Initial Devlog


Not done a Devlog before, but...here goes.

So, the future of The Fallen.  What's the game's history?  What's it look like now?  Where are we going in the future?  Let me break some of this down.

THE PAST

Initially, I made The Fallen in a last-ditch crunch to make a game for the Ludum Dare 39 compo; my original idea had sucked, and I realized I needed to have something with a clearly-definable minimum viable product...like a base-building shooter.  I quickly refreshed myself on the aesthetic of The Final Station, because omglove that game's pixel art in a way I can't attest to for, well, most every other pixel art game I've played.  I got to work, crafting a simple player similar to The Conductor, the critical machines I knew would need to be added, and a generic zambie version of the Player Character for use as the initial enemies.

The end-result was the Jam version of the game you can get here on Itch; it was made in under 24 hours, and yet it's also one of the most solid and replayable things I've made, in or out of Ludum Dare.

As the positive feedback racked up, and I logged more and more time playing and replaying the game on its own merits, outside of playtesting for LD looking for the game-breaking bugs, I realized "..hold on, I might be onto something."

THE PRESENT

That brings us to where we are now.  At the time of writing, it is 0300, 08/10/2017 (3:00 AM EST-5, August 10th, 2017), and I've just published the first post-jam build.



There's now music, some more SFX, difficulty selection, character selection, loads of polish, and other little tidbits.  I'm just getting started, too.

This is my immediate TODO list.

  1. Procedurally generated maps.  This will add a lot more replayability and interest; the resources will be in unique locations every game.  It also means that, with some generation settings, it'd be possible to change how hard the game is in other ways than just numbers like wave speed or enemy health.
  2. More music for different characters.  You'll notice if you download the OST from Itch that the music ingame right now is technically The Dude's theme.  I'd like different characters to have their personalities reflected in the music that plays when you're playing as them; The Dude, being an analog to The Final Station's conductor, would have the sort of music that simultaneously grants and destroys determination, while The Psycho, being a bit more unhinged would have music that is often tumbling along with instruments out of tune or dissonant.
  3. More characters, and a melee option.  All characters are going to have some sort of melee option on Fire2 if your weapon is out, but not all melees need to be the same.  I might add a character who has a crappy little revolver with, like, a 5-round cylinder and 5 speedloaders, and it's alright, but their most powerful attack is actually a melee one with a sword or what-have-you.
  4. Commenting the code.  As stated below, I'm keeping the source-code public, and I'd like to keep my code well-documented so aspiring devs can learn more from it; well-documented code is so much easier to learn from and work with than undocumented stuff.  I've tried to work with undocumented APIs in past, like the Source Engine.  It's painful.  I don't want to subject some other developer to that.

The maybe TODO list is a bit more ridiculous.

  1. Co-Op mode.  I'd wager that two-player mode could be fun, especially with higher difficulty levels and more challenging maps being a thing you can choose to play on.  Spending a few minutes before playing strategizing with your buddy on which characters to pick, which strats to combo, etc...Oh man.  I think co-op would be a great addition, but...Networking is hard, and re-building the game to be networked might suuuuck.
  2. Sandbox/Endless mode.  A slower endless gamemode where the aim is simply to see how long you can survive, and what sorts of mad bases you can build.  There might be building unlocks in this mode; that is, it goes on for long enough to warrant the unlocking of new kinds of buildings, upgrades to your abilities, etc.  Fun for a longer play session, or bragging rights with friends.
  3. Music and SFX revamp.  I might switch away from my Caustic-based synthesis and transfer the MIDI data for the soundtrack into another program, to remaster it all and make it sound infinitely better with infinitely better instruments.  Similarly, I'd like to also switch from my BFXR SFX to actual foley, like in The Final Station; proper step sounds, gunshots, etc, would make the experience more immersive and moody.

THE FUTURE

I'd like to take the project and go commercial at some point within the next few months, if it gets good enough; I do legitimately believe, from the positive feedback I've gotten from Ludum Daregoers, friends, and family alike, that I'm onto something great with this.

The game's never going to run you more than $5 tops here on Itch, or anywhere else I might choose to sell it later on.  I plan on the base game being $1, the official soundtrack might be another $1, and there might be some form of DLC or fun tidibts (like Caustic files/MIDI data/concept art/what-have-you) that could bring it up to $5 total, but...Expect a max price of $2 for game and official soundtrack.

I make no guarantees about quality or my ability to be timely about updates; I'm still a hobbyist at this point and I don't know that I'll be able to get of whatever Having A Life will demand of me to make videogames, unless I drop at the *perfect* moment and suddenly become a smash hit like Bendy and the Ink Machine, Undertale, or Five Nights at Freddy's, and even then, money can't buy everything.

If you're interested in seeing where this goes, stick around; go follow me on Twitter to see what's going on in my life and maybe get some development updates ahead of the curve, and remember to use the forum and such for posting feedback and ideas.  I can't promise to listen to everything, and I'm not going to promise than everything on my TODO list is going to happen; I'd rather be the anti-Murray, underpromising and overdelivering, but I'm cautiously optimistic things'll go alright.

I'm also going to leave the sourcecode up on Github, not only that, but I'm going to keep the repo up-to-date.  The game is GPL-licensed; it's viable for commercial use (unless I misunderstood something), but the source code always has to be available with the product; in this case, it's available on GitHub and anyone can download it.  This means that you can make your own version of The Fallen.  You could even sell it for money!  But...You've gotta fork the GitHub repo, too...and you've gotta include a link to it...and it's gotta be GPL-licensed as well.  Which means someone could fork your fork and sell your/their/my work for moneys too.  It's probably better for you, and better for me, if you just don't go there.

If you want to learn from it, be my guest; that's why I didn't decide just to lock it down post-LD and leave the Git repo alone afterwards.  I've learned more than I can recount from looking at how other people's games and game-mods have worked through open-source than from anything other than simple trial/error/practice.  I want to pass that goodwill on to my players.  If you liked The Fallen, and were inspired to make something gamey in Unity because of it, you, dear reader, are precisely the reason why I want that code out there.  Go.  Pull up the GitHub page and clone the project.  Open it up in Unity and just start hacking - you might not be able to make any big changes, fix any big bugs, or what-have-you, but you'll learn SO MUCH from just toying around and poking things.

TEAL;DEER

I have an actual image I took of a renamed and retextured Teal Deer in Minecraft somewhere.  If I can track it down, I'll pin it here next post.  For now, here's everyone's favorite main character/mascot, The Dude!

Basically,  I made a Ludum Dare entry and it was so good I might actually go commercial with it for the amount of money it takes to buy a bottle of soda pop at a convenience store in the middle of nowhere.  That's, uh, that's all I've got.  I think that's sufficiently TLDR.

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