luvcraft (luvcraft) wrote,

We must make the games we wish to play in the world

so, I just realized last night that the games I want to make generally fall into three categories: games I want to play, games I want to have the experience / challenge of making, and games that I have the ability / means to make. All of the games I've made so far have had some amount of all three categories; In the Pit was primarily a challenge to myself to make a game with no graphics (and also make a game in a week for the competition I initially submitted it to), and was also something I had the means to make. Wedgie Ninja was a challenge to make a game in a week that used a dance pad for something other than dancing, and was also a challenge to myself to make a game where nobody dies. It was also just barely within my means to make the silly graphics for it. Crosstown was a challenge to make a game with procedurally-generated content, multiplayer, and a save system, and the chunky super-retro graphics and straightforward gameplay programming were well within my means.

You'll notice that so far all of these games I've mentioned have only touched on two of the three categories; Dungeon Escape and Spectrum of Violence are the only two games I've made that I primarily want to play. They also, as I just realized, are the only two games I've made that are STILL in development after several years, but that I still haven't given up on, probably because I still look forward to playing them when they're finished and that's what's keeping them going. I have lots of other ideas for games that I want to play, but they're all beyond my means to make on my own.

The problem I've discovered is that I've been making games that I have the ability / means to make at the detriment of making games that I want to play. Even Dungeon Escape and Spectrum of Violence started out as "making something within my means", and only evolved into something I wanted to play as I developed them. In fact, Spectrum of Violence has evolved into something I want to play specifically because it's grown beyond my means; I'm working on it with an artist whose artwork is far beyond what I'm capable of, and I'm also really struggling with some of the programming.

So, based on my experience with Spectrum of Violence becoming something I want to play once it was no longer something I had the means to make on my own, I want to try a new project where I start with something that I want to play but that is beyond my means to make on my own. Which means I need help, possibly from YOU, dear reader. This isn't my first attempt at a team project, but my previous attempts have been made with the goal of keeping it within the means of a small team, again at the detriment of making something I want to play; one of those (Spectrum of Violence) evolved into something I wanted to play, and the other one died a horrible death. By starting a project that's primarily something I want to play, I think that will give me the momentum to stick with it and see it through to completion.

OK, enough text! Here's an exciting image! (albeit an image that's mostly text)

This is a diagram of the team I would need for this project. I'm taking the role of writer and director, but everything else is up for grabs.

"Producer" in the context of this project doesn't mean "money man", because I don't expect any of us to get paid anything until the game is released. The producer here is more of a production manager, but also helps find people to work on the project, oversees marketing (which is a separate part of this from the game dev team, but also very important), and decides who gets paid what when money starts to appear.

The accountant divvies up the profits, and worries about taxes and creating an LLC for the project, and could conceivably be the same person as the producer.

I think everything else should be self-explanatory; this will be a 3D game, so we'll need modelers and 3D animators and texture artists. As with the producer and accountant, and the writer and director, I expect a few people to fill a couple different positions; the set designer and the set modeler would probably be the same person, for instance, and the character modeler and character texture artist and character animator. I also expect that we'll ALL pitch in to playtest the game, which is why I didn't include a separate QA team. If you notice any glaring omissions from this diagram (besides craft services!), please let me know! I'd like this to be programmed in XNA, so that it can be easily ported to the Xbox 360, and so that once it reaches beta we can enter it in the following DreamBuildPlay competition. That's not a deal-breaker, though, so if we instead end up with a team of really talented HL2 modders rather than XNA programmers that would be OK, it would just mean we would be less likely to make money from it ("make money" is pretty far down the list of priorities for this game, but it would still be a nice benefit).

You don't have to be local to Albuquerque-land to join in, although it would certainly be a benefit.

The game's setting is "a friendly cartoon space station"; think the ship in Wall-E but with a more European slant. I'll provide more details once things get rolling, and I hope that we have enough of a team that we can get things rolling in January.

So, who will join me on this exciting adventure into making a game that I actually want to play? :)

(The title of this post is taken from the subtitle of a friend's blog, which in turn riffs on the Gandhi quote "we must be the change we wish to see in the world".)

(Also, in case you're wondering where this Spectrum of Violence game is that I keep talking about, it's still in development, but will hopefully see some sort of beta release soon.)
Tags: gravity joe
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