What's everyone's work process like?

Diarist

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I had this thought buzzing around in my head the other day and only just now got around to making a thread about it.

Basically, if the title was worded awkwardly; what's your general order of operations? Do you start by making a world map? Do you make maps as the story progresses or do you plan them all out ahead of time? Or do you start with something completely different like character design or even music choices?

I was just curious. I remember eons ago when I made my one finished game (which was moreso 4 separate smaller games that were 'chapters,' because I couldn't fit the entire thing into one file. Will prolly be doing the same thing with my current project as well), that I would make maps as I went. The characters had already been planned out and stuff by the time I worked on it, but I do remember making the (very badly edited) custom sprites in a generator when they'd show up in the story, rather than ahead of time. Aha.

What's everyone's work process like? I suppose this applies more to people who have finished projects or near-finished projects, but I thought it'd be neat to ask regardless and see how people work. It's always been intriguing to me. I have a friend who's also working on something and is taking a "make as he goes" kind of approach with his game as well from what I can tell.
 

Siaakra

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The only game I've ever completed was with the ren'py system, which would obviously have a different progression of operations.

Really interested to hear others responses to this, while it wont really impact the way I'll end up doing things, I like knowing how others do it! :D
 

Shaz

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I start with the story first. From that, I make a list of all the areas I need, and draw a global map (I don't have a world map in my game, but if I did, I'd still draw a rough one by hand first). Then I'll make note of any special requirements for any area (in one map I need a fallen tree that can be used as a bridge, in another I need a rockslide that can be tunnelled through) and create the tilesets, commissioning anything I can't find. Then come the maps (which I contracted out to someone who does it far better than me).

My main characters were fleshed out while the story was being written, and I got an artist working on those fairly early. NPCs get done by the character generator as I need them.

Something I find difficult with the "make it as you go" approach is knowing how much room to leave in the database for things, while still being able to group related things together. Skills, weapons, armors, items. When we did the Aveyond games, Amanda was awesome with this - everything was planned out ahead of time, and she had a list of everything for the database before we even created a new project. I wish I was as disciplined as she is!
 

IguanaGuy

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I have a notebook with the basic storyline written out in it and the various "missions" of my game in short description. Because I do this in the evenings when I have time, I find myself getting bored if I stay working on the same mission for more than two weeks so I will usually make notes of what has to be completed on those maps and switch to something else for a while. I know the format sound chaotic and unorganized but it is how I keep myself interested on working on the game. After you stare at and playtest the same map dozens of times, you start getting over critical and it goes from being masterpiece to garbage if you don't back away and do something else. I have seen lots of fellow game makers who had a good idea and got going on it but stayed doing the same thing for weeks on end and then they end up ditching it for another idea. What I think is you don't need a new idea as much as something "new" to work on in the same game. So work on a town for a bit, but if that gets uninspiring, leave it aside and work on the dungeon for a bit. NOTE - this relies on the fact you have good notes somewhere or you will lose track of what is what. That's just my way. Not sure if anyone would agree with my methods or not.
 

lianderson

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Just got to find what works for you.

Personally, I do things in cycles. I'll spend a week or two just mapping, then a week or two just doing database, then a week or two just doing writing, then a week or two just doing bug fixes, and then of course, a week or two just not doing anything at all so I don't get burnt tf out.

Also, since I do a lot of patches, right when I'm done uploading a patch, I'll write up the new one in notepad before its even worked on at all. It of course doesn't contain everything, but I do use it as a things to do list for myself.
 
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First of all I come up with a rough concept.

Next up I work out my map/dungeon designs in photoshop. I do these in a really simple way to work out events, triggers etc.

Eg:


Once I have the game fully mapped out in photoshop I then going into Aseprite and make all of my tiles and then I map the full game for real.

After the mapping is done I do all of the dungeon sound, eventing and triggers so you can basically play through the full game without any encounters or narrative.

Once I am happy with how all of thats working I go in and make all the character artwork and add in all the narrative elements.

Then the last thing I do is create battlers and add in encounters, last up is balancing.

Butterbingbutterboom my games are done.
 

RetroExcellent

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I don't have any finished games, but I do have a process. I have about 17 years experience as a GM and I use my game design from that for RPG Maker, and it works well.

I start with an overview - What is the basis of my game, what kind of world is it in, what is the genre(s)?
Next I make The starting party and the main bad guy - I use a writer's template to flesh them out, and then come back and create the sprite.
I am used to players not doing what I expect them to actually do, so I start by making areas - I make a hub, city or whatever and then I figure out what is around or in it that the player can explore and not do the main quest.
Next I decide what is important in those areas for the player to forward the story and I make any npc that are needed - I use the same template for any important npc and I try to flesh out even basic npcs to give life to the game.
I then go back and flesh out what kind of enemies and or quests are in each of these areas.
I then repeat this process from the next hub.
 

atoms

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I usually start with a couple of ideas and see where they go. Once I found an idea, or if I have a few that can group and work together then it becomes a few ideas, that I think I'm happy with, and I am open to changing the idea later, then I start from there.

I usually then go to my major characters. Party members that I plan first and other major/important characters that can come from there too. I try to make sure each character has a motive and that they can group together.

Usually at that stage if I haven't thought of a plot yet, I'll get one. I'd want plot and characters to fit together.

I also like being a bit visually at this stage, so I'd open up RPG Maker MV and look at the graphics available to me, as well as the iconset. Since I still use VX Ace iconset with recolours as well, that'll be what I look at.

It can inspire and cause a lot of creativity and ideas with what you do, for me anyway it does and I'm guessing at least for some others it could.

I then go onto world building, since I'd have made up my mind where the characters live by now that'll fit into this section too. I'll then make sure everything still comes together. I might want to visually make a world map, not necessarily the one I use in the game in the end, but a world map just to help inspire creativity with world building and keep going from there.

I'm still open at this stage to change ideas and make sure they fit. I'd usually want to make sure this story that I have now looks like it'll be good in presenting it.

I'd probably already have many scenes and an outline written out by this stage, but I'd go back to it and make sure everything now fits. I'd make sure to write out dialogue and everything in each scene.

Afterwards I'd say I have a proper story and a 1st draft of what it's like. I may leave it for a while, then return to it. Once I'm finally fully happy I'll normally edit it out and see what changes. It usually seems to improve from my view when I do this with a story, so hopefully it really does.

Then I work on everything in the database, as much of it as I can, while mapping as well, but I'd try and be neat and tidy with the database by leaving enough space that I think I'd need, in the database, for everything. I'd put them under different labels, so not everything becomes cluttered.

I'd usually copy and paste dialogue into the events I make and such, and things can still change at this stage but probably not a big scale.

Mapping is ok for me. I try to make sure I know enough about the differences between towns and dungeons for example, so I try and map them the best way I think they should be, with the mechanics and gameplay I've decided I want.

That's all how I try and work anyway.
 

Kes

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If you browse the first couple of pages of this forum you will find other threads asking the same or very similar questions. Reading them will give you a wider range of opinion.
 
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Currently trying to find my own process. This'll be my first game, and I keep juggling between designing characters and making the levels. Then I shift to music a bit. I'm all over the place atm. Probably not a good thing. BUT I do watch Echo607's videos and liked the one about how not to make "just another RPG". Hope that helps a little.
 

Torisu

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I find knowing what your making helps the most. I build the world and then add the people. After that I would make a dot list of the systems features and whether or not they can be added.
 

Padramyr

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At first, I roughly plan out the story of the game. Most details just come while I'm working on the characters and the game itself. After the initial story idea I work on the main characters and the main antagonists next. I'll define their personalities, motives and general background. Most of the times I also do the artworks at this point.
Afterwards I decide which cities, dungeons and other places as well as (important) characters I need and what they're like. I also think about some side missions that could take place in those regions when I need distraction from the game itself. The next step is thinking about the kind of music for the regions. But the music also changes from time to time while I work on/map a specific location. Then I start creating/searching for the music but I'll often combine this with the last steps.
Last but not least there is the mapping, eventing and all the other things you need to do for the actual game. I switch between different ToDos like mapping, eventing or databasing. It depends on what I want to do on that day ^^
 

Kupotepo

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Hello @Diarist.
1) Make the most of ourselves because many of us are poor and are untalented.
2) Create a database which is a way to organize, so you can search your massive information in a later time. I am suggest use excel, access, or Google products. (I should do as I preached.)
3)Create maps and test game mechanics make sure it work as intented.
 

Kokoro Hane

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My process is usually first, I gather all the facesets of my characters I am going to use (whether they be custom, RTP, edits, etc.) to decide what my characters look like and then I name them. I come up with a basic synopsis and feel for the game. Before I even begin mapping, I write the cutscene dialogues in a document file. This is because I generally like to have voiced cutscenes, so I have this written out separately so it is easier to send them out to my actors. Within the script is directions of where the scene is happening, how lines are said, and what happens in between during gameplay points and whether I should event a mandatory save. After the story is finished from beginning to end, then I begin mapping and eventing, also adding other bits briefly laid out and adding whatever random unvoiced dialogue for random NPC talk or even a few unvoiced events that are short. I am also adding any voiced lines once they are received, adjusting any wording if my VAs did any brilliant adlibs that get through. During this process, there is a lot of saving and testing. Once the game is completed, I am sure to at least play the game through before I compile it. Then I playtest the compiled version before I release it ^^
 

Milennin

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I just do whatever I want.

Clearly, it works. I've already finished 3 games.
 

Aesica

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My process is all over the place. Well first, I obviously come up with the general idea of what the game's going to be like--fantasy world, spaceship, magic potato, etc as well as the basic storyline. Then I just kinda...make stuff, which is generally whatever I feel like doing. When I feel burnt out on one thing, I switch to another and it seems to work well since I'm already close to 3/4 of the way done with my current game.

The only thing I really have to force myself to do is mapping because I totally [naughty word]ing hate it. In contrast, the most pleasant thing by far is the database and coding, which actually makes me feel energized.
 

CavaliereHoScudo

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I would suggest to try a mix of both. Experiment with the program, but try and factor in advice from other Makers. You'll find the right work process for you, and maybe even add a personal touch that will make you more efficient and/or motivated and/or whatever.

I can only tell you this because my work process is extremely amateur-ish, but I have never felt the need to switch to a more organised process since it's not a commercial activity but purely a side hobby for my self satisfaction.
 

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On the plus side, if all this rioting sparks another Covid outbreak... I will have a whole lot of time to work on my game. Not exactly how I wanted to get that time, but hey I'm a glass is half full... of RM kind of guy. :LZSwink:
A video once in a while won't hurt.
Have a craving for a Nesquik milkshake. No idea why. Haven't had one since I was a kid. lol. I remember them kinda tasting nice, but also leaving a lot of nasty powder at the bottom of the cup.
The more I think about it, the weirdest part of going to work post-virus will probably be getting used to seeing my coworkers' mouths again. :LZYshock:
I think one of my weirdest realizations is that my speed of game development would probably be about the same if I *didn't* work a full-time manual labor job.

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