Original vision vs actual result
I found some, early brainstorming notes from before I started my Egg Hunt project. I've added the notes (with a little extra formatting) to my website here. Though at the time I wrote it I think I saw it as less of a brainstorming thing and more of a part of an actual plan. The original idea I have written down as June 2nd, 2010. That's 2 years less a day from the point when I called the project closed. That's not working for 40 hours a week on it though, that's making time during lunch breaks and after work. If I made the project more of a full time job sort of a thing it probably would've been done much faster but I don't think I would have had as much fun.
There's quite a few differences between what I had originally intended and the result I ended up with. I think the original image in my head was something that'd look a bit like an early Metroid game. Didn't come even close to that. I think the differences actually started from about the point where I started coding. Even with my original vision, from the time I started coding I intended on making it a "simple" project. The various attack mechanics that I originally thought of were pushed to the side knowing that they would be a lot of extra work. Besides, what I really wanted to see, above all else, was my character jumping and moving around a randomly generated maze. The vision evolved to something that would be highly kid-friendly. Actually, I was also aiming to make it quite friendly for people like my non-gaming parents. Less arcade twitch, more time to think out what you want to do.
I don't remember referring to those original brainstorming notes at all while I was working. So when I came across them it surprised me a little bit that some of the ideas I thought of as solutions to game play issues were actually written down in some way over a year earlier. For example (though I never implemented it), I was considering a problem I was having with really large mazes with wide spaces between the walls. Not knowing how far it was from where you're standing to the next wall made it difficult to plan how you would traverse the space. After thinking on it awhile I thought of a sort of sonic bark that the snark could do that would travel outwards and bounce off any walls. This would give an indication of how far the player might have to build a bridge. When I read last week, in the original notes, that I was thinking of a sonic attack that would bounce off walls, I wanted to kick myself because coming up with the idea for the distance problem took quite awhile to think of and had I just referred to my notes I would've had the answer right away.
When I rediscovered those notes, I couldn't help but think of those posts that you commonly see in the Game Design forum. Big long wall of text that you don't really want to read (I haven't even reread all of those notes), full of lofty ideas and bright eyed ambition, and one person is going to do it all... well ok, maybe he's gotta find someone to help with the art or something but that's ok because he can code it all himself. He hasn't made any full games yet but has experience programming for quite awhile, is passionate about making games, and is going to see his vision through. It's not a bad attitude to have going in, it is what gets you started after all. But you gotta be prepared to let your vision change as the development flows on. Because it will change anyway.
For those that are curious:
Latest build here.
General instructions can be found here.
Project notes here.
The best screenshots I have handy I posted on this previous journal entry.