In The Year 2516

It all began around a year ago when I had a dry writing spell and thus nothing to offer on my Patreon. I searched online for a platform game engine that I had played about with many years ago but this time I wanted to make something substantial.

After reinstalling Arcade Game Studio I created a really thin platformer that was part Ghouls & Ghosts and part Mario; That wasn’t my original intention but looking back that’s pretty much what it was. My original idea was to make something more early Amiga-like. Something like Rick Dangerous with the graphical style of The Secret of Monkey Island.

I think I made quite an endearing little prototype to be honest. I made a character select that let you chose one of three characters, all with different abilities, to quest through the level I made. I had a lock and key system in place for doors and to promote exploration. Yeah I was proud of what I had achieved. However it wasn’t enough. It never is.

I dreamed of creating more robust characters that each had their own arsenal; Characters so drastically different with special abilities that would affect how they moved through the level; Scripted events that would tell an almost cinematic story. I moved to Paper2D in the Unreal Engine hoping to manage these wishes.

UDK was my first choice for an advanced engine. I had played about with it since it was UnrealEd back when I was still using Wadauthor to make Doom levels. It was tedious back then and would consistently crash but it was still easier for me to use than any Quake editor. I admit though that this was down to bias. I loved the original Unreal game to the point that I still play through it once or twice a year.

With a new engine came new limitations and with them my confidence took a big knock. I lost my patience and with that my art. My inspiration had turned into resentment. There was so much I could do in Unreal to make something truly beautiful, but I was getting stuck on drawing 16×16 sprites and animations. I wanted to be better but I was scared that I couldn’t do better. I disabled myself because I stopped believing in having fun. I was scared to enjoy my work.

A year is a long time to anguish over disbelief. It’s completely self-indulgent. I’ve learned about myself by buidling up and crumbling down methods and processes. My only problem now is that I realize that I’ve wrote an essay on game development when the questions’ format was multiple choice.

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