Okay, purely for my own edification, I intend to write an RPG in 40 hours.

I was, of course, inspired by this blog post, and also by the fact that I really, really wanted to participate in the most recent Ludum Dare challenge, but couldn’t. So I’m sort of doing it on my own. Now you know why I was researching Roguelikes; 40 hours is too short to do just about anything graphical. Text mode will allow me to get the most out of my time.

Here’s the rules:

1. This will be a project created in Visual Studio .NET, using C++. It will be a console application, and it should run on both Win2K and Win9x.

2. The timer starts when I first create the project (which I haven’t yet).

3. Since I am a father of three and employed full-time, I can’t do something stupid like work on this for 40 hours straight. Instead, I will work on it whenever I have time, rigorously keeping track of my time. When the 40 hours is up, I will post whatever I’ve got, even if it’s not playable (though I will do my best to make sure that it is).

4. Time designing, coding and creating content counts against my 40 hours; time thinking about the project and writing blog entries about its progress do not. Thus, I can do some “mental preproduction” work on it as long as I don’t code anything or write any design down.

5. Failsafe. I have 40 hours to do this project, and I can spread them as thin as I want, but if the project is not done within 30 days (that is, it is not done by midnight, June 18th, 2005) the rest of my time is forfeited and I must post what I have.

Currently my thinking is that I will break the project up into two 20-hour chunks – one for coding the engine and one for creating content that runs on the engine. This should (note the word “should”) ensure that I ship something a bit more robust than just a hack & slash engine. My fears are that I will either overestimate the difficulty of the project and set my sights too low, resulting in a completed game so simplictic that no one wants to play it, or that I will conversely bite off far more than I can chew, resulting in no functioning game at all.

Oooh, this is going to be fun. I think.