Devilwood #devtober wrap up
It is the end of October and at time of writing, Devilwood is available on three stores on PC. GameJolt, Itch.io and Kartridge. For a game that took less than 24 hours total to make, I would say that is pretty good! OK, it has not made a lot of money, but that was not really the point. In this post I will be talking about my experience with #devtober and creating and releasing a game in a short space of time.
Firstly, the actual development. The actual development was quite quick. The code was very simple, the gameplay was easy to understand but hard to master. The scope of the game was just right for a quick project.
I also iterated quickly and effectively. I tried out a camera angle, mechanic, etc quickly and if it did not work I binned it, finding an alternative solution quickly. I am happy with the quick iteration cycle on this project.
The tools at our disposal helped out a lot. Personally, I have been using Unity for the best part of 8 years on professional and hobby projects. It would be fair to say that I know that engine inside out and that of course sped things a long.
A piece of software I found super easy to use to create my assets quickly was MagicaVoxel.
I will level with you, I am not a great artist. However I can do voxel art and MagicaVoxel made it very easy to create voxel models very quickly.
Secondly, it would be unfair of me not to mention Mixamo. For someone who is not an animator like me, Mixamo is a godsend.
Without Mixamo, the characters would have had to been animated in a very different way. Rigging and animating voxel characters can get a little interesting, but if you get it right it can also look very good too!
Open Game Art was a great resource to find royalty free sounds and music quickly.
What was actually a hindrance in places was the shared library I have been tinkering with over the years. Although some of the extensions and utilities still came in handy, a lot of the newer more complicated features were very over-engineered and over-complicated. From a performance point of view they were also not great. The next thing I will be doing after my time off and I return to Project JRPG will be reviewing this library and the tools ensuring that they are actually useful, not over-complex and have the required performance.
There was one classic mistake I made when it came to multiple platforms. I thought that UWP would be easy. The eagle eyed of you probably notice that Windows Store and Xbox One was missing. This is because we ran into problems running a UWP build. It was a trade off of getting the game ready to ship on platforms we knew it would run on, or getting UWP to work.
This leads on to an interesting point. If I had managed to get UWP to work, would the game have made more money? Releasing a game like this on itch, Game Jolt and Kartridge meant it was always going to be a “pay-what-you-want” game. The game would not ahve got the views, let’s plays, etc it had if it was not. For the UWP builds, setting a base price and tapping into the console market would have may be led to more sales. On the other hand, it is debatable how popular the Windows Store actually is and if anyone looks at the Creators Club games on Xbox One.
Finally, releasing on the stores. It has been a while since I had gone through the process of personally releasing a game. I completely forgot that decent screenshots need creating, trailers need cutting, store copy needs writing and boring tax information needs digging out. Next time I release, these will hopefully be done.
Overall, I learned a lot from this project.
It made me rethink the way Iwas approaching Project JRPG from a tech perspective. Whilst this project was a sort of one-shot fire and forget game, working on this has reinforced the idea that I need a much more solid tech foundation than we have currently.
It re-taught me all the ins and outs of going through a release on stores and gave me insight to what sort of exposure and audience releasing on these platforms gives.
And most importantly, it was fun. this was a very much “finished not perfect game” and I am happy I stuck by that mantra. It is super satisfying getting your creations out there and if anyone else gets this opportunity I strongly recommend doing it.
That’s me signing off for now. After a couple of weeks rest I will have more details on our next projects, so stay tuned!
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