To Build a World - Methodology / by Andreas Kopriva

The question of methodology

Welcome to the second of this potentially lengthy series of articles. 

Basically, in my first post I provided a quick back-story of my experience with gaming in general and that I have now decided to act on something that has been in the back of mind, both consciously and subconsciously, for a very long time. I will be trying to build a video game which I hope to bring to a level where it could be considered a viable and (hopefully) commercial product. 

To all potential detractors and nay-sayers which will provide me with such valuable insight such as 'why bother? you'll never make any money' or 'it's an over-saturated market' or 'you lack the skillset to pull this off', save your breath. I've considered the majority of such arguments and have simulated most scenarios in my mind already. I've suffered repeated catastrophic failures and have fallen consistently in my mind already. The only thing left for me to do at this point is to simply try. 

That said, I would appreciate all feedback and discussion because I strongly believe that it is through considered debate and intelligent criticism that one grows. Just please, no need to say something derogatory and/or mean just for the sake of doing so. It's redundant :) 

Having said the above, I've considered the steps required to put together a project like this and will be outlining each one in subsequent posts. These are : 

  • Drafting a compelling and self-contained story while considering the following points
    • How does one go from an idea to a story? 
    • What is the problem and/or dilemma presented? 
    • What drives the behaviours of the main characters and primarily the lead?
    • How can all these components be successfully conveyed to the player and keep them engaged throughout the duration of the story?
  • Deciding and considering gameplay mechanics 
    • What is the genre? 
    • How does the game world operate? What is the reasoning behind it? 
    • How are the characters to be controlled? 
    • What are the risk/reward systems placed within the game if there are to be any and how do these develop? 
  • Graphics and Sound design
    • 2D or 3D? 
    • Character designs - go with the familiar or try something completely out there? 
    • Go with photorealism or with heavy stylization? 
      • To summarize - how will the visuals and the sound best serve the story? 
  • Technical considerations
    • How much programming will be required and what is the best way to tackle that problem considering I know very little programming? 
    • Which game engine would most easily facilitate the game design and story telling required? 
  • Project management considerations
    • How large is this project to be? 
    • Can a team be sustainable and if yes, how can such a team be built? 
    • What release methodology should be followed? Should it be episodic content or released as one full product? Are either of these feasible? 
    • Feasibility studies regarding time and monetary investments, ROI (if there) considerations, distribution etc etc etc 

So obviously there's plenty to consider, discuss, share and create. As I mentioned in my previous post, the daunting nature of the task is absolutely terrifying. To clarify, the game I'm discussing here is not a simple match-3 type of puzzler or an Angry Birds clone. Instead it is to be a narrative driven adventure of sorts. Hence, the increased likelihood of failure and the associated terror thereof :) 

In the next couple of posts I will be discussing the premise of this project along with the questions I ask myself so as continually be considering the depth and plausibility of the world I aim to create.