Realistic Design Goals & TLoS Wrap Up (for now)

About this time last year, I was excited to get a prototype for my first game together, and display it in our regional summer coding competition. It actually all came together quite nice. In fact, I nearly won (more on that at another time).

However, in the real world it seems to always be true that 2nd place is the first looser. I didn’t receive $10K and I did not pass “go”. At that point, I did not have the budget I needed to make “The Legend of Sky” my full time pursuit.

It seemed simple enough. A 3D platform game that tells its story through game mechanics, instead of cut scenes and mountains of dialogue. It was my intention to build a game that has both a deep story, and is friendly to mobile gamers who don’t have time for story. The primary story-game mechanic was that the player’s age became younger as Sky takes damage, and older as she gains experience points. This is to simulate a person regressing as they fail to overcome challenges, and grow as one learns. The overall story has to do with her growing up.

Sounds intriguing, right? That’s what I think, and many others have confirmed that; so, what is so hard about getting it done… The answer to that is everything beyond my main point. I was also trying to tell epic stories through the environments and enemy characters. I have a vision of making a game as good of a platformer as Mario 3D Land. That goal takes a lot of time that can’t be afforded at this point.

Okay, so I figured out my idea is too ambitious for the time I have. Good for me. Now how does any of this help you?

How This Story Can Help You

As an adviser to a local high school game design course, and one who has tried to get into mod development (I came on board that long running and failed Jurassic Park mod, right at the end. I did make a cool model of Bob Peck though, aka Muldoon), I see that a lot of us are in the situation where we can’t realistically spend all of our productive hours making games. Personally, web/app development is what pays my bills and I just can’t get away from that yet.

I would suggest that instead of dreaming about all of the features one wants in their game, as simple and wonderful as it may all sound in one’s own mind, boil it all down to a single feature. What is the one most enjoyable thing the player does in your game idea? Take that and make it. If any other feature is created it should be in support of that one feature, and only if that main single feature can’t function without it.

What Brought Me to This Conclusion, and Where I’m I Going From Here

I was playing “Sakura Samurai” on the 3DS. How beautifully simple is that game? The main character sword fights, and that is all she does. The mini map, the towns and shops, everything that exists does so in a simple state that supports the characters sword fighting ability. This got me really re-thinking what TLoS should be. The fact is, TLoS has now been broken in to 3 distinct game ideas. This is going to allow me to get something finished in a reasonable amount of time.

TLoS itself has been put on the back burner. Not for lack of interest, but two of the simplified game ideas that came from it, don’t have anything to do with Sky’s story or world. Those are the two games I’m focusing on now.

I’ll provide info on these titles when I feel I have a reasonable amount of media ready. If you want to follow me closer, I encourage you to visit and bookmark my official company/blog site at www.step2digital.com.

Thanks for reading!

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