Ahoy! I'm a programmer, and have been for a number of years. I've always been a gamer. So it seems natural that I end up trying my hand at making a game.
The game development started as a personal project to keep using C# (I no longer use it in my current job), and looking into Unity seemed a fun way to achieve this.
At roughly the same time I had freshly recalled a game I deeply enjoyed in Steam Early Access many years ago. The game was glowing with potential, but suffered a few major bugs which ruined the experience at the time and I moved on to other games, intending to come back whenever it was released. Looking it up I realised it had long since been abandoned by the developers, with many critical bugs unsolved.
So there was my 'practice C# and Unity project' - a journey of 'How would I do that but better?' Some of the concepts I explored and full or partially developed are below. None of these are particularly novel, but they were fun for me (to reiterate, this was the main goal at the time):
- User-creatable tiled ships
- A restrictive movement system which:
- Can cope with the user-created ships
- Won't ever risk having your pirates accidentally drop into the ocean...
Pirates can move along any green line. Blue circles are joins between lines
- What if the combat was JRPG turn based?
- What if the combat was beat-em-up style?
- Character creation and randomisation
- Drawing outlines around things (using a shader)
- Recolouring everything to anything, and fast (another shader)
- Random pixel-ey clouds
- Random watery pixel-ey movement
- Generating a basic node-based world (that isn't just a square grid)
At the start of this year I realised that the disjointed ideas I'd developed and thrown around had something in them I wanted to bring out: the potential to actually be a Fun and Enjoyable Thing™. So here I am.
The Game To Be
The current vision is to create a roguelike adventure.
The captain is the main character, and the subject of the permadeath mechanic ubiquitous to roguelikes. Worlds are randomly generated for each captain, and possible encounters include pirates, island explorations, quests, buried treasure, mythical beasts (Kraken, Leviathan, Sirens, mermaids), fortress invasions, and more.
When you land at a friendly port, you can trade your hard-earned gold on equipment, ship repairs and upgrades, hiring crew, and on all necessary provisions to survive the seas (not unimportantly grog). You could also decide to try and sack the town, but this would not be without consequence.
The win condition/Amulet of Yendor would be to be come a Legend. There are multiple routes to achieve this, which currently include at the conceptual level:
- Discover legendary hidden treasure
- Slay a legendary mythical beast
- Defeat an existing legendary pirate (there can be only one!)
- Sack every town
Overall playtime for a standard successful playthrough is imagined to be ~1 hour, but this is entirely subject to how the game actually feels when it is playable.
Current Development Goals
Right now, I want to make the minimum feature-set required for a demo.
If that seems vague, that's because it is. I would like to drive my development from feedback, which I feel morally requires something actually enjoyable, otherwise I'm just abusing peoples' time as free testers.
So I define what I consider the bare minimum below, in that if it doesn't have these then it's not worth peoples' time. The ideal here is things which I want, but it may be OK to have them in a future demo.
- Character creation
- Hiring crew
- Ship creation/editing
- World generation & exploration:
- Sea: Basic Ship vs Ship
- Land: Basic island invasions
- Basic AI
- Loot from encounters (money)
- Customisable equipment
- Loot from encounters (equipment)
- Exp/levelling (basic)
- Gain EXP from encounters
- Levelling makes a pirate have more health and deal more damage
Wrapping up (for now)
I do not have any idea how long anything will take, especially since this is an 'in my own time' project.
I intend to post an update at least once a week, as this will keep me focussed on my goals.
Fair winds, mateys!