Be Honest! God Is Watching! - Results

I plan the WHOLE thing (graphics, sprites, tilesets, etc.) before even touching anything.
I plan enough to know what I’m doing before starting.
I just prep a few things for about a day or two and get right to work!
I just do things as I roll along and worry about all that other stuff later.


I have found that games I try to plan everything eout before I start, I tire of, since I have nothing new to come up with, and tehrefore nothing fun to look forward to.
This leads to loads of plotholes, but fairly interesting enviroments and I've actually finished every game I make without much planning beforehand.

In other words: Plan as much as possible, but not so much that you lose motivation.
I typically plan a good portion of the plot and some of the mechanics before I go to town, then think about what else I should use as time goes on.

So it's sort of a "make a coherent basis, then go along and see what happens" kind of thing.
I have about 20 pages in a notebook full of storyline, map ideas, and planned features. My problem is transferring all that to an actual engine without losing my motivation.
I tend to plan as much as my brain is willing to put out (meaning anything I can think of at the time), then work for a bit, then plan more, then work more... For my current project, though, since most of the work is already done... I'm planning BEFORE starting on the actual meat of the game. That way everything's already in place and I can just roll along with the game. Of course... the only thing that WOULDN'T be done is like... random mobs. Bosses could probably be done in planning, as could key items, but mobs? One COULD do that during a planning phase, but I kinda like the idea of spontaneously coming up with enemies while mapping out an area.
I've been planning this one game out for about a month now. Almost donnnnnnneeee!!! :D

Then I can go back and finish up the other games that's on hold that I've been working on. (I mostly just planned out another game merely to take a bit of a break off what I was originally doing. Also, this game I've been planning out marks the "10th Year" of its original existence that I've always WANTED to work on and finish since my stupid little brother deleted it all on that faithful day. I only have one 5 hour demo of that original 2003 version. And it's so bad and old, and bad and old, and old, that I haven't bothered to put up anywhere because it's so bad...and old.)

But lemme tell you -- PLANNING AN RPG OUT SUCKS ROYAL!!! I should just stick to working on "board games" and "puzzle games" than do this shite; I was a lot happier back then.
Prepping? I've never heard of such a word, I just go with it. lol. XD
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
Even though I initially cast my vote for "I plan everything", I've come to realize that I, much like everyone else, fall more into "I plan enough". Working on the RM2k 2013 revision of Tales from Zilmurik and now the RM2k3 final revision of Tales from Zilmurik (used to be IV, V, Dawning of a Dragon's Valor, etc.), I find that as long as I give myself a good springboard to start on, I feel comfortable deciding when it is that I can stop strictly planning and start designing. This is usually after the first few good scenes, two towns and a dungeon as long as I know how the story is generally supposed to branch out from there.

Granted, I would feel more comfortable knowing that I'm not going to write myself into a corner later on and continuing the planning right away, but there's only so far you can write before you need to really read, you know? Seeing your world begin to form is exciting and all but watching it come alive is even better. How I see it, if you write out the entire story right away, why not write a book? Eventually you need to remind yourself that you're making a game.
I take about a year of development before I start. I start with writing all the items, equipment, skills, and monsters down with all their info. Fills up 3 notebooks. Then I draw out maps like On MK: Deception and use their planning idea. It helps with knowing where you're going to put a quest or an important NPC. Also, gathering reference material is very useful. I have watched, if not 3 hours each week, of Documentaries about Medieval Life and Castles as well as documentaries about authors such as Tolkien or C.S. Lewis and their works.

Afterward, I download all the RPG Maker tutorials I can find via Youtube, Recruit several people and give them the tutorials to help them out, then start to work on it.
I like to map out the basic overworld (where everything will take place and how it's connected) before starting anything. I also map out the basics of an area and I try to get an idea of what's going to go on there, I also like to plan the basic plot (and the big events that take place). Once I do that, I start with the graphics and go along with the flow. Sometimes if I get a new idea, I plan how that will play out, but I'm really a "go with the flow" kind of person..which is why I sometimes spend days or weeks not working on anything if I lose motivation cough
I do most of the concepts before I start. I can get quite comprehensive. For resources, I get together what I need in order to go ham on developing it. The important graphics and programs, basically.

So, somewhere between the first and second choice. Certainly not near everything, but well beyond just to know what I'm doing.
I usually try to sort out everything first, what I need, how I need them, but.. When it comes to writing the whole storyline, the screenplay, I just can't be bothered. I tried it, and I'm bad at it. I note some good ideas, and the whole story in nuts, but then just go with the flow.
Also, I try to create own personalities for the main characters, and for some semi-main characters as well.
Although sometimes I fail to give them texts that are go along with their personalities, it kind of works for me, and I don't need to think that much what and when the hero says things, because I just go along with his personality.
I usually overplan. Hence why I started 4 RPGmaker projects and have only finished one (and it's one where I HAD to just jump in and improvise since I was on a 2 week time limit).

Before starting, I like to know what my story is more or less going to be, and I want the base building blocks of my game ready to go. That is to say, scripts and battle system need to be functioning and any new tilesets need to be made and done.

The scripts are usually the big offender. I'm trying to figure out how to make a Line of Sight script I downloaded trigger a switch when activated, and that has ground the progress of my next game down to a halt. Not many people enjoy sitting in front of a huge bunch of code, figuring out how to modify it without killing everything and STILL getting the desired effect...

And my last dead project was because the "defend your teammates automatically" script broke. >_>
hey protip, waiting until all your resources are lined up and ready before you start is one of the main reasons nothing in rpg maker ever gets completed

it's not unusual for a game to use placeholder graphics and have chunks missing into the last 10% of development

so don't be afraid to just throw yourself bodily into the games machine and see what it makes out of your carcass
As a corollary to mawk's above statement, if you plan ahead it's quick and easy to replace your placeholders with finished sprites later. You just have to set up your project correctly beforehand.
I usually plan a fair bit of my projects, but if the idea itself doesn't work well in a game I'll end up scrapping it. I think it's important to keep a good balance between planning and execution, but I'm sure others do it differently.
thanks for the protip, Mawk.

The problem is that the line of sight thing is so CENTRAL to the game's design that I can't really get into it until I've gotten it working... :s
Like usual, mawk’s helpful advice delivers – and then some!

And yeah, Aegix_Drakan, I'm a lot like you in the sense that I will sometimes completely overplan a project for months and months on end without actually really starting anything in the editor. But I've also learned that the best advice is to just dive into the pool and see what happens. It may not turn out 100% exactly of what you envisioned – but anything is better than nothing! And, just like what slashphoenix said, you can always just use placeholder graphics or go back and fix certain sections of the game whenever you wish down the road.
owned a Vita and WiiU. I know failure
I usually get a really good story going in my head anywhere from a few days prior to a month, then start working on it, only to realize I'm awful at making sounds and graphics. Probably why the last time I had a game worthy of anything was when I was still using RM2000 and could make graphics with no problem due to the low resolution. As much as I hate being one of those people who makes their entire game based around the RTP, there's just not much I can do without it.
Over planning is the bane of production, I've found.
In my experience, plan your project until you feel confident to start. In my current game (where I'm actually making progress!) I've planned a basic flow for my story, what areas I need to make and what battle system I'm using. As much as I'd like to make custom assets, I don't want to get stuck with it, so I'm using the dsrpgm graphics with some minor adjustments. If something takes longer than an hour to edit, I compromise. That's an hour I could spend actually making the game!
owned a Vita and WiiU. I know failure
If something takes longer than an hour to edit, I compromise. That's an hour I could spend actually making the game!

I've always found that aside from graphics, sounds, and scripting, the game takes very little time to make. Once the tilesets are done, making the map and events doesn't take very long. I'd probably rather spend an hour making a really interesting tileset than making the map itself, but because of problems in my wrist, I can't make precise pixel by pixel edits anymore.