I'm sorry Tom, I should have made it more clear what I was looking for and after re-reading my reply, I would like to explain a little more about what I'm looking for.
Until I find a more suitable name (or one less cheezy that doesn't sound too generic), lets refer to this program as EWeed, and I say program because it's more of a simulation then a game at this point (and I don't want to make a sim game, lol). I set up a goal with milestones to reach with my program, because most games that i've worked on didn't have a gdd or anything and had on-the-fly ideas and such... and I think everyone knows how that worked out. I also subscribe to gaming magazines that I read frequently to keep up-to-date on the latest in game development and sometimes contain interviews from developers at AAA game companies. One day I read an interview about someone from THQ(i think), and he said when you are starting out it is important to start a project and actually finish it, which made me begin planning my first game.
I started coding with WoW private servers, making LUA scripts for npc fights and using MySQL to store data for the server. After I learned how syntax works and format for making functions, I looked into other languages and high end game engines designed to make everything from text based adventures and 3D fps games, to 2D mmorpgs to simple platformers. I looked into scripting languages like C#(just to work with Unity effectivly) and PHP/HTML, and eventually settled with VB.net because, in my opinion, it is the easiest to learn for a beginner.
I've been working with vb.net for a few years, and am currently a freelance application developer that is new to being self-employed and have been doing easy jobs to build a portfolio (i.e. my last job was a program that scanned other processes and closed any that were on a 'blocked' list retrieved from a SQL server), and I made sure all the goals I've set are within my ability to create, except the graphics (which will be outsourced after the prototype is finished, budget is about $600 but I'm not ready to look for an artist right now). I've worked with SQL servers for a while now and have a storing/retrieving method planned for when the time comes.
Technically speaking, I feel good about my ability to code EWeed, but the current version is only 0.065, which leaves plenty of room for content to be added/tweaked before the alpha is ready to be posted as an actual game. While i'm on the subject, I'll post a summary of my milestones before the alpha:
- 0.07 Implement basic genetics, allowing the player to build a strain from scratch and produce seeds for it. The process of producing your strain will be called ''research'', and will cost an amount based on the potency/quality of the strain you are researching. After research is complete, a number of seeds will be added to something called a ''seed bank'', where seeds will be stored until they are used.
- 0.075 Testing period for previous patch, development will be focused on finding bugs and balance adjustments, and given to internal testers for overnight testing. When testers are unable to find bugs the next patch is started and testers are left with this build to test in the meantime.
- 0.08 Add plant health icon and water/suppliment system. Player will be able to see how healthy his plant is, as well as spend money to water their plant or add suppliments, affecting potency growth and quality growth.
- 0.085 Testing period for previous patch, development will be focused on finding bugs and balance adjustments, and given to internal testers for overnight testing. When testers are unable to find bugs the next patch is started and testers are left with this build to test in the meantime.
- 0.09 Connect to sql server and assign player a User Code as well as a Grower Name. Players will log in to the marketplace with their user code, and be able to view strains added to market, buy strains from the market, and sell things to the market. market prices will be set by the seller, and the market will only be populated with player-researched strains during the Alpha.
- 0.095 Testing period for final patch, mostly focused on finding bugs with the SQL server and marketplace. Entire game will be re-balanced as needed, and testing will last 1 week minimum to test long-term balancing and server uptime.
- 0.1 Release alpha on some kind of forum site(I plan on it being this one) for feedback, and to test stability with the SQL server. As stability increases, post on more and more sites. During alpha development, more features will be added including a chatroom, a weekly grow tournament, extended genetics, and a 'loot' system.
This gives you an idea how my development process is right now, and I hope in the long-run it produces good results. I mentioned that I sometimes read game dev interviews, and another line that I feel made sense was something about indie devs that are a 1 man team, and how each character reflected the dev that made them. Unfortunately, this resulted in the characters becoming bland in the end compared to a team where each character was designed by a different person. I don't know if its true, but if it is, I'm afraid if I named all the strains and all the genetic codes, the same thing would in some sense happen to them.
This is where I need everyone's help.
If there is a funny marijuana strain anyone has come up with, and wants to see it in-game, please post here. If you can think of some funny names for the genetic code(A1, B3, etc seems so lame to me, but this is just a placeholder.), please feel free to post them. Also, I don't want the genetic code system to LOOK confusing to the player, and if IS confusing you, and you have an idea to make it less confusing, please let me know. I feel like this early in the development process is the perfect time to make any big changes.
Again, I apologize for not being clear Tom, but after typing all this I realize there is know way anyone could have gotten all this from my post. And to kill 2 birds with one stone, we'll call this my introduction too.