All my life, I’ve been like a cat. I’ve never needed too much of anyone’s time or attention, and start to become very cranky when someone demands to see too much of me. This revolves around every aspect of my life. At work, my mind is allowed to wander, and I make good use of it. This extends to personal relationships, too. I had next-door neighbors who wanted to see me after school. I didn’t want to see them. At all. It wasn’t against them. They’re great people, but that whole ‘every day’ thing really grates on my nerves. Same applied to my girlfriends, too. I frequently need time away from things, no matter what they are. I moved a lot as a kid, before the age of the internet. Maybe that has something to do with it.
For the sake of comparison, RPGMaker says I’ve been working on DtD for roughly 170 hours total. That’s a month at a normal job, stretched over the past 19 months. In that time, I’ve also made skits for this year’s /v/GAs, played roughly 200 hours of TF2, 110 hours of CS:GO, beat Pokemon Y, got 30 Perfects in Rhythm Heaven, and finished two anime series, and started at least 2 others. I love this project deeply, but it’s still only one facet of my life. Now that it’s completion is dawning, I feel like I’ve given birth. You give this project a little time here, a little attention there, and it just grows on you.
It’s my baby.
Does this mean that I’ve learned how to deal with things and people long-term? Hopefully. This might just be a big step into becoming more ‘normal.’
The final battle is all scripted, minus input from Adam. Scripted as in written AND coded. It still needs the sound effect and BGM calls, but I’m proud of the three hours I worked tonight.
I wanted to do it last night, too, but ended up playing 7 hours of Counter-Strike instead. Coding’s a lot like jogging for me; it takes a lot of will to bring myself to start, but once I get there it flows naturally. What am I afraid of?
I think the climb up the tower and the trip home would be most poignant if I didn’t put any dialogue in it. Leave the actions of the waddling sprites up to the player’s imagination while the credits rolled. I say this because this final scene has been very labor-intensive, and now I give people like George Lucas a little more credit when they take half an hour to wrap up Star Wars Episode 3. You have all these threads, and you want them to end really well, but nothing ever seems good enough. Making my final scene silent may seem like a cop-out, and it damn well could be, but nothing I could possibly type up would match your imagination or my own expectations. It will be a meditative moment for everyone.
DtD moves another inch forward. Put BGM on at least half the maps, and sound effects on the entire ‘Rescuing Lilac’ sequence. I dare say the first part is entirely done?
The important thing here is focus. The final battle’s halfway done, so all I have left is easy shit. It is VERY easy to get off-track when doing easy shit. Why? It’s fucking easy. Ever worked an easy job? You stop caring, right? Your brain shuts down and goes “Oh, that won’t take any effort or time. I can handle that later.” You can, but you won’t without some discipline. I’m running out of time, here.
I feel like my creative future hinges on this project. I have several other ideas in the wings, but all of them are at least as complicated as this one. If I can’t follow through after 160 hours, with maybe another 25 to go, those other projects are as good as dead in the water, too. There’s a life lesson in there somewhere.
After another long break, Defeat the Darkness inches forward. I have to put in an extra scene, because cutting to world map with Jethro/Lilac in the party would display them instead of the normal party. I could alter Jethro’s graphic to look like Adam, but since the player, theoretically, could use the world map to go to any location, I’d rather just move to another party-centric scene instead of preparing every single map for a switch-specific party change.
The extra scene is important, though, because the ‘game’ is nearly over and Milia and Adam have had basically no meaningful dialogue. Therefore, while I’m helping our new friend Kay discover her magical talents, Adam will get a few more zingers in. Things are about to get heavy, so I want to get some more humor in before that. Once the plot was goes full-serious, I don’t believe it will revert.
Going back and doing general bug-fixing right now. An extra ten minutes of work makes everything more cohesive and work a lot more smoothly. But I still gotta put in the NPCs….
He wants to do the movie equivalent of a demo. A ‘Proof of Concept,’ if you will. Gonna actually get to Googling a copyright lawyer now. Once this starts getting out there, I want to make sure we have as much as control as possible over it. This is called ‘covering your legal ass.’ I don’t plan on suing anyone in the future, but any creator who does not properly care for their intellectual property will swiftly lose it.
I’m on the fence about doing a proof of concept, but I can’t see a reason not to. It’ll help us hear the script with fresh ears, and make sure it’s all coherent. I guess I gotta work in the music and sound effects up to a point, now. I think the Lilac rescue would be a good stopping point. It introduces a lot of the main characters, and has a climax and an ending. Normally, I’d be scared to release an unfinished product, but with the hidden village nearly done, and less than 15 scenes left to make (out of almost 80), I believe it to be the safest bet I’ve ever made.
I’m after the part where Cody reveals to Milia basically everything, and she seems ok with it. Now we enter the bonus dungeon and Milia is just now realizing that he wasn’t kidding around. Cody is basically Bill Murray in Groundhog Day and knows every riddle, puzzle, and treasure in the extra dungeon, and I’m making it so it’s subtly blowing her mind. I don’t know how far I wanna take that, though. It’s getting back into Evangelion territory but it’s looking and sounding so much better than the vague ideas I had when I started. In the end, though, Cody and Milia will realize they belong in different worlds; its how it has to be. I think one good breakdown is in order.
Also, I haven’t been able to brainstorm with Adam for months. He’ll augment the funny bits. We’ll need them, to keep the drama from overpowering the production. Maybe once we both find the time…
Caught the Anonymous Agony stream earlier today. It was basically the type of game everyone expected it to be. What was interesting, though, is how the team was totally on-board for creating the product Jake imagined. It was unapologetically, unabashedly, itself, and nothing else. Despite the bugs and obvious interface flaws, it accomplished everything it wanted to, and told the story it felt it had to tell. There was no irony, or subtle nods, or fourth-wall breaking (from what fraction I caught of the 8-hour stream). With the dedication the team put into the product, I would consider it the edgy, low-budget, B-Movie version of Lunar: The Silver Star.
There we go. All the maps I can imagine needing are done. Like in movies, it’s important to mentally establish what a scene should look like before you shoot it. With RPG Maker, I have the ability to have one set up long before the actors have to use it. There may be small changes later, but I feel like getting the broad strokes on mapping established will help make the final scenes as physical and engaging as possible (Like the Dragon Cave scene after Lilac is saved, as opposed to the first in-game scene with all the standing in place).
It’s true that every part of your game will be ‘done’ at roughly the same time, but this working on DtD has been a real help figuring out what tables need to be set first, and then later adjusting the plates and napkins. As a story-based game, I haven’t even touched on the combat system yet. Maybe one day, when the story’s done…