Building an XNA Game Studio XBox360 Indie Game.

[page 0036] ~ Continuing My Dragons Hoard Game:

For the continuing, of course. 

This hasn’t been a normal month by any stretch of the imagination.  To start off, Notepad++ has an update from v6.2 to v6.3, Thank you.  But what is even more strange is that, for the past month I really got my nerd on.  Stranger than fiction is found in becoming a Dungeons & Dragons Online player.  I never gave much credence to the thought that an MMORPG such as DDO would ever have any overbearing appeal to me, but, “Yah live, yah learn” is how I have to look at it now.  A while back, for the XBox 360, I picked up Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale and thought that they should make a sequel or an expansion pack or something to continue the game.  And apparently they did.  Both the computer and console game have the same style, of course, but the computer MMO version of DDO has a much better avatar point of view and capacity to manipulate it.  I am duly impressed by the graphics, the depth of character creation, the breath of the playing field (i.e. the worlds within worlds), the melee and spell systems, the multi player social grouping tools that allow the player to break out of solo mode game play and into the MMO play style, the questing setup, layout and flow and of course the plethora of monsters.  I kinda took the better part of the month off and built two avatars, a multiclass male Dwarven Wizard lvl 11 / Cleric lvl 1 and his cohort in clandestiny, for now, a female Drow Favored Soul lvl 5.  And just to give a little flavor to my characters, I’ve borrowed an idea from a game I played, Pathos, found because of One Game A Month.  The rules of this small game, Pathos, are that two star-crossed lovers are to be kept apart by placing barriers in their path but not so much so they will never meet.  With my two DDO avatars the rules fall into this alignment in that their chances of meeting are thwarted by the game itself which has placed barriers in their way.  This is mostly because the game doesn’t allow me to play both characters at the same time.  Although having the capacity to “hire” one of my own characters to be my sidekick within the game would be an enormous boon and would more than likely be acceptable to any player within the game, this seems and is as of yet naught to be, and therein lay the Pathos, my underlying theme for my DDO idiom.  Not for glory, prestige, platinum, shards or any of the other countless baubles and gifts of weapons, armor or spells will they ever meet.  Only in the “Dragons Dream” do they exist, that, and through the shared bank will they ever trade secrets.  Such is the story line, for these two, my avatars/characters, ^’o’^ Eandor Aufoolm and EanZingTihel Aufoolm ^’o’^, at any rate.  Yep, really got my nerd on this month.

I looked up to find . . . 

But while coming up for air, and shaking off the “in the game” experience, I’ve noticed how or at least on what a larger part of the game model is based.  In economic terms “utility” and “opportunity cost” seem to be the driving factors.  But the game itself is well provisioned for these terms and is masterfully constructed.  With the visual representations for the characters appearance and the commodities that they can behold, wear or use along with the actions the characters can perform allows much room to incorporate interprétions of any story line that a players avatar might cling.  This world where these, my avatars, exist are presented through detailed terrain and changing environments.  Day and night cycle, the clouds, rain, sun and moon come and go and the water has its fluidity.  There are story lines that accompany the quests which take the avatar through the city, its buildings, dungeons, subterranean caverns and further into the unknown.  The mystique of “what’s around the next bend” has a pull on the player and sets the challenge of each level higher with each turn.  Replayability is also built into the game where a players character can start again from the beginning with something called True Reincarnation.  I can only imagine how many hours were resourced to devise and build this game, and I really don’t have any desire to even begin to contemplate how many hours were given to play test and play this game.  That’s entertainment for the sake of entertainment.  DDO with hard taught economic theory given through entertainment, hmm, who would have thought gamification could be so pervasive, oh well.

So anyway. 

Getting back to what I am trying to accomplish through One Game A Month.  I find that with my last game, “Dragons Hoard“, where the game was built in 168 hours for the Seven Day Rogue Like challenge in March, the time given to the product revealed produced many changes.  The game I found myself with wasn’t exactly what I was envisioning when I started that initial thought in my brain.  I just ran with what I could do within the time constraints I was given.  It was close, but definitely fell short of the mark of my expectations.  I can see how feature creep can become appealing to those who don’t understand the interconnectivity involved to add something that wasn’t initially intended to interact with the processes that are to . . . well, to say it gets complex would be an understatement.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch. 

And so, with that in mind I will take my OGAM involvement towards a construction model and thought retention system I, once again only have an inkling of what I can envision, will devise.  To this end I will use the template of Dragons Hoard as the game type that will be built upon, but the end game isn’t the game.  The end game are the systems and mechanisms that are utilized while building the game.  Loosing track of what I have already built seems to be a larger part of the problem here.  I stumble upon an old game I had forgotten about and say, “Did I really build this?”, but once I open it up I find that I can recall the logic flows, for the most part.  Still, it wouldn’t be a shabby way to have some flowchart, template, pseudo code, commentation, blueprint kind of thing that I could go through and say, “Yeah, this worked, that didn’t, this kinda did, that might or almost would, this could, if . . . ” and so on.

The Plan. 

This then is what I’ll be looking to do while I finish out the year and continue to build my games for One Game A Month.  Not to go out of my way to build a ton-o’-games, but to, like Spock put it, “I am trying to build a pneumonic memory device out of crude stones and animal skins” to help me remember what I’ve accomplished thus far, and then find it again, easily.  I’m always so off topic, big deal, it is my way, so be it.

Until then,


April 20, 2013 - Posted by | 2013 [0019] to [00??], The Process

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