Day: October 14, 2005

Okay, Here’s The Problem…

The problem is that I can either write an engine for a top-down, 2D, robust RPG with world, city and dungeon maps, NPCs, quests and quest objects, spells, fighting, and inventory in 40 hours…or I can actually take that engine and create all the content for an RPG using it in 40 hours. But I can’t do both. Here are my options:

1. Just do what I can in 40 hours, and then post it, just like I was supposed to do on my first try. I’d learn a lot, and I could probably work something up…but I probably won’t be satisfied with the results.

2. Use a prebuilt engine and just create our content for it. I don’t like this idea, for a couple reasons. One, most prebuilt engines are designed to make SNES-style Japanese RPGs. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not what I’m making. And two, I won’t learn as much.

3. Create the engine, but create no content for it. I certainly would learn a lot but it wouldn’t be very satisfying to have nothing runnable to show at the end of the forty hours.

4. Give myself more time. This feels like cheating.

5. Use another game’s precreated content and just write a replacement engine for it. That’s darn tempting. If I were going to do this, I’d almost certainly use Ultima III’s content…a plus is that a decent PC remake of Ultima III was never made. Remake Ultima III in 40 hours…hmmm.

40 Hour RPG (Take 2)

Well, things have kind of slacked off a bit…

Oh, so Hit & Myth shipped?

No, it’s kind of in limbo…

Really? What’s all that about then?

It’s part of the Story I Can’t Tell Yet, which hopefully I’ll be able to tell soon.

You cop-out! Tell us what’s going on right now with Hit & Myth!

Look, this post isn’t about Hit & Myth, okay? It’s about me trying again to make an RPG in 40 hours. I learned a lot last time, and I hope I’ll learn even more this time.

Unfortunately, what I learned was this: making an RPG of the kind I’d really like to make in 40 hours is nigh-impossible.

I could write a completely text-based engine that allows the player to buy equipment, go down into a “dungeon” which was basically one room with progressively harder monsters, fight them, level up, and come back up to buy new equipment. I could certainly do this in 40 hours. (Heck, I might be able to do it in ten.) But that’s not really an RPG; it’s just an RPG combat/advancement engine.

I could write a game very similar to the above, except that, instead of a text-based one-room “dungeon” I could create a randomly created dungeon level that the player could explore. His job would be to go in, kill everything and then come back up to get better equipment. He could then re-enter the dungeon, which would give him a new randomly-created level to explore. Basically, a very simple quick-and-dirty Roguelike. I might be able to pull that off in 40 hours; the real question is how long it would take to figure out (or research) how to randomly generate a dungeon level. This is basically what Jay Barnson did when he made his 40-hour RPG.

Or I could write a game with an overworld, towns and dungeons, with NPCs that you can talk to and can give you quests, an inventory that allows you to keep and store quest items, and an overarching plot for the game where you end up saving the world at the end.

This is what I tried last time, and you just can’t make that kind of RPG in 40 hours. But that’s the kind of RPG I want to make…

So I’ve got a choice – either scale back my game or give myself more than 40 hours. I think I might be able to write a simple RPG of the style I want in 80 hours…

I’ll have to think about this.