GameGuide Part 2: Planning

The first part of making any game is planning. The “planning stage” is where the storyline, basic character information, and the genre will be defined. We will begin by either writing a story, or choosing a genre.

When writing a story for your game, try to stay away from clichés when writing the story (such as having to save the princess from the evil guy’s tower), and try to go with something original or undone in the gaming world. Try to keep the story as vivid as possible, so that the words can easily translate into pictures for the designers. For instance, instead of “The old, man dirty on the corner looked at you angrily”, put: “The elderly, hagard man with the torn and grime-stained clothing stared fiercely with his piercing black eyes from the street corner.” Doesn’t the later give you more of a vision of how the old man on the corner would look like? Sure, it may be more writing on your part, but it is worthwhile in the long run. Another thing you should be sure to do is try to keep the story as fluid as possible. Don’t have a character die, and also at the same time, have a potion or something to help bring life back into the deceased, and have no ability to use it on that one character (which is what happened in Final Fantasy VII).

Here is a list of some of the biggest genres to choose from:

  • RPG (Role-playing game) – This genre allows you to play the role of a character in a very deep storyline. You run from one point to another, fighting off monsters, making yourself stronger, obtaining items & money, and learning new skills. There are usually more than one character involved in the battles.
  • MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing game) – This is the same as an RPG, but the difference is that many characters in the game are real people. There is also less of a storyline, and there is no end to the game (until you reach the highest level possible).
  • FPS (first-person shooter) – An FPS, or any other shooter, has a storyline (which is usually is not that complex), and the main objective is usually to kill any targets (or specific targets) and move to another point. Online shooters have a storyline, but that is kind of shoved out of the way for the online play, where you face off against countless others, instead of following the story. There’s also scroll-shooter, which is usually an aircraft flying, and enemies appear from different parts of the screen. You must kill or avoid them all and whatever they fire at you.
  • Platformer – This genre has you moving from one point to another, while you try to beat a clock, kill enemies (or avoid them), collect power-ups, rank up a score, and avoid objects all at the same time. The reasoning behind calling it a “platformer” is the constant use of platforms. Some are stationary, and do not move. Some are moving, and some fall from underneath your feet!
  • Strategy – This genre has you trying to do specific tasks, which requires that you have a good strategy. There are an infinity of strategies that you can use, but only some will lead you to win. There is a subgenre called “turn-based strategy”, which is even more difficult. It is played like chess. Each person can move once before having to switch turns with the enemy. They can also only move one piece at the same time.

Note: there are more genres than listed, but these are the biggest from what I can tell. For our example, we will be making a platformer. The camera will be animated to help reduce the amount of camera collision near 0 (I will, however show you the different types of cameras, and how to set them up :)).

Okay, now that we have a basic idea down on paper, we can begin the design process.

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