Indie Game Development Blog #1

 
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Welcome!

If you’re new here hi! If you’ve watched my YouTube channel before you may be wondering why am I also starting a written blog.

I used to write my own blogs all of the time. It’s a fun way to get thoughts out, certain thoughts that don’t always match up with video content. You see when developing a video you need relevant footage of everything you discuss which adds a lot of extra work for one person. So I want to use this blog as a way to communicate thoughts, concepts and game development progress that does not fit into my video.

I also feel a lot less pressure when it comes to a blog. Videos require such high amounts of polish and work where a blog is just your thoughts with supporting images!

A New Beginning

So I’ve been away for 6 months, that’s a really long time in terms of the internet. Sometimes if a person I watch on YouTube is gone for a week it feels like a long time since they’ve uploaded! However to me the person behind the video it does not feel that long. You get caught up in life, things happen and if YouTube is something you do as a hobby other things have to take priority.

It feels great to be back and I’m excited to see how everything turns out.

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I’m back with a game that I’ve wanted to develop for a long time. The working title is like Zara The Flame. This will most likely change as my original vision is different to what I envision now.

I recommend checking out my YouTube video to learn more about the game. In summary it’s a Virtual Reality 3rd person action adventure experience. You and Zara work together travelling a dangerous land in order to confront the corruption and save your village. Along the way you’ll meet memorable characters who leave an impact on you and Zara. In a way you’ll grow with Zara, just like I grew with Sora in Kingdom Hearts. Well that’s my hope haha, we’ll see how it all turns out.

How I created Prototype V1.0

You may be wondering how I developed this alone in two weeks. Game development is very difficult and the truth is I’m never truly alone when it comes to game development! For example Unreal Engine 4 is developed by Epic Games. It has so many amazing features such as blueprints that make my life easier. Another feature that made my life easier revolves around the animation blueprint part of Unreal. I was easily able to create animation state machines, blend states and transitions with logic that go between animations. Going from idle to run or run to attack.

When it comes to game assets such as 3D characters, sound effects and animations the marketplace has changed my development pipeline. I did not create Zara by myself. I actually used a pre-made character and have been re-texturing/re-modelling her. Same thing with the animations, I found some amazing motion capture animations for sword combat and made a few changes. Zara and the animations are version 1, Zara will look significantly different over development, hopefully a character that everyone will like.

  I purchased the original tree creature from Sketchfab. I then made some changes and began the texturing process in Substance. It didn’t take me very long and I have a model that will suit my game and looks quite detailed!

I purchased the original tree creature from Sketchfab. I then made some changes and began the texturing process in Substance. It didn’t take me very long and I have a model that will suit my game and looks quite detailed!

So I have Unreal Engine 4, Marketplace models I can modify and motion capture animations I can manipulate. This is much more manageable however it dosen’t make anything easy. I’ve spent many years using 3D modelling software, animating, rigging and texturing. I’ve also been programming for over 8 years so I can easily understand how Blueprints work as it’s all based of programming fundamentals.

While it's faster for me to modify a pre-made model I’ll still be spending over 15 hours to make it unique when the time comes. Not only modelling but using Substance Painter to develop materials and make her even more unique.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The thing is I know my strengths and weaknesses. I’m not great at organic models but I can take an organic character model and modify it into a good looking asset. Same thing with animations, It would take me way too long to create amazing sword animations. However I can modify motion capture data so the attacks are more unique to Zara and that they reflect her personality/character.

It’s such an exciting time to be a game developer. We have so many resources and I really want to make the vision in my mind come true. This leads me to the final point, the vision.

Imagination and Goals

You can have all of the technology but the creativity, your imagination is very important. I have an entire world in my mind which I want to translate into an experience for people who play my game. Some people have the goal of creating a game engine, some want to learn programming or art. My goal is to create experiences that leave an impact on people, just like other game developers have left an impact on me. Because of this I focus on efficient ways to develop experiences, attempting to work smarter and harder to make my goals a reality.

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This wasn’t so much a technical break down but more of a mindset as I feel that it’s far more important to communicate it to people. In other blogs or vlogs (YouTube) I’ll occasionally have technical breakdowns.

Thank you for reading

I want to thank you for reading my blog! I’m curious where this combination of vlog and blog will go. I hope I gave you some useful information. If you enjoyed it or had any thoughts feel free to leave a comment. I also have a discord server which I’ll link below.

Once again, thank you for reading. I’ll see you in the next Blog/Video.