Deep Winter This Week

February 19, 2019 - SpencerOs

Sure, the last post to this site was five days ago, but you should know that wouldn't stop our first weekly update! Some stuff happened, including but not limited to website format cleanup, meetings, network designing, and an ungodly amount of developer registration. But if you're reading this, there's a non-zero chance you're here for the gamey parts. So without further ado, let's get into that meat of it.

Design Doc Drafting

Game Design Documents [GDD's] can be an invaluable tool when working with teams on projects. They can point everyone in the same direction and continue acting as a beacon to point the game towards throughout the development lifecycle of the project. Without them, it's overly possible that when working on projects that take a sufficient amount of time, you'll be developing for moving goal-posts while everyone's skillset and tastes change.

All of that being said, I've seen my fair share of good (and written a few really bad) GDD's as well. One of the many pits I'll end up falling down and trapping myself (and the project) in is trying to write a Silmarillion the same way a depth-first-search alrogithm would go about it. Only after 900 pages would have been written, would I then sit back and start trying to program, realize later on down the road that my tastes had changed since I had first started writing it, and then go about trying to recursively edit the thing.

For these reasons I had made sure to go for something as lightweight as possible this time, so that as a group we could collaboratively say what we wanted in the game at a high level (visual motifs, gameplay mechanics, deadlines, platforms, etc.) and then as we started on the game, we could go about designing each individual part as we prepare to tackle it. (Much like eating an elephant, we are designing this game one bite at a time.) After a minimal amount of searching, I was able to come across something which was exactly what we needed at this point of the process. Game Dev Underground's One Page Game Design Document. Small, light, easy, breezey, beautiful Game Design.

Engine Revving

Going into this project, one thing which we knew was that members of Deep Winter had the most experience in Unity. Whether it was student projects, hobby-games, or game jam time spent with the engine, that was what we all knew best. At the same time, however, I had heard tales from other studios about just what other engines offered. So I did what any insane person would do and I tossed all the experience we had under our belts out the window and decided that we were giong to make this game in Unreal.

Will this be a pain in the butt? Probably. Will we have to learn a lot? Yeah; I'm having to stumble my way through processes and menus all the time already.

But already I am excited about what possibilities this opens up for our game. With what little time I've had to play around with the editor and set up examples & run through tutorials, I already am glad we did what we did. I'm excited to be able to roll in some sweet sweet C++ after years of Python & C#. On top of that though, we are able to leave behind the previous sandboxes I had built in Unity; none of which were able to ever deliver that specific "wheel-feel" that we need to deliver on.

screencap of a previous sandbox

Goodnight sandbox_3. We hardly knew you.

Signing off

It's been a rapid-fire five days since the last posting, but it's good to get this out there.

Hopefully we'll have a bit more to show your hungry eye-balls soon, but in the mean time I have to get back to tearing through some Udemy tutorials.

Love, ‚Äč



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