Month Two, The Indie Game Dev Catalyst Club

We’re into the swing of August now, and today’s class is playing through Mario levels, examining and determining “difficulty ratings” of the challenges presented to the player. Certain challenges will kill you if you fail. Others will not. Do the ones with greater reward have harsher potential punishment? Where do they occur? And just what is “skillgating”? Cutting edge game-analysis here in class…. even if the game is 30 years old.

Other students, less interested in analyzing platformer games but more interested in telling stories through interactive means, are working on their individual projects… the fantasy WWE game has music being coded in, and in Blender3D, another student’s dreams of a death-spirit from a void realm has simplified into “I’m going to make a geometric animation for my stream channel”. So now we’re figuring out how to make pentahedrons out of a cube.

Meanwhile, other students are creating custom “Pokemon” in our growing database of a combat system with elemental types and a chart of their strengths and weaknesses against each other. The task of creating a system to be balanced, to scale properly with leveling, and to have an elegant “meta” layer is a big one, but more straightforward than many may believe! As with any other art form, the important thing to keep in mind as you embark on such a major task is: it’s okay to suck at first. It’s okay if the quality is initially terrible, if the combat is imbalanced or has silly attack names. Something has to exist before it can be refined: first drafts are usually garbage, but the act of creating them gives us the momentum, practice and creative realizations needed to shape them into consecutive iterations and finished products.


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