You are Worm.
Or, that’s what the government agents in charge of your incarceration call you.
You’ve been sentenced to several life sentences for a series of horrible crimes. As part of your sentence, the Agency gets to use you to carry out missions no one else will do.
Supposedly, it shaves time off your sentence. You don’t care either way - at least it gets you out of your cell.
This mission is going to make you wish you had stayed in that cell.
You’ve been dropped into Designation: Hell - a strange town in the middle of nowhere where some seriously weird stuff is going down. Buildings are merging together, there are bodies everywhere, and you can sense… something following you.
They won’t let you out of Hell until you’ve gathered five very important files for them.
Move quickly, Worm. You don’t know what’s out there.
This is going to be a bit rambly, please forgive me! I promise future dev-logs won’t be this long, but I wanted to get my history that lead to Worm Goes to Hell out of the way. (Also, I’m planning to post versions of this Devlog thing in multiple places - so if you saw this somewhere else don’t worry, it’s not deja vu.)
Some History or whatever:
Anyway, hi! I’m Joe. I’m a writer based out of Boise, Idaho and I’ve loved video games my whole life. When I was a kid, I was certain that one day I’d make my own video game. Throughout my life I studied bits and pieces of random coding languages, would try several projects, and get distracted and never finish.
Fast forward like 20 years, I’m hitting 30, the pandemic has life feeling extra uncertain, I’m a web developer now (after dropping out of theater school, then dropping out of creative writing school and having all sorts of jobs in those said 20 years), and I see an ad for David Wehle’s Game Dev Unlocked course - it’s all hinged on the idea that you don’t need to know much code to be a Unity indie dev, I have a stimulus check that just cleared the bank, and I realize that finally, this is it! I’m going to fufill ten-year old Joe’s dreams.
Spoiler - that wasn’t it. I was in a weird housing situation, just getting settled at the new job, and I ended up leaving my project from the course in the bin with the hundreds of other Unity projects I’d abandoned.
Fast forward again, about another year or so, and I’m in a stable living environment, crushing it at work, and going through one of the most stressful parts of my year (I work for a huge literature festival in town that’s part of our big music festival and there was way too much on my plate at this point) and have a bit of a nervous breakdown. My mind needs something to focus on, and somehow it latches back on to Unity and the GDU course, and BOOM after a few days of frantic dissociation, I had the core loop for Worm Goes to Hell sitting in front of me. It looked rad, I was having fun, and it was all I could think about.
It was time to actually fulfill that promise to ten year old me and do this thing.
Some of My Goals Going In:
I Still Don’t Really Know How to Code
and I’m okay with that. GameDev is more achievable than ever and I’m coming at this more as a storyteller than anything else. I’m relying heavily on Unity Assets like Playmaker, which come with their own headaches. Game Dev Unlocked has been a wonderful course and resource!
I can read C# fairly well though, which has been super useful for understanding how these assets work and doing some very simple, minor modifications to things.
Don’t get me wrong - I wish I had stuck with learning C# when I was a kid, that would probably make my life easier. But right now, for this project, I’m confident I have everything I need to make it happen.
So, Worm Goes to Hell - Where did that come from?
Recently, I’ve gotten really into playing those grungy, pixelated, PSX feeling short horror games on itch.io. If you’ve spent any amount of time there, you know what I’m talking about. It’s weird, I never used to like horror stuff much, but I’m addicted to playing these weird little stories. It’s an awesome genre!
Well, as I was working through (and deviating from, I’m easily distractible) one of the modules on GDU in the midst of my dissociative panic time, I realized I’d basically created a town that would fit perfectly in a little game like that and it evolved from there.
The story came to me right as I was falling asleep and has been evolving as I build out the world. I’m super excited!
Okay, some actual dev related stuff:
I’m doing this all in Unity using Playmaker (a visual scripting plugin) and relying heavily on assets from the asset store.
As of now, I have the core loop working with a new character controller that needs some fine-tuning, and I’ve been working out some early bugs and such.
I started with a free character controller recommended in the GDU course, which was actually pretty awesome. But I realized along the way that I wanted the game to be as accessible for people as possible, so I would need a good solution for controllers and such.
Rewired was obviously the ticket (another asset discussed in the GDU course I’m in) but I realized it doesn’t work well with the free controller I was using. The controller was older, and using parts of the Unity Input Manager that the generic Rewired overwrite script wouldn’t work with.
I’d been looking at Opsive’s character controllers, and had a discount code, so I figured I’d give their UFPS controller a shot since it has Rewired compatibility.
Switching controllers broke EVERYTHING, of course, so that was a headache. But, Opsive’s controller did end up working with Rewired a lot better, so I’ve been moving forward with this so far.
It’s going to take a lot of tweaking still, but it at least works right now! The thing I hate is the sprint - the free first person controller I was using had an awesome little sprint/stamina function built in and I’m having a hard time doing something similar with Opsive’s speed change function.
I’m sure it’s possible, but I’m stuck on that right now. If you have any advice I’m all ears!
One cool thing I got working recently was David Wehle’s subtitle and fan translation system - it’s an awesome subtitle system that also allows people to swap in their own document with translations in it, which is awesome and helps with my accessibility goals!
Currently, I’m fighting with a pause/options menu. Probably not the thing I should be most worried about right now, but one of my friends who was going to test out my very early alpha refused because the mouse wasn’t inverted. Currently, when I try to use the options menu to invert stuff, it just freezes the whole dang camera. I’m close to figuring out why, but not quite there yet.
There’s a lot more I could talk about, but I think this has already gone on long enough for my first devlog! I’ll make future ones a bit more focused, and anyone can feel free to reach out and ask questions any time!
I’ll end with a few potential questions (sourced because I keep asking myself the same questions lol):
Q: First game and you’ve committed to putting it on Steam? Do you think that’s a good idea?
A: I thought about this a lot and decided I wanted to do it as a learning experience. Ten year old me would be SO stoked right now, and I know the chances of recouping my Steam fee are very slim. That’s okay - I’ve already learned a ton and can consider it a gift to ten-year old me.
Q: Woah big guy, not only are you putting it on Steam, you’re going to charge money for it?
A: Again, something I’ve thought a lot about. I know that in the genre I’m shooting for there’s a lot of free games (that I still pay for, and I think you should too if you can) but I’m definitely planning on actually selling it. There’s a lot of discourse on game pricing that I’ve been absorbing so this could change, but I think the MSRP will be 4.99. That’s a MTG booster pack, which I impulse buy all the time.
Q: Give me a key for my YouTube channel, fool!
A: Okay, when it’s ready! I plan on putting it in itch.io’s program for content creators, and if you’re serious about wanting it for a stream/video I’ll for sure hook it up. (I have people asking already, which is neat!)
Q: Will there be a demo?
A: I don’t know. I’m not sure the way the town is set up lends itself well to an early demo, and it would be hard to work the monster(s) into a demo… but maybe!
Okay, for real, I’m done now, time to get back to work on the game!
You can wishlist it on Steam now: Store.steampowered.com
Or check out the itch.io landing page: Mtgjoed.itch.io
Feel free to hit me up on Twitter if you wanna talk gamedev stuff: Twitter.com
Also I do YouTube sometimes: Youtube.com
Have a great rest of your week!