Starting inspirations and game features for anyone.

  • Kylaila
  • 03/07/2016 01:17 PM
Looking at good first or flawed games! #2

What do new creators see when they enter the field, with the many great beautiful games already available? The advanced mapping of seasoned developers as well as many custom assets and special polish. Gems. Games shining in all kinds of aspects.

Yet there are just as many raw gems out there - games made by still inexperienced developers, or even first projects ever published. And among these are games worth looking into, worth exploring, and above all - worth playing.

For me personally, from the many games I played, the greatest joy is to play a game where you can really see the lack of technical prowess, but which still manages to create a great experience!
Games that cover up their weaknesses and focus on their strong points. I may not be a creator, but setting such a focus can really up your game.

Instead of imitating the greatness in all aspects - try to use your abilities to the fullest. You will want to improve as a whole along the way, and you will, but if you know you are horrible at something, build on other aspects.

Here are a few more games worth looking into!
And here is the first one in case you missed it!

First, Squid!

You know you will love it.

Squid was the first project of Leigh testing out the Renpy engine. It is a visual novel about an unlikely love (or not), with a pomerian yolo-humour, which pulls it off surprisingly well. It is very short, and fairly amusing.

It seems to me many new developers shy away from visual novels because they fear they need the graphic prowess to make them work - this is not the case.
If your writing is solid, you already have more than enough reason to try dabbling in this field.
More important than prettiness are appropriate changes in graphics and music/sound according to the situation. That, pacing and overall wordflow build the core for enjoyment. It is always good to make them pretty, of course, as is the case with any other game, but it is not a necessity.
Squid has .. rudimentary graphics, but they are all very appropriate and on-point to describe what is going on. They are practical! And graphics first and foremost should make sure you can see what is going on and help you along the way.

You may also look at We Are Not Angels Radio by the same creator, which has only background art without characters. It is a decent game, but I think Squid uses its graphics assets better.

Next up, A Gang of Weirdos!

It says fun right here!

A Gang of Weirdos was a first game as well, and it is an overall good game - I particularily enjoyed the music selection and the story, with mapping and gameplay falling a little flat. You can see the mapping improves over the course of the game.
However, it also features a "different worlds" system - connected via these weird gates. This means that even though the mapping isn't particularily good, the variety of places and tiles that can be used make for a diversity in setting, races, and also make a little bit of the clashing graphics more acceptable.

It also shows that you can make graphics stand out by adding on top of the RTP. Just creating charsets and facesets already goes a long way to achieve this.

There is a lot you can tweak overall - but I think it makes for a fairly balanced RPG, and that is no easy feat! Pacing between story and battle-sections is very important, and A Gand of Weirdos does so well.

Lastly, Lunar Quest!

This is also a first ever completed game, and it is really good! It is a short dungeon crawler on the moon where you battle slime-packaged monsters - and it takes inspiration from Star's Favour where you battle slime-packaged monsters on the moon.


Okay, this may need some explanation - I think Lunar Quest teaches us a great lesson.
It is similar to the game in its general frame, and the creator was open about doing so, however, it is a dungeon crawler at heart. What makes or break the game is not the story, the setting or even the character flair of the party. It is the battle system. And while the battle system is similar, it has major changes to how it plays out making this game play completely different in-fight!
I even wrote an article on how this works.

Fact is, by changing the parts vital to the genre, you can make or break your game. And it is where you need to plan well. This game is easy, but it has micro-management of ailments to keep you paying attention to what is going on when and where, and it has out-side battle planning with the lack of inns and thus reliance on limited healing supplies. With which you also automatically have mana-conservation as an issue. You can recover a little bit of mana in-fight if you sacrifice a few turns, so that offers an extra layer as well.

Not all games need to be truly "difficult" to be satisfying to play, and I think this concept would deserve an article of its own. So just keep in mind that everything the player has to keep attention to and has to manage can add a layer of experienced "strategy", even if that strategy is easy.

And the other lesson to learn is to use the many games you know as inspiration to craft your own: analyze them, take them apart, see how it works, and how it may apply to your game.
There are fewer games out there directly referencing other rmn games - most draw from commercial games, but we all incorporate ideas from all kinds of sources consciously and unconsciously, so making use of that is important! Many shy away from fan-games and such, but they can really help you understand and thus better your game design as a whole.

That's my row of suggestions for today!
Have any first time games you thought were great? Or games hiding flaws really well? Send me a pm to check it out or post it here.


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Thank you for featuring Squid!
I wanna marry ALL the boys!! And Donna is a meanc
I saw like a five min preview of a gang of weirdos, and I really liked what I saw. I haven't got around to playing the game myself but it certainly looks great.
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