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Classic Point & Click Game Develop -- beginer question

A topic by Tomasz J. Kalinowski created 77 days ago Views: 145 Replies: 4
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This is my first post :)

I looking for information/help how to design classic Point & Click Game. The old school one, like Maniac Mansion from Lucasfilm Games.

I need to write game script, dialogs, list items, and describe puzzles, right?  Can You share with me, how it should look like? How do you prepare to start making a game? How do you write the game script?  Scene description, sound description, dialogues, and items visible on scene? Can you share some example documents? Or describe how to do it?

My platform of choice is Love2D and LUA programing language, which I started to learn. Target platform is Win10 x64 & MacOS 10.


There will be as many ways of going about it as there are people … My first piece of advice is always play a lot of games of the type you're going to write and make a note of things you love about them and things you hate about them - then you know what to include / exclude in your game.  Read the reviews on the type of game you're going to make - people are very vocal about things they like / hate in games - for example if you're writing for the casual market - DO NOT shake the screen.  (Not the reviews on itch. io  - go read them on sites where the reviewers are anonymous or websites that are trying to make a living out of reviews.)

Consider these questions first because you have to plan for them:

  • What screen size are you aiming for – Windows 10 would be 1920x1080 – I have no Idea what Mac screen sizes are.  Are you going to allow user to switch between full screen and window mode?  Do you foresee porting it to mobile in the future – in which case you’d make it smaller or you’ll have to remake it. 
  • Will there be music and sounds and the option to switch them off if the player doesn’t want them on?
  • Are you going to have different skill levels?  Casual vs Expert?
  • Will there be hints?  How often, do they recharge?
  • What’s going to make the game fun to play?  What’s going to keep the person playing it interested?
  • What’s your hook or angle?  What’s going to attract people to your game? 
  • Will there be a story?  When is it going to appear?  Can they skip it? 
  • Will there be an option to restart a level / scene?
  • Is the game timed / not timed / will the player have an option to choose?
  • How long should each level last?  This is the difference between giving a player 10 items to find or 30 etc.
  • If they struggle with a particular puzzle what will they do?  Can they skip it?  Will they be stuck there forever?  Will the hints show them?  If they skip it, can they still continue the game?
  • Will there be awards or achievements?

My first step after that is to create mock layouts in a graphics programme so that I can get the size ratio right.  Once I have that I can create my graphics and export them in the right sizes and set them up in the game development software.  It's up to you what your game looks like - but take the time to play - try different things - see what looks good to you.

I plan my levels in Excel and the coding blocks or sections I’ll need – in this case you’d have to plan every scene / puzzle etc. I also create a sheet with TO DO NEXT – and I make notes there as I go along, as I discover things I want extra, to change, to check etc.  I'll also list all the variables I'll need etc.

If I have a story in my game, I write that in Word (or if I’m lucky someone else writes that in Word), plan the story screens, when they will appear – if they restart the level will you suppress the story or must they read it again? Is it something someone will want to read?  Can they skip it?

I plan my game in blocks so that I know – Monday I’ll do this, Tuesday I’ll do that etc.  It helps keep me focused so that when I open the game I don’t have to wonder – what should I do today…I don't beat myself up about it though, if Monday's work takes two days instead of 1 then I just adjust the schedule.  It's just so that I know what needs to be done next.

If I’m not sure the game will be “fun” I’ll create a level with make-shift graphics and test it first.  This allows you to pick up problems, for example if it’s going to be too easy, too difficult, too boring etc.  That’s a good time to think of ideas to improve it or rethink the concept if necessary.

Once I have a “template” level of what will work I concentrate on getting the final graphics / sounds etc. ready and then create the levels using that template level to complete the game.


Other factors:

Have a look at the forums of the software you’re going to use.  If you get stuck with coding parts of it – that’s going to be where you’ll need to go for help, so is there a community there that can help you?  Do they have resources, tutorials?  If there’s nothing there, then are you sure you want to use that software?  If there’s support there, then go ahead.


Test things as you go along – got a background?  Great - test it:  Does it look as nice in your game?  How much does it increase the size of your game?  Should you split it - export it in 2 parts or 4 parts or is it okay if you have it as 1 solid graphic?

Don't rush it - take your time, if something doesn't work, change it.   It's going to be okay if you release it next week or next month or next year...   

I'd like to recommend this article on how Flight of the Amazon Queen was made, it details some simple but not so obvious tricks:

Thank you  Evolutionary Games and mutantleg for help.

Hi. Matthew L. Hornbostel here. "Miniature Multiverse"My Itch page

My personal bits of hard won advice from prior misfires:

-Choose a game engine that is well-developed and actively supported, and ideally cross platform. I made a game with 'Adventure Maker' in '04 and the engine has not been updated since roughly 2007, and games made with it do not run on current Windows systems. I poured so much work into a second project with that same engine only to realize by around 2010 that it'd never work out.

-start relatively small, build up from there. Have something you can point to early on and it'll be a great confidence booster.  Feature creep's a real issue for me, and many other devs, and thankfully I got this right with video productions, but sadly not so much with games. Flitting from project to project in a rotation always has been a flaw of mine as well, it is hard not to though when I have so many ideas I think are promising!

-Play to your strengths. I am not a capable programmer but am a good artist. So I make heavy use of my art skills. Often the look of a thing is the selling point initially with my stuff.

-Break all the tasks in your project  into  organized categories and chunks within a category. Get them done starting with the 'unknowns' - things you aren't sure you know how to do. There should be a handful of these in any project. If you have none, you're not pushing yourself to grow your skill set, but if there are a ton it may be that you're pushing yourself into territory you aren't ready to pursue, and it may become discouraging quickly. For instance, with 'Miniature Multiverse' my first big challenge was capturing first person panoramic views inside a scale miniature, in high resolution,, and setting up a panoramic interface in Unity that was flexible and functional. Often for me it's the interactions and technical stuff that is the unknown factor.

-Keep at it! Don't give up! And...make note of your progress, try to keep things moving forward, and don't be surprised if there's more effort involved than you expected at the outset.