Keywords: aboutme
Five years ago I found a small, yet life changing, gem called BYOND. It gave me the opportunity to produce my dream game. But, I got fixed on what the people within this community thought of me. With that turn in the road, it turned my small endeavor into game development into a hectic and stressful situation. I then took small breaks and joined other communities, in which I have learned a lot about game design. But still, out of the five years I have been here, I have yet to actually create my "dream game". I can only hope that next year I will be able to accomplish such a daunting task.

About Me
I joined BYOND when I was fourteen years old, it was literally a dream come true. After using The Game Factor and RPGMaker, I wanted to create bigger game. These programs were great and I would not been here if it weren't for them, but I always felt limited, my real dream was to create an online game. November 28th, 2004, I used Google to search for something along the lines of an 'Online Game Maker'. I found a site which listed several game developing software, and then I came across BYOND. I was stunned that such a program existed, I hastily joined the community and from then on I have been creating games.

A Few Years of Using BYOND
Now, after a few years of using BYOND I had the motive of going into the field of programming. At the same time, I truly wanted to learn a language like C++ or C#; this would give me a clean slate to work on. In my opinion, I had earned the reputation of being a fairly incompetent programmer and I had the feeling that many people within the BYOND community despised me. So I bought several books which would help me on my endeavor. But as years passed on I realized that I was not fit for such a job or the task of learning a new language. Oddly, my dream job is being able to get a job within the Criminal Justice field, but I'll save that for another post. Along with that, creating games has and always will be a hobby of mine, I do not see it as excruciating work nor do I wish it to be.

Five Years Later: I Have Yet to Start on My Dream Game
I recently realized the reason as to why I have yet to finish a true game. For the past five years or so, nearly every game idea I've had has been based on another. I tend to find indie games that are particularly interesting. I feel as if the same concept would work on BYOND and then I begin to create something fairly similar. This is where my problem lied, once my excitement over the indie game vanished, I was left with a half completed game. But, there have been times where I did finish and release my poorly made clones:

Fortay is closest to what I can consider to be a completed game of mine. It is vastly based off of The Battle for Wesnoth, which I was insanely obsessed with at the time. The truth is, I have never been too interested in the turn-based genre. I am not sure how Wesnoth grabbed my attention, but what I do know is now I can barely stand the game. So Fortay swiftly died.

To be honest, I never played Lode Wars until several people mentioned that my game, Blubomb, was fairly similar to it. But the truth is, I actually decided to work on such a game after reading tidbits on Hedgemistress’ Miner League.
But I was two years younger than I am now and obviously learned my lesson, or so you would think. A month ago I once again attempted to make a game reasonably similar to Miner League.

As with my other projects, once my interest in the original game died, so did my project. Thus, my recycle bin grew larger.

Infected Cell was created after reading a ton of information about the, at the time, unreleased game, Left 4 Dead.

Along with frequently watching others play Resident Evil 4, I got hooked on zombie movies and quickly threw together a disgustingly programmed zombie game. Perhaps, that is why I never made an announcement about the game?

The Last Wizard is yet another project of mine based on another game. This game was inspired by Richard Bartle's game, Spell Binder. I quickly created this game after several people from wiz_chat and I played several rounds of Spell Binder. The original game was decent, but I should not have swiftly decided that it would be an amazing idea to work on a game that is based on another. Obviously, Spell Binder was better in every shape and form.

Junk Metal is heavily based off of Gerdan's Bot Duel.

(This is the PSP version, I don't have other pictures of it)
Although my memory is kind of fuzzy, I believe I most likely stopped frequently working on the game 2 months after its release. Maybe I should leave programming to people with talent?

Although not widely discussed, I was a huge fan of Space Station 13. Thus, I have created countless attempts that either tried to recreate Space Station 13, or a game fairly similar.

Deep Waters was my recent, and hopefully last, attempt.

LineWalk is basically an over simplified version of Line Rider, which bores me.

I'm guessing I made LineWalk to prove to myself that I could create pixel movement with custom bounding boxes.

Last but not least, one of my recent, now deceased, projects was FortressBuild.

It is plain and simple, it is a poor attempt at bringing a game that was heavily played in Chatters, MineCraft, to BYOND. I soon lost all motivation to work on this project.

As you can see, my BYOND "career" thus far has been nothing significant. For years, I frowned at those who wanted to create games based on an Anime, when at the same time; I was doing something fairly similar, taking ideas that are not mine and bringing them to BYOND. It does upset me as I look back at my game developing career. I was a young kid with such big dreams; I had pages and pages of game design notes before I joined BYOND. My mind was set, I was going to create my dream game and no one could stop me. I had not prior experience with the internet, but I quickly learned my way around it. My grammar was a lot worse than it is now, but I joined the Chatters community in 2004 in which I noticed a subtle change in the way I acted online. I stayed with the Chatters community because it had users who were well known on BYOND. I wanted their respect; I wanted to be well known.

Although, I have only aged five years, I believe I have become wiser. Create a game that is your dream, ignore those who disapprove. You do not have to impress anyone within or outside of this community. At the end of the day, you want to feel as if you made the right choice. Years from now, you want to be able to look back at your game and feel as if you accomplished something significant, in your own opinion. You want to feel as if you accomplished what you came to BYOND to do, create your dream game. I only wish someone told me that from the beginning. Perhaps, I wouldn't have blatantly stole popular game ideas hoping to recreate them on BYOND.

To be honest, I no longer know what my original dream game is. But, let's just hope from here on I actually work on ideas that are mine.
Wow man...
I can see where you are coming from. I feel like i'm you from 5 years ago. Like bringing ideas to byond that are already made. I'm stealing the idea of Murder mansion and SS13 for my Build a space game. I should be making my own game, nothing that byond has seen before. And again i agree with you completely since i am similar to you 5 years ago in nearly the same way. (Banned from chatters, Making games from other ideas)

You really have gave me some things to think about. My future in games development, what i should be doing.

Again Thanks for this post and i hope other people will take the time to read it all and maybe feel the same way i do.
Well we all know, Mano A Mano. :)
Been there for sure.
This is definitely my case too... absolutely accurate, in fact...
I'm pretty sure that this is a common problem on BYOND... I'm not really sure why, but that seems to be the case. I came to BYOND eight years ago to build my dream game, which given a lack of better name I called FoomerMUD! I actually had a lot of fun building it when I finally did get around to it, however, I was building it to play with my friends, and my friends all ditched me and went off to do other things, leaving me with nobody that I wanted to play with... So my dream game died.

I also created Echelon, which is a non-hex version of Abalone, and Solar Conquest which, lets face it, is a glorified BYOND version of Crispy's game. I also started The Gauntlet which is pretty much Chip's Challenge on a larger scale.

The only game I made that had some mild originality is Tomb Explorer, which is pretty much a basic lock and key game with an interface and "look" borrowed from Minesweeper. That game was actually inspired by me playing Minesweeper at 2am at work, wishing that Minesweeper had more depth, and thinking about ways to expand The Gauntlet. I thought, what if I merged The Gauntlet's puzzle structure with the way Minesweeper is played? A small map, just point and click and it opens up new areas? And so that game came about.

Kinda sad that in the eight years that I've been here I've only spent maybe four months actively developing games that are worth noting. It seems that a lot of people visit BYOND, get caught up in the community, and quickly become too busy helping, bickering/arguing with or trying to impress members of the community to actually work on something fun. The problem is, you get too involved in this community and it drains your desire to work on anything. You spend all day responding to forum posts and blogs and you never get anything done! Its a wonder Tom has survived this long.
Is Fortay's graphical update still coming? If so, I'd also like to resolve some interface issues (as with others' featured games). If not, is featuring it doing you any good?
I had multiple planned projects that never left their planning state. :/

I was going to work on my own Text Adventure Generator for BYOND, but that one never got finished (very small progress). Disky Challenge (my variation of Chip's Challenge) is still being worked, though production is slow. I had one plan for a real-life simulator that was to be the most advanced of any real-life simulator developed in C++, but that one never did get built. In fact, that one has been in planning for like 5-6 years.

I still need to build a game in C++ that is at least of graphical quality. Only one I built in C++ was Text City Simulator, which was a console application. As some of ya may know, I have built various versions of Text City Simulator Version 1 (including Javascript).

Here's a concept for a TBS game I planned on, but never did start: Bandock?command=view_post&post=20267

I would like to discuss one of my early attempts at DM programming based off an adventure I was working on for Adventure Construction Kit. Known as "The Industry Wars", it had some concepts at that time I couldn't do due to my inexperience with DM. Though I learned a bit through that project, I didn't release or allow hosting of my projects until I worked on the BYOND version of Text City Simulator. Originally supposed to have original code at the start, I decided to base it off the BASIC (used QBASIC) version of Version 1. New Version 3 will be using fresh source code compared to the Old Version 3 (which was derived from Version 2, which itself was derived from Version 1).

Now these days, I do experiments with different concepts such as Speech Recognition (which only worked server-side at this time), Ultima-Style City Building Experiment (Kind of like using a mini-map, but on the world view), and some other experimental projects. Also been getting back to work on Movie Maker BYOND. That is all I have to say.
I get this way when I have to focus on more than one job for development, like programming. I just prefer, and am more skilled in, drawing and game design. I'm going to be paying someone to program my "dream game" for me when things are ready, funding and graphics. I've been planning it for a long time, for about 2 years now (story and concept) and have been sticking to it strictly. Just because you change something doesn't mean you have to start anew and call it something different.

Yes, trying to imitate games we like happens to all of us. Though games on here are fun, they are also a low standard, or not a high enough goal. Try imitating those more professional (even something popular and old as final fantasy or dragon warrior) but don't copy it. Think about what makes an RPG great as a "whole" and what's enticing to keep playing.

Sometimes we just need an extra hand. Leave work that you're best at and enjoy and are proud to continue doing. If this is art, go for it. Pay someone else that's more skilled in programming to save time for yourself. Learn that this is significant in productivity. A game isn't made in a day, usually not in a month either. Face these facts and anything in your arsenal to increase productivity, even it is paying someone to do something for you. We're not all artists, programmers, musicians, writers, game designers, etc.

On a side note, talking all the time to people isn't very productive (such as I'm doing instead of drawing). Neither is "dreaming" all the time. Sometimes you just have to unplug your internet and push yourself to work and convince yourself it's worth it in the long run.

Calus, from what I see you have great potential in creating something great for this community. You just need to focus on what it is that needs to be done and determine if you need assistance. This doesn't make you any less of a developer.
Neblim wrote:
A game isn't made in a day, usually not in a month either. Face these facts and anything in your arsenal to increase productivity, even it is paying someone to do something for you. We're not all artists, programmers, musicians, writers, game designers, etc.

Tomb Explorer only took me two days. :) And a month or more of planning/testing.
Before I start, I just would like to applaud you on the honesty and background you've gave us. I bet 99.99% of all BYONDers can relate to this in one way, shape or form.

I think Neblim hit the nail on the head with this one.

1st - Design Docs are CRUCIAL to any project. Design EVERYTHING, I can vision games in my head before I even start writing out a design document.

2nd - Although it may cost money (you might find a partner who would do it for a reduced/free cost). Not everybody is good at everything. I would say my role would is Project Leader/Game Design/Finance . I can't draw for crap and learning to program is just not efficient for me (I run a business on this place I like to call Earth) So outsourcing is the way to go.

3rd - You can take concepts from other games, but nothing plug and play. Make sure they fit your game and don't just throw things in together.

4th - Make something already! If you need people to bounce ideas off of, I am great with brainstorming! Try and stop doing everything yourself!

Good Luck, and long live BYOND.

ironically, pretty much all i've ever done is create my dream game. it started with raegon when i was like 11, and i had a blast making that and playing it with others, and then i realized it was crap and made stick world. fast forward and i realize it's crap so i make stick world 2. i'm now very content with having achieved the whole dream game thing :P

from this point on, if i put serious effort into developing on byond, it'll be to just experiment with design
The game I'm working on now, while not exactly my dream world since I realize that I really don't have the time, energy or inspiration to build the entire thing, is more-less what I want to play. However, I'm stuck pondering over how best to setup the interface to allow for maximum interaction with minimum hassle.

I've always wanted a game where you can explore elaborate user-created locations while at the same time being able to find genuinely interesting things there. The hard part about that is getting the users to create the elaborate, interesting content. Pretty hard to do when you're surrounded with players that just want to punch pbags and pwn each other all day.
I believe you know your dream game, you've just lost the ability to realize the difference.

Still remember playing soccer with you on a icon trading game talking about big dreams.

Those were the days, Calus. Those were the days.. Wish we could go back knowing what we know now.. Then again, I'd like to not change who I am.
I have read a few books on game design and none of them mention that a game must be totaly original. The art of game design is looking at previous mechanics that have worked and updating them to suit your games needs or reworking them to bring a twist. The reason for this is players like being familiar to things. Easiest example i have at the moment is call of duty vs medal of honour; i bought the latter a few days ago and i immediately knew the controls a few new ones here and there, but you get the gist. heres a nice quote: Nothing is Original