Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Administrivia is stressful

This evening was spent doing the initial work to set up a corporation. I've never done this before, and frankly, I'm finding the whole thing a little stressful. Not really for any good reason; just a random part of my brain that's freaking out a little at the prospect of being committed to actually following through with this whole crazy plan of building a computer game. So I'm ignoring it.

The plan for the week is to produce my first half-baked humanoid model, which will be used as the generic figure for both heroes and monsters (although I'll be giving it different colours to represent different unit types). After that, I'll be building the initial executable, getting the model rendered in the gamespace. That's actually a pretty quick step, so after that I'm going to give the model some floor to walk around on.

Normally, the player won't directly control monster movement, but it'll be a good step for now to help me make sure that characters can move around in believable ways, that I draw floor squares and tile them as I need to, and so on. Really just the first basic steps to manipulating objects in 3D space.

I've also got to get some more administrivia done, like starting on a website. I think that might be next week's work, or possibly a sideline for a few weeks.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

What's going on here?

Might as well start this thing off by explaining what the heck is going on.

The short explanation is that I'm blogging my attempt to create a computer game.

The longer explanation is... actually, it's very similar to the short explanation. Y'see, about 15 years ago, I decided I wanted to play a computer game where you built yourself a dungeon and lured heroes in to their doom. I've been thinking about that game ever since, and while a couple games come close -- Dungeon Keeper, Dwarf Fortress, and Minecraft -- nothing's ever been quite what I want. (Side note: Go check out Minecraft. The free one is kinda fun, the for-pay version is ZOMG AWESOME.)

A couple weeks ago, I decided that instead of just wishing I could play this game, I should go ahead and build it.

That's not as crazy as it sounds. First, I'm a professional developer, and a pretty damn good one (if I do say so myself). I've even done some 3D game development before. Admittedly it was in school, and the stuff I do on a day-to-day basis is quite different, but I'm good enough with code not to worry about the techie side of things. Second, the tool and technology support out there these days is just incredible. In particular, I can't say enough good things about Blender. Third, while I have very minimal artistic ability, I have a good friend who's a talented professional illustrator who just happens to absolutely love drawing monsters. I've talked him into doing the concept art as well as a few illustrations for use in-game. Tom Fowler is pretty much the exact person you want to have around if you're doing a game involving monsters.

Will there be hurdles? Yes, of course. For starters, despite having a pretty clear idea of the concept of the game (I keep thinking of it as "SimDungeon"), it turns out that I don't know how that translates into gameplay mechanics. So in part, this blog is my opportunity to have a discussion with myself about whatever random part of game design and development seems interesting on any given day.