llirium wrote:How many of you had the stories created even before the idea of making it a game came into play? How many created a story only for the purposes of making a game from it?
I never really have the story (the series of events) planned. But I do have the topic - the point, or the conflict, or the message, whatever you may call it - usually before.
So with Black Pencil, for instance, I knew I wanted to create a game that deals with loneliness. But I haven't had the story (what happens) designed, that came afterwards. Often I am inspired by a certain place, take pictures and decide to set the game topic in that place. Then comes the scope of the game (length), the gameplay system (linear, multichoice, branching or variable-based), character count (often just one or two) - and THEN I try to fit a story into that concept. Often I have several settings that I want to work with (river&bridges, park, city) and a pool of topics (loneliness, first love, regret), and I pick whatever suits me the most, or what I feel like I'm comfortable doing - for instance, having a game about loneliness set in a city for Black Pencil.
As for the specific story and the events that take place, I let it come as it comes, the characters usually evolve from the topic, and the plot from the setting.
I especially NEVER design any characters or invent persons and personalities and then create an environment (and a conflict) for them. Most people however do choose to create a powerful character first, complete with a biography and treat them more or less like actors in their story. But even though I'm a bit different in this aspect, in the end, it gets me the script.
llirium wrote:When you have a single-person project, does focusing only on one aspect at a time help? Or does variety of tasks (ie. draw some, program some, compose/music search some) help keep your creativity flowing?
Despite what papillon said, I still wouldn't recommend working on multiple elements at the same time. You will have to be very disciplined and focused to spot the point when variety stops being motivation and starts being a distraction, which it is, for most of the time. Remember the statistic - the overwhelming majority of games that had demos were never completed.
I'd also advise (even more strongly) against parallel creation of the game's elements when collaborating with others, ESPECIALLY through e-mail/internet. While I see the point of parallel game development brought up by Andrew
, this works only in a professional environment. I have the same experiences, but I need to stress this, it was in a professional situation where bosses have had the leverage to enforce and coordinate parallel element creation. For the freeware game-maker teams, actually, parallel development is usually the death.
You can see the result on these forums, as most of the people have generally already acknowledged this by suggesting a working full script in an engine, without art or music as the milestone one should aim for, because from there, you can start to ask for assistance and collaboration - and the artists who will do the most work will have not only an assurance that their efforts will not be in vain (because the game only needs art and then it's basically finished - music isn't such a hard element to acquire), but also they will now the exact scope of the project, not only through a design document and an internet promise, but through real proof.
Of course, there are exceptions, but as a rule, avoid parallel game element creation. This doesn't mean you can't have placeholders or quick sketches helping you.
llirium wrote:How did you find others to help you on your game if it turned into a collaboration?
Either I contact them personally, or they contact me. Usually I look for commitment. Reliability is top priority, skill isn't so important. The worst thing in the world is an artist walking away in the middle of the project.