LBKR was initially supposed to be a scrap project for me to fiddle with while learning the fields of game development that I were learning at the time, namely coding, 3d and 2d graphics.
In the beginning it was more of a Diablo-ish clone although, a thousand times shittier of course, with a fantasy/fable-ish environment, skeletons and mega-sized turtles fighting the player in a medieval world.
As I grew fond of the game and decided to continue to work on it but with the goal of having it to be an actual game and not just a learning project, I did the same mistake that i've noticed alot of other amateur game developers do- beeing far too optimistic and I set near impossible goals, that ultimately led to the loss of motivation after a while.
I had found it difficult to come up with ideas for missions, characters etc. for a fantasy world for some reason, could of course have had something to do with the loss of motivation but anyways-- I did some major changes to the game world for v2. Instead of earlier mentioned fantasy world it was now in a more modern city environment, also the gameplay shifted to more of a survival-style gameplay.
Instead of magical abilities the player could collect various gadgets to help in combat, like mines and grenades etc.
After some time I noticed that I had become alot better with the 3D and 2D art, and most of the graphics in-game were outdated, and I began having a hard time to get my new models to match the quality level of the old ones that were already added to the game, and on top of that I did hit a wall with the level design.
As the levels in LBKRv2 were rather large chunks of a city with a non-linear gameplay style the levels to a long time to create, simply because of that I did start to feel slightly unmotivated, but also there was the fact that I in the end I had made the same mistake as in v1 and set unrealistic and overambitious goals.
I did a major overhaul on the graphics of the game, and restarted the project, yet again.
This time I had managed to create code for the game that was actually of so much use it could be re-used for the new version though so I didn't have to start over from scratch atleast.
For v3 I stepped back into the fantasy-setting, yet the gameplay remained more in style of a survival game as it was in v2. I never really got very far with this version, since I after some time remembered that I suck at writing stories and whatnot, and I had trouble to make the game levels feel interesting, they were mostly just large fields of grass that I didn't really manage to come up with any good ideas of content to fill them with.
It was during v3 I started experimenting with randomized level layouts though, which was in the end a great help for me in v4 when creating the maps of the IGCC space station.
The final version, ie. the version/state LBKR is in today kept the graphic and art-style from v3 but I had done some major changes to gameplay aswell as the approach I used in general.
I had become sick of trying to come up with stories and large open worlds, so this time I decided to make more linear levels, I did keep the level-layout randomizer from v3 though and simply built the game's levels with small square chunks of geometry that were later placed by random as the level started.
From the start I hadn't come up with any story, and this was actually intentional. I decided to focus more on the gameplay, which I had also changed from a slow-paced exploration/survival style to the more straight-forward kill-everything-that-moves. Also I had greatly decreased the scale of the game to a more appropriate size for a one-man developer team, from having planned a bazillion of story-missions and a bazillion of large open-world-ish maps I now had 5 maps with 5 story-missions. While I had not really come up with much of the story, I did have some basic ideas and concept laid out, just enough to know how I wanted the environments and characters to look like.
As far as I can recall it took me about a year to finish the new version, finish in the sense of main storyline and gameplay of the 5 chapters(maps) that is, and actually having a playable build. After that I have continuously added content to the game, there's now a total of 22 missions and more to come, bounty contracts, multiple mysteries and secret areas, 2 extra sub-chapters, several challenge-mission maps (that unlike the default maps, actually are more in the style of the maps in previous game versions, non-randomized and usually larger in scale), the background story's more or less done and alot of world information's been added through log books and such.
It's actually come to be a more complex story than I had for my earlier attempts (v1, v2 and v3) even though I for the earlier versions had put more focus into the story...
Despite the fact that it's the fourth time I restarted the development, I've still been able to use some of the assets and code created in earlier versions, just to give some examples:
Fishman: A small fish-looking humanoid creature that was used as a monster of Swarmer type in v3, I did continue using it as a monster for a short while in v4, but it didn't quite fit in so instead I placed it inside a large glass-tube and it can now be seen inside said tubes in Chapter 1: Medical Labs. as an unknown species discovered and examined by the IGCC scientist crews.
Slasher: The Slasher monster first appeared in v2, but have remained in the game ever since! Although, it's been updated with a new model for each version.
I had intended to write my plans for the future of LBKR in this article aswell, but I think I'll stop here for now, before this article turns into an entire book. I'll return with information on upcoming features and updates next week instead, this also gives me a bit more time to prepare so I don't miss any details.