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Introduction

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Bryky

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Hello everyone! As a software developer, the part of my regular job is creating NET applications - mostly in WPF, lately. Additionally, I spend some of my spare time designing and prototyping video games - and I believe today is the right time to start sharing all my experiences with all of you.

Instead of running a blog, I decided to create a game project and post my experiences as articles here. The reason is that I have created quite a few game prototypes so far, and didn't find them very enjoying (hey, that is what the prototyping is about anyway - figuring out which ideas are fun, and which are not, right?). However, recently I stumbled upon a game idea that might be worth digging into - and that's where the idea for "There's no one left" appeared - an idea that might turn out to be more enjoyable than other stuff that I prototyped in the past.

"TnoL" is surely NOT an arcade game of any sort. I simply do not feel like designing a game where the player needs to use their reflexes to achieve something. It doesn't mean that I do not like playing such games, hell no! I enjoyed the new Doom very much, for example. It is just that I prefer to design more calmer approach - so turn-based stuff, generally. Things like XCOM or Civilization series.

So yes, "TnoL" (and all of my previous prototypes, which I will surely describe in further articles) will be a turn-based game, if you can call it that way. The player will have a pool of action points (replenishable at the end of each game turn) that they can spend on different actions.

The game is about a making sure that a person who suddenly became alone in the world survives long enough to escape the area. Or maybe to solve the game plot in a different way. Hard to tell right now. This is tied to the narrative and the story of the game, and on this early level of prototyping is not that relevant. That being said, I believe that the game should be placed in a steampunk world. And that is simply because I like this stuff.

OK, so I stated that the story is not really important for now. What is relevant though is the general direction that the game should be heading to. My core pillars of the game are as follows:


  • The player needs to make meaningful choices in the game (whether to go searching for water and food, risking an attack from a wild animal, or maybe take a look around in the mines to find a better weapon? Or maybe stay at the shelter and look through all the junk lying around, hoping to find something that will allow the player to create animal traps?). This also implies that the player should be able to take risky actions that might pay off if successful.
  • The player needs to feel that the number of actions that can be performed during the day is too small to be able to accomplish everything that needs to be done. This will require some planning and thinking ahead.
    The player should see combat as a danger that needs to be taken into consideration when planning the actions. The combat should be simple enough to make sure that it does not become more involving than the rest of the game.
  • The player should experience the loneliness in the world (this seems like being only bound to the narrative and story, but I believe that it might be used in the game mechanics as well - more about this in further articles).


    One might say that "TnoL" will be some kind of a more advanced tabletop game. And I totally agree. To be honest, "Civilization" series are also kinda tabletop - but due to their complexity, one wouldn't be able to play it nicely without the support of computer's processing power.

    Anyway, that is all about the game idea for today. Now, some screenshots! These are from the prototype that I am creating in WPF. The graphics have been created by me. I use pixel art as for me it is the easiest form of creating visuals that don't look like crap.

    [sharedmedia=gallery:images:8193]

    The shelter view - so the main "base" of the player, with the possible actions that the player might undertake.
    Also, all the stats are visible on the top - including the number of action points left in the day.

    [sharedmedia=gallery:images:8194]
    A shot from combat screen. I will surely write more about the combat in further articles. The wolf is cute, isn't it?

    [sharedmedia=gallery:images:8195]

    One of the locations that the player is able to go.

    Alright then, enough for today!
    So the idea is that all my articles appearing here will be related to game design, including my thoughts on game mechanics, story, narrative or visuals. I will also be surely posting all the progress on the "There's no one left" prototype. Stay tuned, and I hope you will enjoy it!

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Love the pixel work, great job. Keep us posted.

Thanks! It's always good to hear some support.

 

The pixel art is more of a placeholder or, let's say, better looking programmer art. But who knows - maybe I will keep it in the future versions as well.

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Love the pixel work, great job. Keep us posted.

Thanks! It's always good to hear some support.

 

The pixel art is more of a placeholder or, let's say, better looking programmer art. But who knows - maybe I will keep it in the future versions as well.

 

I say keep the art. I think it looks great, and you've done a good job conveying feeling with only a little bit of detail. I'm talking mostly about the character's pose in the shelter screenshot. She looks very distraught. 

 

If done right, low detail graphics like this can make a player feel more invested in the characters, because they have to project their own emotions and interpretations onto them. This is one advantage these types of graphics have over the uber realistic ones we see in AAA titles today. This is a bit of an opinion, but I found myself relating to the characters in the old SNES to PSOne era Final Fantasy games moreso than the more recent titles when graphics started to get realistic, and I think the main reason is because you had to use a bit of imagination in the older games. Given what you've said about this being table-top like, I'd say you've got a lot of potential for player immersion through imagination.

 

The concept reminds me a lot of Neo Scavenger, though your implementation is definitely much different. 

 

Maybe if Neo Scavenger and Sheltered had a baby and then Neo Scavenger and Sheltered abandoned their baby, leaving it alone in the world to fend for itself, you would wind up with something like There's No One Left?

 

Good luck with this! Looks like something I would like to play :)

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