WRAP UP (very long, rambly post below)
I finished and posted my game yesterday, so here’s some closing thoughts about making a game, the final results, using Adventure Game Studio, and… whatever other random thoughts I end up typing
Making a Game
Surprisingly, I enjoyed the coding part a lot more than the art part despite being an Art Person. Maybe because coding is new and exciting, and art is old hat to the point where I can zone out and watch Youtube while drawing?
In any case, ‘game making’ was one of my new years resolutions so I’m glad to get that finished before the first quarter of the year is over. HA
WELL… I tend to not be satisfied with most of the Final Products I create. I said something about ‘handing in a rushed essay and not wanting to proofread it first’, which tends to be how I feel towards the end of most projects… But still, I’m trying to focus on the fact that I created the story, art, and coding for this game in 2 weeks. So yeah, it’s a bit rough but in the end… at least it’s finished!
Also, because I don’t know if it’s actually clear from the last pic, but the detective is supposed to be Not Male. I’m Very Interested in characters that are GNC girls that I can project on, so to that end:
To be honest, I feel like the sketch on the right is clearer than the in-game pic I ended up using, but ehhh
Using Adventure Game Studio
Despite a bit of griping at the beginning, I think that ultimately Adventure Game Studio wasn’t that bad to use. All of my problems were really just a result of uhhhh never making a game before lol.
I personally struggled with the inventory GUI a bit. I wanted some objects to display text or an image when you clicked on them, but the default setting was to select objects so they could be used on the environment, when you clicked on them. Figuring out how to really customize the inventory screen was one of the few things I really struggled with, and in the end I left my inventory system as just a row of images you could scroll through and select. imo editing the inventory GUI takes slightly more coding than it feels like it should.
I also don’t really like how image uploading was handled. Transparency is… weird in AGS, and I sometimes had images with jagged edges (especially when they were resized). You also have to cut individual images out of a spritesheet with a rectangular selection, which made it a bit inconvenient for my weirdly shaped objects all tetris’d together in a single image file. These aren’t seriously major problems though, and if you know what to do while creating your images, it’s not that much of an inconvenience. I just kinda wish that the way image uploading worked was clearly written somewhere, but it’s the kind of thing you learn as you go, maybe?
I guess it could be said that AGS isn’t the most flexible program, since it’s built to primarily make… adventure games. But I feel like once I got a decent handle on the system I didn’t have much trouble hacking it into the shape I wanted, and there’s even tutorials on the wiki on how to make an RPG with different stats and tracking HP and such… So I’m pretty sure that if (someone with more coding knowledge) really wanted to use AGS to make something complex, it could be done, AGS doesn’t feel too inherently limiting. It could definitely be easier to do some things, but I feel like the engine does what it’s supposed to pretty cleanly, otherwise.
The only major issue I’d have with using it again is that the community seems pretty quiet, both in the sense that it doesn’t seem like a lot of people are actively using it and most of the support forum posts are from around 2006. So for future projects, it might be hard to find people who want to collaborate and use AGS, and I also feel like it’d be harder to get help with more complex coding issues if any arose.
I have lots of plans for what comes next!! I want to get back into pixel art and make tilesets because I’ve seen a lot of good pixels lately and I’m Inspired. I think I’m going to buy Aseprite because my go-to pixel program used to be MS Paint…
In terms of other game-related art stuff, I also want to try 3D modelling because that just seems like the next logical step up. I’ve had crocotile 3d bookmarked for a while, so once I get a handle on pixel art again maybe I’ll try some lowpoly stuff as a midpoint between the styles!
…And then to make 3d games, I’ll probably try Unity. Got some gamedev friends who said Unity is better than Unreal for a beginner… Also, I’d love to try more coding but the little taste of C++ I had was.. scary lol. Hoping C# will be slightly more forgiving for me…
AS FOR ACTUAL PROJECTS… I kinda styled this game jam’s protagonist on another character of mine, who’s a 12 year old detective in an urban fantasy story… Her story’s supposed to be a comic, but now that I’ve made a game I feel like I can get a game done faster, so maybe I’ll convert the comic into a visual novel type thing instead, since I’d like to try Renpy or GDevelop/Godot (something that’ll let me do an HTML5 browser game). I’ll probably make this an intermediate project to learn another engine/language/etc stuff before I try something big (and it’s coming up pretty soon, but I’m kind of considering trying this out for NaNoRenO maybe…)
…In terms of Big Projects: I got slapped with inspiration by this post (about a game that switches back and forth between a coffee shop AU and high fantasy AU with items/concepts transferring in between) so I KINDA REALLY wanna try to make that happen. Any version of this concept is gonna be pretty different from a point and click/visual novel style game though, so I’ll have to spend a while learning how to do other things first… This is obviously a pretty long term goal though. HOWEVER my favourite phase of any project is spending months brainstorming and not doing anything, so I’m gonna go back to that for a while!