Monday, February 13, 2017

20+ years in the making

Design notes, 2016

Design notes, ~2000 (?)

It's a bit surreal, looking back at it.  Not many of you know this, but when I was growing up as a child I would always have pads of graph paper and/or binder paper on me and I filled many, many of these pages up with doodles, Kirby drawings, random nerdy math stuff that I did to kill time, but most of all, game design.  Usually mimicing whatever game I happened to be a fan of at the time, whether it be L.O.R.D. MUD-style adventures, Xenogears' combat system, a yo-yo RPG set in the universe of Earthbound, D&D dungeon layouts, Master of Orion II-like ship technologies, or Breath of Fire III's Dragon Gene system.

The image on the top is game design notes from just a few months ago, including the initial design document for Rhythm Quest, the Rhythm Quest reword design notes, as well as some brainstorming for the most recent Ludum Dare.

And on the bottom are notes from ages ago.  I still have a huge collection of these documents.  (though to be completely honest I only recently retrieved them from my parents' house)  The upper two sheets were from a fighting-type rpg game that I designed to be played with my cousin, which I think featured "custom combos" as well as sfa2's super combos.  On the lower left is one of many, many, many "ball maze" designs that I did, with various obstacles and symbols that represented ice blocks, breakable blocks, cannons, boosts, and the like.  And off to the lower right (you can tell it's ancient because I even wrote in cursive!) is actual dungeon room contents for a D&D dungeon.

Unfortunately I seem to have misplaced some of my digital game design work; I'll have to see if I can still pull it off of a hard drive somewhere.

Anyhow, it's a bit surreal.  I mean, it's not as if I was actually "practicing" anything as I was writing down all of these things all the time.  I wasn't trying to get better at anything, not like when I was practicing the piano, or studying.  It's just what I did to kill time.  All of those long car rides and boring classes and all of that -- thinking about games is just what I liked to do.  And all of those dinky games I programmed back in the MS-DOS era too (damn if I can't get =those= off of an old HD somehow...), that wasn't for practice, or even because I thought it would do me any good in the future.  And those experiments with RPGMaker, all of the time I spent into trying to make maps for Descent, Descent 2, and Unreal Tournament...that's just how I had fun.  I like to create things.  It's the same with music.  I just take things that I like and want to make more of them.  I want to build my own worlds for myself, and others, to play in.  I played Unreal Tournament matches with 23 bots that I each hand-crafted with its own name, personality, and favorite weapons.  I hex edited Super Smash Bros. Melee to make lower-tier characters more fun, and to make moonwalking more swag.  I designed entire Magic: the Gathering sets.

And somehow, after over 20 years, I ended up making my own full video games.  I did the programming.  I drew the art.  I made the music.  I did the game design.  Programming, fueled by countless years of experiments, and dillying around, until technology advanced to the point where I could just crank out game code during the span of a weekend.  Music, trained over years of weekly One Hour Compo sessions.  Art, that was honed by pixel art icons that I drew as album covers for those OHC productions.  And game design, which apparently I've been doing ever since I was a little kid.

It's been one helluva journey, and it ain't over yet.

1 comment :

  1. Really nice. You are not alone, here : I am still saving design notes dating back from 1994 ...