As we have done researches on adventure games and related game creation tools, this week, we started to define what our goal is, what our deliverables are and how we can achieve this goal. Like I mentioned in the previous blog, we hope that the game creation tool can be something made for naive users with little game design knowledge and experience. They can play with the tool, make their own adventure games and learn some game design concepts during the process. This also defines our deliverable and metrics. We need to deliver a tool and an experience: a tool to create 2D point-and-click adventure games and an experience where the naive game designers are guided to realize their games in mind and learn something.
To achieve the goal, according to the two layers of success, the two main tasks for us are:
1. Enhance the functionality of the game/engine
2. Add a game creation guide to guide the users
THE Adventure Game
Since the game creation guides heavily depend on the engine functionality, we are now focusing on adding more features to the game (and the engine as well). According to our research, adventure games are games where the main character solves different puzzles to unlock different scenes to complete the adventure story. This definition of adventure games guides us to decomposite the game systems.
Story-telling is almost the most important part in adventure games. Mostly, the stories are revealed by conversations (explicit) and environment (implicit). In the old engine, there’s no real conversation system: no branches and no conditions. To improve the engine, we are planning to add a conversation system into it. This requires the engine to be able to build and store the conversation tree as well as show the right line by walking down the tree.
Where do the stories happen? Adventure games usually build an entirely different virtual for gamers. In the old point-and-click games, the worlds are presented by different scenes. To move the character between scenes, the player needs to click the arrow (if two scenes are next to each other) or the world map. This feature is also not supported natively before. Although the game makers can somehow achieve it, we would like to make it automatic and more user-friendly.
The essence of an adventure game is its puzzles. It requires the player to interact with the environment with different tools. The old engine is too powerful here. It provided a universal click event for the game makers to custom. It can sometimes bring frustration to the naive users if they have little coding experience. We would like to narrow down the possible actions to a verb list so that the users can plug the verbs into their stories.
Above sounds a little bit too much, right? Even we are not sure whether the scope is appropriate. To make sure we are capable to make these changes, we have started to make some tech demos to see how much time we need to spend on a single feature and how should we implement it. The first two demos are conversation branches and verb lists.