About this blog
Hello. Recently, my friend designer and I (I’m a programmer) faced the task of earning money to get an education. Without thinking twice, we decided that in a “programmer-designer” bunch we could make money on creating a game; so this story is about our attempts to find our place in this field, having zero experience in it. Since now you can download games on Steam for only $ 100, we decided to sell our product on this site.
The Beginning of Development
Since we had limited time (3-4 months) for design, and we spent a lot of time studying, it was necessary to develop some unpretentious game that could be sold well. We decided to make a game similar to Hyper Light Drifter. This game seemed to us easy to implement, so if we did something like this without beautiful cutscenes, then we would have finished it in time and could earn the right amount.
To implement the software part, I chose Unity, ‘cause I knew all the necessary languages (c# and js). The problem was only that it was unfamiliar to me (and earlier I didn’t go through such engines), and I was in short of time, so I had to study it right during the development of the game.
The First Difficulties
After a month of design, we realized that we absolutely couldn’t keep within the time frame (3-4 months) and we needed to do something about it. After lots of thinking, we decided that we could transform this game into a format of the arena, where you were met by endless streams of enemies.
Some time later, we were inspired by the Adam Nickerson’s game, which was easy to implement and brought him a high profit. His game is a space arcade, where you have to fight off the endless enemies with increasing complexity. This time we just took the game of Nickerson as the basis and added some differences to it:
• Dynamic gameplay;
• Pretty stylistics.
Since the mechanics of the main character, enemies, bullets, etc. in the old and new game were very similar, then we almost didn’t have to rewrite the code.
Thus, it was decided to make an arcade space shooter, because in this case losses were minimal and the opportunity to meet deadlines became real.
The Process of the New Game Design
The development process is routine programming and drawing. It was very hard to program the game on Unity with zero knowledge of the engine, but the forums and documentation could give answers to all possible questions, and the programming experience (7 years) made it possible to quickly understand the essence of this engine.
Due to the constant flow of new knowledge and Unity functions in the design process, it was sometimes necessary to rewrite certain functions to implement more complex mechanics or optimize the game.
Fortunately, one of the familiar composers agreed to create music for the game, but things weren’t as good as he wanted. Some of his compositions didn’t match the concept of the game, so there were many edits that took a very long time. Unfortunately, the composer was busy with his other projects, so we had to involve one more musician. The music took a great deal of time, and therefore we had to use free music packs for the sounds of a shot, death, click, explosion, and so on. So, the composers developed only music, and the sounds were taken from free packs.
Cheap Trick Making the Game More Attractive
While I was dabbling with the Assets Store in Unity, I accidentally stumbled upon an ASSET associated with graphics post-processing (https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/essentials/post-processing-stack-83912). One of its functions was the bloom of all the displayed elements in the camera. Applying and correctly tuning the bloom to the elements of the main character, (bullets and the main hero himself), the game began to look much “more expensive” in just a few clicks of the mouse.
Promotion of the Game
It’s clear that we had no money for advertising, and for a simple game it would be useless, so we had to look for other methods for promotion.
Here’s what we decided to use:
• In Steam, there is an opportunity to put your own badges and achievements from the games in public profile for review; so we paid special attention to these elements (who knows, maybe someone decides to buy the game for them).
• We noticed that in the Steam community hearts are especially popular, so we decided to put them wherever possible (cards, backgrounds, smiles, icons, etc.)
• Since nobody knows the game, we tried to arrange its page visually expensive (Example of cheap design. Example of expensive design), and it was also necessary to make various graphic elements (presentation in the list, the main picture, etc.) stand out against the background of other games.
• We added support for the gamepad, a game for two in one computer, a table of records, achievements and all that we could, only to cover a larger circle of gamers.
• We talked a little about our game on different resources dedicated to GameDev.
As a result, we have been working over the game for almost 4 months. The game is called NYAN DESTROYER. Follow the link to get on the page with it http://store.steampowered.com/app/773130/NYAN_DESTROYER/.
When developing the game, we studied various aspects of GameDev in practice and this valuable experience we’re going to apply in the creation of more complex games.
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