I've trapped myself by talking publicly about a project I want to make on twitter. So; now is a good time to start a development log sharing its creation, and give at least one update every month!
So, let's start from the beginning; and let me tell you what "Delivery" is... and was!
Working as a full-time designer in a game studio is an awesome experience. You get to learn form a lot of people, practice on tools and process to use and reuse on several projects, and overall improve yourself!
But, eventually, as a creative, you want to express yourself a little more in your work, adding that personal touch you cannot add in a game made by 100+ people.
So I dug back into my "idea bag" a project I though of during a walk in the forest of Angoulême. Some kind of racing game, but way too over-scoped for me to handle as a first project in Unity...
I wanted to find a way to make something smaller that would help me develop skills for this big project. This smaller thing would have to deal with the most important part of a racing game : Driving.
So, I started making an arcade like vehicle controller.
Driving and "Road Trip"
This new project would only have to deal with the experience of driving, specifically, I wanted to focus on the relaxation I have when driving long distance on highroads, and maybe try to add a bit of exploration.
And that's how the "Road Trip" project came to be.
"A game about driving somewhere, where the journey is more important than the destination"
I had an opportunity to design and develop a Vehicle Controller in 3D, and managed to add a twist.
Development was going slow... But fine. I struggled way too long with Unity physics and rigid bodies to make a somewhat "realistic" but after tweaking and ugly code, it worked!
Hey, so small update on my weird project to learn unity.— Antoine Sarrazin (@ZeAntwan) February 18, 2019
I NOW HAVE A (ok) CONTROLLABLE CAR
(But don't run into walls, it does not know how to stop)
I have a controller, a very basic interaction system with dialogues (thanks to Yarn Spinner). But, going back to the design, I had a problem with the level design aspect and overall flow of the game.
How to transmit a true freedom of driving and not fall into what has been done on other game like it.
For this, I need to create either a big open world, on a complex system to transmit the idea of driving freedom.
While I had a few ideas to create it, there was still the problem on the amount of content to produce to handle every scenarios, or finding a way to block player exploration (like handling when the player backtracks).
"Freedom of driving" and "Block Player exploration". I was in a dead end. So again, same process, what mechanic or idea could I keep to make this project simpler ?
What could give the player :
- The joy of driving
- The freedom of driving
- A experience about the journey not the end goal
All in a manageable/contained level design size.
We are already almost two year from the initial Racing Game idea. I was a bit bummed down by failing to find a "sustainable" project, and started to doubt my skills...
But then, Getting Long came out, showing I was able to make a tiny game in a month with help from a few friends. It was not the greatest game ever, but I learned a lot about the process.
And then I played a few games, especially A Shot Hike which reminded me of the joy of simple tasks and goals in Animal Crossing with a cute story about lovely character that reminded me of Night in the Woods.
My mind began to work, think, analyze and munch on everything I was doing at the time. And the (current) idea came.
I want to make a game about a delivery person working in a far-from-home beach city. You will deliver packages to townsfolk but also listen to their stories and help them.
Now, I'm here, working on design, moodboards, prototyping small mechanics, redoing from scratch my Vehicle Controller even though the focus on driving is slowly shifting away.
But hey, this is how any creative projects works! Developing idea to find the good one, and prototype, but this is where this development log ends.
Next time, I will bring you on my journey of procrastination by finding a solution to create a solid base for Game Design Documentation, and why I write blog post instead of designing the game... Uh oh...