Game development can be very exciting, especially at the very beginning, when you have a lot of ideas and it depends only on your imagination in which direction the development will go. You can choose only one path and then you will most likely never realize all the others. This choice I had to make when I thought about the development of the plot in the second part of the game Chronicles of cyberpunk (here is the first part), which has been in development for over three and a half years.
The first game was made with Unity. This engine, due to its simplicity, allowed me to master the basics of game development and in three years I made the first game. But at the same time I was playing with the Unreal Engine, I was very attracted by the visual programming system, the opportunity to improve my knowledge of C ++ and a large number of possibilities, which would probably repel me if I did the first game on it. The second game I make on it and because of the change of the engine I could not use the developments from the first game, and it took a lot of time to create them.
After the release, I wanted to make a third game on CryEngine, but changed my mind. It is better to stay on UE4, use the developments from the second game, improve and supplement them, and I no longer need to start from scratch, which means the third game will be released faster and will be of better quality. Sometimes you just want to create something, but you have to watch video tutorials and read the documentation for months. And you can’t do anything about it, even though you crack. As much as you would like to create the game of your dreams, you first need to go through a long training.
The world of the game is a mysterious place representing a city built around a large endless wall. We need to find out what this place is, what Big Brother and the Supercomputer want from us, and most importantly, who we really are. We do not always understand the purpose of our stay here, but we feel that we are being manipulated in order to achieve our goal. Perhaps everything is not what it seems to us at first glance.
Each side character here has its own story - tragic or comic, which develops as the story progresses. The world of the game is changing, people disappear. Who is behind this? The answer is before our eyes.
Implementation of ideas
I believe that game development is one of the best ways to realize your creativity, because here you can be a screenwriter, artist, animator and creator of entire worlds. You can recreate real places from life or your dreams.
Sometimes I dream about something, I wake up, write it all down, and then add it to the game. It’s so strange to run around these places later. But the coolest thing is when, at the beginning of the development, you have a bunch of unrelated ideas that you have been writing down for years on paper, and here you sit and think how to combine all this into a coherent game, where everything is logically justified.
I divide ideas into locations and plot. By the beginning of development, I already have a whole library of images with screenshots from films / games, with works of artists from atrstation and something drawn by me. I divide all this into categories: the upper city, dungeons, roofs, etc., and then I draw a map, where I arrange the key objects for the plot. And then I start modeling.
When the main locations are ready, I add houses, pipes, trash cans and many other details around them to make the world look more authentic. And then I write the plot, because it’s easier to do when you see where the action will unfold, and not when it’s something abstract in your head.
And it is always very interesting to look at the final result - on the one hand, it is not as cool as you imagined in your head, and on the other hand, it is more elaborate with a bunch of different interesting things that you came up with and added already during development. The most interesting ideas come between the middle and the end of development, because by this moment you already have something looming and you are spinning it in your head every day. It is also interesting that as soon as you have implemented an idea, it leaves your head and does not come back, so I also clear my thoughts thanks to the development of games.
As soon as you start creating something, your life changes. If before I had an interesting idea, I thought about it for a while and then stopped thinking, now I know that I can add it to the game.
And now, while watching a movie or playing a game, I sit and take screenshots with interesting locations (the result is below), and at artstaion I can freeze for several hours. I do not want to copy other people’s ideas, but they can inspire me to my own ideas, although there is still a share of copying.
Every day I try to make some tangible non-scheduling change that can be committed to github. If you have not done anything, then the next day you need to commit retroactively so that the square on the diagram is painted green. It motivates to work every day. Last year I found a new job and had to study a lot, so there was no time to play, but now I work again every day.
Three times when everything was ready
First, in a year I made the world of the game, which I really wanted to make even during the development of the first game. There were still a lot of details to add, but it was already the world I originally conceived (of course, everything always looks more beautiful in my head, but still …). I thought that now the matter is small.
Then I could not start programming for a long time, because I could not get C ++ on the Unreal Engine in any way. For a whole year I tried to master it … in the very first room there was a closed door and there it was necessary to play the animation of awakening, then turn on the dialogue, and then open the door. If the player could leave this room, it would mean that I finally learned how to program the basic mechanics and then everything will be easier. But I never could … for a single question they could not help me on the forums and over each problem I sat for months, and then another appeared. Therefore, I switched to blueprints and in ten minutes I programmed something that did not work for a whole year. It was a moment of insight … the player was finally able to leave the first room and after that I programmed the main storyline in a few months - the game could finally be played from start to finish. And most importantly, I now know how blueprints can be redone in the future to speed up this process.
And now I need to make models and animations of people, and now instead of them there are green cubes. I don’t know how long it will take me for this … first you need to remember how to do it, then fill your hand and everything will go faster. And people should also be more beautiful than in the first game, although it was not easy to make them there too … and I don’t want to use third-party tools for this, only a clean blender, because this is my author’s project and I want to do everything myself (well except music).
Working on details is 90% of development
I think I could finish everything and release the game in a few months, but I want to conduct an experiment - to postpone the release for a year and improve something in it every day, and then compare how much better the game has become. It seems to me that this will only benefit her and I will be calm if I know that I did everything I could and that my current skills allow me to do in order to make a good game.
In general, if you think that your game is almost ready - think again.
I would like to finish the game as soon as possible and start making the third one, for which there are already a lot of ideas.
After the release I will correct the mistakes that I did not notice, and then I will take on the third part. In scale, it will be larger than the first and second combined. I try to realistically assess my capabilities and think that everything should work out. The game already has an outline of the plot and a diagram of the game world, made from references taken from my favorite cyberpunk games and movies, my dreams and real places. It is very interesting to see how it will all look when it becomes one.