SERIES MASTER! PART 7- INFINITY WITH NICK

Exploring the open-world series, INFINITY!

  • sbester
  • 01/28/2013 12:21 AM
  • 5286 views
Welcome to the seventh issue of Series Master!

It’s now time to explore the open world genre with the Infinity series, created by Nick! Thus far there are 3 entries in the series, and they’ve all been created in a fairly short time period, so there could in fact be more on the horizon. I played through the first game around the time of its first release, but have yet to revisit the franchise for a second and third outing. Let us see if Nick can convince me to return with this interview!


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Sbester: Can you briefly explain the origins of the series? Was this always meant to be a series of games, or did the ideas for sequels come later on?

Nick: I always had an obsession with open-world games. Some of the early Pokemon games on Game Boy and Game Boy Color showed me that kind of gameplay style. The idea never left my mind, on how awesome it would be to play a game where there are literally no limits. So, after years of making crappy and unfinished games, I made Infinity. The games throw you into a world, and let you do whatever you please. Not many games can say that. I always knew during development of the first Infinity, that I would make sequels. I knew there was always room for improvement, and new features.


Sbester: How have they evolved from game to game?

Nick: Each game had a different style to it. Infinity 2 was basically built on-top of the first game. It had similar maps, and similar scripts. It differed because Infinity 2 was much darker, and also gave the series a big graphics upgrade. Infinity 3 however, made the huge jump from RPG Maker 2003, to VX Ace. No assets were brought over. It was basically an entirely new game, with a new engine, while the prior games were cut from the same cloth. Infinity 3 is definitely the best game in the series. It's commercial quality, while bringing over some of the best elements of the prior games. It's what the original games grew up to be, in a way.


Images from Infinity 1.

Sbester: The open-world genre is a difficult one to tackle, especially for a team of one person. How do you decide the game has enough content to be considered a finished product?

Nick: Basically I map the entire game first, and go from there. I like to have a canvas, where I know I have plenty of room to work with. Then everything just falls into place. I'll start making your usual "go fetch" quests and think "Wait... what if I wanted to kill the quest giver? Why can't I? This is supposed to be a limitless game after all". So then I will program a way to kill the NPC, and other features sort of begin to stack up. Then once it's looking pretty good, I send it to my girlfriend, who tests it for me. Depending on how long she plays the game, and her feedback, I can see what might need to be added, and changed.
And of course in later releases, I have the community of RMN providing me good feedback. I knew I could take their feedback, and release updates down the road, with new features. The development can continue, even after release.


Sbester: I remember seeing a review on Abandonia for the first game. Many considered your promotion of the game to be really well done, introducing RM games to crowds who had yet to experience them. Can you talk about your game promotion strategy a little?

Nick: Well, Infinity was basically the first game "built" on Abandonia Reloaded (or just called Reloaded). It's a freeware gaming community I help run now, it's the sister site of Abandonia (abandonware) and also the place where I met my girlfriend (she has been an admin on there for ages). I basically wanted to make the game on Reloaded, getting feedback on there, and then have it reviewed. But then I also branched out, and added the game to RMN as well. I basically did everything in my power to get the game noticed, using Facebook, making sure I kept blogs going, uploading screenshots, etc. The goal was to make sure everyone knew how different this game was, and how damn fun it is to play this kind of game. It's a different kind of game. It's hard to market a game, when it's a mix of life simulation, and an RPG. Many thought it was a joke, or an experiment. But here we are, 3 games complete in the series.


Images from Infinity 2.

Sbester: Can you explain to us the jump from rm2k3 to VX ACE? How did that affect the third entry?

Nick: Like I said earlier in the interview, going from RPG Maker 2003 to VX Ace was a huge jump. I had considered using XP, but when I saw how great VX Ace was, it reminded me of the original intentions of 2003. So I had to start developing with it. I basically had to abandon everything from the original games. No scripts or graphic sets would be compatible. Infinity 3 looks, and plays like it came 10 years after the original games. When I first powered up a demo game from VX Ace, I knew I could make something great. I knew VX Ace had the power to truly unlock all my dreams for an open world game. Everything though, had to be tossed out the window, and a new game came out of it. On a side note, the game was also made completely in a Windows 8 Beta. So it also was proven to work on the new Windows 8, months before the actual OS was released to the public.


Sbester: What advice do you have to others who are trying to create their own series of games?

Nick: Don't go overboard, and never give up. When I tried to make my first open world game years ago, it was a disaster. It morphed from an open world game, to an RPG, and it never came out right. You can't try to make a game with 100 different towns, and 1,000 NPCs. You have to smart small, with one town, a few NPCs, and go from there. Once you have a town completed you say can.. "Yeah, I can do this!".


Image from Infinity 3.

Sbester: What does the future hold for this series?

Nick: I plan on updating Infinity 3 down the road, and adding more to it. Most of the bugs are fixed, so really new releases would mainly add features to the game. I'd love to at some point, make Infinity 4, or maybe even Infinity 3D. Infinity 4 however, would probably only be released if another edition of RPG Maker software is released. I think I did everything possible with VX Ace, and a new game in the Infinity series would be made with a "next generation" engine. I still would like to make a spin-off, maybe Infinity 3D down the road. But that could be biting off more than I could chew (which I've already done many times when it comes to game development). So Infinity 4? It's likely. If, and when, a new RPG Maker is released.


Another image from Infinity 3.

Sbester: Any final thoughts?

Nick: I'm honored to be doing this interview. The feeling I had when I first released Infinity, after many failed attempts at game development, it was unexplainable. It's the same feeling I got during this interview. It's an honor, and thanks for allowing me to do it. I also have to thank my girlfriend, and the great community here at RMN.

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And that's all for this this week's issue. Check back next week for a VERY special edition of Series Master!

Posts

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Looks like I may have to cut these down from 13 issues to 12, as I have yet to hear back from someone and it's been a few weeks since they've read my email. I knew I'd get unlucky at some point :P
Good read.
author=sbester
Looks like I may have to cut these down from 13 issues to 12, as I have yet to hear back from someone and it's been a few weeks since they've read my email. I knew I'd get unlucky at some point :P

:(
I'm hoping you hear from this person soon! It'd be a shame to see a series like this one cut short, after all.
All 13 were completed after all!

With that, I'm hard at work on a follow-up series of articles to debut when Series Master ends.
These are really interesting to read, just read all of em'. It's really amazing to see what RPGmaker developers can come up with.
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