Friday, April 20, 2018
I'm not just thinking about another RPG videogame, either—I'd like a Solar Echoes video game to involve single-player and online multiplayer of course, where gamers would get together like a traditional tabletop group and one person would play as the GM while the others would play their characters. Or, all players could jump into pre-designed missions and go through them together. For single-player, you could jump in and design your own team, then jump around between each character and try to manage the entire group. I'd also love to see this game have a VR component, where players could choose 1st-person view and actually see through the eyes of their characters. It would be incredible to play as a mighty Archaeloid or a gelatinous Omul, seeing through their eyes. Playing the game online with friends from a 1st-person view would be hilarious fun, and they'd be right down there in the action. I have many more ideas for this, and am hoping someday to find the right people to move forward with it all!
Thursday, April 19, 2018
I wish. I know, sorry to get some of you excited with the title--it's not happening yet--but it is a long-term goal of mine. Before it's even possible, I'd need to find some talented programmers, artists, etc. and also a lot of $ to make it all happen. Or, maybe I'll attract the interest of an already established videogame developer who would want to work with me to bring this goal to life. But I've got ideas—lots of them—about how to make this fun tabletop RPG into an awesome video game. Why would I want to see Solar Echoes become a video game? Because videogames are far more accessible than tabletop games. You can sit down and play it whenever you'd like, rather than have to organize your schedule and the schedules of your friends to drive out and meet somewhere for a large chunk of time to play. Dedicated tabletop gamers do make regular time to play, but that leaves out a ton of us that are unable to because of jobs, family commitments, locations, etc. Plus, most of the younger generation are not even familiar with the concept of sitting down to play a tabletop game, and I keep getting asked by young kids I meet if Solar Echoes is a video game they can download. Somehow, I'd like to make that happen!
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
To post the Solar Echoes Video Comic, I had to update my Youtube Channel. I'd like to post more content, but I need subscribers. Would you consider joining my channel?
What kind of video content would you like to see? This video comic was quite an endeavor and took months to complete, but I would like to do similar (probably smaller) projects in the future. Do you have any ideas about other things you'd like to see? Please share your ideas, either through comments or messaging me directly. A few possible ideas: short video comics, videos of actual Solar Echoes gameplay with different groups of players, videos of discussions about RPG Game Design, or discussions about elements of the Solar Echoes universe. Maybe even short videos showing the art design process? What would you like to see?
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
It was an exciting weekend, because not only did the Solar Echoes Video Comic release, but so did the latest episode of D20FutureShow's podcast. Last year around this time, I Skyped a game of Solar Echoes with the guys at D20FutureShow in the UK, and we both set up our maps and figures so our cameras could see what we were both doing. The podcast host, Richard Kirke, has done a fantastic job of editing our game and putting together a fun podcast to listen to. The latest episode, Episode 4, released on Saturday, and it involves more of the battle scene in the warehouse. It's exciting to hear what each of the players do and how they try to handle the gang that has come into possession of powerful semi-automatic assault rifles. It's an action-packed episode, so you might enjoy listening to it like I do—through my phone while sitting in traffic on the way to work. Thanks for putting this together, Richard, and I can't wait to hear what happens next! (since it's been a full year, I honestly forgot and most of the events feel new to me) Great fun! Check it out either at soundcloud or itunes:
D20 Future Show Plays Solar Echoes Episode 04
For episode four on itunes, pick the first one listed with the release date of 4/14/18:
Monday, April 16, 2018
In case you missed it on Friday, I finally completed putting together the Solar Echoes video comic! There were a lot of unexpected challenges along the way, but I created many of them for myself as I learned what I could and couldn’t do with the programs I had available to me and worked within the limits of my own capabilities. Originally, I did not intend on having any actual animation—I planned only to change the expressions on the characters depending on their dialogue and the circumstances they were in. But, a happy accident helped me to learn that I could dissolve between frames at a fast rate and achieve semi-stop-motion animation. I tried to use it sparingly, reserving most of the animation for a few actions and for battle scenes (it takes a LONG time to put together). The focus remained on the characters, their interaction, and their approach as a team to their mission. The video comic is based on the free Solar Echoes demo, Operation Flash Strike, so the mission is the same and the characters are based on the pre-generated characters that are included with the demo. I wrote the script based on what I’ve seen different groups of players do in the many demo’s I’ve run at conventions. Every single time, I’ve seen players handle the mission with different tactics and unique decisions. This is just one of many possible scenarios. I hope you enjoy the characters and the video comic! A huge thanks goes out to all the voice-actors who contributed their voices and acting skills to this project! And another huge thanks goes out to John Fell, who was not only the voice actor for Elsor the Omul, but is also the artist behind all of the amazing character art I used! Thanks John!
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Developers put their games through various beta tests, but sometimes they only do so internally with the people that designed the game and know it best. When a game has unmeasured challenges with uneven difficulty spikes, it can cause enough frustration for a gamer to give up and move on to something else. Gamers are extremely determined and welcome challenge, but challenges that feel “cheap” or unconsidered will build dislike for the game. Gamers know when developers have artificially tried to make their games hard, too—one chance at a boss fight with failure putting you back at the beginning of a level is often a big deterrent. Though rogue-likes are a genre that does that and those types of challenges are expected in the genre, if you haven’t stated your game is a rogue-like, then harshly punishing players for failure on the first try doesn’t win respect for your game. I don’t mind trying a boss fight over and over until I can figure out how to win, but that’s if I can start over right at the boss if I fail. If I have to start all over from the beginning, that’s not only frustrating, it’s my time. Making the game difficult artificially is like those teachers who refuse to give A’s in their class because they seem to believe it makes them a good teacher if no one is acing the class. Just because your game is insanely difficult doesn’t mean it’s a good game.
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
With incredible improvements in technology over the last few decades, games have become so impressive visually that some of them are almost indistinguishable from movies. Developers should remember, though, that realism doesn’t equal fun. Just like movie directors got caught up in the use of the boost in CG special effects in the 90’s, game developers can also get caught up in what they are able to include in a game. Some developers lose sight of what makes a game fun and instead focus on making it look incredible with astounding amounts of detail, realistic physics, and full-motion acting. There are some games where player involvement is minimal and simple, with button-timed events and possibly a few choices available to make along the way. A game needs to empower the player to feel like he/she is making a difference in the game world each step of the way, rather than having a small vote during a mostly passive experience. Other problems can occur when developers add in things that detract from the overall fun. For instance, it’s seldom fun when a game character has to interrupt normal gameplay and search for food so his steadily draining health doesn’t reach zero, just because he needs to eat at regular intervals.