In short, I am postphoning Project: Phoenix indefinitely, as studios like to put it. I am not going to work on it in the near future, but maybe later when I am wiser, more experienced, have more resources at my disposal and a better grasp of what actually needs to be done in a game project. I wrote in my last post why I am abandoning the game, here I want to show you why it is the right choice.
The simplest explanation is, my goals changed. This first started as a framework to dig deep into C++ and more low level programming. After starting to think more about the game I want to be making, I got more and more excited about this project of mine, until I had a cool game in my mind that I really wanted to see coming to life. Without really realising it, I changed my goals.
That isn't a bad thing, until I came to realise the second thing, I haven't done a single game before. Making a 'good' game, let alone the quality game I had in mind needs more than pretty ideas.Excluding story and artwork, it needs solid game design, fitting mechanics that envoke the feelings you intend to invoke, about the pacing of the game.
It is like writing a poem, just because you can write words on a sheet of paper doesn't mean anybody will like it. It also doesn't just take hard work and time. It takes a special way of looking and analysing your writing, what it tells the reader conciously and subconciously. And that in a nutshell is game design, at least this is how I understood it.
And here lies the main point, I don't know anything about this. To learn it, you need to gather analysing skills, you need to analyse different work, and most importantly, experiment with it. This may be the best way to learn about game design more than in any other field. And with Project: Phoenix, I had no room for experimenting, wich also means room for failing.
So I abandoned the project, the goal was not really reachable for me and it was the wrong goal to begin with. My goal should be about learning, learning how to solve the problems in game programming and how you design a game.
That doesn't mean that I wasted my time, quite the contrary, I know now very precisely how you should NOT start a game project, I know how and why games can change so vastly during development, I aquired the best grades in my college C++ classes, I started gathering skills to analyse games and game ideas. I learned about human psychology, the uncanny valley and pacing, I learned about the story structure, the journey of a hero and the badly written plot. And those are only the non technical aspects, I learned much about topics I didn't intend to learn about, which is a good thing I guess.
To the future! With a project that I can experiment and possibly fail.
What is it going to be? I'll write that in my next post.