A bit before I got laid up I started to have me a panic. I couldn't decide what kind of project I really wanted to work on. I decided I would go and do some game jams for a while and maybe that would help me clear my mind. Unfortunately, there is a pattern with game jams that I have encountered, something really bad always happens when I commit to one. This time I was out of commission for several weeks, over a month, even.

Last time I ended up having to move rather suddenly. The time before that I also got laid up for about 3 weeks. It's cursed I say! At any rate that's out. I don't really get much enjoyment out of simple games anyway, making them probably wouldn't have gone well.

I keep trying to force myself into making a simple project for game development but I can never think of a thing I would play. I might come up with cool ideas but then I start planning it all out and think about it. After a while I realize "Whoa, who is this for? Not me. This isn't even a genre I like." What's the point in working on a game I wouldn't even play? It would be trash because my understanding of the genre is a cursory glance.

So I think through the kinds of games I do like. Well, wouldn't you know it they are all quite complex. CRPGs, MMOs, Immersive Sims, Souls-Likes, Stealth games, Tactics games, Zelda games. Though some of these like stealth games could be done fairly simply in 3D that would require my ass to actually finally bite that bullet. It'll take me at least 2 months to get to some level of proficient with 3D modelling and animation, it would be a bit janky but I would be able to at least prototype from scratch.

Then there's the feeling like I am wasting my time with game dev, that's a constant. I could much more easily make good money as a consultant or freelancer in web dev or something. Though I would have to work with other people, which I would rather avoid at this point. So the real question is... is it worth it to invest the time to get to 3D dev? I mean would it even be justifiable? Then I wonder if I should just make one of the more complex 2D games.

With that it becomes a question of... which project would be most worth it? All of them will be a lot of work. A lot. Sure I could probably get some pre-made systems but then it feels cheap, assuming they aren't garbage to begin with. There's a whole lot of reasons I don't like using pre-built systems but I don't really want to get into that, it's a whole post on it's own. It works for some people but I feel like it's better to make everything yourself so you know your way around the code base and can more easily modify it at the least.

So then I'm thinking... what's the simplest kind of game I like? It comes down to JRPGs I guess? I mean they are not as complicated as CRPGs, less work than tactics games. Still got a lot of systems though. I have some experience working on those systems, as I have written most of them a few times over the years, most recently with Protobound...

But those systems are just the tip of the iceberg, as is the case with a lot of the styles of games I like. A lot of work is required for the world design, the story, the NPCs, balancing it all out so the player feels challenged, items, spells, equipment. Lots of work. I had flirted with the idea of just using RPG maker and seeing if I could get some people to review that work and then at least I would know if people liked my style and have some idea what works and what doesn't.

So I have that as a consideration, of course I would end up modifying my the systems at least somewhat to get it to work how I wanted. There are other problems, however. The map system is simple, like a few layers, simple. You place things on a grid. This is mostly fine, I could work with it but it would annoy me in a lot of situations. Plus the stigma of RPG maker. It was fine for me when I was a kid but I ain't a kid no more and it feels kinda like I am playing with a toy. Maybe I would get over it once I had something that looked and felt good but would I even make it that far? I would have to really have commited to it. I would have to come up with a way to speed up turn based combat too, at least for the jobber enemies.

Then there's the next up. The SNES, GBC and GBA Zelda games. Still quite complex, world design is quite important as well as tool and puzzle design. Each tool is a system to itself with it's own subsystems. Is my puzzle design any good? I never tried, really. I could get a lot of depth out of the world like I would with a JRPG without the turn based combat or dealing with all the equipment and balancing. Side-step the RPG maker style stuff, too. Trading those in to have to deal with tools, puzzles and more advanced world design.

So now I got 2 potential projects, 3 if you count courses for 3D. I'm sure if I sat here for longer and let myself I would come up with more, though this would only serve to complicate the thought process further. The main issue is; which one do I believe in?

Should I instead spend my time working on building a world in a series of systems that are already in place? I would have more time to create music and graphics, more elaborate stuff.

Right, but if I am going to put that much effort into a 2D project, why not just work on an ORPG or MMORPG? The real thing I want to work on. If I was going to use something with premade systems I could do the same for that. I have plenty of MMO systems for Unity and Intersect is a thing too.

I have no idea.

I guess if I was going to use RPG maker, probably would be better off with just using prebuilt systems in Unity, right? Or Intersect, I can compile that so I can modify it. I am not sure how secure it is or how networking is handles exactly but I could just prototype the MMO project with it.

Or I've got 3 or 4 different MMO systems for Unity I could use. In the end everything always circles back to either an MMO or something like SS13. Ain't gonna be using Byond though. The networking and social aspects are very important to me. I want to resurrect the times of hanging out with people in an online world, actually having to talk to strangers and ask them things.

I remember starting out in Endless Online, it was my first time in an MMO because I had no money, always been poor so couldn't afford a sub and certainly couldn't afford better than dialup for a long time. Once I worked out how to attack I wandered around a bit and figured "Hey, I want some clothes, this punching goats in my underwear shit is weird and I don't want to be seen like this!". I went wandering and reading signs until I made my way to Aeven, the main town.

I walked into every building, exploring, trying to find some clothes. I found a lot of cool places like the pub with the free fairy soda that made my character talk drunk. It was fun just exploring even if I was still in my underwear, drunk and wandering in and out of strange people's houses. I still remember it fondly, don't I?

Eventually I find the clothier and realize I will probably be punching goats for a while and I don't really know my way around the world but I knew they dropped horns and those sold for a bit of gold on top of the little bits of gold they would drop. Then I went off and just kept punching goats in my underwear until one dropped a female peasant outfit which gave me hope. I figured I might get some scraggly clothes if I kept punching and they dropped a male version.

Eventually they did and that was goal one accomplished. Now I needed a weapon. I was walking through town and I saw someone with a dark colored katana, me, being quite into anime at the time asked where to get one. They told me they got it from a penguin, which spawn up in a northern snow area. So I went off and started to search it out. Now the fact I even talked to someone was out of character for me, I was and still am extremely shy, but it started a trend.

I eventually, after some trial and error wandering found my way to the penguins and noticed someone else was farming them. This guy would become my friend for a long time. I feel bad I lost contact with him now though, I can understand why looking back. Anyway we joined forces and farmed together until we both got what we wanted. I believe he was looking for the penguin steaks so the katana was up for grabs.

It took a while but we finished our search. Instead of parting ways he said "Want some better armor?" now, armor at this point didn't really do much but look nice because all enemies were just a 1 hit kill and nothing really could attack you. However, you're damn right I wanted to get something better than my hard won rags.

Off we went to a crypt, where we farmed skeletons until I got some Dragon armor and a mask. We were now twins. Ever since that night we hung out pretty much daily. I made a lot of friends in that game, it was the one place I felt happy and could actually manage to be social up til that point. I had become very anti-social around middle school so it was really nice to have such a thing.

That game was so simple but we had so much fun with it. It's why I am even here, right now. It's what got me into coding and game dev and pixel art... if not for it and the people I met through it I would have ended up a lot worse off. The trend was not good before that point.

I've got all kinds of great memories meeting and hanging out with people in that game. Also Ragnarok Online. Later on Archeage would be a place I would do something similar. Not as much in WoW, I spent most of my time solo there. I did have some cool experiences in FFXI but I also was solo the majority of the time there too.

I want to create a game where people can form those memories and get inspired. A place where people can make new friends and overcome their fears.

Maybe I am wasting my time trying to do anything else. I guess I am. I could maybe create a basic sort of... PoC or like a prototype to start out this time... get a feel for what I am going to do before I run off half-cocked writing a bunch of servers again and while not repeating the same mistakes as last time, certainly making a whole new bunch.

I've got 4 choices for this I guess, at least in the prototypal phase where I will figure things out. I don't want to spend all my time working on the servers and designing the protocols like last time. I will have to do this eventually, of course, so I shouldn't get carried away.

I could start out in Unity with one of the assets I have collected over the years for this purpose. A few have most of the systems I would need implemented, some of them are just networking systems such as Mirror. The end result server will likely be written in Python with some C or C++ depending on what I am feeling at the time.

I could start with Intersect and focus purely on world design, story, music and equipment. Graphics, Sound and Design. I would likely want to move away from it after I graduated the PoC phase though and would have to redo a lot of the work probably. This would probably be the easiest one to get started with and maybe I could modify it until it worked for me, who can say? I sure can't as I have had very little actual experience with the code so far outside compilation.

Next is reviving the old MMO project code and fixing it. There'd be a lot of tearing things out and rewriting them from the ground up but I would have a lot of the framework already there. Not sure I would want to, though. I would want to redo most of it, including writing a better database interface. I'd probably be better off starting from scratch here.

I'll leave it there as far as options go. There's a lot of nonsense with licenses and other garbage I'd rather not deal with. I will end up writing my own backend eventually anyway so it's probably smart to start out as simple as I can with something I can easily explore the code for and get ideas from. Probably a good idea to start with Intersect and focus on world design, music and art for now. It's something I can easily mess around with and distribute. No strange license junk to mess with me and it's somewhat familiar.

I feel like I will end up with the client being Godot based, they seem to be fixing the stuff I was having issues with. I will have to figure out some stuff of course, chief among them being GDNative. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

With this approach I will have to remake a lot of the assets as I intend the end project to be Isometric but doing the art in this style will allow me to keep it simple and get some practice in. I'm rusty. Very rusty.

Also doing it this way will keep it casual. I've got a lot going on and I can continue to work on art and music skills. I got Tamakai and Mantilogs going as well. I can take the odd week here and there and learn blender. No crazed deadlines attacking me like ninja cupboard monkeys.

Man, being laid up so long really derailed me... but maybe it's what I needed. Was on the wrong track, I think. What's the point in making complex things if they aren't the complex things you really want to make?

So first things first; I need to compile it, set up a server, figure out a starting area and create the base class. I don't think I want to use classes really, but I guess I will see. I think I could make it so a character can learn skills if they have a flag on them. For now I will just make a "Novice" class.

First area would make sense as being a little coastal village and have the player getting off a ship. Kinda frontier setup, surrounded by forest and have a little cave along the shore. The cave can have the first combat zone. Gonna need a tavern, somewhere the villagers store stuff, farm, basic stuff for explaining their survival. A few NPCs, probably a shop keeper, a couple quest givers.

I'll need to sprite the first enemy. Then make it part of a quest to get some basic equipment. Hobos with sticks smacking slimes to get a sword, mace, bow, staff, or whatever. Would then have to sprite THAT.

I'll compose some basic ass town music and some creepy ass cave music with the help of some variety of DAW and free VSTs. Once I have the town and cave I can turn my attention to adding a few skills, weapons, working out how progression will function in the prototype phase anyway.

Lock skills behind mastery quests, probably. Instead of quests maybe have skill sets. Skills being purchased from trainers assuming the character has the right flags for the masteries. Then I have to do those skill animations. Probably do that after I have a couple areas feeling kinda alive. Maybe some woods and a ruin up the coast. Give the village a story, use the surrounding areas to support it. Some guy gets posessed by a spirit or something from the old ruins and corrupts some of the frontier settlers or something I don't know. I got a lot of ideas, I'll know better once I got some NPCs and music.

From there I can work out how the sprites work and how combat works in the engine and build some kinda workflow from it. Adding areas outward from there and creating skills and equipment. I don't know if/how paper doll works but that's something I need to figure out early as well. After I have the workflow and basic ideas in place I can just focus on building the world for a bit, adding in skills in different schools as I go. Hiding some trainers in weird places

Maybe make me a nice dungeon that requires some legit dungeoneering, puzzle solving, lock picking, stuff like that. Also gotta sort out a basic PvP system so I can get an idea how that would work out in the final game. Would be funny if this ended up being the final game. Anyway...

First, today I will get the thing compiled, get a server up and running, see if I can't find some way to set up patching the client so if I want some jerks to test some crap for me I don't have to have them download a whole new release.

Tomorrow I guess I will start with spriting a base starting character male and female. Then I will start mapping out a town with some temp assets, then start on the tileset.

Once I get that town and cave done with my own tileset I will start working out combat and an enemy sprite. Make some NPC sprites, need at least one shopkeep, tavern keep, quest giver. Then I need music for the village and the cave. Hopefully this will take a week or two and I will get faster as I do it more.

I also have some work to do on Tamakai with a socket server based community system. Been looking at Django Channels lib for that. This will allow me to have chat and private messages. Also gotta create a friends list model and all that. Might start on that later this week or early next week.

Gonna get in some guitar practice now and go work out that compiling and patching stuff.

Hopefully this is what I need.

This thing says Hi.