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Please evaluate my game Idea (Forums : Ideas & Concepts : Please evaluate my game Idea) Post Reply
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Jul 9 2018 Anchor

Hi,

My name is Tommy. I work as business applications developer, but as my hobby, and to train my skills a bit, Ive started to write my own game. My idea takes a lot from old game "Old Dutchman Mine", which was my favorite game when I was a kid, but I always felt sad that its so short and quite empty, so I wanted to make something similar with story, but a bit deeper.

At first Ive decided to make it isometric instead of platformer style. This is how it looks now:

1st

2nd

3rd

Current Art is made by me, Ive tried to fit everything into 32x32 spritesheets and stick to pixel art. A lot of the graphics will be changed/improved I think, after I finish coding.

Next thing Ive decided to change based from Dutchman game is to add a bit of steampunk touch to the old western theme (I came up with this idea because im very very bad at drawing horses ;) it also helps to fit some fancy digging machines that I want to add to the game later into game world ):

steam cart

And obviously story and design which will be a lot different. Short story for those who never played the "Old Dutchman Mine" game: There was world map with 1 town in the center, and mountains/river around it, where player was searching for cave enterances, where he was digging gold and searching for a map to an Old Dutchman mine, and to achieve this, he was panning gold in the river, fishing, selling gold in town, buying mules/equipment, fighting indians and playing poker.

In my game there will also be gamemap, but there will be couple (2-3) towns. He will be earning cash by panning for gold, fighting robbers, indians or some fancy steam robots/spiders, doing quests etc to buy a plot at which he will be able to start his own mine (instead of running and searching for cave enterance, durning the early stages he will need to search for clues, like newspapers, gossips etc to know which plot can yeld something and which is a mistake), after buying a plot, player will be digging his own mine tile by tile, laying tracks for carts to remove dirt, rocks and ores, building ladders, elevators, excavators and all other equipment that will let him earn more and earn it faster (just a notice: NO CRAFTING. I dont want to spend years on turning this game into terraria. All buildings will be prefabs to be bought at various places, and only "crafting" in game will be basic cooking - no recipes etc. I want a game about a miner, not some carpenter/blacksmith/woodcutter/builder/farmer/etc.. person).

And at this point its all. I dont want to spoil anything more, cause I have so many ideas that I dont know which of them I will implement and which I will not. Stuff Ive posted above is basic stuff that im quite sure that will stay in the game. Im very very sorry if Ive made some grammar errors etc. Im not an English native speaker, so I can imagine Ive made plenty of those in such long text.

Please tell me guys (and girls), what do You think of this game. Is it worth finishing/ playing? Would You play such a game? What improvements/changes would You make. Im opened to all suggestions. Thanks for all of You in advance.

Edited by: TommyW84

Jul 9 2018 Anchor

Let me just say that the pixel art looks amazing, I like it, more than improving the pixel art, I would consider adding some lighting.
I feel like there's something wrong with the outdoor buildings (perspective-wise) but it could just be a lack of shadows.

It seems like an interesting game, may I suggest you to make an IndieDB page? Maybe with a few videos showing the gameplay and more details about the game.
Also, you should probably use PNG format for screenshots, the format you used may be good for photos but in pixel art it easily shows compression artefacts.

--

Meadow of Dreams

Jul 10 2018 Anchor

Actually I was thinking about adding lighting (mostly in mines), but I don't know yet how I should approach it with pixel art (should i draw shadows etc, or rather render some lighting, which can look weird on pixel art) so Ive left it into some later stages.

And about improving pixel art I was thinking about things like outside buildings as Youve said (at beginning i draw them as a flat plaformer (like the original game), and then just added roofs on the backs as tiles on tilemap. Thats why they look so weird. I also want to change wall tiles (currently they are at the center of 32x32 tile, so they mess isometric look after furniture is placed next to them:

4th

Im quite satisfied with the characters, and im not planning to change them, as Ive already made all frames for all direction movement animations, and idle animations for some of them too:

ladybarman


I've just started using .png for screenshots, as Youve suggested, and I will think about making IndieDB page too, but im quite sure that currently the game has too little content yet for that.

Thank You very much for Your comments. Youre the first person other than my wife and kids that commented the game :) I really appreciate that.

Jul 11 2018 Anchor

The idea and the art looks promising, but I would lose the whole "fighting INDIANS" part. It's 2018 and it's not a good look. I do like that you'll be making this more about getting resources and less on crafting. In terms of lighting on pixel art, I'd go for some shading on the characters themselves and some shadows where you want to give the impression of shadows. Other than that, I feel this could be a interesting project.

Jul 11 2018 Anchor

Nice sprite work :) . It has some missing stuffs such as shadows (mentioned above) but I'm sure you'll fix that later

And obviously story and design which will be a lot different

Good, why don't we start from story? what will the story of your game be? or rather, what is the goal of the game? : is it about finding legendary treasure? or just getting rich by mining? or maybe something else?

In my game there will also be gamemap, but there will be couple (2-3) towns. He will be earning cash by panning for gold, fighting robbers, indians or some fancy steam robots/spiders

Ah you mentioned fighting, how exactly player fights? with guns? with pickaxes? or with fantasy weapons? . And of course how and where can player get the weapons?

doing quests etc to buy a plot at which he will be able to start his own mine (instead of running and searching for cave enterance

I prefer being a gold hunter than gold miner IOW I rather hunt for gold by prospecting and searching in multiple areas than having a plot to start a mine. But it's your call if you prefer the latter

durning the early stages he will need to search for clues, like newspapers, gossips etc to know which plot can yeld something and which is a mistake

Hmmm, how long this process would take? if it's too long, I'm afraid players would lose the point of being miner if they have to go through tough process just to get a plot. Instead why not give player a small plot to start with?. This plot has very poor gold density but can be used as a start as well as game tutorial. The small plot will run out gold soon forcing player to find and buy new plot ;)

Will the game has time element? such as night/day

That's for now :)

Jul 11 2018 Anchor

At first I want to Thank You all for the feedback. It means a lot for me.

Now about Your comments and questions:

I would lose the whole "fighting INDIANS" part. It's 2018 and it's not a good look

Heh, I would never thought that beeing more historically accurate will offend someone... ehh, but they are not necessary in the game, so I wont implement them.

Ah you mentioned fighting, how exactly player fights? with guns? with pickaxes? or with fantasy weapons? . And of course how and where can player get the weapons?

Player will be traveling between towns/plots/rivers/other locations on the world map (similar to the original Old Dutchman Mine game, or Fallout 1). Depending on player valuables (stuff he has on him, not in bank) theres a chance he will be attacked by bandits and depending on ores he has with him, a chance to be attacked by steampunk robots/spiders (different ores atract different monsters). When event is triggered player will have to decide if he is going to drop ores (in case of monster) or surrender and loose some cash/gold/random equipment (in case of bandits). There was also plan for sacred grounds and Indian attacks (this way player would need to decide if he/she wants to get short trip with high risk, or take longer route to go around such lands, but due to to AlCheddah suggestions i wont implement them (i will need to think about some other enemies that would take the role).

Fight will take place on event map ( it will look just like ordinary plot/town map, and will be one of prefab maps prepared in that purpose (i was thinking about making them randomly generated, but thats something to be added in update after release, so far far away from now :) ). It will be only ranged from the player side, no pickaxe/knife fights, no fantasy axes, swords etc. There will be real world guns (rifles/revolvers/shotguns), and some steampunk ones (steam bolters/ static electric rays etc). If player bought no weapons he will auto surrender when the event occurs. The weapon will be bought in stores (standard ones) or bought from/received as a quest items from The Inventor (he is one of the storylines. Ill write more in "story" part). Player will be moving using WSAD (or whatever he defines) and targeting/shooting using mouse. Each gun will have defined its own cone size in which bullet will be randomly shot. Player "Gunfight" experience will make the cone smaller ( there will be couple player skills, but no skillpoints/perks/ levelup systems. I want to keep it as simple as possible).

I prefer being a gold hunter than gold miner IOW I rather hunt for gold by prospecting and searching in multiple areas than having a plot to start a mine. But it's your call if you prefer the latter

In the Old Dutchman Mine "hunting" was just walking around and spamming enter button to see if theres mine or not. That was annoying. In my game You will be able to hunt gold when digging mine. The plot defines how many gold/copper ores tiles will appear on the tilemap, but you will see only 2-3 mine tiles from you when digging (and digging takes lot of time). As in reality You can dig long time and find nothing, and You will need to get cash from other sources to survive just to realize, that best chance to dig gold is to buy another plot and search there, just to realize later, that You were just a couple tiles from rich gold vein in the first plot.

I want the game to be very demanding. Story mode will throw You into wasteland with couple dollars in hand to go all the way to become mogul, but ill take Your advice and I think that ill make sandbox mode when player will choose if he want to have cash for some basic plot from beginning or not.

Hmmm, how long this process would take? if it's too long, I'm afraid players would lose the point of being miner if they have to go through tough process just to get a plot.

Its not like that, that player will need to spend all the time checking every newspaper, and speak with everyone. Its rather a way for game to give player a reason to speak with NPC/buy newspapers. You can risk and just buy a random plot, or base Your decision on one gossip or one newspaper, or You can gather a lot of info to have perfect knowledge what lays where. Couple gossips examples:

#1

- Barman: "Peg Leg Smith was here yesterday. He went out of cash, and payed for his whiskey with a quite nice gold nugget. I can bet he found gold on his plot".

#2

- Lady Lola: "Have you thought about buying some plot? I can give You some advice for 100$"
- Player: "Here You go" [pays 100$]
- Lady Lola "Willy Deep told one of my girls, that he just sold whole copper transport to Sico Steamworks Company. He digged all that stuff on his plot so I can bet theres plenty of copper on neighbouring plots too.



This plot has very poor gold density but can be used as a start as well as game tutorial.

I've already wrote tutorial storyline. In very very shortcut -> Its Your last day at Your work. You need to get there (moving tutorial), take tools (inventory tutorial), work in the mine (mining/plot tutorial), bring the ore You digged to the boss, and take cash You worked for, and a gun as a gift from him (vendor tutorial), then You go to the steam cart and go to the wild, but Youre being ambushed and robbed on the way (combat tutorial). This part will be "Intro" that You can turn on/off when starting new game.


Good, why don't we start from story? what will the story of your game be? or rather, what is the goal of the game? : is it about finding legendary treasure? or just getting rich by mining? or maybe something else?

Ive left story for the end of the post :) In the original "Old Dutchman Mine" when You found the Dutchman mine You automaticaly could see ending scene that gold You found there made You mogul... Quite flat ending to be honest :) In my game the goal is to become mogul too, but not just by doing one thing. You need to earn it, and earn it hard.

WARNING: SPOILER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT CONTAINS SOME STUFF THAT PLAYER WILL NOT KNOW FOR MOST OF THE GAME. IF YOU DONT WANT TO KNOW IT DONT READ ANYTHING BELOW THIS POINT.

There are two main storylines depending on gamers approach, which can be mixed, and will give You some bonuses at gameplay, and finishing whole quest line in one of them grants You an endgame event. First one is for players who are purely into digging/resource management. Game will give You possibility to buy not only mining plots, but also rail plots. They are way way more expensive then mining ones, and You will need to pay for rails and infrastructure on those too, which also requires a lot of cash, so You will need to dig tons of gold to achieve this. They will grant You bonuses to world map travel speed, ore market values and enable additional places to sell the ore. When You finish whole railroad, You become railroad mogul which is first possible ending.

Second storyline is The Inventor questline ( I mentioned it before). This storyline is more for quest/combat players. Basicaly the Inventor is a guy that has workshop in one of the towns, where he constructs some steampunk stuff. This guy will give You tons of quest. Gold doesnt matter here too much, but You will need to dig a lot of copper for him (mining quests), so he can construct stuff. He will also give You a lot of quests to test his inventions, both weapons (combat quests, including bosses) and mining equipment (exploration quests). You will also be able to buy more of those equipment after testing them, and You pay him with copper. Finishing whole questline makes You a partner of his, and You become steamworks mogul, which is second possible ending.

There will be some sidequests too -> havent planned too much of those yet, but those I have written are mostly a way to troll some certain people i really like to watch (f.e. gamedevs, youtubers) in a very very hidden manner (f.e. person who is not suscribing that youtuber or read whole devblog, and dont watch nearly all of the videos will never notice what is it about, and it will be just another quest for him. Its more like easter eggs, than trolling actually).

Its less complex that it sounds :) IMHO story and mechanics sticks together, and justify digging both gold and copper, gives the player possibility to choose approach he likes more, or mix them to profit from both. I know it will need tons of balance to achieve, that its challenging, but not boring, but its something to be done in far future, and will require a lot of player feedback. Watching You guys answering to my question gives me hope it will be possible to get such feedback when its needed at some point :)


Aug 28 2018 Anchor

By youre description the original game keept you playing by spaming the enter that promised a chance of ending the game with a win. Meanwhile it had a money gain and sink option that hide this simple truth, it was basicly a slot machine.

What i gathered from youre words that you wish to make it again, with a bigger smoke screen and a clear indication when and how the game can end. Sorry that wont work. If the player gains a sense when they can win, all a tions towards it will become a chore and you plan to make a lot of it, thats a nono.

What you can do is either reveal the end but let players figure out how to reach it. (try and error rogue like randomness)

Or stay at the original formula and never show anything that would allow the players to gauge theire distance to the goal. (accidently find a gold vein and have npcs tell the player he won.) you can add new game plus to sandbox with infinite money.

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