Monday, 23 March 2015

Tiny Red Riding Hood: Dev Diary 01.

So here we go, a dev diary!  I'm going to try and document my first bash at creating a game myself.  Obviously I will have help along the way, I've already had help up to this point, but for the most part I will be flying solo on this.  So episode one of the dev diary - what I intend to do.


The major force driving this project is that I make something Willow enjoys interacting with, and can learn from.  Also I want to try and make an interactive book app that improves on what's already available.  What this app won't do is replace parent and child time.  There will be no narration, mommy or daddy will still have to read along with Willow and give praise when she gets interactions correct.

Things that I will be keeping in mind throughout the project:

  • Short and simple
    • As my first run at this, it needs to be short enough and simple enough for me to finish it before getting distracted or disheartened! 
  • Fun for Willow!
    • This is important as what I think might be fun is probably not entirely in line with what is actually fun for a toddler!
  • That it's a learning project
    • As much as I would love for this to be my first solo released game, this is my first go!  This is for me to learn and to try and make something fun for Willow, if ultimately I need to throw this one in the trash and start over, that's what I'll do. 

Vertical Slice

Looking forest-y! 
Normally I don't like this approach but there's a couple of reasons why I'm going this route:
  • Show and tell.  Brighton Indies meet up is in a week and a bit, I want something to show off!  It's really important to get a broader opinion on what I'm making and I know there are a few parents who attend so hopefully they might have some insight, or if their wee ones are of the right age they might help with some user testing!
  • Proof of concept.  Mostly to myself over anyone else, show that I can do this.
  • Test the waters with Willow.  I don't think there's such a thing as too young to try and teach Willow, but there may well be too young to get any meaningful feedback!  Will she engage with it?  Will it seem like she likes it?
The section of the game I will be making is what I'm dubbing a 'forest section'.  Story wise Little Red is pretty simple.  Mom sends you off to Grans, you meet the woodcutter or wolf (depending on the version) along the way, you get to Grandma's and the wolf has taken her place, you stop the wolf.  That's it.  Just the 4 beats.  As with the other Little Red Story apps I've played the meat of the 'game play' is in the walk from Little Red's to Grandma's house, or the 'forest sections', and there can be as many of these as I like.

For this vertical slice I will be making a game where you need to collect apples.

Where I am so far  

So far I've started on making the art assets having decided to go for the low poly look.  This means getting back into 3D, and how I wish I was using Maya!  Now Blender is pretty good, and considering it's free, it's actually very comprehensive.  I just wish it was more intuitive!  It took me such a long time to make a simple tree, but once I got my head around Blenders many hotkeys the following tree took a mere hour and a rock no time at all!

Perhaps foolishly this has encouraged me to attempt a 3D character for the game.  Now I know it's going to take me some time to make, rig and animate, but I've gotten much faster with Blender after only a couple of days so I hope that in a weeks time I can have a rudimentary character up and skipping.  As I've said before, this is a learning curve, I'll probably re-do all of the art as I get better.

By this time next week

  • A skipping Tiny Red Character
  • Forest section, apple tree and apples modeled
  • Sample level of picking either red or green apples
  • Some basic UI in place    

Wish me luck!


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