Infidemia Development Update (16)

This update is a bit late, though I’ve been working on the game.

While my previous development process involved work only inside the game engine, I decided to change things up and write a story draft in a digital writing tool, which will be easier for me to read the entire script and storyboard without having to replay everything I have so far (I’ll still do playtesting in the game engine, but this should help get the necessary dialogue and script content added to the game).

As a disclaimer, this update’s mostly meant for last week.

Although this means I’ve technically “started over” again, it’s not like I’m deleting the entire game contents and rebuilding it; I have some resources (the map design has used the same base maps so far, but I’ve added edits over time) and there are things like sidequests that will mostly have the same gameplay content, which means I’ll do things like edit dialogue and (attempt to) balance how repetitive versus rewarding a sidequest is.

I’ve noticed that sometimes I start working on the game again and things are going well, then I forget about what happened in the story, and the game feels inconsistent. That’s one of the reasons why I decided a storyboard would be necessary.

Throughout development (which has mostly been a planning process), I’ve come up with a few ideas on how the story might work, what mechanics the player might see in plot and battles, and how decision-based gameplay influences the story (as well as how to account for this). A lot of the game’s dialogue has been written on-the-spot, then sometimes rewritten once or twice, though for now I’ll focus on the planning process of Infidemia.

The idea for the game started maybe about two years ago by now, and I started working on it about three months after that or two and a half months (actual engine work began three months after I got the idea for the game, meaning I didn’t start planning characters or map design until then).

I had a few planning documents I made for the game, some of them outlining specific mechanics in combat (each type of ability, how points are accumulated, etc.) though these were scattered and referencing them when I worked on the game was challenging.

I took notes in a lot of different places, though eventually tried to compile these into one collection to see what I could use when working on the game (this is after working on it with some of those ideas relevant in my head).

The largest issue I’ve had working on Infidemia would probably be managing the scope of the project; how large will the game be?

I’ve went from a project that involved 21 playable characters (partially planned, but only about 10 or so characters were fully planned), at least 1 game world with at least 4 areas as large as the main part of the game, and a battle system where characters can take up to 8 actions per turn…

…to a project that involves 7 main characters, the same game world with a focus on one area of the game world being playable (multiple parts of the game world are involved and mentioned in the story, but since the gameplay was designed for mostly one part of this game world, I’ve decided to limit the scope to that part), and a battle system that will likely reduce how many actions can be taken.

A lot of plans have changed during development, but by repeatedly changing my approach to the game early on, it’s been more like making prototypes of Infidemia than trying to make the entire game in one go. (Prototyping different styles of gameplay, experimenting with the combat system, and finding a way to tell the story so it flows together are the goals, though.)
Although the latest version of the game will probably feel more consistent compared to where I started, I don’t think that it’s an instant change from what it was before, and I’d prefer to see this as a result of gradually working on the game.

It’s also been a really buggy game, but I found out the bugs in the game were caused by unfinished eventing sequences and half-implemented battle commands, meaning that putting in some time to fix these issues has helped make the game more playable, and to figure out what features to fully implement, or just to test – addressing the scope of Infidemia.

I’ve been playing different games to get inspiration on how to arrange the story structure and how to make a battle system, with the goal of figuring out how to combine preexisting [gameplay] mechanics into something new, and finding a way to include interactive elements in the story.

For this update, I also want to note that most of the game’s music will likely end up being redone, as I’ve started to do that and noticed improvements with figuring out a different approach to the music. Working on Infidemia’s music in chronological order (based on the story), meaning from start to finish, but also based on when the music for story events plays, I’ve tried to add little melodies to some tracks that play in others, as a reference to themes that play throughout the game, and to link together music tracks. This has resulted in a slightly more consistent style, but that’s not what I’m going for with this project, so I’ll work on addressing that.

Most of the game’s planning process feels complete; it’s like I’m familiar with the game world as I’ve tried different ways to come up with details about it.

There were some things early on I planned, maybe discussed here (which would be unlikely), though I didn’t add these features. I’m considering experimenting more with gameplay and testing out features I didn’t finish making.

The goal of having “development updates” is for me to reference what I’ve worked on, but also to keep me on track.

I’m not sure how successful I’ve found it to be to write development updates about Infidemia (and only writing about it… …no screenshots of gameplay) though the purpose of this update is to describe what’s happening with Infidemia.

What’s next for Infidemia?

  • Development plans right now have changed to a different style, although to build upon preexisting content for the game.
  • Looking back on the game early on and seeing what planned features that I didn’t use might be interesting to test.
  • Balancing the battle system.
  • Putting together some ideas for the game and testing how these will impact development.
  • Experimenting with how the music should work (now that a few prototypes have been made).

Thanks for showing interest in Infidemia,