Just like any new years resolution... I managed to break it immediately... But that does not mean I did not work!
Delivery is growing ay its pace, with some tries at prototyping, but mainly on the design side for the long term...
Many projects are started with a prototype by toying with Unity, writing and deleting code and assets until you have a somewhat playable thing, serving as a proof of the game's "fun" factor.
But for me, I prefer starting with a plan before opening the engine, mainly because it's part of my job as game designer, but also because I'm a beginner programmer. So before (re)launching Unity, I need to know what I want to do!
One of the important thing in writing and documenting game design, is organization. At my current job, we une Confluence, a wiki engine that can easily plug with Jira (for task and bug tracking). We store all of our documentation there from the highest level (Intention Documents, Game Design Documents) to the mos technical (Technical Design Documents or Feature Sign Off), and everything can be seen and/or edited by anyone on the team depending on your configuration.
DokuWiki is a free, open source, file based self-hosted Wiki solution. No needs for server knowledge, only a drag and dorp and everything is running ! It also has a lot of plugin, and even if the community is not the most active in the world, new plugins are being developed to ease reding or writing in it.
However, this does not allow to work on document layout. You use some form of Markdown like and DokuWiki interprets it to display pages. It a big constraint, but it also forces me to rethink about the structure of my documentation, and making sure anyone can understand it.
So with perseverance, I've created a wiki to ease my work and prepare an eventual central hub for collaboration, and started writing lots and lots of pages for intention design and bribes of mechanic documentation just to keep traces of my current thoughts on the matter, and serve as a base for...
After writing 40+ pages of design, I've managed to clarify some of the important points to go into prototyping.
As I've tole in the previous article, I already had a few driving prototypes with a very basic top-down view so I... Dumped everything and started from scratch!
My goal is to create some kind of code base to iterate on, or maybe collaborate upon with (real) developers.
So I start struggling with C#, working on 3Cs, making sure collisions work as intended, but also primary systems for the game linked to actually delivering letters interactions, and dialogues (thanks to Yarn Spinner).
This is still very basic, but it gives an idea.
I know have some start on design that helped me clarify my intention behind this project, some ugly prototype to see if the early "feel" is there and what's missing. Now I need to really define the core of the game's experience, its content, its strengths, and anything that might help me "sell" the game to future collaborators to work on it.
Writing a pitch is a necessary nightmare to really understand what you are trying to accomplish with a project, figuring out what's missing, and pointing to truly important "features" of the game, all while making sure anyone is able to understand everything.
So, if I try pitching you Delivery in its current state, here is how it goes:
Be a newbie mail-person in a beach-side city helping townsfolk and listening to their stories.
Play as a newbie mail-person
You just got in town, so you will have to learn the rope of the work, finding your way in this new city, learning the roads by heart, delivering letters and packages to the correct town-folks, and help them solve their everyday problems.
A Slice of Life with unique characters
Being a mail-person is also about meeting unique people, and being their direct link to relatives. Listen to their stories, to their problems and life experiences leading them to where they are now. Listening might be enough to help them, but you might sometimes have to nudge destiny a bit to help.
A whole town to explore at your pace
Explore a small, but packed town in 3D in a top-down view with themed districts, a day/night cycle and gorgeous vistas. Participate to timeline based events during the whole day.
A new way to interact with the world (Pop up Interactions)
See what you got in hand, and play with it! Go through letters in your bag, rotate around a package to find its address, all using the analog stick(s) of a controller and a single button, to control your hand(s).
I have the chance of having friends and colleagues to show this pitch and help me iterate on it, and finding someone to work with on the narrative!
The pitch above will change to represent the final goal even better with the new narrative in the following months, as we will work on defining the base universe of the game, leading to change in art direction and the game's overall experience.
This porcess also allowed me to take a step back and watch how the project can grow out of my own mind and letting other people bring their ideas into the mix. I had some "ego block" because I was scared, but this is a great training for collaborative work as I know I won't be able to make this game alone, and all of the feedback is for the game's good.
We all are creative people, et the best games are never made alone. So I hope to be able to show you the progress on narrative on the next blog post!