When I was 12 I picked up a magazine at the mall. It featured 43 pages of Warhammer characters. Quickly this magazine became one of my treasures. I was a kid and we had very little money for toys, let alone something like Warhammer. Yet day after day I would sit and read each page, look at each figure and marvel at the detail. It was simply cool.
To this day I still haven’t bought any Warhammer figures, although I am still amazed by the art, hence my choice in direction for a game I’m working on. I’m changing from my initial design to more of a table top style. This is an example of the updated style:
I’m focusing on each character having a little platform they sit on, and they will have a pose that they hold. Another reason for this style is to cut down on animation time, as character animation was eating into my game development time.
Two games down in Game Maker Studio 2. Should I post them? What’s next? Something more ambitious? Mech wars!
Not quite. This game is a little different. The actual game elements are fairly small in scale: Collect items, repair the mech, walk around in the mech.
This sounds simple, but as a part time hobby, this scale is huge!
But I am having fun so I wanted to share some images with you. These images are renders out of Blender, using the Blender Render Engine and Freestyle.
Unity. Epic worlds, amazing 3D, pbr shaders, cool monsters and boss fights.
Many times I’ve tried to create the most epic game in Unity 3D. I plan everything out, I draw up characters, I make maps, and I create 3D art. I develop some gameplay and learn some c# code.
And every time I fail.
I take a step back. I ignore game development, I quit 3D art, I stop drawing. Then after a couple months I come back to it. This shouldn’t be so hard! All I have to do it create the most epic game, with the coolest monsters and turn based blah blah blah.
I’ve repeated this cycle many times and each time I’ve failed. I am doing that classic quote from Mr. Einstein “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
After repeating this cycle a couple more times I decided to take a step back. I love making art, I love making stories, I love working in 3D and I love coding. Why do I fail at making a game every time?
Scope. I always plan something epic! Huge! Open world! I draw some characters, write a story. So far so good. I build some assets in 3D and bring them into Unity. Okay everything is going great… Although those rocks I built… don’t look as nice as I thought they would. That tree… it’s a little off. I look at some amazing hand painted 3D models. hmmm.. I should hit this as a target! Before I do anything else in Unity I need to sharpen up the art style!
Here I am on a Tuesday night, I’ve worked 10 hours at my day job, I’ve rushed dinner and I’m painting rocks. For the fifth night in a row. I do a little math: Right now I’m finishing an amazing looking rock in three days. I need 50 rocks to complete (the first level) of my game. That’s 90 days. Just for rocks! I do a little more math. At this rate I will finish this game in 2050. Perfect. I quit. I shut down Unity and Blender, and give up. The next night I decide making games and art is not for me and watch TV instead.
Three weeks later I have a game idea and I repeat the process. It usually ends with me painting rocks at 2am in the morning.
Recently I watched a video from the great minds at Extra Credits and this changed everything!
I did a little more research into process and realized what I was doing wrong. If this was the film industry, I was trying to make a feature film by myself. I was jumping into final asset creation at the beginning of the game not the end! I was worrying about how the light falloff on a light map might not look as nice in HTML5 compared to IPhone.
My biggest realization was I was not alone. Many other game makers and artists have hit this wall. Things had to change. I had to change.
I am a 3D artist. I work in 3D all day. I needed a fresh hobby that was different from my day job. I needed 2D.
After researching 2D engines for far too long and downloading some trials I choose Game Maker Studio 2. Game Maker was pretty easy to start and GML gives the freedom that other 2D game engines seem to be lacking.
My focus is simple fun games. Instead of making FF7 I need to make Pong. Instead of making Pokemon I need to make BrickBreaker. I need to start with the code and end with the graphics. Taking this approach I’ve already finished two games. Not nice games, not beautiful games, but finished games. There is a start menu, a game play mode and a final menu. That’s it. I finished and I moved on.
Where is all of this going? I guess I want to document my trials and process in 3D, Game Development, Game Art, and Coffee. I want to help others so they don’t make the same mistakes.
With a focus on posting something to world it provides me with motivation to make cool things and help others.
That is why I’m working in Game Maker, and 2D. I know Unity has a 2D element, and I might try it in the future. But not right now. I want to take 3D Game Engines out of the equation, or else I’ll end up painting rocks.