9 November 2015

A look back at unfinished projects

Long ago when I first had the determination to seek game development, we gathered together with my friends one time to think of an art concept for our supposedly “first game” to make for android and maybe iOS further on. It's our first step to game development. Apparently it did not go the way we wanted to. For whatever reason, that first project did not come to life. It's like it suddenly was left in the dust. I guess it's normal for projects especially if you're starting out. Everyone has a story of unfinished projects to tell.


One of our first concepts is about a side-scrolling shooter game that for us sounds totally awesome. Steampunk-themed, arcade style shooter with a Zeppelin as the main ship or player. Kind of like the style of Progear and Gradius. You can unlock other ships as you progress in the game and each have their own unique abilities while you course through many levels and battle challenging bosses. You can see some of the sketches above.

Great. That was the plan. I think it's worth checking out why it did not continue. Coming from our own experiences, I could tackle a few points on which I think we hit a bump and later realized the project just passed us. 

We didn't have enough feedback. Since it's our first idea, we just discussed it among ourselves. We never got to let other people give us opinions and suggestions or criticisms. You can have your friends check it out, but keep in mind that most of the time they give you positive feedback. A person you may not know could be the one giving you honest critic on what the game is lacking. 

Lots of cool ideas always come. But among those, choose what you and your team can do best at the moment. Making an RPG as your first project could be amazing but do you have the time and resources? If you can do with infinite running or jumping games or puzzles quickly go with it. Learn to walk before you run as they say. 

Prototype! This is where your ideas start to become visible. Prototypes don't often go perfect at first build, that's why it's called a prototype – a sample. This could be your backbone, as you can figure out instantly what seems falling short or excellent. Keep building prototypes and you can adjust from there. Use placeholders for your assets and avoid over analyzing so you won't end up inserting random ideas as you go along and eventually change the entire look and gameplay you had in mind from the start.

Choose a game engine you are comfortable with, not because it's popular or popular games are made with it. It's not bad to try different engines and compare, but stick to what's best you are familiar with for now. We've tried a number of free game engines and it just turned out we got tired of it and ended up failing the project.

Lastly, don't throw those old projects. You can always come back on it and finish it when the time comes!

Naturally I feel down for not getting anything done. But these unfinished projects help me learn a few things. It helped me become capable of finishing other projects. Well, it's all part of a learning experience.

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