Update: Our Story So Far

By Andrew | 2017-02-21

We haven’t really discussed what we’ve been working on since our post on Unity Tools and Libraries, so I thought I’d post an update.

TL;DR We’re hoping to have something playable to show friends and family later next month.

Way back in September, we started building prototypes for three different game concepts. Since then, we’ve learned a lot, totally abandoned those original concepts, and started on a game that we think will be a lot of fun. The game is playable now, and we’re getting to the point where we could really use some better looking artwork.

Prototypes

We started off with prototyping for two main reasons:

  1. We didn’t know what we wanted to build yet, and
  2. We didn’t have a standard for how to put together a Unity project

Also, we all had some experience with Unity, but not a whole lot. So building out prototypes gave us time to ramp up on learning how to do things in Unity.

We built three prototypes. Karol built a 3rd-person sandbox with the beginnings of some RPG features. I built a game like Mario Party, with just one game board and one mini-game. And Matt built a 3rd-person sandbox as well, but with creature battling features (like Pokémon). Along the way, we brushed up our Unity chops, figured out what our best practices are for putting together a project, and got a general sense for how much work goes into game development (hint: a whole bunch).

First Try

Initially, we were unsure about which concept we wanted to work on, but before we were done prototyping, we knew we wanted to build a game like Pokémon. We came up with several features that we think would have been game changers, and we were really excited to see them in action. So, when we were done prototyping, we started working on a full-fledged 3D Pokémon-like game.

After a couple months, we had a playable game. You could wander around the world, have a random encounter, and battle a creature. But, by that point, it had become clear that building our dream creature battling RPG was too ambitious. It was just too large of a game, even just to design, much less fill the world with artwork.

People say not to make an RPG for your first game. Turns out, people are right.

Business Stuff

Along the way, we had to figure out a bunch of business stuff. We got advice from people at Communitech and the Accelerator Centre, as well as from some friends with business experience. We spoke with an accountant and a lawyer to figure out stuff like incorporation, taxes, and how to eventually employ an artist.

Figuring out our working arrangement was difficult. Initially, we just took turns working at each other’s places, and that worked fine for a while, but we wanted to find a more permanent place where we could work at desks. Fortunately, we were accepted into JumpStart, a program offered through the Accelerator Centre, and we’re now working full-time out of the AC’s Reactor building.

Between the three of us, we have very little business knowledge or experience, so business stuff took up more time than I would have liked, but we learned a lot along the way.

The Game

After we realised that the game we first tried to build was too ambitious, we started to consider other ideas. We took a couple of weeks and made a giant list of game ideas that were reasonably small while still being fun. It was actually pretty difficult to decide on just one of the ideas we came up with, but in the end we were all in agreement on what we want to make.

We started development about a month and a half ago, and the game is starting to take shape. There’s menus, the core game is playable, and you can win or lose. We’ve still got quite a bit to go yet though, before we’re going to be ready to release something. In the meantime, we hope to show something off to friends and family sometime late next month.

The art might not be so good though, because we could desperately use an artist at this point.