About six months ago I finally decided to start making a solo project.
Alas, of all the videogame projects I’ve worken on, none were actually finished, and I’m not talking just about Hellsand, Capestranus is still slowly working on it in his spare time, the only issue being his limited time to work on it, but I literally coded tens of prototypes for games that have never seen the light, and that’s really disappointing. It’s also a waste of time and effort, not something I’m really fond of quite frankly.
I decided that it was time to think for myself, and stop trying to work with teams if that meant my work ended up in a trash bin, I decided to just do the project that I wanted, make myself something for myself, not having to wait for other people’s work to continue my own, to find common grounds on the design of a game with people that has a completely different taste and vision for the project, or any other thing that hindered, and ultimately killed, all the projects I had taken part in developing.
I could just explain the project here, but I think it could be interesting, and a way to record its evolution for the future, to write its history here. As soon as I have enough time I’ll setup its own website anyway, so there will be a place with that explanation only soon.
The short explanation is: A Call for Adventure is an open world adventure game, with both crafting and survival elements, inspired by my favourite cartoon Adventure Time, hence the name, the aesthetics and the setting. For the long explanation you can keep reading!
Also you can actually find the game on its Youtube channel, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit or Instagram, I got the whole deck so you can choose what you prefer.
So, let’s begin unraveling a story that have been going on for almost ten years, and is deeply rooted in my childhood.
I’ve had for the longest time an idea for an open world game, back then in 2011 when I first attempted developing the project, I was just learning to program by myself with just a list of commands and a very basic knowledge of programming, learnt in school where they just taught us logic operators and loops (the teacher didn’t really know how to code, she would just know how to make a very simple program in the extremely obsolete Turbo Pascal language). Also, I was learning DarkBasic, a remarkably slow Basic dialect, the reason was that I had always been told how freakin’ difficult programming was, and the syntax close to the Pascal made it look doable, while the (apparently) very different syntax of C languages seemed scary. Turns out that the difference is much smaller than it looks at first glance, and years later, when I took the courage of doing the jump, the difficulty was non-existant. I actually managed to make a character that would walk around, a simple editor to create a simple landscape, there were health and stamina, and stamina would become more by “training”, that meant every time you ran or jumped, the max amount got a little higher, there also were a few plants and objects you could pick up, and a simple crafting to make an axe. It just looked horrible, 3D modeling programs weren’t easy to use nor good when free, so I used a cursed free program called Wings3D, it did its job but against today’s standards it was terrible, I also didn’t speak much english back then, so there was no info I could use to learn better programming and modeling.
Alas this is the only screenshot that I can show you, it used to be first person in the beginning, there were some vegetables around and the axe in your hands, but I changed a lot of stuff to make it 3rd person right before stopping the development, I had serious performance problems and the only way to address them was to have this kind of very limited view to keep the polycount extremely low.
This was the very sad and ugly Elysium, the first draft of what would later evolve into “A Call for Adventure”. It doesn’t look like much, but for a boy that knows nothing, with just a list of commands and his own insight, I was at the same time displeased for its ugliness and kinda proud for making it this far.
I started then researching open world survival games to see what others did, but at the time the genre was almost non-existant, so the only thing I found was Haven&Hearth, an indie, two-men team Swedish mmo game, and Minecraft, that at the time was in its early alpha stage and pretty unknown. H&H was quite similar to what I wanted to achieve, but beyond my ability, and I had grown frustrated for the constant performance issues I ran into, that I didn’t know but were only and exclusively a problem caused by the slow language I was using, there are good reasons why no one makes games in Basic languages, so I quit the project thinking there already was another better alternative to my project. It might seem strange as a way of reasoning, but back then indie game development wasn’t really considered a thing, the tools were few and complex, and very little indie devs existed, so no one reasonable would have considered making games anything more than a hobby.
I’ll continue the story in another post, because it’s too long for a single one, I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience so far. See you the next time!