all of these things done, you can run a final polish stage.  This could include adding things you didn't have done yet, like particle effects for magic, balance and tweak things like level up speeds and strengths of enemies(stats too).  Maybe you need to work on some quest branching??  Get that last 10%(or 90% as they say) done.

 

You'll need a testing stage somewhere in here, although much of the testing was likely done before you started adding all of the content, but in any case, you need to test all the content to, and the final polish as well.

 

Final Step...wait for it..................PROFIT!!!





#19 cardinal   Members   -  Reputation: 798

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 01:01 PM

ShadowFlar3, with all due respect, the technical difficulties in developing a 2D RPG these days isn't what it was in 1992 (I assume development on FF6 starter around then, but I didn't look it up). That's more than 20 years ago.

What WILL be almost as time consuming as it was 20 years ago, and will be the main stumbling block will be art creation. A game like FF6 will require hundreds of NPC character spritesheets, dozens of enemy sprite sheets, tilesets for each town. Depending on your art style you can save some time by 3D modeling and animating characters and rendering them out to sprite sheets, but if you're going for a FF6 art style I don't know how you can do that.

To get back on track, since I'm not really trying to discourage you, I would work on the areas of the game that are most important to you.

So for example, if battle system is the most important:

1) Tech to get animated sprites loaded/rendered.
2) Input system
3) Party system (both yours and the enemies)
4) Basic menu system (for battle selections)
5) Turn based system (or ATB like in FF6), use placeholder art for the animations and random, or the same attack for AI decisions for now.
6) Enemy AI

This is a small example of an incomplete task list for one game area. You'll need to decide the order of things that are important to you and have milestones at which you evaluate the status of the current area you're working on.

Final art would generally come last and you'd simply swap out the placeholder art with the final art when it's ready.

#20 ShadowFlar3   Members   -  Reputation: 1176

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 01:21 PM

 ShadowFlar3, with all due respect, the technical difficulties in developing a 2D RPG these days isn't what it was in 1992 (I assume development on FF6 starter around then, but I didn't look it up). That's more than 20 years ago.
 

 

And that is exactly what I said.

 

 
 But you only see 6 programmers in the credits, some of whose workload has decreased, but not eliminated. The rest are artists doing design tasks and creating the actual game content. You would still be facing most of that development team in full force today.

But actually designing a game hasn't become any easier nor can any software ever replace imagination, expression, and how to skillfully combine different forms of art into a meaningful experience. That simply takes time and that's where most of the work goes into.






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