What's Your Approach on Making a Short Game?

EpicFILE

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Hi guys!
I want to know what's your approach on making a short game (1-2 hours game)?
Do you write down all the story element first, planning the maps first,
creating the database first, or anything else?

Honestly I've made a short game myself (Realm Crosser, 2017).
It was made in a rush for a game jam, so whatever I did to create it was not ideal.
I want to know a more proper approach, when there's no rush to make a game.
I do realize that there's no perfect approach, it's all depend on our preferences.
That being said, it's good to know many kind of approaches, to see which one suit us best.

So I'd like to know your approach, your step by step process on making a short game. :D
 

Hyouryuu-Na

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'Short game' doesn't exist in my vocabulary X""D *flashbacks from 40+ maps and terrible plot in the last jam*
This thread looks interesting. I may be able to learn something from the replies so keeping an eye on it.
 

KazukiT

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I'm somewhat work in extremes with my game. There's game jam length games (I have made 2 15-30 minute games and a 5-10 minute game) or full length game (I made 4-6 hour game) My current game I am working on will fall into the latter. I think this is quite tricky balance to pull off, but with enough practice you know what to include and what to cut out.
 
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Well, I'm currently making my very 1st game ever, and I originally started it off as a small concept in my head to "play-test out things" because my original goal was to just learn how to use RPG Maker MV. I didn't even think I'd be developing this game idea until after I started play testing it, realizing how much I really enjoyed learning about the small coding and commands aspect of it all...

And that was this summer.....
As of now, I currently have 100+ maps, a few (I think solid?) side quests, and I'm already developing the main dungeon of the game...I hope to be able to get some play testers soon after I finish it all up.


I think in the end, all I can tell you is this:


In my personal experience, I just started with an idea, and now it's been getting slowly expanded upon when I come up with better ideas and tactics on-the-spot.
Step-by-step is almost impossible in my books. The best thing (in my opinion) is to just have an idea/plan, and try to implement that...while incorporating new ideas along the way!
 
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Beregon

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Well, I normally come up with gameplay features I wish to implement, say if I want the game to have a day/night cycle, or maybe some specific skill interactions in turn-based battles etc.

I then make a few random maps that will eventually end up in the game, but for the time being, they will be primarily used to test the gameplay. So, filled with random debug NPCs with a shop or that trigger a boss battle.

After I am confident enough that mechanics work well enough for the game, I start making the rest of the maps. Story is already in my head along with a few scenes or cool moments, but I don't really write anything down (don't see much point for short games anyway), except in RPG maker Show Text event commands. Bringing everything together and creating the story is the last step for me. Ideally, after the game is mostly in a state where it's playable from start to finish, the last stage would be polishing the game and also a rewrite of the story and dialogue to make it better than the mostly placeholder version from before.
 

SeaPhoenix

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I personally need a basic story (how the game starts, what happens in general, and some vision of an ending) and an idea of the gameplay before I can start making a game. Then I'll spend some time thinking about the main characters, the major locations (i.e., maps), and the items that will play an important role in the game. If I include combat in my game, I'll think about how to make it unique (but more often that not, I end up not including it, because I have a difficult time coming up with interesting combat mechanics).

The past couple years I've started writing things down in a document, mainly so that I don't forget things. This document includes the outline I mentioned above, and will eventually include - once I start making the game - a to-do list and credits for graphics, music, etc.

When I actually start making the game, I usually first map out the starting areas, then add the characters and the first few events. I've tried very hard to keep my database items/skills/etc and switches/variables organized from the start, but I always just end up adding things as time goes on and I get a new idea.

Sometimes I'll create a new, side project to test out gameplay ideas or code (especially if they involve complicated eventing like a farming system or a plugin that I'm not sure that I'll need) before adding them to the game. That way I won't mess up my main game project.
 

Shikamon

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I am just starting the damn program lol :D :D!
I'll only come up with a basic premise, how many characters, and decide to jump to mapping. for planning, I use notes inside rpg maker engine for everything from the database and story. For a short game, I think there's no need for many complex mechanics. just a simple one and you're good to go.
I rarely enter gamejam because I'm quite busy and I don't think can follow the deadline.
 

EpicFILE

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@Hyouryuu-Na
It's fun to make one, try it sometimes. :D

@KazukiT
Yes, it's definitely good to know what to include and what's not.

@PoptartPresident
Honestly 100+ maps is an amazing feat!
I do agree that sometimes it's good to play around first before starting a project.
Anyway, good luck on your project. :)

@Beregon
This is a very interesting approach,
I never thought about this (in my mind story always comes first).
I'd try to use this approach in some way or another.

@SeaPhoenix
Your approach is pretty relatable for me.
Opening the editor without knowing what to do always leave me staring blankly at the screen.
I also like to make a separate project just to test plugins and certain mechanics.

@Shikamon
Reading your reply reminds me of Shia La Beouf : "JJust ddo it!" :D
I agree that the mechanic don't have to be complex in a short game.
 

Finnuval

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I want to know a more proper approach
There is no 'proper' approach. There is only what works for you and what doesnt.
For me all games short or long start with a concept, then worldbuilding, then characters, then story... This does not work for most ppl though.

so my advice is try every approach you can think of until one works for you and stick with that no matter what other ppl do.
 

Jennavieve

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Well, I'm currently making my very 1st game ever, and I originally started it off as a small concept in my head to "play-test out things" because my original goal was to just learn how to use RPG Maker MV. I didn't even think I'd be developing this game idea until after I started play testing it, realizing how much I really enjoyed learning about the small coding and commands aspect of it all...

In my personal experience, I just started with an idea, and now it's been getting slowly expanded upon when I come up with better ideas and tactics on-the-spot.
Step-by-step is almost impossible in my books. The best thing (in my opinion) is to just have an idea/plan, and try to implement that...while incorporating new ideas along the way!

I'm also on my first game and I've had the same approach as you. It started with an idea that I wanted to submit to a weekend long jam but the idea quickly grew. I was actually planning on making a silly cat game for my first game as practice but I'm just so drawn in by this concept, I can't work on anything else. It's like the characters and world are developing themselves and I'm really enjoying the process.

Everybody has their own way of doing things. Some people need to have a plan in place first, but for me it feels more natural to go with the flow and let the ideas build off each other as I create things.

Just try whatever feels natural for you and if it's not working, try another approach until you've found what works for you.
 

KazukiT

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There is no 'proper' approach. There is only what works for you and what doesnt.
For me all games short or long start with a concept, then worldbuilding, then characters, then story... This does not work for most ppl though.

so my advice is try every approach you can think of until one works for you and stick with that no matter what other ppl do.
This how I go into my projects. I think of the type of game/story I want to make. That's probably how elevator pitches for big corporations go. (Silly example: An RPG where you make RPGs)
 

Finnuval

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This how I go into my projects. I think of the type of game/story I want to make. That's probably how elevator pitches for big corporations go. (Silly example: An RPG where you make RPGs)
Yeah it Highly depends on what kind of writer you are in my opinion. You have the more ordered and planned type that plan everything ahead and know everything that'll happen and you have those that let their character andd world decide where they will take them andd what journey it becomes.

I am definetly the latter type.
Thats why I worldbuild before anything else. Once that's done I add the characters and fron their they decide what happens next xD
 

EpicFILE

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It's like the characters and world are developing themselves and I'm really enjoying the process.
I think it's one of the most beautiful experience.
Sometimes I reach that point too. :D

Yeah it Highly depends on what kind of writer you are in my opinion. You have the more ordered and planned type that plan everything ahead and know everything that'll happen and you have those that let their character andd world decide where they will take them andd what journey it becomes.

I am definetly the latter type.
Thats why I worldbuild before anything else. Once that's done I add the characters and fron their they decide what happens next xD
I find myself leaning more into story and character first,
because I'm excited to see my characters come to live. :D

Worldbuilding is my least concern, and somewhat a blindspot for me.
Sometimes the lack of worldbuilding make the story progression stuck,
despite already having a general idea of how the story will start and end. xD
It's something I need to improve upon.
 

RCXDan

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See, in response to OP's question, I start with a basic premise first, then characters >> mapping >> eventing >> bugtesting >> combat >> bugtesting and back again if needed... and usually needed due to how spotty my memory tends to be. :LZSlol:

I've currently only made 2 games so far, one of which is a demo for a much larger Actual Game Series I plan to launch and the other is an entry for the No Travel Game Jam back in May.

I am so obsessively detail oriented that I will do all the things even if it's not a good idea, although I'm trying to wean off that. My game jam entry wound up being big because I used it as a way to test so many things like scripts, writing small scale stories, combat and so on.

Every game or demo I make is to further my understanding of the engine and it's always fascinating to see how other people work in RPG Maker.
 

Shikamon

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I find myself leaning more into story and character first,
because I'm excited to see my characters come to live. :D

Worldbuilding is my least concern, and somewhat a blindspot for me.
Sometimes the lack of worldbuilding make the story progression stuck,
despite already having a general idea of how the story will start and end. xD
It's something I need to improve upon.

Well, I think it's the best one if you want to focus on the story rather than the gameplay mechanic. of course, there should be balanced but I think that's kinda difficult so if you are strong on one side, just keep going. :D :D

Characters are easy ones when you just design just one, later expanding their background and relationship with others like who is their enemy, lover, parents, his mission. later world-building can be followed by that.
 

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