Author Topic: Tips on planning out smaller games?  (Read 868 times)

LuigiVs

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Tips on planning out smaller games?
« on: 28 Jan 2019, 03:00 »
I've to get more into AGS & game dev recently and I've read a lot of posts suggesting on creating smaller games first.
However, I am having trouble figuring out how to build a smaller project.
Any tips on how to create a smaller scoped game?

Thanks.
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selmiak

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Re: Tips on planning out smaller games?
« Reply #1 on: 28 Jan 2019, 09:36 »
So you have a script for a huge game that is totally fleshed out? I'd say go for that, I'm struggeling with writing down everything beforehand, but if you have it already no need to be shy about it.
If you have a huge script but fear the amount of backgrounds you have to draw for it, well, cut out stuff that is not really neccessary. Or aim for some episodic format. You then can reuse the walkcycles you already did. and revisit known places you don't have to draw again.
In case you are starting from scratch and don't have anything fleshed out at all,... well, think of adventure games like a book, some writers write novels, while others write short stories. Guess what, a small game is more like a short story. If you can write a novel then for all means make a full game based on it. If you are just beginning mamking game, start small, this is good to get used to the engine and the medium at all.

Matti

Re: Tips on planning out smaller games?
« Reply #2 on: 28 Jan 2019, 11:15 »
I think it's a good idea to participate in a MAGS-competition and do a small game within a month (something I should've done a long time ago instead of starting several large projects that never got finished). Just go for something small and plan a game with a few rooms and few characters and see how much you can accomplish in time. This might help to estimate the amount of work and the time you need for something larger. I recommend playing a few MAGS or other short games to see how people design small games.

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Re: Tips on planning out smaller games?
« Reply #3 on: 28 Jan 2019, 12:41 »
I think it's a good idea to participate in a MAGS-competition and do a small game within a month (something I should've done a long time ago instead of starting several large projects that never got finished). Just go for something small and plan a game with a few rooms and few characters and see how much you can accomplish in time. This might help to estimate the amount of work and the time you need for something larger. I recommend playing a few MAGS or other short games to see how people design small games.
+1

If you want to get a good idea for scope and how to make games, participate in a MAGS competition.
That's my first bit of advice for making a small game.

Now if you want to know where to start, here my magic little formula.
First, come up with an idea. A premise. For example, a pirate is stranded on an island and wants to get off.
Second, list the main events in your story through a series of bullet points. For example, pirate makes plans to build raft, then builds the raft, then gets provisions, then sails off.
Third, write a list of things that need to be done to accomplish each bullet point, preferably working backwards. For example, pirate makes plans to build raft by getting paper and pencil. Pirate makes pencil by getting wood and graphite. Pirate gets wood by breaking branch off tree.

From there, it's just about making all of the necessary resources and putting it all together.
Also remember, things don't have to look good on the first pass-through. You could try to make it perfect the first time round. But I find it helps a lot if you make all of the resources quickly and without any attention to detail, as it gives you a good sense of what you need to make and what might need changing. In other words, get a playable prototype out as soon as possible. (In a larger scope game, you might want to do that in chunks. But in a small game, you should be able to the whole game.)

I hope that all helps.  :-D

Re: Tips on planning out smaller games?
« Reply #4 on: 27 Feb 2019, 00:12 »
It's important to pick a concept that interests you. If you set out to make a "small game" that doesn't excite you, it can feel like a chore.

If you're doing this for fun, just pick an idea that you think is fun. If that means a throwback adventure game, fine. Try to come up with a story, and then (this is the hard part) map out the story in Word or Excel. If there are branching plots, map out the branches. Then try to make a rough draft of the dialog. Then assign each scene or plot point to a location and get a sense of how many locations the game has. Then assume that each location will take about a month to implement.

You might find yourself working backward to design a small part of your original idea. Or you might find that your original idea is just the right size. Or (most likely) you'll discover that your idea is way too big a deal try to tackle it anyway.

I doubt anyone finishes the first game they attempt. My first few games had too many characters, too many locations, and (MOST IMPORTANT) weren't planned in advance. To be fair, I learned a lot about scripting and planning from those failed attempts, which is ultimately what I enjoy about this hobby.

However you get started, the first step is just to start. Most of the other steps involve pre planning and the AGS technical forums.

Also, don't attempt anything higher than 320p resolution on the first go round. Unless you are an incredibly experienced and prolific graphic designer, there is no way for a solo developer to make a hi res game.
« Last Edit: 27 Feb 2019, 00:15 by wynni2 »

Re: Tips on planning out smaller games?
« Reply #5 on: 05 Mar 2019, 07:32 »
There is no better time than now to start with small indie games, after all, the best ones are starting to get more and more spotlight, just look at the likes of Celeste and Hollow Knight! One thing you need to make sure of is that the game has some sort of a unique value, something different, because major game devs will always outdo the small ones when it comes to mainstream topics in games. Go for less, yet unique! Here are some prime examples coming this year https://www.eneba.com/blog/best-indie-games-to-be-released-in-2019/
Cheers mates <3