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Paul Franzen

Member Since 31 Oct 2010
Offline Last Active Apr 21 2013 02:03 PM
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#5029036 Game Name - need help

Posted by Paul Franzen on 05 February 2013 - 09:02 AM

If you're at a point where everything can still change, it might be a good idea to just use a code-name for the time being, and come up with a more permanent name that suits the game perfectly once you know exactly what the game is, and what it's about. 




#5012827 Simplifying game character

Posted by Paul Franzen on 20 December 2012 - 10:14 AM

IMO there's nothing wrong with getting a framework in place, with placeholder art, and then contacting an artist later on, after you've made significant headway. No need to get someone else involved until you're sure that 1) the project will work out, and 2) you'll stay motivated to see it through to completion.


#5002688 Experiences and expectations in hiring sound/art contractors

Posted by Paul Franzen on 20 November 2012 - 10:04 AM

A couple miscellaneous pointers from my own experience:

- Agree to timelines up front, and don't be afraid to push people to stick to them. I once had a very small project derailed for months because nobody was on the same page about how quickly things needed to be finished. Basic coding was finished well before the art came in, and the project came to a standstill while the programmers waited for the art. If the artist or composer or whoever can't stick to the timelines, dump them and find someone who can (although be sure to let them know, otherwise you could wind up getting a new background from them weeks after you've already implemented one by the new artist).

- Don't just work with the first person you come across who has a nice portfolio and is amenable to your project. Like Keith said, shop around; on these forums alone there's plenty of artists looking for a new, fun game to work on. If you can't afford to pay, then your options are a little more limited, but there's still newbies out there who just want the experience (and their name in the credits of a completed game).

Hope that helps!


#4957330 Starting off an e-Studio

Posted by Paul Franzen on 09 July 2012 - 11:17 AM

In my biggest project, it was mostly a 50-50 effort between me and the programmer. We started off exchanging e-mails about the type of game we wanted to make, the setting, the story, and the characters. We decided on an adventure game, and I started writing out the interactions and dialogues in a script format, sent it to him, and he started coding it. While he was coding, I'd keep writing, and when he was finished he'd send the build to me to look over--after which I'd note any suggestions/changes I had, and send them along with the current script version. It was very straightforward. We communicated purely through e-mail; we never used Skype or IM or anything. We used placeholder art until the game was about 50% complete, at which point we brought in an artist, sending him the individual models to recreate more professionally and cleanly.

Mind you, this was a side-project for both of us--we both have full-time jobs in addition to our videogame development--so it wasn't a big deal to us to have to wait for the other person to e-mail us back. Plus, I was able to spend any downtime I had working on other, smaller projects.


#4954085 Hard Time Coming Up With a Name

Posted by Paul Franzen on 29 June 2012 - 02:47 PM

Whilst I appreciate that you want a name for your game - if it is still in project stage then I very much suggest that you simply give it a placeholder name eg: Project Conspiracy etc. You will find that your idea being translated into a reality will change a lot of your current perceptions probably rendering any retail game name obsolete. Using a project name is a fairly common practice.


This. I wouldn't worry too much about figuring out the final name of your game at this stage. I haven't worked on a project yet where we knew the name from the beginning; usually, the name comes to us as we continue to build the game and figure out what it's really about--what its central themes are; what this game really is.


#4944692 Story for Games

Posted by Paul Franzen on 30 May 2012 - 09:06 AM

If you're looking for adventure game design docs, you could do little better than the actual doc used in the development of Grim Fandango: http://cache.kotaku.com/assets/resources/2008/GrimPuzzleDoc_small.pdf.zip


#4936430 Two books - please share your thoughts (thanks)

Posted by Paul Franzen on 01 May 2012 - 08:41 AM

I'm actually part of the way through "The Ultimate Guide" right now! Lots of useful stuff in there--not just about the actual mechanics of writing for games, but about the business end and working with other developers, too. Though I do have to say: for a book about writing, there's an awful lot of typos in it.


#4927547 Expected Revenue

Posted by Paul Franzen on 02 April 2012 - 10:44 AM

There's a whole bunch of walls of text in this post, so forgive me if someone suggested this already, but going to college definitely wouldn't preclude you from working on indie projects in the meantime. I'm in a full-time job right now completely independent from the gaming industry, one that allows much less free time than I ever had in college, and I'm still finding the time to contribute to indie projects on the side. Maybe you wouldn't be able to build entire games by yourself, but I bet you could pick up little side-projects on these forums, while also working toward that degree--thus building both your portfolio and your more traditional education, making you an all-around stronger candidate after you graduate.


#4913092 Need help in choosing a name for my upcoming game!

Posted by Paul Franzen on 14 February 2012 - 01:43 PM

I feel like there's a LOT of potential for puns here that we're just not exploring!

Jakin' the Hard Way!
Jake it Up
Jake It, Baby
Jakin' Names
Jake No Prisoners
Jake No Fake
HeartJake
This Jake is No Lie
etc.

Too bad it's not a dating sim, because Easy Jake Lovin' is RIGHT THERE.


#4910510 Hey GameDev, would you help me to design some characters for my game for some...

Posted by Paul Franzen on 07 February 2012 - 08:42 AM

You pretty much are a guy with telekinetic abilities and you can toss people and things around, things can break and people can lose limbs.
Let's just say it will be kinda like Happy Wheels (http://www.totaljerk...appy_wheels.php) combined with Super Mario Bros (3).


That sounds fantastic. PM with pixeldude sent!


#4910283 Planescape: Torment - minus the D&D stuff

Posted by Paul Franzen on 06 February 2012 - 02:44 PM

It's true with linear adventure games. You're just moving from one node to the next, solving arbitrary inventory puzzles. I dislike most that are structured this way.


Poor adventure games! You'd might as well say "I hate movies; they never let me get the ending I really want!" ...Although, I guess there is that Dungeons & Dragons DVD...

Only kidding! I don't need anyone to pen an opus about how wrong I am; I just wanted to come out in defense of my favorite type of game, ever.

Anyway, all (or most) kidding aside, I think I would've enjoyed Baldur's Gate much more if I didn't spend the entire game getting eaten by monsters. The combat was way too complex and involved for my feeble brain. I wanted to get into the role-playing, but I wasn't able to because the other aspects didn't entice me enough to figure them out. I enjoyed figuring out who my character was and how he'd react in certain scenarios, and I think I'd absolutely play a game where that was the primary means of interaction. You mentioned Heavy Rain before--I think that might be a great game to take inspiration from. In theory, anyway; I never really felt that my actions were having a meaningful impact, though it seemed like the developers were trying their darndest.


#4910277 Hey GameDev, would you help me to design some characters for my game for some...

Posted by Paul Franzen on 06 February 2012 - 02:21 PM

Hey, this sounds kinda fun! I'm not an artist in any way, but maybe this is a chance for me to pretend to be one. I'll try to come up with something.


#4904133 Play without save/load

Posted by Paul Franzen on 18 January 2012 - 06:06 PM

This is hard for an unexperiented player, but with time and practise he will master this challenge. Now think about a save/load mechanism, this would allow the player to count every hit and even an unexperiented player will archieve the goal after 40,60 or maybe 100 tries. An experienced player will need only 15-20 tries first time. After this, just ask the player and most likely the experienced player will say, that it was too easy, not really a challenge at all, boring...


Here's a question, though: if the player thinks that playing that way--saving after every throw--is boring, then why would they play that way? Save/load doesn't require you to save all the time, it just gives you the option. It's like how in some fighting games, you can get through them by just mashing buttons, but if you're doing that, and you're not having fun, it's totally your fault, not the game designer's. Or like in Scribblenauts--people complained about how you could keep using the same few items to solve every puzzle, but it's not like the game's making you do that; you're choosing to play the game in a way that makes it uninteresting to you.


#4899982 Play without save/load

Posted by Paul Franzen on 05 January 2012 - 10:20 AM

In games like Fallout 3 and Skyrim, the save/load feature never really made me feel less immersed. In fact, if I felt I had to go through with my decision to lop someone's head off and face the entire city full of guards and citizens afterwards, I would rarely do it and wouldn't end up having much fun...

Maybe it's just because these games are the type where, if you die, you load your last save and try again instead of having the storyline changed. However, I still feel like I'd like to win if I can, whether it's on the first try or the seventh. I'd prefer trying multiple times.

I don't think this would ruin immersion, because in my opinion, immersion isn't "thinking you're inside the game" - you'll almost always be aware that you're playing a game, but if you're immersed, you'll care more about what happens in the game. If your players care enough to repeatedly try to beat the specific fight, then why stop them?

I say, let them save/load, but tell them and remind them throughout the game that they don't have to win to progress.


Not to derail this post back on-topic, but...this! All of this! It's fun to have the option to try out a few strategies before settling on just one, and sometimes it's fun to just go total rampage on a village, without having the consequences of such permanently tied to your character. Save/load gives players greater options to play the game the way they want to play it; it causes less anxiety about making sure you're always doing the "right" thing, regardless of what you actually feel like doing.

But really, for me it still all boils down to the simple fact that I need to be able to quit and turn off the game when I'm done playing. If a game's going to hold me hostage, making me play for another half-hour before I can save and quit, then I'm not going to be playing that game all that much. Period.


#4893933 Play without save/load

Posted by Paul Franzen on 14 December 2011 - 12:58 PM

I dunno if this helps the discussion, but as a player, I really can't stand games that don't let me save anywhere--to the point where if I know a game doesn't, there's a good chance I won't buy it unless I'm really interested in it otherwise.

I don't usually have a ton of free time for playing videogames; I tend to squeeze my gaming sessions into 30- to 60-minute chunks. Given that, I try to avoid any game that's going to waste my time by making me re-do things, because I died and the last save point was a long time ago, or because I had to turn the game off before saving because there wasn't enough time to keep playing. Moreover, in games that don't have save-anywhere, I tend to spend the whole time fretting over where my next save point is going to be (because I don't want to keep playing if the next save point is far away), to the point where it ruins the whole experience for me.

So! If you don't want players to take advantage of saving/loading to wipe away mistakes, I think it'd help if you could at least save and quit at any time, and then have that save file immediately deleted when you load it.


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