Scratch the Idea Itch or How to Scope

While making Assassin at Crimson Keep, let's just say I didn't know what I was doing. At all. After release I still don't, but I do know more than I did a couple months ago. Looking back, I really should have structured my game in some way. I had the basics down. I knew what I wanted to do. But until the last month leading up to release I never really had a plan.

Naturally, with ADD (not Advanced Dungeons & Dragons) I can't keep focused very well on just one thing. All the while I was making my first game I was planning my second. And the third. And the fourth. I have lots of ideas, but never enough time or stick-to-it-iveness to bring my thoughts to completion. But what will (more than likely) be my second game I had one rule. I decided to make a game that takes place in one setting. In AaCK I have at least ten different background images/settings throughout just the game, not including the entire trailer. Maybe that doesn't seem like much, but I'm not exactly a quick artist. For game development it's essential to be able to pop out good, consistent work on a schedule, and that's just not how I've worked.

That's why my new game Guildmaster will literally have one background. This means a few things. As it will be a Visual Novel, the writing must be top notch. I think AaCK was pretty well written and could hold it's own as a text only game. That is the barometer of any Visual Novel. But the first word of that genre is also important. The visuals must be pleasing.

So one background means it needs to be really, and I mean REALLY good. It'll probably be something I work on until the end of the game, and that's fine, because I put that in my plan.

Another aspect of having one background is that the characters have to be excellent. Being a Guildmaster, you'd think you'd have more than three Guildmembers, but not so! Three cute girls who look fantastic and have amazing personalities are going to be a tall order for someone who is essentially a hobbyist gamedev, so (at least for now) there can't be any more than that. As I absolutely love small choices having big consequences, the many different paths that this game can take will be a mountain of work, so I'm glad I scrapped my initial idea of having eight Guildmembers.

Figuring out the scope of this project is the hardest so far. With AaCK, I had already written a very short C++ game, so I knew the beginning from the end. All I had to do was flesh it out a bit (a lot). For Guildmaster, I only had the idea of building a relationship with cute girls who go out on adventures while you do nothing. Even now, I don't have an overall story. It's a vague threat coming to town, but other than that, I don't have much. What's essential for now is who the girls are, their relationship to each other, and what their relationship will be with you, the Guildmaster. 

That's the itch. Now it's time to start scratching and get to work.

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