I’m going to do a 40-hour RPG. The 40 hours will not be contiguous, I’ll probably use them all up over the course of the next two weeks or so (give me a break, I’ve got three kids). I will be keeping rigorous track of my time, and I will be posting my creation at the 40-hour mark, no matter how hideous it is.
How will I do this, you ask? Well, I’ll probably fail spectacularly like I did last time (when I got so interested in terrain generation that I burned up 8 hours just on that, making it impossible to continue). But this time I think I have a better plan.
First, I’m going to spend some time polishing up my game framework. This won’t count against my time, since it’s the same framework I’ll be using on every future game I make. I’ll make sure the framework supports everything I need before I start, so I don’t waste precious time coding something like GUI buttons when I should be laying down dungeon corridors. It’s based on the SDL, so that’ll make things even faster.
Second, I’m going to steal every resource I can. While the game will be graphical, it’ll be tile-based, and I’m going to use one of the free tilesets I’ve found on the web. I’m leaning towards the Angband graphics on this page. They’ve got a nice little retro-cutsey feel to them (though not TOO kawaii).
I’ll also be using maps from online map resources, like this one. I’ll also be researching lots of stuff off of rec.games.roguelike.development to speed up development.
Third, I’m going to keep the scope as limited as I can. The player will only control one character (this makes me cry; I SO want to do a tactical combat RPG). The game will consist of linked 2D tile maps for overworld, town and dungeons. All maps will be the same size and use the same code. I’ll write a very quick and dirty map editor to speed content creation. There will be an inventory system, but it will be quick and dirty, and the player won’t be putting bags inside of bags. Dungeons will be 2D overhead mazes or collections of rooms, like a Roguelike. Will they be randomly generated? That would be awesome; don’t know if I’ll have time. The game I’m envisioning will basically be a cross between a Roguelike and Ultima III.
I’m also considering releasing a 40-hour version, and then giving myself another 40 hours to add more features and also releasing an improved 80-hour version.