I still haven’t done an official reveal of Dark Deception (although pretty much everyone I know knows about it), but I still have much to say about the myriad difficulties of game development and the highs and lows of this adventure. The least of which include project coordination, communication, engine-compatibility and the many, many annoying quirks of computers.
The Good Stuff
In a weeklong period, I taught myself to do environmental art using the RPG-toolkit’s board editor. It was an iterative process, with tiles being replaced as I learned more and more features of the toolkit and collision detection and warping being made functional as I began to understand the intricacies of environmental design. Initially, it took me two hours to complete my first tile, within two days, I was able to create a tile in ten minutes. Check it out.
I felt great about myself, everything was going well, until…
About those Lows…
So I laid down some basic collision detection and published a pre-alpha executable that you can download here. The pre-alpha was an epic failure and every tester reported that the game was unplayable and crashed on launch, sometimes not working at all for Chrome users. The game tested okay on my computer and ran perfectly. I tried to address the problem again, until something so terrible and so frustrating transpired that I was brought to my figurative knees as a fledging game designer.
The engine was bugged.
It wasn’t an issue with the code that we wrote, it was the worst type of problem possible, a problem with the software we were using.
The forums were dead and there was no support for our ambitious fledging project. I died a little inside, knowing that if we couldn’t fix the engine, we would have to lose hundreds of hours of work by moving to a new engine, with a far more difficult development environment and without support for multilayered maps.
The fate of the project remains yet to be seen, my esteemed engineer, suggests that we move to a new, Java-based engine that recently powered the cult-hit Minecraft. Stay tuned.
Coordinating an independent company is hard stuff, even harder if you’re an awkward teenager inept at skills needed in the professional business world. Maintaining clear and concise communication at all times is a difficult job. We a single meeting in June and we lacked a single, centralized avenue for communication. There would be occasions where I would meet team members through Steam, Facebook, Skype, AIM and Gmail. Things were chaotic and our business learned its lessons. Furthermore, coordinating a geographically scattered team made turning in work a complete crapshoot for us. A problem with the USPS caused us to lose over a month of concept art, forcing my artist to redraw practically every character in the game.
In a sense of the term, game design is an adventure, fraught with trials and tribulations. It is a learning experience to be attempted by the bravest and most creative of souls. Despite all the hell that Dark Deception has given me, I can say that I love the project unconditionally and will stick to it to its very end. The challenges I have faced through this struggle have already left me a stronger game designer. I greatly anticipate seeing where the project heads from here and addressing the new challenges that await the project.