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Life’s Impetus is a strategic action game where your life is measured in seconds. You play as a Reaper, a being in charge of taking the souls of the dead to the “Fountain of Life”, the gateway to the other side. But, to do so, you will have the face both others who want these souls and those who seek to protect them, all while the counter above your head keeps counting down. Gameplay is constantly tense and rewards well-timed button presses and thinking ahead. Will you be able to face Death and survive?
I guess that the best way to start is by looking at the past few months. My objective in December was to have most of the main art assets (background art and background characters) done by March. Since I had started working on the Fountain of Life, my first objective was to finish that, and so I did... after a full month of working it. I'm pretty proud of the result, but 1/3 of my time was gone and I had only finished one asset (although it is probably the most important background asset in the game).
Next up was the background people art. After some thinking, I decided that the best option to have a variety of people without having to work too much was to make a "base" character and then create clothes for it. Thus, at run time, I'd randomly generate people with different clothes combinations. And so, I started working on assets for the males... February came by, and I had only finished the base male and started on the clothes assets. By mid-February, I decided I'd be satisfied if I finished the background male assets. Now, a week away from March, I don't think I'll even be able to finish the background males on time. I still haven't finished 1/4 of what I wanted to do by March.
Now, it might be relevant to talk about what was my goal when I started to develop Life's Impetus (or Fountain of Life, as it was originally called). My goal back in late 2012 was simple: make a game in 3 years that I'd be satisfied enough with to sell it. And thus, I decided to work on idea I had been thinking about for a while. Seemed simple enough, since the whole game took place in a single location, and different "levels" would just be different enemy configurations... but it wasn't really that simple.
I have one year left to meet my original goal, but I'm at least 3 years of development away from actually finishing LI (a quick estimation considering my free time has a tendency to decrease over the years). I had thought about making a vertical slice (basically, finishing and polishing one complete level of the game) to get an accurate idea of how long it'd take to finish development, but really, I don't want to spend 5-6 months just to say "yeah, this will take too long".
It's not like I'm ditching Life's Impetus entirely. I love the idea, and will work on it once again someday, when I can finish it in a reasonable time frame. On the other hand, I don't really think anybody will particularly be let down by this news (if you are though, I'm really sorry). I've been at it for two years, but I still haven't shown anything people would get excited for.
So what's next? I'll be writing a more detailed blog once I get my plans straight, but basically, I'm just reverting to small, perhaps more experimental games. I've never really liked the idea of "make as much small games as you can to learn!", but I guess making one cool and ambitious project backfired on me. I wanna make games with a scope and size kinda like Sky's Isles (which took me a bit more than a month to make and is like 30-45min long), but hopefully much more interesting. My idea is to try to set a limit of 3 months per game, so hope to see at least 2 or 3 games this year! If any of them is particularly popular, I might even develop it into a full-length game... And besides that, I might be helping @RPGgrenade out with his game "Nightmare Guardian" (working title). There isn't much to show yet, but trust me, it'll be interesting.
Thanks for reading. Sorry once again to anyone I might have disappointed, but this is probably the best direction to follow. And hey, when I do work on Life's Impetus again, it'll probably be a better game thanks to the experience I'll gain with these small projects.
I talk about the creation of the Fountain of Life, a central element in the game.
I take a look back at this year's development to see what I did well and what I did badly.
I talk about how I write a story, which is divided in three phases; what I want to do, what I need to do it, and what I'm going to do.
I talk about the design and backstory of the Fountain, one of the central elements of the game.
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