Advice on starting a new project

How I went about designing and making the game Future Proof.

Like all games it starts with an idea or a combination of two ideas. Mine came after I did an escape room with a few friends. Someone said you should make an escape room. So that got me thinking about an escape room like video game. Few days later I had an idea for an idea for quick 5 minute game. Similar to the one it is now expect the player character would wake up from a nap a see everything has gone to hell. There is a meteor about to hit and you are given a small 5-10 minute timer to escape.

I had designed it to be simple.

Talk to scientist who says he can destroy the meteor with a giant laser he has in his lab but he is trapped and his lab is blocked by obstacle.

Then all you need to do is:

1.       Remove obstacle blocking lab

2.       Restore power

3.       Input code and win

That was it. Quick, simple and didn’t overstay its welcome.

The problem however was I kept having ideas of how to add and make the game better. I got attached. I wanted to make it full game. Then I came up with the most important concept of the game – the repeated time loop. I got it from a show I was watching at the time where the protagonist could reset a time loop by him dying. A time loop lends itself really well to video games. I wanted the player to fail but not only fail but to die due to failure. Using it as a lesson for the player to get wiser on the next time around. This also deals with the problem of check pointing and saving issues. The idea I wanted was like a Groundhog Day scenario where the player can just breeze through all they have done with prior knowledge. I wanted it to be a game you can complete in 10 minutes easily but only if you had the solutions. Has it remained that way? It has I still believe. However, I needed to add a skip ahead feature which lets you skip completion certain puzzles to remove some tedious tasks and keep the player engaged. This just kept going and now I happy at the size of the game so I am just polishing and trying to improve what is there now.

My advice:

  •   Start small, I mean really small and simple (it will grow rapidly from there)

Focus on one mechanic or unique idea and see how it plays. Expand from there if testing that idea works out to your liking.

  • Do not plan to do a long game if you have never done a short one before

When you have little experience with knowing how much effort it will take a game of even a 3 hour game. Biting off more than you can chew can be deflating.