I've had a game idea that I've been kicking around for a couple of years now. While roleplaying with a bunch of my MMO friends a while back, I fashioned a cast of characters for them to clash with in a more standardized tabletop setting. Those characters I designed have stuck with me since and feel like they have some teeth to build a full game around. Something that sits somewhere in the adventure game or visual novel genre, I'm not entirely certain which. For the time being it's codenamed Project Wrenwright for lack of a better title as I start pummeling together a game prototype.
Last year during NaNoWriMo, I tried to write a script for the entire game. It was, admittedly, a foolishly lofty idea in hindsight, but I have this really bad habit of throwing myself into project chasms. My office has suffered this plight as I just amass art and craft supplies with the voracity of a collapsing star.
So I went ahead and built a planner which was lovingly designed and crafted. There were Illustrator forms–Gawd! So many plot, setting, and character forms! They all were shoved into an aesthetically-pleasing 3-ring binder ready to be filled with oodles of very important story-building content. I bounced between making notes on virtual index cards on Microsoft's OneNote to Literature & Latte's Scrivener. As November 1st hit, I was prepped with a backpack, a school lunch, and set off with the zeal of a child rushing to their first day of kindergarten.
Once the month of NaNoWriMo was over, I succeeded in writing a whole two whopping pages of story content and nowadays its not even anything that I consider worthwhile to use.
There were a couple of reasons why I simply fell off the wagon. Depression was a big one. I was also creatively invested in other gaming areas which also involved a hefty chunk of writing and overseeing social groups. The angle I went about writing a game didn't help either. I stacked the deck way too high. Oh well. Lessons learned.
A year, six months of actual honest therapy, and a steady form of income has got me to this point now. Attending GaymerX 4 and GaymerX East this fall was the spur that finally got me cantering again. I was introduced to the interactive fiction community and the tools they used. That and it was uplifting to see so many female game designers there. The safe space that GaymerX creates allows the marginalized groups within the industry to come out of the fucking woodwork. It's wonderful and encouraging and I'm going to give this another try.
I'm starting small: a prototype that has the mechanisms that I would use in a fully finished game. I've messed around with A LOT of tools (which is a topic deserving of its own post) and decided to finally start breaking things down in Twine. Once that's finished, I'm going to figure out how to transport the Twine logic into a Unity demo.
The Prototype includes one scene broken up into two locations: Outside a fantasy-setting tavern and within it. The tavern exterior includes a skippable tutorial that will walk the player through the basic functionality of the game, before spitting them out to the true gameplay within the tavern.
The Mechanics I'll need to design:
My hope is that I've designed the prototype small enough to actually complete, but still enough there to air out the mechanics AND give you a sense of the story's principle characters' desires and motivations.
I still might be biting off more than I can chew again, but f' it. I'm not ready to give up on this project just yet.
I'm a mid-30s gamer who's played a hell of a lot of computer/video games and I'm now going to try making some too.