Game Creation: Planning

I’ve found myself in need of some project scoping. The difficulty with beginning a new project is that there are so many ways you can go, and when it’s a personal project there are very few constraints. Don’t know how to do something? You could always learn it and add it into the project.

So today I sat down and utilized some of the strategic planning process that I’ve learned from Wistia (where I’m a full stack developer) and came up with some process that will guide my own work. This series will be documenting the process from the perspective of a web developer who is getting into game creation.

Background for this game: It’s a joint effort between myself (a programmer), my husband Robert (a writer), and our friend Matt (IT professional and writer). I’m giving myself the title of Game Producer and Programmer, and Robert and Matt will be ScriptWriters and Game Designers.

First, I thought about what our game will and won’t be. What are our priorities? What are our constraints? I’ll use those to shape what I will and won’t do for the next quarter.

Priorities:

  • Create a fun game that we enjoy playing
  • Learn a new skill that will extend my programming knowledge

Constraints:

  • Small team, none of whom can work on this full-time
  • We want it to be 2D turn-based game
  • Timeline: I’d like to get this to a finished state within 1-2 years

So I created a Trello Board to track our progress. Even if this is just utilized by me, I like to have clarity on where I’m going and what I’ve completed. I also created calendar reminders to do quarterly planning. I’ll be spending about 10 hours a week on this project: 2 mornings on the weekend, and around an hour each weekday evening that I’m home.

Tools:

Since I want to use this to learn a new skill, I’m going to be utilizing LibGDX and I’ll be learning Java as well as how to make cross-platform games. Venturing outside of the web to desktop and Android! Exciting stuff. I’ve already completed a tutorial to become comfortable with Java and game creation. I found the tutorial buggy and wouldn’t recommend, so I’m not going to link to it here. Suffice to say, there are quite a few options out there that will get you through to a basic shooter-style 2D game.

Other tools: Trello for my own planning, Github for code, IntelliJ as my IDE. Blender potentially for asset creation? TBD for map creation.

My overarching goal for this quarter is to create a tightly-scoped prototype that I can show to Matt and Robert and get their feedback. Tasks to meet that goal center on learning LibGDX and getting into Blender/drawing, and getting some game design mocks from my Game Designers. It’ll be a slower Agile process, with the Game Designers as my stake holders. There are a lot of unknowns for us, which is why the quarterly reassessment and goal setting will be critical.

 

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