So I’ve had a few game types bouncing around my head for my second game. Primarily a follow up to my first game, a text adventure called The Willow Effect: Prologue.
Making a game was something I’d thought about a lot over the years. But to me it felt like too much of a gargantuan task. I didn’t know anyone who had done anything even close to it and my knowledge of programming was limited to a course on basic programming I had done maybe 15 years previously. Granted I had done well in it but 15 years is a long time to forget something you haven’t practiced.
Not long before I decided to make that leap I had started to follow a few indie developers on twitter, and ultimately their enthusiasm, support and encouragement is what made me give it a shot, and for that I’m very grateful. But I didn’t want to set my sights to high, after all, what do I know right? So, a text adventure, no graphics required and using a state machines approach, (relatively) easy to test as well. Great! It also tapped into my desire to write fiction, specifically science fiction but felt that I wasn’t exactly up to par as a writer either, maybe adding game elements to my story would make both work that much more than they would on their own, more than the sum and all that.
A quick trip through google found me a blog someone had written on how to program a text adventure. Perfect, so I started. And like many things in life the blogger never got around to finishing the blog. But that worked in my favour, now I had some basics to build on I could figure out the rest myself. The result of which is now available free on itch.io if you’d like to give it a try.
There’s a story in the making and I might get into that in another post, suffice to say by the time I had finished the game my mind was awash with ideas for the rest of the series. I have the next chapter laid out and a ton of notes for the following, to round out the story. But I was getting a bit disheartened, there were so many great text adventure games out there using engines years in the making, light years ahead of my own basic parser. The Witcher 3 had just come out and I had it on pre-order (never pre-order anything), so I put off making the next and sank 90 odd very satisfying (9.5/10 easy) hours into that and had a think about what I wanted to do next.
While deciding how I was going to approach my next text adventure, drawing out complicated parsing arrays and techniques on my little whiteboard (invaluable tool btw) and jotting down notes for puzzles and plot points I was again inspired by indie devs (I still don’t feel like I’m a developer) to actually stretch myself and do something more outside my comfort zone.
So I decided to do an arcade game. I enjoy the genre but I certainly wouldn’t call it my forte, so it would certainly be a challenge. And it would need graphics, and any skill I might have in art, aren’t in that direction so to say I’m stretching myself isn’t an understatement. But that’s ok. I’m not under the same kind of pressures indie devs are, I have a full time job that pays the bills and puts food on the tables and every now and again I can get a game or a bundle.
I don’t have a name for the game and probably won’t for a long time but that’s not important at the moment. I’m calling it Test Flight for the moment.
So, Test Flight! It’s going to be a shmup. Except you won’t have any weapons. None. Not even a pea shooter. You will have a shield though, we wouldn’t send you into the void without some protection would we? Well not at first at any rate. Oh, and you won’t be locked into flying just one direction, why have danger only coming from one direction, when there’s three other perfectly acceptable directions to use as well. To top it off sectors will be procedurally generated because I’m nothing if not a sucker for punishment, and boy does misery love company!
But one step at a time, this game is coming. And I can’t wait to show it to you.