Yes, that’s right! I have officially joined the SMILE GAME BUILDER Summer 2020 Game Jam, hosted by AmalgamAsh.
This is the first game jam I’ve entered. I wasn’t going to enter at all, but I figured why not?
I’m constantly asked why, if I’ve been with SGB since the beginning, haven’t I produced any games? It’s a valid question.
Aside from creating my SGB Tutorials, part of the problem with entering game jams (and the reason I haven’t entered any yet) has been motivation and focus because…life and work, y’know! Hence, this game jam will provide the opportunity to refocus and fuel the motivational drive and determination to publish a game, even a short one or a demo at this point.
So my official entry into the Game Jam is Enigma of the Wulf, which is a short mystery-drive game. It mostly uses the default models, with a few additions from the Type-B Friends with Symbols and G-Style Modern City Resource Pack Vol. 1 DLCs.
I won’t divulge too many details yet, but will continue working on it on my days off until the end date (maybe before then).
If development on the game continues after the Game Jam ends, I’ll further expand the storyline, create new models – including animations – and assets for it, and create a separate section here and on GameJolt for progress update.
Here is the first demo of Relationship Sim‘s "Select A Girl" custom menu, where you can see the girls’ relationship stats. It’s still a work-in-progress, but as game development continues, so too will this menu.
“Select A Girl” Custom Menu Video Demo #1
What Is "Relationship Sim"?
For those who don’t know already, Relationship Sim is a game I’m developing for SMILE GAME BUILDER.
It was originally inspired by Tutorial #16, which demonstrated how to create a basic relationship system. I decided to expand on that idea and build a full relationship system, where choices matter and affects relationships with other people.
However, game development on it halted in favour of other games and projects. Eventually, it came full circle and I decided to continue with this game first – and finish it – before moving onto other games and, possibly, other engines.
Those who follow me on social media already know about the various projects I’m working on, including my games.
Various Game Engines
I’ve tried my hand at various genres and storylines, inculding a quasi-biographical game entitled Confluction, but none of them really progressed beyond initial concept. There are numerous reasons behind this, but the main one seems to be that they haven’t felt "right".
In a recent announcement on the SGB Discord, I stated:
My problem is that I have so many ideas bouncing around in my head and not enough time to implement them all. This then becomes fingers-in-too-many-pies syndrome and none of the games actually reach completion. So to resolve this, I started looking closer to topics I’m interested in and conversant with, and eventually settled on a theme.
Game development on "Starborn: The Fallen" will most likely migrate to GameGuru MAX (official release September) and development on "Relationship Sim" will be for SMILE GAME BUILDER.
The next goal was to determine which engine to use for the overall feeling and outcome. I settled on SMILE GAME BUILDER for "Relationship Sim" (a previously planned but now resurrected game idea) and GameGuru MAX for "Starborn: The Fallen".
Why GameGuru MAX? Why Not Unity?
Someone in Discord asked why I’d use GameGuru MAX for Starborn: The Fallen rather than Unity or the Game Creator asset for Unity (interpretably haughtily).
My answer was probably rather terse, so I thought I’d expand it here. What I won’t do here is extol GameGuru MAX’s virtues or lament its drawbacks.
Now I responded that I wanted to try something different. Since I’ve been using GameGuru (not necessarily intending to produce a game with it) on and off for awhile, I saw the potential for a small yet simple horror-style game because of its post-effects, like lighting. Furthermore, some of the models in the add-on packs were (are) perfect for this purpose.
However, as before the "feeling" just wasn’t there, so the motivation dwindled. I continued creating the maps for the game – sometimes from scratch, sometimes randomly generating landscapes – and soon realised that some of the maps bore a striking resemblance to those in Starborn. This was purely subconscious; I wasn’t planning on it.
This then prompted me to delve further into GameGuru as a whole. Although I still need to learn its programming language, Lua, it is more lightweight than the C# that Unity predominantly uses and, while not primarily an object-orientated programming (OOP) language, primary classes and tables can be used to store data and create objects. I wrote a very simplistic script to store some basic information for an equally basic quest log (admittedly partially functional and very buggy).
Completely by accident, I saw a trailer for GameGuru MAX so decided to preorder it in February and recently received the first alpha release. This seriously lacks in actual content but it is a vast improvement on its predecessor, with a better, more intuitive interface and a built-in character creator. I even tried importing some of my own hi-tex models into the engine and was impressed with the results.
So, I made that executive decision to migrate Starborn to GameGuru MAX. I’ll continue working on the game (intermittently) until its official release in September.
Relationship Sim (SMILE GAME BUILDER)
And I will resume development on my SGB game, "Relationship Sim", which I started some time ago. This was loosely based on and inspired by an old tutorial I did, #16: Relationship System.
I particularly like those kinds of games where choices matter and actions have consequences, which result in multiple endings based on those choices.
Relationship Sim is no exception in that you can follow the path of faithful boyfriend or cassanova. Each path has a different outcome and different influences on other characters.
Susbsequently, the "relationship system" is potentially quite complex. SGB’s limitations at the time became one of the major reasons the project was placed on hold. Now, with some of the newest additions (notably displaying text as images and string variables), it’s more viable to create a specific HUD style without having to rely exclusively on graphics for names, relationship status, etc.
My SubscribeStar patrons will also gain access to "mature" or "adult" content. This won’t be sexual in nature, not gratuitous but more inferred, and it’ll be optional content for those who want it.
With that said, I’m going to start development on Relationship Sim from scratch, expanding upon and improving its old system to accommodate the new updates.
Working on both projects at once – plus my tutorials, my model packs and live-streaming – will demand much of my time, but with proper micro-management of time I should be able to juggle them successfully.
Although there won’t be updates on Starborn: The Fallen until September (when it’s officially launched), updates on Relationship Sim will be posted on social media and in the SGB Discord.
This is a short demo of a feature in my game Starborn: The Fallen for SMILE GAME BUILDER.
This video showcases the different phases for building the house. The building time is sped up for the purposes of the video.
The basic idea behind the house-building is to gather materials to build a house in the same style as many other building games. It’s part of a larger, more comprehensive crafting system, where you gather materials to build houses, craft potions, upgrade weapons and armor, and so on.
The "Book of Stats" for my SMILE GAME BUILDER game Starborn: The Fallen is complete, now with a working Karma System. Decisions MATTER!
Each of the stats updates during the game. I’ll post more about them and the Karma System later.
Game Development will continue with a basic farming/crafting system next.
The game I’m working on for SMILE GAME BUILDER – for those who don’t already know – is entitled Starborn: The Fallen.
Its current game dev home (for now) is on Gamejolt. You can follow the project there if you want to keep up-to-date with its progress and development.
Here’s a game dev showcase video for the game’s intro scene.
The video is hosted on DailyMotion, but you can also view the YouTube version if you prefer.
Game Development Notes
Game development will continue with fleshing out the story first before focusing on graphics, 3D models and animations, so will use many default models for now. Over time, I’ll add more custom assets (including models) and will showcase them in future videos.
I’ve been experimenting with a new Stats Log for SMILE GAME BUILDER. Here’s a screenshot. I’ll add more stats as time goes by.
However, while writing the main plot, its overall theme changed.
I ended up adding some fantasy elements to it. I can’t help it: I just love those types of games where Old World meets Modern or ancient technologies are interwoven into fantasy realms. The clincher is that this change of theme seems somehow more appropriate.
I turned 50 in July, so Conflux’s original concept was born from the depressive state I found myself in. I guess it was some kind of existential crisis, wherein I started reflecting on my life, questioning the choices I made to end up where I am today.
Filled with what-if’s and if-only’s, my mind transported itself back in time to those key points in my life when I was presented with tough choices.
What would have happened if I’d taken the other path? Would things have turned out differently or would they have remained the same? These are valid questions, ones we all ask ourselves at some point in our lives, but there are no valid answers because we won’t know the answers once that decision has been made. There’s usually no backtracking.
And this became the premise for Conflux, where all choices matter!
At its core, Conflux is a philosophical view about these choices and their consequences, and why each decision we make matters in the grand scheme of things. Those choices – whether our own or others’ – determine our future decisions and shape our future, putting us on the paths we take in life. We’re often presented with two or more paths, each with their own perils and rewards, and each with a different outcome and consequences.
Much of the content in Conflux – the events, incidences and influences – are based on my own life experiences. I intended it as a kind of autobiography from the start but from the perspective of addressing the what-if questions.
That means that there is no right or wrong path, no real success or failure. However, since choices matter in the game, whereas some decisions you (the player) make results in more successful outcomes but less propitious consequences, others might result in unavailing outcomes but profitable consequences. It all depends on those decisions, taking one path over the other.
The game also subtly focuses on the notion that Destiny is a fixed path, predetermined, along which you travel – and stray – but you always return at some points to its path. You either return to it on your own or certain events push you back onto it, often forcefully. You’re allowed to stray again and again, of course, but somewhere, somewhen, you’ll return to this path.
The end goal, your final destination, your death, is also a fixed point in time, except we don’t know when that is. The ultimate destination at the very end of the path is more open and malleable, shaped and formed by all the decisions you made, the consequences that arose and a combined measure of successes and failures.
Although development is slow, and updates are sporadic, I am still working on Conflux in the background when I have the time.
Actual game development stagnated for awhile and I couldn’t determine why until its theme changed from modern to fantasy-modern.
At the moment, I’m mostly focused on creating the models, especially now that the plot and theme are established. And with that in mind, I’ll continue working on it and try to post more regular updates on it, mostly on Twitter.
Here’s a nice little "fog of war" effect for exploring the rooms (in Conflux, the game I’m working on in SMILE GAME BUILDER).
I’ve been asked how I achieved this, but for now I’m keeping this method a secret and I’m neither confirming nor denying any guesses on how it’s done. Perhaps in time I’ll create a tutorial on it. For now, however, I’m not going to.
This is a demo video of the official intro for Otherworld: Through the Veil for Smile Game Builder, which I’ve been working on – on and off – for quite some time.
Intro Demo Video
As further progress is made, I’ll post further updates on the game.