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Game Idea: can be done in one month?

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I can't understand whether this has to go in game design. In doubt I'll post here.

 

In a month a friend of mine is having her birthday, and I thought I would write a short game-story for her.
I'm a good programmer but I have no experience in game making and I suck at drawing. Nonetheless I really want to do this and I hope you can give me pointers and opinions.
I will share the whole idea and I warn you: this is going to be a bit personal.

Background on me and her

We are now friends, but we were in a relationship some time ago. This happened in a very particular moment of my life, as I was (am) being consumed by physical illness. As a result,  before knowing her,  I was trying to cut all my bonds with the others, isolating my self, planning impossible escape routes.

The game

The game is mostly conceptual/dialogue based, but I wanted some interactivity. There are up to 6 "scenes":
Scene 1

Scenery  vaguely resembling a bedroom at night time. Bed, desk with pc monitor, person on a chair, some dialogues I still have to write show up to introduce the story. Then some elements of the scene become interactive (light up on mouse over?). I want at least these:

  • bed: click = sleep (next scene)
  • monitor: visual of gibberish code
  • cellphone(on the desk or on the bed): screen with 0 incoming messages[isolation] + small dialogue
  • dried up plant in a vase somewhere: shows a small dialogue[metaphor for the soul]

Scene 2

Abrupt wake at night (what effect to show this?). Dialogue about being sick and needing to find relief. Then, first person view, walking (only forward but with possibility to turn the view around, maybe fixed camera height).
I don't know if this makes the 3? thing easier, but it could be all dark except the near pavement.
The user needs to walk towards a relaxing music source, while the view becomes shaker(what effect to apply here?). When the music is near enough, some visual effect(?) Brings us to the next scene, unless too much time passes(=death)

Scene 3

Here there's a minimal version of scene one with just bed and a well hidden phone. I need to modify the art with elements that make clear that the bed is like a coffin. The dialogue will tell the user to find relief in the bed, but this leads to the end of the game. The bed isn't strictly a reference to death, but more to the desire of just let everything go and stop caring.
The only way to pass the level is looking at the phone and seeing the only message, from her, saying "I need you".

Scene 4

Her bedroom. I want these interactive elements:
1) a diary that opens up and shows a black vortex.
2) a pc monitor
3) a globe that can be focused and spun around, with a little flag on a country.

At this point in time we're not together anymore, though it doesn't matter much.
Dialogues will hint at her wanting to leave her home's boredom and go travel. To exit this scene the user has to click the monitor and buy a travel ticket.

Scene 5

Switches back to male pg, he needs to prevent her from leaving. I have no idea in what to do here. A 3d like scene sounds complex and it doesn't convey the message of desperate run to catch her up.

Scene 6

Last scene  (if the one before succeeded): she is about to leave. The user needs to choose whether to let her go or not. She will go anyway and the game will end, the only difference for the second option is that the plant showing up in scene one will be showed again but flourishing. (=accepting the past and be thankful)

Besides the programming, where I hope (probably wrongfully) to resort on 2D as much as possible, I have no clue about the art.
My drawing ability us limited to copying predefined stuff. Translating a detailed mental image into a drawing is almost impossible for me. I do not know what software is used to draw for games.

The game needs to run on desktop, so anything goes, the best probably being in-browser but i'm not sure.

What do you think? is it possible? Technical and practical advices are very welcome.

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It really depends on your skill, programming speed, technical level you want to achieve, and the level of artistic polish you want to have.

 

I didn't read it all, mostly skimmed, but it sounds more like a slightly interactive story than a game. It doesn't sound like there's a lot of actual gameplay.

 

Since there isn't a great deal of game mechanics going on, it could either be a "slide show" like game and have a single scene at a time - showing another scene for interactive elements (like if you "inspect" the dead plant), or allow the player to control the character's moment around the rooms.

 

Realistically though, I'd say "no" if you say that your artistic skills are lacking and you actually want the thing to be polished or have a specific look. If i were making this, I'm guessing I'd spend 10% of the time coding, and 90% on the art - this guess is just based off of my experience with storyboards. They can take a surprisingly long time to make, so making one into a 2d game/animatic thing would take a lot longer.

Edited by SirWeeble

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Hmm this sounds like a visual novella. There is already a *programmable* software about those king of games/novels. Unfortunately I really can't help you with this.
I also believe that there must be some free art online that could help you a bit.

Try contacting those digital/visual? novella guy?s (there could be a forum about this ?!)

Otherwise you ?could try the "approach of the programmer" and open 3ds Max/Maya/Blender/SomethingElse and try modelling and animating characters with simple primitives. It's hard to make something ecstatically correct (especially when you are no artist)  but it is an option.

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It reads like a simple graphic adventure, you may want to have a look at such authoring tools, like www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk . That one is quite old. I never looked much, but there are no doubt other such tools.

 

While I can't draw anything at all (as in, I never tried it), it's an art just like programming.

 

There is no single piece of software that is used for making art. Some start at paper, and scan it, others draw on a tablet, or use 3d modeling software. At different stages of the art, different software is used.

 

To a programmer, the software is the result, and they use all kinds of tools to construct it (algorithms, OO theory, compilers, editors, UML diagrams, code generators, libraries).

To an artist, the picture is the result, and they use all kinds of tools to construct it (human perception and color theory, tablets, scanners, 3d modeling, ...... up to pixel editors).

 

So like programming, to make art, the question is not what to use, the question is what works for you.

Truely mastering art takes at least 5 to 10 years, up to a life time.

 

 

Can you produce something in a month? Probably. I have no experience, but everything I read says you make rapid progress, so if you would draw for a month (and like other have said, try to minimize programming here, you'll need all your time on the graphics), I have no doubt the final piece is a zillion times better than the first.

 

Is it any good? That depends on your standards.

 

- For doing a month art, yes it is.

- Compared to pictures we see around us? (even people that cannot draw can distinguish good from bad) Nope.

- Compared to your detailed mental image? Not in a million years probably, but you are the better judge in that.

 

So what can you do? Trick question somewhat, but here are some ideas that you may not have considered yet

1. Hire someone to make the art.

2. Use other forms of art, photography, acting.

3. Write a "movie dialogue script" to act out.

4. Write a text adventure.

 

You promised a "game story", and you filled it in as "game software". It's a logical step as software programmer, but there may be other solutions available. to you.

Edited by Alberth

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Whether you can do it in a month or not is hard to say, it depends on a lot of factors.

Is this a month working full time? Or part time? Or a few hours a week?

Are you writing it from scratch or using existing software.

Are you doing all the artwork yourself? Do you have much digital art experience?

For the type of game it looks like you want to make you will spend most of the time on artwork I think. For the software side I would recommend you take a look at the Unity engine and have a look at Fungus (http://fungusgames.com) on the asset store. It's free and makes it very easy to make an interactive story type game.

Good luck.

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Thank you for all the answers, they were very useful to me.

After all, it's fine if I can't do it in a month

I agree that the artistic side of the thing will be very hard for me, do you have more specific suggestions on that? I play multiple instruments and I know the tremendously long process needed to achieve even decency, but in this case I need something simple-but-effective. Does it exist?


It reads like a simple graphic adventure, you may want to have a look at such authoring tools, like www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk . That one is quite old. I never looked much, but there are no doubt other such tools.

That looks great and I'm looking into it to check if it's enough for me.

 

So what can you do? Trick question somewhat, but here are some ideas that you may not have considered yet

1. Hire someone to make the art.

2. Use other forms of art, photography, acting.

3. Write a "movie dialogue script" to act out.

4. Write a text adventure.

 

You promised a "game story", and you filled it in as "game software". It's a logical step as software programmer, but there may be other solutions available. to you.

Is it any good? That depends on your standards.authoring tools, like www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk . That one is quite old. I never looked much, but there are no doubt other such tools.

 

Yeah, I figured I'm biased towards one specific part of the creative process, i.e. programming.

Are you writing it from scratch or using existing software.

Are you doing all the artwork yourself? Do you have much digital art experience?

For the type of game it looks like you want to make you will spend most of the time on artwork I think. For the software side I would recommend you take a look at the Unity engine and have a look at Fungus (http://fungusgames.com) on the asset store. It's free and makes it very easy to make an interactive story type game.

Good luck.

I will look at both, though I wonder whether Unity is a bit too complex for such a simple project.

The asset website looks great, thanks.

 

I have no digital art experience.

 

Recommendation on everything I could need is very welcome (I know I ask a lot), in the meantime I will also dig elsewhere in the forum.

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Thank you for all the answers, they were very useful to me.

After all, it's fine if I can't do it in a month

I agree that the artistic side of the thing will be very hard for me, do you have more specific suggestions on that? I play multiple instruments and I know the tremendously long process needed to achieve even decency, but in this case I need something simple-but-effective. Does it exist?

 

 


It reads like a simple graphic adventure, you may want to have a look at such authoring tools, like www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk . That one is quite old. I never looked much, but there are no doubt other such tools.

That looks great and I'm looking into it to check if it's enough for me.

 

So what can you do? Trick question somewhat, but here are some ideas that you may not have considered yet

1. Hire someone to make the art.

2. Use other forms of art, photography, acting.

3. Write a "movie dialogue script" to act out.

4. Write a text adventure.

 

You promised a "game story", and you filled it in as "game software". It's a logical step as software programmer, but there may be other solutions available. to you.

Is it any good? That depends on your standards.authoring tools, like www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk . That one is quite old. I never looked much, but there are no doubt other such tools.

 

Yeah, I figured I'm biased towards one specific part of the creative process, i.e. programming.

Are you writing it from scratch or using existing software.

Are you doing all the artwork yourself? Do you have much digital art experience?

For the type of game it looks like you want to make you will spend most of the time on artwork I think. For the software side I would recommend you take a look at the Unity engine and have a look at Fungus (http://fungusgames.com) on the asset store. It's free and makes it very easy to make an interactive story type game.

Good luck.

I will look at both, though I wonder whether Unity is a bit too complex for such a simple project.

The asset website looks great, thanks.

 

I have no digital art experience.

 

Recommendation on everything I could need is very welcome (I know I ask a lot), in the meantime I will also dig elsewhere in the forum.

Unity is good for this. I don't know how this works, but you might be able to make your job a bit easier with it: https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/368

It's a visual scripting tool.

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Absolutely! (less than a week and free)

First of all,l I am sorry you are experiencing health challenges. Life can be brutal.

 

This is actually a brilliant idea. My daughter's birthday is next month. These can be used as gifts, marriage proposals, PTSD, wedding gifts, occupation (dads a mechanic-challenges of the job, funny or serious, learning, Olympic hopefuls, graduates, etc.

 

There are free game engines with drop and drag technology.  AppyPie, Gamemaker, and if you have a little programming Unreal Engine 4 is top notch like Unity as Maklan mentioned (also free). 

 

Did you see the post by Tom Brompton,  game in a week competition? He did it without the help of the  above mentioned technology.

http://www.gamedev.net/page/resources/_/creative/game-design/how-to-build-a-game-in-a-week-from-scratch-with-no-budget-r2259

 

If you can do music Audacity.  There is also a lot of free musci you can use, with permission/credit.

 

Art also free GIMP and others. 

 

There are open source collaborators online as well.

 

.

http://lifehacker.com/the-best-free-tools-for-making-your-own-video-games-1689905461

 

Hope your plant is blooming!

 

 

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First I would say a month is ambitious, even if you work full time on the project you are likely battling a learning curve here since you have not written a game before.

 

I would however have to second Unity here since I've used it recently for a prototype that came together in about 8 weeks of part time work.  It was a bit more complex then what you have presented here as basic requirements.

 

Unity has the benefit of a community of content both creative and programmatic.  There is fairly solid API documentation (lacking in some places) when you get to coding, but there are lots of online videos that can help.  Also you can surely use the free "community" version for this sort of project.

 

If you can't deliver in the month, maybe you can show some kind of fun "coming soon" graphic or illustration, but I agree that you should deliver something complete instead of rushed.  Good luck with your project!

 

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