Weekly Devlog #1: Thoughts After Completing Corrupted Oath
I will be doing weekly development log updates for a few weeks leading up to the release of Corrupted Oath. Follow me on itch.io to not miss out on information you may find value in (https://cracked-walnut.itch.io/corrupted-oath), especially if you're planning on working on a long-term project, such as myself.
I started working on Corrupted Oath at the start of May 2018. For a few months, I dedicated time to writing down ideas and any details which I thought would be cool to implement.
--Scrapped Game Ideas--
Unfortunately, there were a lot of details I ended up scrapping. Either because I simply didn't have enough time to implement and develop these points, or their place in the game wouldn't have made a lot of sense. As a game developer, I look for ways to keep my games interesting from start to finish, but I also believe one, very well thought out idea would be a better addition than a plethora of half-baked mechanics which serve one or two purposes throughout the entire game.
Some ideas which didn't make it into the final release, was a cooking mechanic. The player could pick up items found in the world, or buy them at shops, and make new items out of them. The problem with this idea, was it grew way too big to be sustainable. There were too many food items and drinks to count. Keeping track of all of them, and making the mechanic itself interesting within the context of the game, proved to be an endeavor.
I had also planned to include a few party members throughout Nintai III's journey. As you can tell from playing the demo, I didn't include any members. The game itself isn't too long, and I wasn't sure how I could develop more than one party member with limited play time. I kept things simple and went with a "one protagonist" approach.
There were also a ton of weapons and skills which didn't make it into the final game. Again, it proved to be more bloat than complementing the project as a whole.
--What Went Right--
I really enjoyed developing Corrupted Oath. Even though the game took a year to make, it was a lot of fun planning out every aspect of the game. Most of my ideas transitioned with few problems, which was a nice break when things weren't working out with other mechanics. Having a vision helps a lot, too. Staying true to that vision will help you finish your game faster than skipping between different ideas that aren't related to each other. Since Corrupted Oath is an RPG, having a lot of enemies and items to choose from made a lot of sense, so I spent a fair bit of time trying to balance healing items, weapon damage formulas, and the overall flow of combat.
Developing the maps was also an integral part of the experience. I finished the game with something like 150 different maps in the editor (ranging from small rooms, to entire dungeons, forests, halls, etc.). To keep the maps interesting, I would place treasure chests and items along the player's path, and in secret areas. This made sense as I believed the player should replenish their resources and stock after each battle they encountered.
--What Went Wrong--
Making the game through the RPG Maker MV editor (this engine will be discussed in depth in Weekly Devlog #4: The Game Engine, RPG Maker MV) seemed pretty straightforward. However, making a complete game which I was proud of developing was going to be a challenge.
One point which I will admit I got hung up on, was making sure everything was "perfect". At some point in development, you will cross a boundary, a boundary known as "diminishing returns". Simply put, after you cross this boundary, no matter how much you input into game development, you will always get less than equal output. Don't waste time ironing out graphical details if they're not as important as fixing bugs. Prioritizing your time is literally half of game development, in my opinion. I'm sure I could've finished development much sooner if I had not gotten strung around with little, unnecessary "checklist" items.
--To Wrap Up...--
In conclusion, making Corrupted Oath was a very fun and purpose-driven adventure. The game took a year and three months to finish (my day job started to get in the way of development for a while, but I managed to make effective use of my time during off-hours).
Staying dedicated to the game and working on it little by little each day was a great way of making sure the project never stalled.
Thank you for making it to the end of Weekly Devlog #1!
Next Tuesday, August 20th, I'll be discussing the community centered around the game in Weekly Devlog #2.
Corrupted Oath demo is out now! Check it out here: https://cracked-walnut.itch.io/corrupted-oath (download link is at the bottom of the page)
Pick up the full game on September 5th.
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