Thursday, March 21, 2013

Journey into ReTaken: My First Game

Hello to all of my fellow hopeful game devs!

In my last post I stated that I'm starting to find my stride (thanks in no small part to the great bunch of people that are working on this game with me). I have a number of blog posts in my head that I plan to write. I'll be talking about my progress, the code challenges that I've faced and how I overcame them. Before I start pasting code snippets and talking about sprites however, I thought I'd talk about the game I'm working on.

Let's take a journey into ReTaken: My first game.

So, the "elevator pitch" for this game would be "a turn-based strategy game with a race-to-the-end mechanic incorporated into it's design." Simply put, you need to build and create units and structures to take on the enemy, as well as battle your way to certain places in the stage before it's "too late."

Having played a bunch of TBS and RTS games, ReTaken is inspired by the likes of the original Warcraft, Starcraft, and Fire Emblem. However, the game that plays the biggest part in it's inspiration is actually ActRaiser for the Super Nintendo.

This may seem odd to most of you who have experienced this Enix classic. After all, ActRaiser was mostly known for it's platforming, right? True, but if you recall, before you got to fight the second boss in each area you took control of your little angel helper rather than the sword-wielding god and built a town. Well, you less "built" the town and more guided the little mortals down paths, using your heavenly magic to burn forests, destroy rocks, and otherwise clear out the land.

Above is a screenshot of ActRaiser.

I loved the town building sections of ActRaiser. To me, the platforming sections where a vehicle to get to the next desolate, unpopulated area. I used to wish that you could skip the platforming sections all together and just do more town building. When the sequel to ActRaiser came out and they cut out the town section for pure platforming, I was devastated. I always wanted Enix to release a full game that was just ActRaiser's town sections.

When I re-played it as an adult (it should be noted that when I call myself an adult in this blog I'm using the  loosest sense of the word), I found that the town building parts of ActRaiser were...far less engaging then I remembered. They were still charming, but they were very, very simple. I also found out that they were impossible to lose. The sense of danger that I once held when a monster flew out of a den and barrelled towards my town was no longer present. Still, I was longing to recapture that joy and fun I had with that experience as a kid.

Thus, the idea for ReTaken was born.

Don't worry, ReTaken is not just going to be a quote-un-quote "rip-off" of the town sections of ActRaiser. I hope to make it a whole lot more than that. At worst, this game is going to turn into a nice little portfolio project for myself and the team (since right now it's just a labour of love), but with a little luck and a lot of effort, it will reach a high enough quality to actually get accepted by the Steam Greenlight project. That's the goal at least!

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