Friday, 23 May 2014

Blog Start - Preproduction Start

Start of the project is really important (as everything in GD btw) because you can make decisions which can break entire production later. 

I'm not big fan of design documents and thinking about everything 10000 times. I always find communication and simple goals useful. That's how we will proceed. 

How to start? Let's put core informations about the project so we will know what we are trying to create. 
  • Engine: Unreal Engine 4
    Why? Because I've lot of experience using UE3 - more than Unity.
    Why? Because it's easy to create a game without programming skills thanks to Blueprints so everyone will be able to understand what I'm doing.
    Why? Because it's cheap. 5% gross revenue isn't something that will bother me.
    Why? There is
    Why? Because it's Epic.
  • Supported Platforms: iOS / Android - only hi end devices
    Why? It's easy to ship the game on those platforms.
    Why? You don't need to create big game with many features. (TIP: try to keep everything simple - always)
    Why hi end devices? Because we will be doing great looking game that will motivate us to spend time on it.
  • Supporting Ports to: HTML5 / Steam / VR
    Why? When you are creating game you should think about monetization. Supporting ports from start will increase your chance to make revenue.
    Why? You will learn a lot. Basically cross platform thinking is the future in my opinion. When you are thinking about some feature try to break it down to every platform. For example: how will I move this character using pad/mouse? Will I be able to navigate UI using pad? You will find a lot of issues and those issues will motivate you to think...and you will learn.
  • Genre: First Person Shooter
    Why? Because it will look awesome.
    Why? Because I want to do it. I'm always trying to do projects that team is in love with. Doing something boring will not motivate you.
  • Genre: survival endless defense game
    Why? I don't have necessary resources to create levels, cutscenes, assets etc for typical single player fps.
    Why? It will be simple enough to create it by myself.
  • Style: SCI-FI
    Why? Because I love it.
    Why? It's always better to create target group of players that you are aiming for. Of course most popular games on mobile are for everyone but it's really hard to create such game without analytics/big experienced team/time. Create something that you can accomplish.
    Why? I've a feel that Doom like style isn't something popular on Mobile.
  • Game vision: Player is standing in corridor with a gun/guns (remember Alien 2 movie scene with Turrets? Try to imagine that with player near turrets) and trying to survive as long as he can. Hostile characters are trying to kill him.
  • Core gameplay - before shooting:
    Before game player can set traps near gameplay area: turrets, mines etc (+1 to strategy and replay value) select powerups: bullets, adrenaline, grenades etc
  • Core gameplay - shooting:
    This one is easy - just aim and shoot. You can change weapon type during gameplay, throw grenades, use first aid etc. There will be various enemy types: running, flying, slowly walking, near ground (spiders), shooting from distance, only melee.
  • Core gameplay - menu
    Improve your gear, traps and powerups to be able to survive longer.
  • Controls: Touch or Use Gyro to Aim. Player won't be able to move.
    Why? Apple and Google love when we are using their devices features. Using gyro in fps shooter is really cool when player can't move. It's easy to steer and aim and it's natural.
    Why? Joystick isn't part of mobile device and we want to create game that will be fun to play - not frustrating.
  • Quotes:
    "Killing enemies in this game is awesome! Never seen something like that on Mobile. I love to kill enemies!",
    "You really need to think which traps you will set and which weapon you will use during gameplay. Strategy is major part of the game.",
    "Graphics is outstanding!"
    "Sci-fi mood is great!"

    I've learn that it's easier to produce game when you know what you want to accomplish. Simple sentences will help you remember what you are doing and why. Just print them and pin to the monitor. Always look at them during daily stuff. 
Basically that's all what we need now. I really don't want to describe all of the features so early, but I will do that later. First let's complete the vision and after that we will move feature by feature.

When you are creating your game you need to think about 3 more things:

User Acquisition:

How your game will be able to acquire new users?
  • Record your gameplay replay and share it on social media. (Everyplay or kamcord we will see which will have UE4 support quicker)
  • Post your scores on social media, 
  • Gain visibility from App Store and Google Play - yes we will be trying for feature,
  • Need to think about COOP or PVP gameplay as soon as possible,
UA is really important and we will need to think more how we will build word of mouth in our game.

User Retention
Will players come back? How many content do you have? How long you can play? Mobile games are using a lot of mechanism - timers, gameplay blocks, endless progression. 

How the game will get revenue. Game that I will be creating will be completely free but I will post later how to increase monetization from it. 

That's it for now. I've prepared a quick scene (one day of work) to be sure that everything works as intended. Here you can find first screens from the game. 

Next post will be about how to get assets and import them into the engine.