Instead of trying to cover everything in the canon, I will only put most of my effort into covering the "observable universe" of the player. Instead of listing off every single corporation in the English Empire (a place the player never visits), I will instead create entities for the corporations of the former PRA (Protestant Republic of America), which the player actually visits. To sum up my rule of coverage: try to only write about the things and people that the player will actually be able to see and or learn about in-game.
- World design
- Instead of having the player resort to reading a wiki in order to find out more about the canon, try to include as much hints in-game as possible. Use posters, graffiti, written notes, murmurs spoken by characters, old museums, torn maps and even introduction text to teach the player about the world they're playing in. That isn't to say that you shouldn't have a wiki however, it is important to also provide a place where people can learn about the world without having to go on an Easter egg hunt in-game.
- Make your world meaningful, do not be afraid to alienate some people by making the fiction ideological. One of the major practices holding back most media today is the fact that a lot tries to pander to a very general audience instead of going after a certain type of people. Do be careful however not to push messages too much, still focus on making it an interactive story rather than an interactive advertisement for an ideology.
- Go all the way with the design of the world, make it outrageous and outlandish. Don't settle for the generic present day setting, instead go for something ridiculously extreme. Make a city completely covered in garbage, trains that go everywhere, piping that resembles veins in a biological organism, advertisements that are as large as skyscrapers, buildings that go beyond the barriers of the clouds. All of this sounds very interesting, but always remember that it will take a lot of time to make. Not only will it take a lot of time to make, it will take even longer than you could ever imagine, but the result will almost always be worth it in the end. You will have made a rare world of extreme detail in an industry saturated with the generic and mediocre.
- Quality over quantity, and yes, I know this has been said many, many times before, but it is very important. Too often do I hear people defend lackluster media because it "took 40 hours to completely play". These people may forget that unless a game is absolutely dreadful to play, people will be driven to play it until they have either reached the ending or out of some hope that they may soon "get it". Instead of trying to make as much content as possible, focus on improving the content that already exists, fine tunning it and fixing any bugs in it. There are many promising games out there that could have been great had they received some good polishing in a few areas.
- Don't make things difficult, make them interesting. It should be said that I am actually against difficulty levels because I feel they encourage a sort of "black and white" lose or win outcome in games. Try to include multiple endings that depend on how the player actually plays the game. In Above the Catacombs for example, I will actually allow the player to join the Universal Union. It may not lead much anywhere, but the bottom line is, they will actually be able to have that choice. I also plan on allowing them to be arrested and undergo a short execution process, commit suicide (not just die, but for a separate ending sequence all in itself), help another euthanize themselves or of course just go along with the flow of refugees fleeing City 23.
- Have the player revolve around the world, not the world revolve around the player, or at least make it feel like the world doesn't revolve around the player. Too many games make the player the center of everything: the center of change, the center of popularity, the center of hate and admiration, it just feels like one big ego trip. Maybe it is just part of the militant individualism today, but I can't stand games that tell me just how awesome and important I am (e.g. Fallout 4). Instead of being like them, have your game try to teach the player about, yes, the bigger picture. In Above the Catacombs, the player is not important, but is rather like everyone else, just another person trying to get by. They can't kill an army with a crowbar, in fact, they can't even kill a single member of the Civil Protection because, get this, they are a weak fragile unarmed untrained civilian.
- Share your work openly and allow others to learn from you as you have learned from others. This not only shows appreciation for the charity of others, but also allows the transformation of students to teachers and for their students to also become teachers by following the same principle of sharing. I use GitHub to distribute the Above the Catacombs development files.
- Accept criticism, especially of the harsh kind. View criticism as a form of help and assistance, not as a form of attack. The comment "this sucks" is not bad because it expresses dissatisfaction, but rather because it is not detailed. Therefore, it is important to view comments such as "this sucks" with essentially the same amount of critical value as comments such as "this rocks". Too many developers go on the defensive at any sign of expressed dissatisfaction. Those developers are self-defeating, don't be a waste of skill and talent like them. Comments that include critical information such as "this sucks because the lighting is too dark" or "this sucks because the geometry is too blocky" are good because they include specific information.
Poll results for:
"Do you like the current release schedule?"
This week's log (in hours)
- Scripting: 0.5
- Mapping: 1.5
- Writing: 3
- Writing: 4
- Work has started on an oil rig for the introduction sequence.
- Lots of story writing has been done this past week.
- GreenPepper has released eight development tips for developers.
- Week 141 Newsletter (December 18, 2016)
- GreenPepper (lead developer)
Quote of the week:
"If Jesus were alive today, He would be a guerrillero." - Camilo Torres