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I am overburdened, begins.

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Hi there!

This entry is the first one for the new game I'm working on called "I am overburdened" and the first one when I publish a video log entry too! I decided to try this format due to the following reasons:

  • I'm writing pretty lengthy posts (I know I'm a blabbermouth) and at this day and age many dislike to read even if the topic is interesting. I can totally understand that, since a video log or a pod-cast can be listened to while doing something else, it is usually more content rich and it takes much less concentration/effort to mentally digest.
  • I also like to consume this type of content myself, besides following and reading blogs of many indie developers, I subscribed to (or watch occasionally) a number of developer/designer video logs.

    Content wise it essentially matches this entry, but has much more live stuff presented. I would like to continue creating these videos too (and would love to make them as frequently as the blog entries) as I had fun recording it, so I encourage you to leave a comment/critique here or under the video on youtube to help me make it even better (or fix annoying things about it) for the upcoming episodes.
    So, here goes nothing:

    The project.

    If you followed my devlog, you probably know by now, that the new game I'm working is a small project, with the goal to complete it and take it to market in a short period of time, focusing first and foremost on practicing my skills. Currently I'm at a point where the design documentation (and the feature set) is finalized and parts of the prototype is up and running. The estimation was readjusted once already (the first version of the design was too big) and I imposed a hard scope limit on myself for this project to achieve it's personal improvement related targets.

    3 months + I'm not going to work full-time on it (only approximately 32 hours per week), so in less than 400 work hours the game has to reach a ready to be packaged and published state. That is the ultimate goal this time and for this to work out well I really had to cut corners and accept a design and feature set which fits into 300 hours (say no to dream features, innovative grand ideas etc...). The rest is there for overhead, "nice-to-have" features and because humans estimate time effort rather badly.

    I have to say, designing a game with this tiny scope itself, which I still would be proud to take to market, was a challenge in an off itself and it took some time to pull off, but I feel like I succeeded. I'm confident, that I can deliver this game in time and I can make a fun experience out of it's core idea.


    Current project numbers (containing a possible Steam release work too) relative to the numbers of Operation KREEP. It shows, that the first draft turned out to be too big, so I cut features (a lot) + I gave myself a big enough buffer this time (nice-to-have) if I'm running over my estimates. I think a project with this scope should have been my next project after KREEP instead of Unified Theory.

    The idea.

    So the game is going to be a small "arcadey" rogue-like with a fun twist to the tried and true formula. The core idea driving the design were artifacts/loot and a huge and messy inventory :). Every single item in this game is going to be unique with mostly unique skills and abilities (or a unique combination of them) on contrary to the procedural item design of many action RPGs. Around a 100 items are planned currently, will see if I can create those in time. The other "weirdness" is the number of slots in your inventory, which is 20 :D :P . So from feet to head gears, everything, literally! * Mystical zombie blood tainted socks of the necromancer *. Nope this one is not actually planned, but you get the idea. Since there will be an armada of items and item abilities + a huge number of slots and thus items to wear parallel, all of the character customization will be done by gear. No leveling, no extra maximum life received after killing a bunch of monsters. You have to get more "powerful", by collecting lots of magical artifacts and selecting your preferred bonuses.

    A vertical slice of the features to convey a better idea for the final product:

    • Turn based rogue-like with perma-death.
    • Huge inventory (20 slots) with a great number of artifacts to find.
    • Carefully crafted RPG system with complex customization possibilities thanks to your inventory, but no leveling!
    • Semi-procedurally generated dungeons using hand authored layouts.
    • Run focused campaign, playable in short bursts with lots of deaths/retries :) , full of intense battles all the way.
    • A funny story, packed with a vicious evil, puns, jokes and a hero with a surprisingly large carrying capacity.
    • Hall of fame for remembering your best playthroughs.

      It is pretty early to show screenshots but I decided to share how the prototype looks at current stage. Important to note that nearly 100% of what you will see now is composed of open art assets, so the look is fully subject to change!




      So there you have it, I am overburdened. During this week I'll complete the final prototype which will have all the core features working. Afterwards I'm going to move onto mostly producing content for the game (dungeon layouts, monsters, items and abilities etc...), but probably by next week it will still look kind-of the same, as I'm planning to work on the graphics only at a later phase, when the game is already in a solid playable state.

      Important news: you can follow the daily progress of the game too on it's Trello board.

      I could go on about this game for pages (as always :D ), but this should be enough for this week.
      Take care!

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What does the orange "Minus nice to haves" column mean in your bar chart?

It means the time (effort) it takes to complete all tasks except the ones what are tagged "Nice-To-Have".
So taking "I am overburdened" as an example:
Completing all tasks would take: 388 hours (after one readjusting)
All the tasks which are tagged as "Nice-To-Have": 88 hours
Some examples: "Help sub-menu in the main menu", "Control remapping in options", "Teaser trailer" etc...
These are tasks not really necessary for delivering a good game, but they could enhance the overall experience.

Without all the "Nice-To-Have" tasks "I am overburdened" will take approximately 300 hours (388 - 88), and if my estimations are correct and I do not run out of my self imposed 3 month limit, I can still pick some tasks from the 88 hours worth of "extras" to further enhance the game before release.

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Ah, so that column just includes the "Nice to Have" elements in the total.

I think you could use a composite bar graph and just have that set of hours as another color on the estimation bar.

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I think that is a great idea Navyman! +1
Thanks for the tip :)  :wink: .
I've been thinking about it already how to make my chart presentation better, since I have some solid data about estimation & production efforts, but I also had the feeling, that their representation in my last two posts wasn't really straight forward.

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The idea about putting more emphasis on collection and composition of items (instead of leveling) seems great!


About the dungeon generation - do you consider adding more open rooms, or will you only focus on creating maze-like levels?


Keep us posted!

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Thanks for the kind words and suggestions everyone and sorry for the slow response!

I tried out the proposed chart format and here is the result for the KREEP hours:
+ I actually found some problems with the data too! While copying the hours from my excel sheets for KREEP, I mistakenly left out the nice-to-have hours for the Steam integration :(. I updated the original picture in the journal entry too.

Thanks, I hope I can build an engaging RPG system and a fun game on top of this simple idea.

About the dungeon levels, I planed to ship some with larger open rooms, but those are most probably going to be special ones, like boss fights or "story" levels and not a typical floor (template) which can be used by the generator to create pseudo randomized dungeon levels. The reason is simple, in wide open spaces you are far less able to create situations where the player has to make more serious decision related to the loot, like "okay, if I kill this tough monster on this tile I can pick up the item at the end of the corridor, but probably I'm going to loose a lot of health doing so".
Will see, maybe I will come up with a few less maze-like template which still has these properties.

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