Brief Update – Jan. 13th (or thereabouts)

It feels like it has been ages since I have done a proper update (which this isn’t). This is probably because I have been fairly lazy, and haven’t really done any sort of development in my spare time over the last month. After staring at a computer screen for 8+ hours a day, I really don’t want to stare at another computer screen for another 4+ hours. That, and I still haven’t fully decided on what I would like to do for my next project.

I’m still mulling about with the idea of doing a Trespasser clone (of just the demo, to see how far along things get). It would certainly be a challenge and would involve working with a bunch of things I have never worked with before – audio, physics, AI, etc. I don’t think I could reach the kind of quality of the original Trespasser demo, despite it being 10 or so years old. That, and I no longer have access to Maya, so modeling things (which I found to be quite fun) is now a bit more of an issue. I wish I could get my hands on a slightly older version of Maya (say, 8.5) for cheap, but no one seems to sell it used. Maybe it is against the user agreement or something. I just find the $2,000 price to be a bit steep for someone who would only be using it the occasional weekend.

Why stick with Maya you ask? Well, about a year ago I had a chance to take a class in 3D Modeling and Animation using Maya 8.5. I quite enjoyed it, and was able to make some pretty nifty stuff. I don’t really feel like sinking even more time into learning another 3D package if I don’t have to.

I haven’t really sat down to figure out exactly what I would want to do if I didn’t do a Trespasser remake. I’m thinking some sort of heavily dialog/story driven game, in the spirit of Final fantasy or Eternal Sonata (which I have only played the demo of, but was quite impressed). The only issue with doing something like this is the sheer amount of animation required, which again becomes a bit of an issue when being done by one person (sans tools like Maya). That, and it takes a significant amount of effort to actually come up with a workable, likeable core gameplay mechanic. This is where I think Eternal Sonata (or at least the demo) shines. Rather that sticking with the traditional turn-based Japanese Role Playing Game mechanic, it cranks things up a notch by throwing a real-time element in where player reaction and player skill actually makes a bit of a difference.

So yeah, there, that’s a bit of an update. At the rate I’m going, that ought to be good for the next two months or so, right?

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