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Designer Diary: The Long Journey to Making the Game.

Around the Block to Cross the Street.

When starting the game, I already had an idea. In my head the game was set and story drawn out. The game engine is Unity3D. I know the little details of what I want and how to get there, but the trip across the street is oftentimes a long journey across the town.

Sure it’s Memorial Day weekend. I should be grilling with family and friends or both. I’m dedicated to this endeavor though. See, a good portion of making games is learning how to make games. There is countless hours of research, trying a technique, scrapping the technique and trying something new. Only to go back to the original variation because it worked and was efficient. Research takes time, time is currency and holidays steal currency.

On the Unity3D asset side, I must have spent $4,000 this year alone. My credit card is maxed out and My “wish list” is 4 pages long. But it was a long road needed to be taken. While I “knew” I wanted a dungeon crawl RPG, set in an old school style realm, I just needed the right art packs. The characters from SFBay Studios are what I’m using, but the dungeon itself, I’m still looking. For fast prototyping, Multilevel Dungeons and DunGen will be the technologies used. I had these for a year now, but went through many others to get to this point. The point of “what works best”.

multilevel dungeons and DunGen in action
Multilevel Dungeons and DunGen in action

Changing a Good Thing

I didn’t like the “brownish” textures ML Dungeons used, so I had to change them. Because the textures were designed to go with the 3D model, I had to leverage my newly acquired Photoshop skills to color swap. A cool, depressing gray stone color was used to pretty decent effect. It took 5 tries to get just right. I’m satisfied with the results and hopefully you will be too.

Where I’m going with this is dark, foreboding level design. The game story is dark, you awoke in a massive Labyrinth beneath a mountain. You’re alone and have nothing but the clothes on your back. You are greeted by a “friend” who’s watched over your lifeless body for all too long. Now you must learn to cope with the new world and deal with foes you’ve killed, and who have killed you many times before. An unending nightmare taunted by the ruler of the place. At least, this is the “kid friendly” version of the story. More details will emerge as I get to a demo that can be released. Oh I can’t wait.

Wrapping up.

It’s been a long road to get to this point. Like martial arts, the beginning is actually obtaining the Black Belt. From there your journey truly begins. This is where my journey now begins. Designing the levels, making the levels “procedurally generated” and populating the world with terrors beyond what you can imagine. We’re not talking hack and slash, this game will get into your psych.

To get here was a lot of trial and error. That’s the stuff legends are made of. Try a technology, try something new. Learn new things and suddenly a series of concepts all the sudden becomes understood. There’s so many little “keystones” of knowledge in game design. I’ve only scratched the surface and love it.

About Craig

Craig is the founder of The Chaos Rift and developer of the games published here. In his spare time he'll also write about games, play games and dream about games. Being a Game developer has been a dream of Craig's since he was 14 and after some detours has finally started to realize his dreams.

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